META-FRINGE: Raves for Baby Redboots’ Revenge and A Different Woman
We are only interested in meta-mutilating the published reviews of Fringe plays that are either really, really great … or blow it right out of the ass.
The vast middle ground of differing critical opinions on so many different types of live theatre at this event proves that modern theatre is very subjective and that even a play that gets completely carved is worth seeing. Bad theatre is better than no theatre.
TWO THUMBS UP
BABY REDBOOTS’ REVENGE: Venue 7 (conflation of reviews by Chad Huculak, Edmonton Sun and Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal) A manic, abstract examination on the nature of performance … post-modern retro “avant-vaudeville” … audience plays witness (to) dizzy descent into madness involving showbiz cliches and fragmented recollections … a dazzling demo of every known kind of showbiz act … wide-eyed delivery and go-for-broke acting deftly carries the play from absurd to affecting … entertaining hysteria. AGGREGATE RATING: 4.25 out of 5
A DIFFERENT WOMAN: A TRUE STORY OF A TEXAS CHILDHOOD, Stage 9 (Colin Maclean, Sun and Nicholls, Journal) Superbly summons forth the spirit of a remarkable woman (Gertrude Beasley) … a story of incest, bestiality and a supremely dysfunctional family that hung together because there was no alternative … catalogue of abuses … combination of brisk good humour and horror gives (this play) its odd shudder and hatches its renegade protagonist … a woman born with gumption and imbued with a feeling that she could overcome her miserable beginnings … boisterous tale (whose) very rawness verges on hilarity … over-uses the comic shrug of modern scepticism … show does go on a bit. AGGREGATE RATING: 4.25 out of 5
JEM ROLLS IS PISSED OFF: BYOV 32 (Colin and Liz) Now engaged to be married … poor man is blissfully happy … cosmic irony that (he) suddenly finds himself unable to achieve a sustainable state of pissed-offness … entertaining premise (is) running gag of the show … did manage to find some targets … Stephen Harper … exhorts us to get in touch with our own stupidity … verbal playfulness that is more interesting than its targets … rant is his creative specialty … there’s a comedian in there, itching to get out. AGGREGATE RATING: 3.75 out of 5
TWO THUMBS DOWN:
BOX: OR THE INCREDIBLE IMPACT OF THE TOTALLY MADE UP, Stage 6 (Colin and Liz) Tale (of) tentative young lady (whose) boring job (is relieved by) … a five-member fantasy chorus that leaps energetically out of (her) mind … no doubting the spirit and enthusiasm of the six young performers … make-it-up-as-it-goes-along story becomes so disjointed that you have to fill in much of the connective tissue yourself … (like) watching a bunch of energetic kids putting on a show for grandma on a wet Sunday afternoon. AGGREGATE RATING: 2 out of 5