Canada Day long weekend activities may be over, but now it’s time for another exciting festival – the Toronto Fringe Festival! This annual festival features plays and performances and other cool events from July 5 to 16 with venues across the city. This year, there are over 160 ticketed events with more than 50 free events. Tickets are on sale now, but before you go, check out Karen Young’s top 5 picks for this year’s Fringe Festival.
“AM I PRETTY NOW?”: A MUSICAL ROMP THROUGH PLASTIC SURGERY!
Plastic surgery may not be an easy topic to discuss, but what if there was a 60 minute musical about it? Am I Pretty Now stars comedian, Stephanie Herrera who brings us into a journey of “going under the knife,” while also looking at race, motherhood, living as a first generation Canadian and even Liza Minnelli. The show aims to look at society’s current obsession with youth and beauty, while following Herrera’s pursuit of feeling “pretty.”
The show is brought to you by an experienced actress and director. Herrera is a Toronto native who is multi-talented. Not only is she a comedian and actress, she is also a singer, writer, booking agent, producer, acting coach, director, keynote speaker, corporate trainer, TV Host, Stage/Screen and voice actor.
The director of the show is Conrad Coates, who has been an actor in theatre, film, television and radio since 1985. He has over 120 television and film credits and has performed in over 50 stage productions, including two seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. This seasoned actor is currently a professor of acting at Toronto’s Seneca College.
The first show is on July 7th at 1:15pm at the Al Green Theatre.
What does 80s nostalgia, the Ghostbusters and Shakespeare have in common? This show! Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters! Brought to you by the The Coincidence Men (Kerry Griffin, Rob Hawke, Ralph MacLeod, Gord Oxley and Marcel St. Pierre), this show is a reading of the original Ghostbusters movie as though it were written by William Shakespeare himself. The Coincidence Men in an improv troupe known for their monthly comedy show at the Social Capital, Shenanigans! They are also joined by other comedic talents such as Patrice Goodman (Sunnyside, Being Erica), Jessica Perkins (The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe) and Tim Blair (Bad Dog Theatre, Comedy on Ossington).
In case you didn’t know, Ghostbusters is an 1984 supernatural and comedic film about a group of parapsychologists who have a ghost catching business in New York. The Ghostbusters franchise recently had a reboot in summer 2016 with a film sharing the same name. This show is bound to make you laugh, as the cast members are veterans of Toronto’s improv and sketch comedy community!
Catch the first show on July 6th at 8:15pm at the Tarragon Theatre in the Main Space.
MAGIC TO THE FUTURE
Here’s some more 80s nostalgia for you, but with a few more twists! Instead of the Delorean there’s a time machine made from a shake weight. Instead of Marty McFly, the aspiring musician, there’s Timmy, who is an unconfident magician’s assistant to Great Scott, a magician from the future – the year 2085 to be exact! Magic to The Future is about Great Scott’s time machine causing an accident that sends Timmy back in time. He’s now forced to perform a full magic show on his own to power the shake weight time machine. That should be easier than generating 1.21 jigawatts with a lightning bolt, right? I guess we’ll have to watch the show to find out!
This show was written and stars Tim Hoffman who is a comedian and magician from Los Angeles, California. He’s no stranger to the Fringe Festival. Just last year, his show, The Great & Powerful Tim: The World’s Worst Supervillain was part of the Orlando Fringe Festival. Hoffman is known for his unique shows that merge comedy, magic, scripted stories, improv and special effects. It’s an experience you’ll have to see for yourself!
The next show is on July 8th at 12:00pm at the St. Vladimir Theatre!
IN SUNDRY LANGUAGES
In Sundry Languages is a theatre experiment from the Toronto Laboratory Theatre featuring a diverse cast that includes recent immigrants and refugees. This show is broken down into stories told in a series of vignettes, discussing topics that are relatable to any immigrant. Some of these topics include displacement and hybrid identities. The multilingual performers use and abuse their different dialects, some of the languages include Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The performers never translate what they say, but their message is translated through the physicality of the actors and video dramaturgy. This show aims to look at stereotypes and biases and reflect on the multiple voices that make up Toronto.
This show is brought to you by the Toronto Laboratory Theatre, an independent theatre that develops, produces and supports artistic work and educational projects. One of their previous projects is Embodied English, an ESL and Drama course that has become popular with Canadian newcomers.
If you want to be amongst the first to catch the show, there’s a performance on July 6th at 10:00pm at the Theatre Passe Muraille, in the main space!
Here’s another Toronto-centric show! Special Constables is both a comedy and thriller that follows what “really” happened during the return of Toronto’s TTC Transit Police. The show follows Jameson, a former constable who disbanded the Special Constables. He has a chance to redeem himself and his former unit when a Metropass counterfeiting ring threatens to take over the TTC. Special Constables is brought to you by Circlesnake Productions, with several cast members from Toronto’s independent theatre scene. Daniel Pagett plays none other than Special Constable Jameson himself and Nigel Downer, a Second City Mainstage alum, plays Three Tone, the monologuing mastermind. Supporting cast members include Nelu Handa (Bad Dog Theatre, Yas Kween), Connor Bradbury (Sex TRex, Bad Dog Theatre), Chloé Sullivan (Unit 102), and Mikaela Dyke (A Vagrant).
The first performance will be on July 7th at 1:00pm at the Factory Theatre, in the Main Space!