META-FRINGE: Elephant and Scarlet woman feel the love
In Gig City’s daily meta-fringe, we’re 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
ELEPHANT ( Venue: Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, reviews by Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal and Justin Bell, Edmonton Sun.)
Elephant is one woman’s ode to Africa and her first experience overseas with Clowns Without Borders…….Nelson, you see, is a clown who works with South African orphans — the collateral damage of the AIDS epidemic — and as such, she understands the importance of learning through laughter……Being a one-woman show, Nelson acts out all the parts, running the gamut from disgruntled Zulu men to perky American visitors….When Nelson lands on the African content, however, Elephant really finds its footing…..The next hour is a whirlwind of characters, voices, and ridiculous situations….. she also teaches us about the AIDS epidemic and the clash between cultures without ever resorting to cutesy or condescending stereotypes…..In the end, the experience changes Nelson, makes her a different person. And while the message was obvious from the beginning, that doesn’t make it any less heartwarming.
Aggregate 4 out of 5
SCARLET WOMAN (Venue: King Edward School, reviewed by Catherine Griwkowsky, Edmonton Sun and Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal)
Scarlet Woman is a fun-filled throwback to film noir full of melodrama, wit and lots of dead bodies …..
Carmen Moffatt, a ditzy tennis champion, thinks she knows the answers. All she needs to do is find out who killed her tough-talking, womanizing tycoon of a father….the further she goes the more tangled the web becomes…..Moffatt unwittingly opens the door to a mysterious and (almost too) convoluted past filled with fire, death, doubloons…..The stories are interwoven so much so that the characters have to step aside and recap after a few twists and turns in the plot…..Minneapolis/Brooklyn-based actress Candy Simmons is a delight as Moffatt, an airhead with the persistence and charm of a heel-nipping poodle.
Aggregate 4 out of 5
TWO THUMBS DOWN…
TIRED, WAVE STOP (venue: Walterdale Playhouse, reviewed by Gordon Kent, Edmonton Journa and Michelle Thompson, Edmonton Sun.)
Tired, Wave, Stop takes a dip into a fantastical world of life at sea….the tale of a sea captain sailing the ocean in an stolen boat, the mermaid he loves and briefly marries, and their son The Monkey Boy.
……”Do you think sex with a mermaid is bestiality?”….that’s about as deep as the ocean gets in this hour-long head-scratcher…..It’s hard to imagine how the writer could have come up with such a tall tale, save for being high on hallucinogens or killing time on third-floor lockdown…….The show, which Boleantu also wrote, never really lifts anchor. It’s filled with murky motivations, flashbacks that sometimes leave the audience wondering what’s going on, and plot threads that don’t go anywhere…..As it stands, Tired, Wave, Stop is perhaps a ship best left docked….. to have the holes patched and the barnacles scraped.