Island Fringe Festival growing up
Fourth annual event has heavier themes this year, but still features fun for the whole family
Even though the Island Fringe is just turning four years old, it’s very mature for its age, and this year the festival shows take a step towards heavier themes like sex, existentialism and, darkest of all, romantic films.
That’s just a taste from the fourth annual Island Fringe Festival, running Aug. 6-9 in Charlottetown.
It kicks off at Marc’s Lounge on Aug. 5, 8 p.m., with the triumphant return of “Scribbler Skeletons: Shameless Readings of Childhood Writings”, an addicting foray into the embarrassing and endearing childhood diaries, blogs and letters of younger selves.
The shows begin on Aug. 6 and continue through Aug. 9, with eight performances daily at various venues across the city, with performers from New York City, Washington, D.C., Toronto and P.E.I.
“An Island Affair” from Charlottetown features a cast of 12 (the largest of the festival) in a world-premiere burlesque-style variety show with a contemporary twist, featuring a live jazz band.
Returning to P.E.I. after last year’s sold-out fringe hit “Happy”, Nicholas Browne brings his cast of seven from NYC with “Because You’re Not”, a dramedy that follows its protagonist through love, loss and his painful yet hilariously tenuous grip on reality.
Four solo performances include: “An Incomplete (Sex) Education”, which takes a unique look at the American public school approach to this tricky subject; Toronto’s Jessica Fitzpatrick in “Cupidity”, an endearing comedy about one woman’s obsession with romantic films; Reverie Theatre’s “Once You’ve Found It” (Toronto), the story of a man’s desire to do one last thing for his grandmother; and local Laura K. Bird with “Busted 2: The Sagging Continues”, the sequel to the 2014 fringe hit Busted: A Mammoir”.
Two more Charlottetown productions fill the lineup. “Small Talk” follows the story of two women named Jane. Set in a morgue, this dark comedy explores the relationship between Jane and Jane as they discover that they may have more in common than a mutual dislike for “Coronation Street”.
Another local dark comedy, “Blindness, A Dark Comedy”, is an existential dance comedy that looks into what it is to go blind.
All Island Fringe shows are admission by donation, with donations going directly to the participating artists.
However, the festival still features fun for the whole family. As part of the expanded 2015 edition, Fringe in the Park will feature free, family-friendly events in Rochford Square, 2-4 p.m., each day of the festival.
In addition, on Aug. 6 the fringe will host an eco-friendly celebration complete with free yoga classes, a clothing swap and healthy treats. Other events include: Aug. 7 “Comic Sans” comes to life: a superhero-inspired event where folks can dress up as their favourite comic book heroes, draw their own comics, and even take part in a superhero obstacle course; Aug. 8, a garden party; Aug. 9, a country jamboree, complete with a free country dance class and live music. For those who are night owls, the fringe will be hosting Fringe After Dark events at Merchantman’s Next Door Lounge, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., Aug. 6-8. It all wraps up with the annual closing party and awards at the Haviland Club on Sunday, Aug. 9.
For a detailed schedule of performances, visit www.islandfringe. or pick up a fringe program, distributed at various locations in Charlottetown.