Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fringe Review: XOXO

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Playwright: Meghan Chalmers & Franny McCabe-Bennett
Director: Franny McCabe-Bennett & Meghan Chalmers
Cast: Meghan Chalmers & Franny McCabe-Bennett

Show Type: Comedy
Audience: General

Performed at Gallery #3: James North Studio

Review by: Thomas Allen

The duo of Two Juliets (Meghan Chalmers and Franny McCabe-Bennett) put on a terrific show in “XOXO”, a must see comedy about relationship struggles.

From spinning the bottle, to creating a fluffy on-line dating profile, and even an awkward interview turned coughing lesson, the show was filled with clever humour.

A memorable moment is their lesson about what alcoholic beverage boyfriends aren’t allowed to have if they’re out with other girls. The answer: beer. Catch the show to find out why, though.

It was not only well acted, well-timed, and dramatic. They also sang and danced to some old classics and some new original songs. The dancing accompanying the singing was far from poetic, it was jerky, awkward, and perfect.

Performed at James Street North Studio, the show was very intimate. Both actresses interacted with the crowd in a way that was well scripted and hilarious. It was too hard not to chuckle when this sassy duo looked at you.

Like Abbot and Costello, Meghan set up the bottles and Franny knocked them down. The chemistry they exhibited in their performance was flawless.

This isn’t just a show for women. It’s a show for everyone who’s been in a relationship. And it was totally worth eight dollars.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: Oh God – The Drums

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Playwright: Brad Hart
Director: Evalyn Parry
Cast: Brad Hart

Review by: Thomas Allen

Through a smart, well-scripted monologue, Brad Hart weaves an intriguing story about his life that makes “Oh God-The Drums” a must see at this year’s 10th Anniversary Fringe Festival.

Hart talks about growing up, his undying love for drumming, and drummers, and his rocky relationship with his father.

The story was briefly educational, for those unfamiliar with the history of classic rock, or jazz. From Neil Pert, to Mike Shrieve and Tony Williams, Hart gives a brief history of drummers and the impact they’ve made on him.

He had his 25-year-old drum kit with him on stage, the only kit he’s ever owned. Throughout the show he would use the drums to demonstrate how, sometimes awkwardly throughout his life, he learned percussion for real.

The story of growing up that unfolds was no-holds bars; he really puts himself out there on the stage for the audience. Hart honestly describes moments and stages in his life and the internal struggle with the love of his drums and the absent love of his father that they represent.

In his monologue, he tells you about his failures, or his feelings of insignificance. He pulls at heartstrings as he spills his emotions in front of captivated onlookers. He drew laughter, understanding, appreciation, and sympathetic “awes” from the audience.

It was a refreshing story about a man who fulfilled his childhood dream, which can be rare now-a-days. He didn’t care about how much money he’s made, or that he’s never lived on the ground floor throughout his whole adulthood. Hart is just happy to be doing what he loves and we should applaud him for that.

Oh, and his drummer jokes are priceless. The only thing missing in this play was a wicked drum solo.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: Bridezilla vs The Apocalypse

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Playwright: Aaron Middlemiss
Director: Steff Bishop Lampman
Cast: Laura Ellis, Iain Lacourt, Lila Hunt, Kristi Boulton, Matt Moore, Erik Canaria, Margaret Lintott, Tyler Brent, Andrew Noble, John Migliore, Marty Chenette, Steven Fotheringham, Bryan Fotheringham, Meaghan O’Connor, Katlyn Alcock

Review by: Thomas Allen

“Bridezilla vs The Apocalypse” is a hilarious slasher-style play bound to keep you in suspense. It was like “Shaun of the Dead”, but with lesbians and a wedding.

Laura Ellis played Olivia, the wedding planner/tomboy/hero, who was taught survivalist skills by her father. Little did she know those skills would come in handy when she takes on a new job as a wedding planner.

In an awkward coincidence, she ends up planning a wedding for Lila Hunt’s character, Angora (or Bridezilla). The groom of Angora is Peter (played by Iain Lacourt), an awkward and nervous man who had a one-night stand with Olivia.

