Find out what’s "fabulous" and what's "frightful" at the 2013 Fringe. You can check out all the reviews right here by title, rating, or genre.
The CBC Review Crew will see every show at the Fringe by Sunday, July 21.
CBC Manitoba is your source for Fringe coverage, offering you Fringe reviews, interviews, and your chance to win tickets! Tune in to CBC Radio One 89.3 FM / 990 AM and CBC News Winnipeg at 5, 5:30 and 6 for more.
Sometimes, the Fringe Festival offers amazing theatre. Sometimes… not so much. So how can you separate the best from the rest? That’s what The Review Crew is here for.
Recommended without reservation. Definitely a must see!
A superior show. Most people will enjoy it.
An average-to-good Fringe show. You'll probably enjoy it if the subject matter appeals to you.
Not recommended. Go only if you feel adventurous.
Don't go. Unless you have a family member in the show. Even then, think twice.
James & Jamesy are such complete and utter fun.
You’ll never look at a Group of Seven landscape painting in the same way again.
This is an extraordinarily moving story, well-crafted and compassionately told.
Daniel Oldaker maximizes the subtlety of live performance, often using little more than his eyebrows to get huge laughs from the audience.
If you don’t know what a 20-sided die is, you’ll have a blast. If you do, you might wet yourself.
Adams’ razor-sharp script is by turns laugh out loud funny and horrifying, as it explores the aftermath of society’s collapse.
Part social commentary, part black comedy, and part Clue.
A love triangle set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland at the height of The Troubles, "The Frenzy of Queen Maeve" is a an intense, polished, and wildly entertaining production.
The Wonderheads’ wordless masked storytelling achieves levels of humour and pathos that belie its simplicity - everyone will enjoy it.
The bass thumps, fists pump, and the five performers throw themselves into the bloody, and often crude, action with gusto.
I laughed like I wasn’t alone, and my mom wasn’t alone outside waiting for me.
Add Bill Pats to your "must see" list.
Julia Mackey makes war personal, singular. One veteran who returns to Juno Beach on the 60th anniversary of D Day, and one French child from Juno who challenges and befriends him.
By the time they’d reached the end of their 75-minute show, I was convinced Theatre Howl have one of the best shows at the festival on their hands.
"Promise and Promiscuity" is a textbook example of how to do a great one woman show.
Earle’s exceptional performance makes Radio :30 worth tuning in.
This stylish stage adaptation of the Hitchcock film is not just Fringe gold – it’s among the best pieces of theatre I’ve seen on any Winnipeg stage in recent years.
There were few dry eyes in the house when the lights came up.
"Timeless” is so beautifully performed that you should see it whether or not you enjoy watching dance.
Chase Padgett is some kind of guitar playing fool.
Carried by four exceptional performances, this Fringe show is decidedly adult and definitely entertaining.
A tiny tribute to following your heart and setting it free.
This show is raw, provocative, full of questions, and occasionally uneven – and it is not to be missed.
This is a funny enough dose of reality to make you reconcile yourself to being a 'fallible meatbag'.
The entire cast seems to have an understanding of the dense text that belies their young age.
New Zealand’s David Ladderman is a chameleon onstage.
"Better Looking Boys" looks mighty fine in this welcome return to the Fringe.
As we meet the characters, we discover sex is rarely pure, and never simple.
Smart, funny sketch comedy plus a well-acted drama equals a rollicking two-for-one show – with a bonus earworm!
Illusionist Greg Wood is a whiz when it comes to keeping a crowd of kids spellbound.
Stephen Sim and Lee White put on a solid, funny show. Every time. No matter what. You will laugh. You won’t be able to help it.
Dockery weaves his tale in astonishingly vivid detail, going from terrifying to funny to bizarre to just plain gross.
The verdict: Dead Wrong is well worth seeing.
While I wouldn't attribute supernatural powers to him, there are plenty of "how'd he do that?" moments here.
The piece manages to engage with the audience without the usual annoyance or nervousness that often comes with audience participation.
If the words “performance poetry” have scared you off from Fringe shows in the past, put your preconceptions to the side and check out "Fat Sex".
High-quality storytelling from a local performer with fire in her belly.
God vents hilariously about all the things that bother Her, from Adam to Justin Bieber.
