The weirdest and best part of summer in Edmonton

Posted by on Thursday, August 11th, 2016 at 12:56pm.

It’s here – the wacky wild and very weird Edmonton Fringe Festival.  It is the oldest festival of its kind in North America. People stay up late, a blind eye is turned to local shenanigans and Edmontonians just love it.

Starting today this annual theatre binge delights audiences of all ages. This is the 35th Annual Fringe Festival, with 44 venues throughout Edmonton hosting more than 1,600 performances until August 21.  There are also free shows for the uninitiated to experience with all kinds of Edmonton restaurants, bars and clubs in the Fringe spirit.  The complete program line-up is on the Fringe Festival website and as the organizers like to say, with that many performances crammed into just 11 days it’s good to be flexible and forgiving as you are “Fringing”. 

Some of the line-ups in the 2016 edition include:

  • The Plain Janes:  This group finds obscure offerings from musical theatre and splice them together to present a non-fiction musical entitled “Working”, taking audiences back to 1978. It’s also a bit of a documentary based on interviews captured by legendary US. Journalist Studs Terkel.  Six actors portray 20 different characters in this comedic piece billed as “joyous and hilarious”. 
  • What Gives?  Red-blooded Canadian chorus girls rescue a song-writing duo with writer’s block in this pocket musical first performed in 1986. There’s a live band in the house for this one. 
  • Four Humors’ Lolita:  A Three Man Show.  A trio from Minneapolis combine the plot from a Vladimir Nabokov novel and a Stanley Kubrick film to celebrate all that is funny, stupid and beautiful in our world.  
  • Local group Empress of Blandings Productions love to twist classics and they do so with The Flying Doctor, originally by Moliere.  Sort of a Jazz Age update adapted appropriately for the Fringe Festival. 
  • The Fall of the House of Atreus: A Cowboy Love Song.  From Greek mythology comes this redefined saga of five generations, littered with murder, backstabbing and glorious gore.  Audiences will come away baffled by the question, “Who was the cowboy?” 

Dance performances

  • Asking the Internet:  The Ya-Hoo Answers – Three teenagers are guided through a virtual experience on the web by a Pied Piper character clad in white spandex.  Sound creepy?  That’s what it’s all about.
  • Letting Go of Alone with an original score courtesy South Pancakes.  Created by Toy Guns Dance Theatre this dance presentation is billed as an exploration through dance of modern relationships.

Kooky Theatre at its Finest

  • Just in time for the Olympics comes “The Unsyncables”.  A parody of dry-land synchronized swimming that is really about teenagers and friendship.  Four funny people present this hilarious comedy sketch.

Fringe Veterans take the Stage

  • Never Swim Alone by Daniel MacIvor.  Fringe fans will know the names of the stars of this play – they are Ben Stevens, Sarah Feutl and Oscar Derkx.   The show is about the competitive aspect of male friendship.  Billed as cunningly wrought. 

The Edmonton Fringe Festival is generously supported by The City of Edmonton, The Edmonton Arts Council, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Government of Canada.

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