Peter’s mother, Farah, was an overbearing control freak hell-bent on ruining Angora’s big day. His Uncle Harold, seemingly ill, showed up with Farah to the wedding and quickly turned into a zombie. After they killed him, the cast carried him around like the film “Weekend At Bernie’s.” It was a clever touch.

The Maid of Honour (Kristi Boulton) and Olivia connect not only as actors, but in the play as well. They become infatuated with one another as the play progresses and a witty, well placed joke is made about “coming out of the closet.” Oh, and their relationship gets steamy (like, real hot).

The zombie attacks were well choreographed and there was plenty of blood spattered on the stage, as well as the audience. The supporting cast was superb and their delivery was impeccable. Every character made you laugh out loud at least once.

If you like zombies, babes, and tuxedo shirts, then “Bridezilla vs The Apocalypse” is the show for you.

P.S. don’t forget to bring a poncho. Or purchase one there for $1.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: The Gore Mis-Fits

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Playwright: Robert LP Savoie
Director: Patti Cannon
Cast: Shilo Nelson, Jonny Kerr, Jamie Taylor , Gord Nelson, Luis Arrojo

Review by: Thomas Allen

If you’re interested in learning about everyday life in Gore Park, you’re in for a treat with “The Gore Mis-Fits.”

Based on five Hamiltonians, the play loosely revolves around their friend Blue Cap (played by Gord Nelson) getting married.

Johnny Kerr plays Josh, a wheelchair restricted individual with cerebral palsy, who tells the narrative of his buddies, at the city’s Civic Center.

From the closure of public washrooms, to over-zealous cops, and the current controversy over the possible demolition of the park’s streetwall, the play suggests that the decisions of the city’s authorities can affect the parks character and those who occupy it.

That being said, the play had no real ebb and flow. Although each character in the play had some enjoyable exchanges with Josh, there was no climax to the story, just everyday dialogue between friends.

What the play does make clear, however, is to never judge a book by its cover. Often, the people who inhabit Gore Park are mislabeled and this play sheds some light on the issue. It reminds us all that Gore Park is, and will always be, the heart of Hamilton.

“The Gore Mis-Fits” was a raw performance that plenty of people in and from Hamilton can relate to.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: Normal

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Playwright: Anthony Neilson
Cast: Justin Goodhand, Edward Charette, Shanda Bezic
Director: Jakob Ehman

On a stormy Friday night, the trio of Edward Charette, Justin Goodhand, and Shanda Bezic gave a haunting performance in the play “Normal.”

Based on a true story, “Normal” is about Peter Kürten, a German serial killer dubbed “The Vampire of Düsseldorf.” Peter Kürten (played by Justin Goodhand) committed several acts of sexual crimes, assaults, and murders in Düsseldorf during the 1920’s.

In the play, a young criminal defense lawyer, Justus Wehner (Edward Charette), holds a series of one-on-one interviews with Peter Kürten while he is on trial for nine murders. What unravels before the audience is a disturbing story of a sadist who wants nothing more than to achieve the same fame as Jack The Ripper.

Peter Kürten not only tells a gruesome tale of his troubling past and the horrific crimes he committed, but also leads Justus to question his own past. As the play progresses, the two characters develop a strange friendship when they realize they’re not so different after all.

Shanda Bezic played Frau Kürten, a former sex worker who succumbs to Peter’s charm and becomes the wife of the notorious serial killer. The three become entangled in a deadly love triangle when Justus interviews Frau about her relationship with Peter.

The play was flawlessly executed, with fluid, seamless transitions as smooth as the choreographed dance scenes and musical score.

With little more than a table, two chairs, and a notepad, the actors stole the show and captivated an enthralled audience. They never faltered in script, looked out-of-character, or wavered in their delivery.

“Normal” will not only give you goosebumps, but also leave you wanting more.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews

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PHOTO OF THE DAY – July 21st

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Hamilton Theatre Inc – 140 MacNab St N, Hamilton

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July 21, 2013 · 5:08 pm

PHOTO OF THE DAY – July 13th

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Modjeska Dock – Pier 5, Hamilton

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July 13, 2013 · 8:48 pm