Staff picks: Opening weekend favourites from the Winnipeg Fringe

Our CBC Review Crew has reviewed more than 100 of the shows at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival so far. Here are some of their picks from opening weekend.

With the 1st Winnipeg Fringe Festival weekend done, here are a few of the shows that our reviewers raved about

Tymisha Harris's Josephine has become one of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival's breakout hits this year. It's 'a triumphant homage to a life worth remembering,' says reviewer Marlo Campbell. (Theatre d'amour elastique)

The first weekend of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is behind us, but that still leaves theatre fans a few more days to catch any of the 188 shows on offer.

Our CBC Review Crew has reviewed more than 100 of those shows so far. Here are some of their picks from opening weekend:

The Canada Show: The Complete History of Canada in One Hour: "For one rip-roaring hour, the folks from Vancouver's Monster Theatre take you on a hilarious (and frenetic) voyage through Canada's past, without having to endure all that stuffy voice-over business," says reviewer Kirsten Neil. She also notes it's "one of the festival's hottest shows," so get your advance tickets early for this fun-filled trip through Canadian history.

The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over: "If we were to establish a modern pantheon for the arts, then we should strike the Fringe theatre god's likeness in the image of Gemma Wilcox. She's that damned good," says reviewer Michelle Palansky. "Devilishly fine" stagecraft sees Wilcox morph seamlessly between dozens of different characters in this "bloody great show."

'If we were to establish a modern pantheon for the arts, then we should strike the Fringe theatre god's likeness in the image of Gemma Wilcox. She's that damned good,' says Michelle Palansky of The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over. (Gemma Wilcox)

Fragments: "It is the language, and not the action, that propels this piece," reviewer Sarah Broadfoot says of Lara Rae and Catherine Wreford's play, performed solo by Rae. It's highlighted by "compelling, evocative language that spins a powerful tale of an unexpected friendship, love, history, connection, disease and death" and is "theatre at its finest … not to be missed."

Hyronomous A. Frog (The Frog Prince): Kids Fringe reviewer Robin Summerfield says this is a "delightful and popping production" that provides "great fun on and off stage."

Josephine: This solo show from Tymisha Harris about the groundbreaking entertainer Josephine Baker has become this year's breakout Fringe hit — if you don't already have advance tickets, be prepared to line up. But it's worth it, says Marlo Campbell. "Tymisha Harris' performance is a tour de force," she says, and "Josephine is a triumphant homage to a life worth remembering."

Macbeth Muet: Two dozen shows in, this one's my personal favourite of this year's festival so far — a wordless take on Shakespeare's dark play that's "frenetic and fun and ingenious," and getting great buzz around the festival.

'Watching [Baba] Brinkman rap about Bayes' theorem and explain the development of human consciousness by singing through the eyes of his newborn son will fire the neurons that put a smile on your face,' says reviewer Kelly Stifora. (Rap Guide Media)

A Rap Guide to Consciousness: "Whether or not you are interested in neuroscience or hip-hop, there is a high probability that watching [Baba] Brinkman rap about Bayes' theorem and explain the development of human consciousness by singing through the eyes of his newborn son will fire the neurons that put a smile on your face," says reviewer Kelly Stifora.

A Soldier's War: "The journey that Devin Wesnoski takes us on, showing us the cost of surviving, has me crying as I type this," Bradley Sawatzky says of this "crushing" Second World War drama.

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About the Author

Joff Schmidt

CBC theatre reviewer

Joff Schmidt is a copy editor for CBC Manitoba. Since 2005, he's also been CBC Manitoba's theatre critic on radio and online. He majored in theatre at the U of M, and performed in many university and Fringe festival productions along the way (ranging from terrible to pretty good, according to the reviews). Find him on Twitter @JoffSchmidt.