With more than 50 shows, 350 performances and eight stages sprinkled around the downtown core, the 26th annual Victoria Fringe Festival is sure to have a little something for everyone.
Find drama, comedy, dance, spoken-word, musicals and physical theatre shows from across Canada and visitors from Japan, the U.S., Mexico, Israel, Australia and Ireland as well!
New this year is the FamilyFest Fringe Venue (Langham Court Theatre) dedicated to theatre for young audiences with daily matinees and special pricing for kids and groups. Shows include Story Theatre’s The Great beanstalk Conspracy and Aladdin’s Secret Voyage, Tresnt Arterberry’s The Secret Life of Walter Manny and Decades Theatre’s The Night that the Knight Learned Wrong from Right!. Tickets are $7/11 and no button required. Munchcards also available for $35 for 5 tickets.
Some of the favourite returning performers include Jem Rolls, SNAFU Dance Theatre, Cameryn Moore, Scrumpy Theatre, Tasha Diamant, Colette Kendall and Theatre SKAM.
Here are Monday’s Victoria Fringe Fest Previews:
Nobody knows what it’s like to be picked on more than a redheaded stepchild.
And 12-year-old Nicholas knows the biggest boy in Grade 6 is going to beat him up tomorrow, yet his ex-Jehovah’s Witness golf-pro stepmom won’t let him stay home. Hopefully his worldly alter-ego Rufus Vermillion will know what to do.
Find out how this young carrottop deals with the abuse in Redheaded Stepchild, a coming-of-age story by Toronto’s Nobody’s Business Theatre.
The solo-comedic drama, written and performed by real-life ginger Johnny Walker, was inspired by a 2008 “Kick-A-Ginger Day” facebook group (which incidentally was born up Island in Courtney and spread virally throughout Canada) that encouraged people to assault redheads.
When Walker read about the assaults in his local newspaper, he knew he had to tackle the subject.
“I devoured everything I could,” says Walker. “I was reading this one story and they showed this picture of this one boy with curly red hair and glasses and I thought ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’ I would absolutely have been kicked.”
The facebook group was inspired by an episode of South Park. “It was meant to be a spoof, but some people get that satirical level and some people just think it’s funny to make fun of other people. It’s just brutal.”
And while the show isn’t autobiographical, with his fire-engine red hair, Walker knows what it’s like to be outcast due to appearance.
“Strangers wanted to touch it,” says Walker. “I feel like my hair enters the room and introduces itself before me.”
“The red hair is such a strong feature of the show,” says Walker. “Part of the costume is on my head — it’s a part of my body. There’s tons of my own experiences and my own thoughts on what it’s like to grow up with red hair. Nicholas is very much who I was when I was 12, so it made it very easy to write for him.”
One major difference is that Nicholas also has to deal with cyber-bullying, something Walker didn’t have to.
“Luckily, we hadn’t figured out how to be that mean online yet,” he says with a laugh.
And while Walker hopes to fill St. Ann’s Academy with redheads, he hopes people with other hair colours enjoy the show as well.
“Having red hair is just another of those things that make you stand out and make you different, and someone’s always going to make a big deal about it. But all of us have something like that, that makes us stand out, that people tease them about. Everyone has a version of red hair.”
Redheaded Stepchild made its debut in Victoria at Uno Fest in 2010. Walker has since performed the show in Toronto’s Summerworks (where it received an emerging artists award) and more recently at the Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton Fringes.
60 minutes • $11
St. Ann’s Academy
Mon., Aug. 27 at 7:15pm
Tues., Aug. 28 at 7:45pm
Wed., Aug. 29 at 9:30pm
Thurs., Aug. 30 at 9:30pm
Sat., Sept. 1 at 12:30 and 5:45pm
Links to other Fringe Previews:
Burnt At the Steak (Carolann Valentino Productions, NY, NY)
Hanafuda Denki — A Tale of Playing Cards (Ryuzanki Company, Tokyo, Japan)
Little Lady (Sandrine Lafond inc., Las Vegas, NV)
Beautiful Obedient Wife (The Chicken my Grandmother Gave Me Productions, Victoria, BC)
The Cockwhisperer — A Love Story (Colette Kendall, Hamilton, ONT)