I Love You, Fringe Fest

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Posters from Fringe past. Photo via WinnipegFringe.com.

My fiancé and I go to a lot of theatre together. We’ve gone to Broadway, national tour shows, local theatre company productions, but I’ve never had the pleasure of taking him to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival before. Fringe is, naturally, probably my favourite of all the Winnipeg summer festivals. The Exchange comes alive with food trucks, live entertainment, and tons of people excited to experience Winnipeg artists showcasing their hard work. What could be better?

Fringe is also one of my favourite times of the year because of how cheap the show are. $10 (or less, depending on the show, and if you’re a student, senior, or in costume) gets you in to any show you want. Jeremiah and I went to two shows, and at $40 total, that’s usually less than I pay for one ticket for myself.

But how do I introduce him to something I hold so dear? Although he goes to lots of shows with me, he doesn’t always enjoy them as thoroughly as I do. (After we saw Phantom, he asked a weeping Diana “why are all these women crying?” during “Wishing”.) And that’s completely fine. Everyone is entitled to their own experience, and I’m more than happy to bounce opinions and thoughts off each other after the show. In fact, our healthy discussion and differing opinions is one of my favourite parts of the night. Well, thankfully, we found the best of both worlds at venue 18.

We enjoyed back-to-back improv shows at the Gas Station Arts Centre. First, we saw Outside Joke‘s improvised musical (my pick), followed by the DnD Improv Show (my pick for Jeremiah, who is part of a tabletop gaming group), both of which were wonderful. I’ve seen a few improv shows before, but having being a complete newbie to DnD and tabletop gaming period, I was a little lost at first – especially since DnD’s show’s storyline continues with each night. But the DnD crew did a good job of assuring the large cast of characters didn’t get mixed up and when there was a dice check or battle of any kind, the crowd went wild. Both OJ and DnD did a wonderful job, and if you’re looking for a real-life answer to your Whose Line Is It Anyway? fix, either of them will fill it.

Tonight, I accompanied my family to Into the Blue, a beautiful play written by (and starring) Ben Townsley about two theatre owners whose theatre gets punched by a meteor. The meteor (and the hole in their ceiling) serves as the centrepiece as Jack and Jean (played masterfully by Sarah Flynn) navigate through unexpected events in their lives and heaps of space metaphors (which I am all for – I talk about the potential supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy all the time). Although this play was completely different from the experience I had at GSAC, it still filled my little theatre nerd heart with the satisfaction that it so craves and that only live performances can sedate.

Have you seen a show at Fringe yet? If not, why not? It’s the least expensive and best theatre date you’ll have all year. I personally recommend all three shows that I’ve mentioned in this post, but there are many (MANY) shows of all genres you can go see. Check out the show listing and make these next four days – the last four of the festival – the best all month.

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