Is­land Fringe Fes­ti­val grow­ing up

Fourth an­nual event has heav­ier themes this year, but still fea­tures fun for the whole fam­ily

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES/ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

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