The Fitting Room offers a good portrayal of teen angst and sadness around a young friend’s tragic death. Courtesy Intrepid Theatre

FRINGE FEST REVIEWS: Flamenco and teen angst, among the topics explored in festival entries

Sheila Martindale offers her take on shows playing at this year’s Fringe Festival

By Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine contributor

Monday’s intrepid theatre reviewer give some insights in to Victoria Fringe Festival entries.

La Palabra en el Tiempo – Palabra Flamenco

Most of us don’t understand the songs in Spanish, and the English poetry goes by a bit fast for it really to sink in, but no matter. The passion comes through in the voice inflections and the body language, the music and the dance.

Ah, yes, the dance – the flamenco! Very dramatic, with flamboyant dresses, the shoes being the most important part of the wardrobe.

The four people in the cast do a great job of portraying an atmosphere of sadness and celebration, of love and betrayal. Maybe some of the grace of the dance is lost, but the drama is there.

Just as I was beginning to miss the castanets, there they were! The singing, by one of the women, is amazing. With no program or leaflet, we don’t know who is who, unfortunately. The guitarist is very talented, even if we see only the top of his head for most of the show. But the fact that it is acoustic guitar, with no horrible amplification, increases its value.

A great addition to this year’s Fringe! La Palabra plays at the Metro, Quadra at Johnson, until Sept. 2 – check the comprehensive Fringe guide for times.

The Fitting Room – Rosemarie Productions

Ellery Lamm has written an excellent dramatic play, and on the whole it is well acted. But it would have been even better had the actors been miked.

Teenage girl babble is well done, but inaudible in places. The huge arguments between a mother and her son, as he tries on clothes for his friend’s funeral, are authentic and moving. The conversation between two young girls as they tentatively discover love is sensitively presented.

How the death of this young boy at age 13 affects these various people brings the play together, as all the characters struggle to come to grips with the tragedy. At the same time they are dealing with individual life issues.

I would like to have seen a leaflet, with the names, bios and photos of the actors, but you can’t have everything.

This is really a wonderful story, which develops slowly and beautifully in 75 minutes. Well worth seeing! It is at the Metro until Sept. 1 and should be on everyone’s list of must-see shows.

Water People – Ellen Arrand

The ‘good’ daughter takes her very elderly and disabled mother in and looks after her, giving up her own career to do so; the ‘bad’ daughter has not communicated with her family for 25 years, but puts in place a system of accusing her sister of elder abuse.

Ellen Arrand has written this play and performs it single-handedly and compassionately. Using just a stool as a prop, she takes us through her day, her week and her year. With her we enjoy the weekly few hours respite, provided by a kind and talented friend. None of this is done in any kind of complaining tone, as she attempts to balance the chequebook and her life.

Water People is directed by Theatre Inconnu’s Clayton Jevne – put it at the top of your Fringe list! It plays at the Downtown Community Centre until Sept. 2.

The Great Little Show – Delusional Productions

Who better to put on a children’s show than developmentally delayed adults who may be still in child mode? Besides, children’s entertainment should appeal to all ages.

Supported by a band of musicians, this delightful ensemble takes us in song and actions through the many moods, highs and lows of young life. What to do when you feel your friends are all against you? How about when you don’t get what you want for your birthday? Or when you’re afraid of creepy-crawlies?

The group makes us laugh and cry; makes us feel good about ourselves, makes us feel good about the talent of individuals. Their leader and organizer of the show jumps right in there with them, and everyone has fun.

Don’t miss it! The Great Little Show is on at the Metro until Sept. 2.

Visit intrepidtheatre.com/festivals/fringe-festival/ for a full schedule.

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