Since 2006, The Calgary Fringe Festival has been delighting audiences with experimental, avant-garde and, well, Fringe-y theatre. Currently with all performance venues located within walking distance of each other in Inglewood, the festival this year boasts 26 productions (that’s 160 performances over 9 days) this year, which is no small feat. Here are our “must-sees” of this year’s festival:
• 5-Step Guide to Being German by Paco Erhard (Berlin, Germany)
Lunchbox Theatre, Aug 4-12
A “hard-hitting and hilarious” stand-up show in which German comedian Paco Erhard teaches you how to be German, while telling some home truths about Germany and the world. I’m guessing you will leave trying to perfect your fake German accent, but that could just be me.
• A Song of Bucephalus by Red Phone Theatre (Calgary)
Artpoint Gallery, Aug 5-7, 9, 11 & 12
Wherein the story of Alexander the Great’s legendary stallion, Bucephalus, is told by men in a two-person horse costume. I think this one speaks for itself.
• Blood Countess by Prairie Fire (Regina, SK)
Lantern Church Sanctuary, Aug 5-8, 10 & 12
Blood Countess examines whether 16th century Countess Elizabeth Bathory, having been described by Guinness World Records as “the world’s most prolific murderess,” actually killed over 600 girls to satisfy bloodlust, or was she the victim of a conspiracy to silence her? You decide!
• Booked in, Booked off, Booked up by chiMochiMo immersive theatre, (Calgary)
Fair’s Fair Books Aug 4-12
Not your typical theatrical performance! With no seats, no stage and interaction with the characters of the show, you will enter different worlds in the living library, following a theatrical maze through the bookstacks. Theatre-loving library nerds — unite!
• Improv Against Humanity: The Bigger Blacker Show by Go 4 Broke Productions, (St. Albert, AB)
The Blues Can, Aug 7-11
Have you played Cards Against Humanity? Were you horrified or did you laugh your ass off? If you’re leaning more towards laughing than horror and are up for some hilarious, raunchy improv, then Improv Against Humanity has the show for you with their take on the adult card game! Lunchtime or evening, they’ve got you covered. Raunch.
• It’s all in the Kilt… and other Scottish Tales by Calum Lykan Storytelling & Tours
Artpoint Gallery, Aug 4-7, 9 & 11
No two shows are alike with this off-the-cuff (kilt?) performance by Scottish Storyteller Calum Lykan. Audience members can ask a question about Scotland, suggest a theme or a concept to Lykan and he will, in turn, give them a taste of his incredible storytelling ability. If there’s an accent involved, I’m there.
• Polonius and His Children by Blue Elephant Theatre, (Calgary)
Alexandra Centre Society, Aug 5-7, 9, 11-12
In this continuation of the story, Polonius, Ophelia and Laertes are dead, reunited in the afterlife, and facing their past and confronting truths. Having premiered at the 2015 Sage Theatre Ignite! Festival, this play “examines the ties that bind and just how much one is willing to forgive.” And a chance to hear more Polonius-isms? Yes please.
• Woody by Birnton Theatricals (Calgary)
Artpoint Gallery, Aug 5-8, 11 & 12
What happened to Pinocchio after becoming a real boy? This comedic and moving continuation of Pinocchio’s story looks at what it’s really like to be human, dealing with love, death, puberty and, yes, porn. It’s real life, people.
The Calgary Fringe Festival takes place August 4-12 at various venues in and around Inglewood. Attendees must obtain a Fringe Button: check the Calgary Fringe Festival site for details and full performance schedule.
Kari Watson is a writer and former Listings Editor of FFWD Weekly, and has continued to bring event listings to Calgary through theYYSCENE and her event listings page, The Culture Cycle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.