Tymesha Harris performs as Josephine Baker in the show Josephine, on now through Sept. 1 at the Victoria Fringe Festival. Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

Fringe Reviews Pt. 5: Terrific solo shows about famous figures

Monday offers the latest show reviews from the Victoria Fringe Festival, on through Sept. 1

Here’s you’ll find the next batch of reviews for the Victoria Fringe Festival, staged by Intrepid Theatre through Sept. 1 at various venues across downtown Victoria.

For a full schedule of shows and other information, visit intrepidtheatre.com.

Josephine – Dynamite Lunchbox

Adult themes, nudity, musical theatre at Langham Court Theatre through Sept. 1

Wow! Tymisha Harris is one fabulous performer. Whether she is singing a passionate protest song, or dancing in no more than a thong and a pair of bejewelled nipple covers, her huge stage presence fills the auditorium. But she also has a warm personal touch, selecting a couple of people from the audience, to help her dress or to be, for the moment, one of her lovers. Based on the life of Josephine Baker, who burst onto the international stage at age 17, this lady with the larger-than-life personality shocked the U.S. and was adored in France. This is a polished, emotional and heart-warming show, worthy of the West End or Broadway.

***** (out of 5)

– Sheila Martindale

Melanie Gall stars as Deanna Durbin in Ingenue.

Ingénue – Melanie Gall Presents

All Ages, on at The Roxy Theatre through Sept. 1

“One-person show about a famous figure” is practically a subgenre, with shows like Leslie McCurdy’s The Spirit of Harriet Tubman or Michael Hughes’ Mickey and Judy. Melanie Gall’s Ingénue is a respectable entry in that niche, putting the spotlight on 30’s film star Deanna Durbin.

Written and performed by Gall, the piece focuses on Durbin’s complex relationship with fellow star Judy Garland, from the perspective of an older, wiser Durbin giving a rare interview. The songs of the era effectively showcase Gall’s powerhouse vocal range, and her stunning voice alone makes this a worthwhile piece. Add some solid research on Durbin, and an emotional thread in her relationship to Garland, and you’ve got a great Fringe show.

•••• (out of 5)

– Tim Ford

The Psychic Dynasty – Psychic Dynasty

All ages, mind reading, mentalism, magic at Langham Court Theatre through Sept.1

Unfortunately, this shows falls a bit short of the dramatic title. Yes, there is some clever telepathy, which garners appropriate applause, but much of it takes place off the stage, requiring the audience to twist around in the less-than-spacious seats in this pleasant but uncomfortable auditorium.

And there is something slightly unpolished in the presentation, as if it is not quite ready yet for public consumption. Public participation is fine if the spectators are young and energetic, but a mite pathetic when a largely senior and slow population is called upon. This, of course, will be different with each performance, and the principals cannot honestly be blamed for the physical condition of the attendees. But, maybe a rehearsal or two more?

** (out of 5)

– Sheila Martindale

READ Previous Reviews:

From fears realized to a medical mission

From laughing at cancer to experimental theatre

The dance is delightful

Victoria Fringe Festival starts with a bang

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