Fringe finale: 12 must-sees for the last weekend

The Winnipeg Fringe Festival is heading into its last few days, which means just a few more days to see any of the 169 shows at the fest. Here are a dozen shows our review crew thinks you should catch before they’re gone.

Our review crew picks a dozen Fringe shows you need to see before they're gone for good

Some of our review crew's top picks for the final weekend of the 2016 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. (CBC)

The Winnipeg Fringe Festival is heading into its last few days — which means just a few more days to see any of the 169 shows at the fest.

We've already highlighted five of this year's best one-woman shows10 great returning Fringe hits and six family-friendly picks. Here are a dozen more shows our review crew thinks you should catch before they're gone:

Bella Culpa: We missed this one on our family-friendly list — but it is great fun for Fringers of all ages. "This salute to vaudeville featuring acrobatics, slapstick, and comedic stylings is a total treat to take in."

Bella Culpa is a family-friendly Fringe treat. (A Little Bit Off)
Brave Hearts: A moving, beautifully performed show that is among the best dramas at this year's festival. "Local legend Harry Rintoul's 1991 script about being gay, lonely and alcoholic in rural Canada has lost nothing in 25 years."

The Elephant Girls: Yes, we've put Margo MacDonald's show about an all-female London gang on a couple of our lists before. And yes, we're putting it on this one too — it's just that good. "A fascinating story, anchored by one of the finest performances you're likely to find at this year's Fringe."

Fruit Flies Like a Banana: Serious music by seriously talented musicians in a show that doesn't take itself seriously at all, and is a family-friendly joy for it. "The remarkably inventive blend of music, dance and acrobatics delivered here is quite unlike anything else you'll find at the Fringe, and it's completely delightful."

Fruit Flies Like a Banana is a delightful and inventive blend of music, dance and acrobatics. (Mark Lee)
Gary: A wonderfully performed, fun exploration of complicated relationships. "This show is like sex. It's dirty/hot/funny/messy/awkward and when it's done you might just want to go again."

Icarus: A moving, funny and engrossing look at the serious subject of mental illness, from Fringe favourite Rob Gee.

In Search of Cruise Control: It may look like a comedy about sex — and in part, it is. But James Gangl's solo show also cuts deep, with "some of the best writing I've seen at the Fringe."

More than a comedy about sex, James Gangl's In Search of Cruise Control offers a superb script. (Gangland Productions)
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Sure, you might've seen Midsummer Night's Dream before. But Shakespeare's play is given a creative, lean, 90-minute staging here, featuring a top-notch cast of young local talent.

Old Times: Harold Pinter is not quite everyone's taste, but this is Pinter performed superbly by a professional local cast. "For me this is perfection — at once intractably complicated and inescapably essential."

Papa Squat: Paul Strickland's performance as Uncle False is "like Charlie Farquharson with a Tom Waits sensibility." A gentle blend of story and song that's sweet, sensitive and funny.

Space Hippo is a funny, stunningly beautiful shadow puppetry show. (Tatsuro Handa)
Space Hippo: Great comic timing, stunningly beautiful shadow puppetry and winsome tunes make the strange journey of a hippo through space completely engrossing. "Funny, delightful, surprisingly touching and beautifully executed Fringe fare."

zahgidiwin/love:​  A fascinating, funny and thought-provoking look at power, colonialism and true reconciliation from one of Winnipeg's most exciting emerging playwrights, Frances Koncan. "Brash and fearlessly creative."

With files from Shawna Dempsey, Michelle Palansky, Lara Rae, John Sadoway, Bradley Sawatzky and Kelly Stifora.


Joff Schmidt

Copy editor

Joff Schmidt is a copy editor for CBC Manitoba. He joined CBC in 2004, working first as a radio producer with Definitely Not the Opera. From 2005 to 2020, he was also CBC Manitoba's theatre critic on radio and online.


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