People Suck for its opening night last Wednesday which was a great way to kick off the festival! The premise is simple - sometimes people suck - and the cast delivered that message through some very funny songs and physical humour. There was a Gilbert & Sullivan-esque number about grammar that I found especially enjoyable and revelled in all the different ways that people can be terrible. My friend Megan (who I connected with YEARS ago through a message board back in the day) co-wrote and starred in the show and it made me so proud to see her shine! They've been getting great reviews and have had a few sold out shows, which is all kinds of awesome!!
I knew that I would spend most of Saturday engaging in Fringe activities, but I didn't anticipate pushing through 11 hours of musical adventures! I spent the early part of my day in the Annex Theatre, being inspired once again by mega talented friends in Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl with Rebecca Perry and Starry Notions with Ryan G. Hinds. Rebecca has been all over the Fringe circuit over the last couple of years and is about to embark on an incredible adventure to Edinburgh for their Fringe. She is so talented and works like crazy - it's just so great to see. Before Fringe I had seen glimpses of performances by Ryan G. Hinds, but never a full show -- gah, I was missing out! He is so charismatic, hilarious and rocks glitter lips like it's nobody's business. His show gave me feelings in my eyes and I was captivated by his performance (and especially loved his homage to Disney villain, Ursula)
I spent my afternoon enjoying time with friends, having snacks and got to see Rounding the Bend and I'm Right Here before the day was done. I loved hearing wonderful female harmonies performed by a very talented cast in Rounding the Bend and was reminded of the impact that social media has on our lives in I'm Right Here. Four shows felt like a pretty solid day and I had the chance to see lots of lovely friends in the Fringe tent that evening.
On Sunday I saw Summerland and I loved every second.
With a cast of 100 students, this show reminded me of why I decided to go to musical theatre college. I had tears in my eyes for most of the 90 minutes and probably could have easily watched 90 minutes more. So much raw talent. Awesome musical arrangements. Beautiful dancing. A magical story. So special. I was a bit of a wreck at the end of the show and have sung its praises to anyone who will listen since Sunday afternoon. Part of what I love about the Fringe is that for $10 you can be treated to an epic piece of theatre and entertainment that transports you to another world for a moment in your life. I would go see it again in a heartbeat just to feel all the feelings again. Sum-mer-land.
I also had the pleasure of seeing Sword Play: A Play of Swords on Sunday night. It was the perfect way to end the weekend with a lot of laughing and memories of my very first Nintendo back in the 80's.
My Fringe adventures will continue this week! Now that word of mouth is spreading and many reviews have come out, I've narrowed down my picks and booked advance tickets to a few shows. I can't wait to see Morro and Jasp Do Puberty (they're always fab), The Orchid and the Crow (Daniel Tobias is an outstanding performer and it will be great to see him in a very different kind of show) and The Dinner Table which is a site-specific show with only 12 audience members and some of the city's best storytellers + dinner.
There is still time to get out and see some incredible theatre and party it up in the Fringe tent! Follow along with the #FringeTO hashtag and enjoy some of the amazing talent that is gracing stages all over Toronto this week!!