New Fringe reviews from Colin (Sept 9): Multiple Organism, Roller Coaster, Just Not That Woman

Here you go! Three more!

 

Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. is presenting Multiple Organism at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

She will turn around. And that mouth will start talking.

MULTIPLE ORGANISM

Yay bodies! Yay sex! Yay pooping!

In Multiple Organism, Chloé Ziner and Jessica Gabriel from Mind of a Snail Puppet Co., celebrate all the glorious weirdness of being embodied. And they throw in a generous spin on gender norms to boot.

In this wildly risk-taking and welcome new show, they tell the story of an objectified artists’ model who falls into the toilet with a couple of toothbrushes, and…Just wait. It’s worth it.

Their theatrical techniques are terrific. Using overhead projectors, they create a kind of wacky shadow puppetry. Like regular actors do, they also play characters, and, in a fantastically surreal device, they use their bodies as projection surfaces.

There is a kind of genius in the combination of abandon and skill that Ziner and Gabriel bring to this piece. Before this, I didn’t understand Mind of a Snail’s popularity. But I get it now. I am a Snailhead.

Remaining performances at the Firehall Arts Centre on September 10 (7:30 p.m.), 12 (8 p.m.), 14 (5 p.m.), 15 (10:15 p.m.), 16 (noon), and 17 (4:15 p.m.)

  

TJ Dawe is performing Roller Coaster at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

Fringe performers just don’t get more charming than TJ Dawe.

ROLLER COASTER

Just being in TJ Dawe’s presence is a pleasure—but that’s not enough .

In his latest monologue, Roller Coaster, Fringe veteran Dawe explores a number of threads including theme parks, speculative fiction, Trump’s presidency, and the human predilection for war.

Playful, alert, and bemused—like the most engaging TED Talk presenter ever—he speaks gently, but rapidly and with enthusiasm. As a writer, Dawe loses his grip on the content of Roller Coaster, however. It’s too disparate and, I suspect, too abstract: his speculations on possible Trump futures, his musings on the writing of cultural critic Barbara Ehrenreich, and so on don’t add up in a way that’s satisfying conceptually or narratively.

A more grounded and developed personal story might have given Roller Coaster a stronger track to fly around on. 

Remaining performances at the Firehall Arts Centre on September 9 (4:45 p.m.), 10 (9:15 p.m.), 15 (8:15 p.m.), and 16 (8:45 p.m.)

 

Ali Scott Kennedy's Just Not That Woman is playing the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

References to magic quickly get tired in Just Not That Woman.

JUST NOT THAT WOMAN

 Are you a liberal who reads the political content on Facebook? Then you don’t need to see Just Not That Woman.

In her solo show, Australian theatremaker Ali Kennedy Scott recycles a whole lot of facts and analyses about Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the US presidential election, but none of it is surprising.

To make her points, Scott adopts a number of personae, including a magician who teaches a series of lessons about magic: Creating a Narrative, Suggestion, Breaking Expectations, and so on. She’s talking about the manipulation of public opinion, of course. But who isn’t already familiar with the effectiveness of Trump’s distracting tweets, for instance?

Scott also addresses the systemic exclusion of women from power. Again, Scott fails to bring much fresh perspective, but she does get in a great line. Talking about Clinton being accused of being cold, she says, “Angela Merkel gets away with it, but I think that’s because she’s German.”

Remaining performances at the Firehall Arts Centre on September 9 (3 p.m.), 11 (10 p.m.), 13 (8:15 p.m.), 15 (6:45 p.m.), and 16 (1:45 p.m.)

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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