Thau-Eleff weaves these stories together in a beautiful tapestry of hope and hopelessness.
Actor Murray Farnell brings the titular character of Henry to life with energy and enthusiasm that is breathtaking.
There is a certain level of trust required amongst performers of improv, and these two have it in spades.
Sound & Fury clearly love their subject, achieving a fine balance of nods to the film aficionados (showers, Mount Rushmore and rear windows all pop up) without leaving non-Hitch fans in the dark.
A heady mix of blood, sweat, tears and laughter, Ulster isn't for the faint of heart. But if you’re open to its folklore-nerd charms, it’s darn good fun.
If you're a fan of Lena Dunham and her HBO series "Girls", you'll find lots to like about this smart and funny Fringe offering.
A fresh, clever approach to the "autobiographical solo show," and some truly touching moments.
A pleasurable pastiche of Shakespearean entertainment.
It was a fresh and surprising experience to find myself laughing out loud while simultaneously mentally unwrapping a profound discovery about humanity.
Anchored by a strong, engaging performance and aided by the subtle use of stage lighting and music, "Little Pussy" is an enjoyable, engaging hour of theatre.
A show that slams its foot on the pedal, damns the torpedos, and takes only the most occasional of looks in the rearview before lurching into parts unknown.
An entertaining critique of our consumerist culture, and a touching exploration of what it means to grow up.
Fringe regular Brent Hirose is back with a new romantic dramedy that may just be his best work yet.
A decidedly irreverent take on the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
"MixTape" commands your attention with small, poignant movements.
What recommends this above average Fringe fare is the hope and optimism expressed here. It’s impossible not to be infected by their energy.
Howard Petrick paints an evocative and affectionate portrait of these rough-and-tumble men, train-hopping across America in search of work and adventure.
Bravo to Melanie Gill for creating "Opera Mouse", a Fringe show that’s equally satisfying for kids and their accompanying adults.
This formidably talented troupe hits all the right notes, and keeps the audience laughing out loud for the full hour.
Fine performances, dark but sharply comedic writing, and some of the sketchiest raccoons this side of Toronto.
Sounds absurd? Yes, it is. Hilariously so.
Pantaloné might be full of phoney baloney, but this show is filled with fun.
Like the Fringe equivalent of a jazz masterpiece, The Pit sweeps its viewers up in an extended experiment of swirling dialogue eddies, riffs on a moment, and poetic storytelling.
This dramatization of six of the Russian’s short stories bursts with vitality and is the perfect show
This gifted artist acts a court jester to the entire crowd challenging and mocking our pretensions, false fronts, and public squeamishness.
Elliott and Vandale bring the full resources of their knowledge and technical expertise to the choreography and performance of these dances (as do the other excellent dancers in the production), and you won’t regret the time you spend in their worlds.
Who knew that there was so much backstage drama and danger involved with performing children’s theatre?
It’s a solid 30-40 minutes of big laughs with zero traces of intellectualism and one stellar Gord Downie impression.
You don’t need a translator to enjoy the performance of this talented chanteuse.
Sanders is an energetic comic performer, who finds real heart and vulnerability in what could easily be a one-dimensional character.
"Taxidermy: The Musical" is stuffed with teen spirit!
Travis plays them all with razor-sharp characterizations - from an understandably bitter Anne Boleyn to a flighty and flirty Catherine Howard.
Fall in love, for the first time, all over again.
"Wonderfully Amusing"’s title, though painfully generic, is also reasonably accurate.
Somehow Eddington channels a combination of ukulele legend Tiny Tim and puppeteer Shari Lewis (sounds odd, but it’s undeniably true once you watch it).
"7 Stories" is a slick and entertaining show that would have to jump from a little higher to leave a lasting impression.
Worth a visit for dance fans and fringers fond of cool conceptualization.
One of the joys of kids’ theatre is the unpredictability, which de Waal seems to embrace.
Apocalypse Clown struggles to get more than the occasional snicker
As a tool to promote awareness of Aspergers, Tale of a Social Misfit is invaluable.
This is a good, strong production worth seeing.
A lot of laughs are served up, and if the current course isn’t to your taste, don’t worry—it might be swept away and replaced with a new one before you even get a chance to fully consider it.
The best buzz comes from the acting which is even and professional.
