Fringe 007: Ignorance, Mini Donuts, and Die-Nasty

Sharon dragged me to the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, aka the Fringe, a few years ago, and I actually enjoyed it. I’ve since come to enjoy Edmonton’s live theatre scene, so I was definitely looking forward to this year’s festival, called “Live and Let Fringe” in honor of the year. The festival runs until August 26th.

The first show Sharon, Dickson and I went to see last night was called “The Power of Ignorance” and since Sharon took care of getting tickets and such ahead of time, I didn’t know much more about it than that. Turns out it was a one-man show, performed by British comedian Chris Gibbs, in the form of a seminar that promised to help you tap into your power of ignorance to lead a better, happier life. I really enjoyed it – it was extremely funny! I laughed pretty hard. The ending was kind of weird, but otherwise, great show. The Journal gave it 4.5 stars (out of 5) today. To that I say: well deserved.

Afterward we wandered around the grounds, taking in the sights. No trip to the Fringe is complete without mini donuts, so I got some of those and headed for the beer gardens. On the way we stopped to see Hoja, a popular Canadian a capella group. We saw them perform “YMCA” and “500 Miles”, complete with dancing and everything.

We ended the evening by going to see Die-Nasty. I have to say I didn’t enjoy it as much as their season 16 finale. For one thing, there was no Jeff Haslam. His comic timing would definitely have helped the show out. Davina Stewart was there however, and she was really funny! On the whole though, it was just average. Perhaps it was because they were making fun of the Fringe itself, and I just didn’t get all of the jokes?

I’m going to go see at least one more show, but I am not sure which one yet. Perhaps I should have a look at all of the pieces of paper we received while waiting in line. Sharon remarked that the Fringe would be a good place for entrepreneurs to learn, and I have to agree. The elevator pitches that the performers give as they work the lineups at other shows are really quite good. Entrepreneurs could definitely learn a thing or two.

Check out the official Fringe site here, and also the Edmonton Journal’s complete coverage.

Read: Fringe 007

Die-Nasty Season 16 Finale with Georges Laraque!

Post ImageLast night Sharon and I went to see the season sixteen finale of Die-Nasty at the Varscona. I had never been to one of their improv shows before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that Edmonton’s own Georges Laraque was guest starring though, so I was definitely excited. Before I get to the show, here’s a bit of background on Die-Nasty itself:

Die-Nasty is a live improvised soap opera, running weekly in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada since 1991. Die-Nasty’s improv comedy format features a continuing storyline and recurring characters, live music, and a director who sets up scenes for the audience (and performers) in voiceover.

For last night’s finale, the focus was on the Stanleycubric Cup final between the Edmonton Die-Hards and the Montreal Canadiens. Dwayne “the Good One” Minsky (played by Matt Alden) led the Die-Hards to the finals but had switched sides to the Canadiens. Thus, the Die-Hards were in need of a new hero – which is where #69 Wellen Dowed came in, played by Georges Laraque. As you can imagine, there was lots of material for the actors to work with!

Georges did an excellent job last night (maybe he has a future in Hollywood). I think he was in every second scene! Much of the humor came from the actors admiring the size of Georges and his hands and, um, other parts. He held his own though! He almost broke the stage in one scene, when he started cheering after having scored a goal. I expected nothing less from Georges, who you’ll recall, was quite fond of slamming the glass at Rexall Place after a goal.

Here are some memorable quotes from last night:

“I haven’t played a single game all year. This is bullshit!”
– Georges Laraque’s opening line

“I have a million dollar tool, that’s why I built the shed.”
– Donovan Workun as Hogey Oogachakka, responding to a comment about his weight

“And the hockey has started. The ice is icy! The sticks are sticky! And the puck is black.”
– Ron Pederson as the new announcer for the Die-Hards

“Where the fuck were all of you the rest of the season!”
– Jeff Haslam as Derrick Capilano at the start of the show (no doubt a dig at the audience…it was a packed house, probably because of Georges)

In one scene Georges made a dig at MacT, but I don’t recall exactly what he said. It was pretty funny though!

I really like actors Jeff Haslam and Mark Meer, so I was happy they were there. Sharon remarked that Jeff’s shirt seems to get tighter every time we see him, and that Mark is superb at accents. Both are absolutely true! The only negative thing about last night’s show was that actress Davina Stewart wasn’t present.

If you want to see Die-Nasty, they’ll be at the Fringe this summer. There’s a “soap-a-thon” coming up soon too, but I’m not sure when that is. And keep an eye out for Georges – maybe he’ll become an actor!

Read: Die-Nasty