The Trophy Hunt, showing in Fan Tan Alley, offers a three-monologue look at the hunting experience from various perspectives. Courtesy Intrepid Theatre

FIRST REVIEWS: Victoria Fringe Festival starts with a bang

We review the first wave of shows from the festival, as part of our ongoing series

Hey live theatre and performance fans, here is our first set of reviews for shows taking place at this year’s Victoria Fringe Festival, at venues around the downtown.

While we can’t get to every one of the 47 shows scheduled, we’ll be providing glimpses into many of them. As Intrepid Theatre producer Sammie Gough says, you’ll just have to “take a chance” on the others.

Here we go!

Summer Bucket List | Collectivus Theatre

PG 13+ adult themes, playing through Sept. 1 at the Roxy Theatre

Two high school juniors discover the titular summer bucket list while serving detention, and in deciding to complete the list’s goals the girls uncover truths about the older women they look up to as role models.

Summer Bucket List will entertain you, regardless of plot inconsistencies, writes Tim Ford.

The action of the play is a bit muddled, and unfortunately the various threads and characters don’t quite gel together into a cohesive message. That said, as pure entertainment Summer Bucket List excels, with several lines of genuine laugh-out-loud dialogue, and terrific physical comedy from leads Maggie Martin and Lili Martin. Indeed, the performances from the entire cast of six are satisfying to watch, even if the resolution leaves some dangling questions. 3 stars (out of 5)

– Tim Ford

The Trophy Hunt | Open Pit Theatre

PG 12+ dark comedy, on through Sept. 1 in Fan Tan Alley

The Victoria version of this “rolling world premiere,” by Whitehorse-based Open Pit Theatre, offers a menagerie of three monologues, performed in a nifty courtyard accessed in Fan Tan Alley (note: Fringe tent is beside the Fisgard entrance).

The monologues run the gamut of the hunting experience: the hunters, the guides … the hunted.

The direction makes excellent use of the quirky outdoor space. The review performance was after dark, and while the audience experience won’t be adversely affected by daylight, the atmosphere was definitely enhanced by night time. The monologues are varied and interesting, the performers engaging and fun. Trophy Hunt, with its endless possibilities for exploration, will leave you wanting more. 4 stars (out of 5)

– Tim Ford

Travel Theatrics – Standing Room Only Theatre

PG14+ adult themes, at Wood Hall through Sept. 1

This play probably epitomizes Fringe shows – all done by one person, based on personal experience, exactly one hour long. And Keara Barnes is good!

Her script is sort of like a rap song without music – many interesting rhymes. But this is not a protest, rather it is a glimpse of her travels, backpacking around the world. Actually they are probably the kind of adventures no parent wants to know about – how she escaped some close calls in foreign places! But here she is, alive and lively and loving life, a consummate performer who engages her audiences, entertains them and makes them care. 4.5 stars (out of 5)

– Sheila Martindale

A Little Crazy (a bissel meshugah) – Bema Productions

Adults-only comedy, at Congregation Emanu-El through Sept. 1

Jewish humour is unique and special. Jewish families are always larger than life, driving you crazy but staying in your heart. Jewish writing can make you laugh and make you cry, but most of all it can make you think. This play by Joseph Reed Hayes and performed by Toshik Bukowiecki and Michael Rodgers, is all of these things; a wonderful 75 minutes of pure theatre, sending you out chuckling and pondering. No crude language, just pure unadulterated entertainment which you won’t want to miss. 5 stars (out of 5)

– Sheila Martindale

For a full list of Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival showtimes, visit intrepidtheatre.com.

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