I'm just not sure without the music or the mentoring CRUMBS the show is worth 10 bucks.
Each circus is a mixed bag of beauty, freaks, talented acts, and well, bad performers. This circus is no exception.
Bucko has a good sense of social commentary
Like the bull's heart, this show has a sweetness at its core - while not always perfect.
A couple in real-life, Hill and Maslany have definite chemistry and are fun to watch.
Tongues firmly planted in cheek, Charles throw in comedic homages to everything from Alien to 2001 to Asimov.
Sands is an affable and engaging performer with an encyclopedic knowledge of the game.
The production itself is a bit stodgy, but there is something magical about castanettes well played.
The performance is filled with the sweeping and sexy movements befitting music videos, often accompanied by both visual and verbal jokes.
They’re energetic and imaginative for the most part, but occasionally inspiration waned.
Good show. Great message. It's worth the trip to see these talented performers from Steinbach.
"Tales From the Twilight" provides an entertaining, stories around the campfire feel.
The performance is captivating but not necessarily enjoyable to watch.
A highly conceptual dance show that is beautiful to watch.
It’s not the easiest of material to tackle in an hour-long show, but David Parkin is admirably candid about his experiences with depression.
Some delightfully witty writing and a headlong dive of commitment from the actors into the whole package.
The biggest problem with the show is that it all hinges on a series of tired, stale, sexist clichés about men and women.
While this show is clearly geared towards a younger audience, Malo keeps it interesting with off-the-cuff anecdotes (why you shouldn’t play the jaw harp while drunk, for example).
Jem Rolls is an experienced performer who knows how to deliver a good line, and even better, a good story.
It’s a technically impressive piece, but one that didn’t ultimately emotionally connect with me
Despite the pathetic guy he’s trying to be, Williamez can’t hide his musical ability; his songs, performed on guitar, loop pedal and keyboard, are very catchy, in a “South Park” kind of way (that’s not a bad thing).
Guare’s work is strong enough that this production is worth seeing, despite the clumsiness and lack of nuance in many of the performances and directorial choices.
While older kids might stick with it, I suspect younger ones might be more puzzled than enthralled.
Hinging on the idea that he a) fears his dad’s death, and b) fears/accepts disappointing his dad, Bennett presents his relationship in the form of a sort of comical case study.
Like most days at the office, Naughty Sailboat’s collection of Ethan Coen-penned vignettes has its moments, but ends up feeling longer than it should.
A show that is much like its title - poetic, if somewhat confounding.
Polished dancers, and there is a charming, playful energy between them that easily transfers to the audience.
“If you are willing to suspend your disbelief and take it in at face value, One (two) Woman Show is a fun ride.
Taking suggestions from the audience, featured players Pat Thornton, Bob Banks and Jason Derosse act out nonsensical, rapid-fire sketches. And, more often than not, they’re hilarious
Worth the price of admission to watch the redoubtable Edgar Allan Poe play Duck, Duck, Goose, Scissors!?!
If you and your kids want to get your Folklorama fix early, check out "Proud to be Canadian".
It’s a bit of a bait-and-switch for anyone expecting a hockey fuelled comedy romp, but the two comedians are funny enough to be worth the price of admission.
If you're looking for good, clean fun at the Fringe for you and your kids, the Rascals won't disappoint.
It's only one date but you still feel like you should have had a better time and you leave a little let down.
"Room At Both Ends" felt like a public service announcement outlining the dangers of uncontrolled anger on the aging heart.
I cannot claim to understand JD Renaud or all of his show, but I liked it.
This isn’t comedy that will change (or even challenge) your life, your political affiliations, or your understanding of human nature. And if some of it’s a little familiar, it’s still fun.
As a standup routine it is funny in many places. As a play, its largest weakness is in the transitions between characters.
Although the plot is nearly non-existent, the all-local troupe of actors play their roles with infectious enthusiasm and humour.
The play aims high, but the production’s problems diminish our emotional connection. Despite Boland’s impressive performance, we’re interested but ultimately unaffected, disappointed, and still hungry.
Tazzy’s selling diverse comedy at low prices, and more people should be buying it.
The true stories of Jack Fry’s students are often heartbreaking.
Part philosophical contemplation and part physical comedy, this is a thoroughly enjoyable play.
A well told (although perhaps well-worn) story that still holds water for many who are intrigued with the historic tragedy.
