Reviews - Fringe 2014

Fringe Review: A Gallery Fringe Binge

By Kevin Somers
Published July 23, 2014

The Gallery Mini-Series is an enjoyable part of The Hamilton Fringe Festival. The shows are only 20 minutes and are hosted in art galleries, rather than theatres. The smaller venues make for more intimate and personal presentation. Unlike other Fringe performances, the Gallery Series is only on during the weekends.

Friday, I took in five shows. My friend did six; I couldn't make Sherlock and Watson at 6:30, but plan to. Factory Media Centre and b contemporary are side by side on James North, and alternate hosting performances, which are every half hour.

One can see a show, walk ten feet, see another, and repeat for a varied, fast paced, entertaining theatre experience.

Suitcase: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick

The first show, at 7, was Suitcase: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick at b contemporary. Written, directed, and starring Megan Janssen, Suitcase provides an intimate look at one of Hamilton's more notorious murderers.

Decades after killing her husband, John Dick, and her infant son in the 1940s, Evelyn Dick remains a hot topic in Steel Town. According Wikipedia, her two trials were the most sensationalized in Canadian crime history.

Using facts and creativity, Janssen creates a scheming, ambitious, murderous Evelyn, ranting and raving at her dead husband. It is a well written script and Janssen's performance is equal to it.

Capsule

At 7:30, next door at Factory Media Centre, was Capsule. Written by Michael Rinaldi and Andrew McNee, Capsule features Rinaldi and Juno Rinaldi. It is a clever comedy about Captain Robert Ballantine, who is alone, lost in space, and going crazy.

Suddenly, on his monitor, Ballantine is able to communicate, somewhat, with a Russian in the same boat. Their conversation, choppy and intermittent due to a poor connection is sad and funny at the same time.

The cardboard set is as comical as Rinaldi's sound effects; he says, "Beep, beep, beep," when touching buttons. There are many laugh-out-loud moments in the delightful show.

Borderline Me

At 8, we saw Borderline Me, written and starring Robin Zee. It is Zee's very personal story of survival and eventual triumph. Although the subject matter is as grim as it gets (human trafficking, abuse, etc.), Zee's performance is humorous, uplifting, and joyful.

The Soldier's Letter

The Soldier's Letter was at 8:30. Honouring soldiers and their sacrifices, The Soldier's Letter details the harrowing life of a young man in WWI. In the form a letter, written to his family, the soldier shares his experiences, obligations, duty, and resolve to get home.

The Conspiracy of Michael

Wrapping up the evening, at 9, was The Conspiracy of Michael, featuring Stephen Near, who also wrote the script, as Michael and Lauren Repei, who aptly plays Michael's anxious sister.

Michael is a paranoid (?) conspiracy theorist. His sister is trying to talk sense to him, but Michael has all the dots connected. Or does he?

Near is a experienced, accomplished, talented writer and performer and The Conspiracy of Michael showcases his skills, nicely.

It was rapid fire fun at the Fringe.

Kevin Somers is a Hamilton writer.

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