Fringe faves: Where to see some of the most popular returning acts at the 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Festival
Josephine Baker to God (as a Scottish drag queen): here’s where you’ll find 15 of the festival’s biggest acts
There's no such thing as a sure thing at a fringe theatre festival.
But regular festival-goers know that keeping an eye out for the talent behind past hits is often a way to find some of the best of the fest.
Here are a few past hit-makers, and where you'll find them at the 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, which kicks off Wednesday and offers up 178 shows in 31 venues.
Best known for: Combining story and music in hits like Piaf and Brel.
See her in: Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood, which tells the story of Durbin, a Winnipeg-born 1930s movie star. Gall is also bringing back her popular kids' show, Opera Mouse.
Best known for: Rapid-fire delivery and incredible stories in solo shows like Wanderlust.
It's an intriguing enough story, but it's Dockery's incendiary storytelling style that places Bursting... among the best of the fest. His main mode is furiously fast and turned up to 11 on the energy dial — which makes his smart writing all the more funny. But he also picks the right moments to drop to a slow, husky whisper that makes you want to lean in and absorb every word.
Martin Dockery absolutely burns down the house with Bursting Into Flames.
(Reviewed at the 2011 London Fringe Festival)
Dockery and his partner, Vanessa Quesnelle, are also back in their trippy two-hander Moonlight After Midnight, which had its first full run at the 2014 Winnipeg Fringe and has since toured to festivals around the world.
Gearshifting Performance Works
Best known for: Being one of the most popular and enduring dance groups at the Winnipeg Fringe.
See them in: Schemas, 1-5, the latest from acclaimed choreographer Jolene Bailie — a dance show that explores relationships and patterns of behaviour.
Best known for: Masterful storytelling and regularly being described as a "Fringe god."
See him in: Operatic Panic Attack, his new solo show. He also directs Rodney Decroo in Didn't Hurt and co-wrote Six Chick Flicks… with Sex Ed creator Kerry Ipema.
Best known for: The smash hit Josephine, which brought the music and life of Josephine Baker to the stage.
See her in: Josephine, back for a third consecutive Winnipeg Fringe run, as well as in Tymisha Harris: La Baker, which promises more from Josephine Baker's songbook.
Erik de Waal
Best known for: Charming tales for kids and harrowing stories for grown-ups.
See him in: Erik de Waal's Trolls, Bullies & Rock Stars or a Kerfuffle in a Doodlesack, which promises to delve into "the stories lurking behind the … scandals on our feeds." Bad news for kids, though — he won't be performing his popular African Folk Tales this year.
Best known for: Being one of Manitoba's most acclaimed young playwrights, with plays like 2016's Rintoul Award-winning zahgidiwin/love.
See her in: Trendsettlers: Episode IV, which Koncan says will be her last play — and which explores themes of gender identity, with inspiration from the classic Oregon Trail video game.
Best known for: Playing God — literally.
See him in: God Is a Scottish Drag Queen VI, the latest (and, Delamont says, possibly last) instalment in his immensely popular series of solo shows. He'll also appear in the remount of War of 1812, which was a big hit when it returned to the Fringe last year, and directs the musical Carey-OK!: Timeless Timely Tunes.
Best known for: Weird and delightful hits like Bizarro Obscure.
See her in: Jellyfish Are Immortal Returns, a new follow-up to last year's charming and thoughtful Jellyfish Are Immortal.
See him in: Chase Padgett: Heart Attacks & Other Blessings, a new show that sees him keep his spectacular guitar work, but strip away the characters to focus on his own stories.
Best known for: Genuinely amazing mentalism in a gumshoe package.
See him in: Crazy For Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation, which has him reviving his noir detective in a show that promises more breezy laughs and his incredible mental magic.
Best known for: Delivering hilarity through musical improv.
See them in: Outside Joke: The Improvised Musical, which brings the acclaimed local improvisers back to the Fringe this year. Local improv fans should also watch for the return of the immensely popular DnD Improv Show, now in its 12th edition, and ImproVision, back for an impressive 20th festival (with the brilliantly titled ImproVision: Meow Chicka Meow Meow).
Best known for: His Teaching Shakespeare series.
See him in: Magnificence, a personal storytelling show that sees him explore the life of his mother — an award-winning author, a publisher and the first female mayor of Westmount, Que.
See her in: Eye Candy, which explores pregnancy and motherhood — and features her real-life baby on stage with her. She also co-created Ink with her real-life partner Alastair Knowles, half of the very popular duo James & Jamesy (who return with 2 For Tea, making its fourth appearance at the Winnipeg Fringe).
See him in: The Walk in the Snow, a new biographical piece about Lise Meitner, a groundbreaking physicist who is, Rolls says, "chiefly famous for NOT getting the Nobel Prize."
The 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival runs at venues around the city from July 17-28.