Well it has taken a few days for things to calm down around here, but the 25th Fringe Festival has finally ended. And what a festival is was. Besides all of the wonderful, and some less-than-wonderful productions, this year's festival expanded in countless other ways. The Fringe Club was THE place to be when you weren't at the theatre. The vitality of the whole festival was really anchored there. This year the Visual Fringe was expanded and was really incorporated into the overall festival in ways that it hasn't been in years past. Literally every waking hour of every day there was something new to see or do at the Fringe. In fact it was so much we couldn't do or see it all. We enjoyed a lot of the shows but here are our favourites.
Polly Polly - This show really had it all. A dynamic leading lady (Jessica Moss) and a well developed story-line, wrapped in a timely and well curated package. If you see one of the Best of the Fringe shows this is the one to see.
Stealing Sam - Neither Justin nor I made it to this one, but my parents, (who were in town, and saw at least a dozen Fringe show) raved about this one. It is also part of the Best of... and we will definitely be in the audience this time around.
It's Always You: A Musical This one is all about casting. Pretty much anything with Shelia McCarthy is going to be good. Plus it's really funny. You pretty much can't lose.
Alex Nussbaum's Handbook to the Future: A Brave New Worrier - The subject matter of Nussbaum's work was both terrifying and mesmerizing. His comedic timing is well utilized and provides just enough relief for this serious subject matter. Although it was not selected for the Best of, the show did win a Patron's Pick and was one of the highlights for us.
Musical of Musicals: The Musical! - This one wasn't the most creative or original works at this years festival, but it was perhaps the most entertaining and fun. Well written, well performed with memorable, almost familiar tunes, made Musical of Musicals a joy to watch. It is understandable that the show didn't make the Best of, because it relies on a pretty basic formula, and doesn't bring anything new to the world of musical theatre but we still liked it, and really isn't that what it is all about?
Death Married My Daughter - Another show we missed this Fringe but truly wish we hadn't, because not only did it win a patron's pick it was also selected for Best of the Fringe and was one of the sleeper hits of the whole festival. This is another not-to-be-missed Best of the Fringe shows we hope to see you at.
Congratulations to all of the productions. It was a fantastic year and a great way to celebrate 25 years of the Fringe Festival in Toronto.
This year's patron's picks are:
Death Married My Daughter
The Retirement Plan
Alex’s Nussbaum’s Handbook to the Future: A Brave New Worrier
2 for Tea
The Oak Room
I Hired a Contract Killer
jem rolls Attacks the Silence
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!
The 2013 Best of the Fringe are:
Death Married My Daughter
It’s Always You: The Musical
Tales Of Whoa!
The Truth About Comets
To check out the Best of Fringe line up at the Toronto Centre for the Arts click here.