This year, our Top 10 predictions are brought to you by the letter "F".
And perhaps the "F" in "Fringe" is for "fraught with risk." With 169 shows out there, some will be fantastic - and some will be frightful.
Trying to predict which is which ahead of time is fully foolish, but furthermore fun - so here goes...
1. Assassinating Thomson (Venue 5)
Coming to Winnipeg with rave reviews from other festivals on the circuit, this solo show about famed painter Tom Thomson, by Bruce Horak (This Is Cancer), will likely be one of the festival's hot tickets - especially in the compact Son of Warehouse venue. (See our review from the Toronto Fringe here.)
2. Bulls Heart (Venue 6)
Veenesh Dubois had a critical and audience hit with 2011's Under the Mango Tree. We'll see if she can repeat that success with this show about a driven career woman's struggle with a dark past.
Charles Presents: Moby Alpha (Charles)
3. Charles Presents: Moby Alpha (Venue 5)
The Seattle comedy duo Charles has been praised for their smart, sharp style. I'm looking forward to what they do with their sci-fi take on Moby Dick
(and expect it to be even funnier than Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
4. Dog Act (Venue 1)
Post-apocalyptic tales are all the rage these days. Liz Duffy Adams' 2004 play gives the genre a vaudevillian flavour, as a performing troupe travels a ruined world. Add some top-notch Winnipeg talent (the cast includes Nan Fewchuk, Megan McArton, and Ray Strachan), and this could be a Fringe winner.
5. Macabre Tales of Horror and Macabreness 3D (Venue 6)
As you know if you saw the first two installments, when you're ready to check your brain and take in some good, goofy Fringe laughs, this tongue-in-cheeky local production might hit the spot. It's hosted by a delightfully coarse Satan, which is a bonus.
Melanie Gall in Opera Mouse (Sisterscene)
6. Opera Mouse (Kids Venue)
Can you entertain kids with opera? Probably can if the show's star is a singing mouse, it features golden-voiced Melanie Gall (from past Fringe hits like More Power To Your Knitting, Nell!
), and is directed by Kids Fringe fave Erik de Waal.
7. Radio :30 (Venue 6)
A Dora and Canadian Comedy Award-winning hit from the Toronto Fringe, this story of a voice actor suffering a bit of a meltdown while recording a radio spot also comes to town with great buzz. (See our review from the Toronto Fringe here
8. Rope (Venue 4):
Another show with some great local talent (some of whom were behind last year's hit Orphans
) - and based on a Hitchcock film to boot. A dark tale of bad manners and homicide that should draw Fringers in.
9. Timeless (Venue 8)
Drive Dance's energetic performances have made the modern dance troupe a local favourite among Fringe fans.
10. The Titanic (Venue 9)
E.J. Pratt's epic poem about the maritime disaster is adapted by Kenneth Brown, who had great success with historical fiction at the Fringe with his acclaimed Spiral Dive
Grim and Fischer are back (Sean Dennie)
And if you missed 'em the first time, book tickets early for these returning Fringe hits: Grim and Fischer
(Venue 1); Threads
(Venue 7 - see our review from the Toronto Fringe here
); Til Death: The Six Wives of Henry VIII
(Venue 13) and Jake's Gift
(Venue 16). The Winnipeg Fringe Festival runs July 17-28. See daily schedules and buy tickets here.