Political junkies will find a lot to engage with, and perhaps argue about. If your platform is polished theatre, however, you may want to seek out other parties.
Travis Bernhardt is a charmingly geeky prestidigitator.
A safe bet all round.
Only the French could elevate the mundane act of doing the laundry to a meditation on life, art, and movement.
I did not exit the theatre thrashing windmills on my imaginary Gibson, but I was pleasantly entertained.
Fans of Neil Simon will enjoy the show. Those looking for theatre on the fringe should look elsewhere.
This high school production deserves high marks for hitting its primary goal. It takes a horrifying event and turns it into optimistic art.
"You, Me, and Everything Else" is a well-intentioned talk about the state of the world from a guy who believes we’re falling short in taking care of the planet (with a brief poetic interlude courtesy of Robert Service).
After 40 minutes of birdy confessing all the things that make her feel guilty or worried, the performance starts to feel a bit one-note.
If you like 1970s-era Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Lenny Breau and more, then you may enjoy “Canuck Quixote,” since there’s no doubt about Godbout’s well-honed classical and Spanish-style guitar work.
Coffee shops, it seems, are just not that interesting.
While Dahling’s got an acerbic wit, and a nice way with words, neither the subject matter or presentation are enough to make for a truly compelling show.
Explaining our geeky passions to others who don't necessarily share them is usually less than compelling.
A rant-filled fantastical tale of alien abduction, hyper-intelligent dolphins, and attempts to mate with baboons.
In "Hot Core", it's hard to tell what the hell is going on.
hough it’s an intriguing idea, Jonah’s story of heartbreak comes off less as despair and more as desperate.
If this was a game, I would turn it off in frustration before finishing the first level.
If nothing else, Rani Huszar’s barely-put-together one woman variety hour proves that it isn’t easy being up there all alone.
"Love's Trajectory" shoots for a dramatic commentary on love and loss - but misses by a long shot.
The pendulum swings too far between genuinely funny and clever on one hand, and extremely puerile, vulgar and lame on the other.
The show left the sense of performers not quite familiar enough with mediocre material.
It’s ultimately dry, paint-by-numbers biography, and it seems unclear on its focus.
The script and the achievement of an ethereally charged Victorian parlour were both a bit thin.
The intent is deep, dark, black comedy. This requires a menacing atmosphere, expert pacing, and unexpected twists. "Murder and Other Trivialities" brings none of these elements to the stage.
Each sequence was more baffling then entertaining, and they relied too heavily on magical devices to resolve plot points.
This talented band of local actors has its moments but should leave the writing to others.
A fairly ludicrous romp with an ice cream cult, ice cream zombies, and a an ice cream war, all sprinkled with the sexual innuendo and bathroom humour that entertains most young boys.
The world in which these characters exist is fully realized and lived-in – it’s just not that interesting.
While they landed some good laughs, they struggled to get any momentum in the story.
The bright spot is a series of Billy Joel parodies slightly more topical when the show was first written in 2002.
By the end of the 75-minute show, the play has lost the momentum it worked so hard to earn at its start.
Down the road there might be a better show to come out of those involved.
There’s only so long that one can comfortably sit and watch a man work through his various neuroses.
The play itself is dated, clichéd fluff, like a secular “Touched By An Angel”- light on god-talk, but heavy on the schmaltz. Worse, this production is clumsy and emotionally flat.
The two comediennes have a great chemistry and an eye for the comically absurd.
When an actor in a four-person improv team inserts a solo scene playing both characters, it signals that there may not be enough trust on the stage.
The story of "The Beaver Den" is like an overcooked poutine...just one big hot mess.
"The Good Hustle" is one of the most absurd performances I have ever seen.
Scandal aside, "Hollywood Hen Pit", a mixture of expressionism and childish exhibitionism, aims to provoke. More than that, assault.
One gets the sense that his production exists solely to espouse the political and religious viewpoints of its creator.
Maybe this production will appeal to you if you are also a 20 year old dreaming of becoming an actor. Even so, your time would be better spent in a real acting studio instead of watching this banal, unimaginative, and overlong show.
Whatever these confused cultists are uploading, I’m not downloading it.
The company was so focused on hammering out their political message, that they ignored the production side of staging a 90 minute performance.