“Get Me The F#ck out of Edmonton” – and other ramblings of a fringe has-been (Stage 8, Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre)
By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
Here’s the thing about Wes Borg: he is Fringe history — from the top of his red curly moptop (which I seem to recall comparing to a lopsided Brillo pad) to his bare feet.
This ageless party arrives back in his home town fresh from a July run of Get Me The F#ck Out of Edmonton at the Winnipeg Fringe, where he’d first performed 30 years ago, as he tells a late-night audience there.
It was tailored to the local crowd, replete with musings about Keanu Reeves, who once did Hamlet at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. That’s the enormous stage where Borg was standing alone, barefoot as usual, listing warnings, including “foul language, puppet genitalia, and an accordian; someone will play the accordian.”
Get me f#ck back to Edmonton. The actor/playwright/musician/comic and the Edmonton Fringe in Edmonton go back. Way back. Borg was a member of the late-lamented four, five, or two-person experimental comedy troupe Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. “We weren’t as good as you remember,” he tells the Winnipeg audience.
It seems only right that this impish, insurrectionist spirit, ensconced for the last eight years in Victoria (he says he went for a week, and couldn’t afford to leave), should return at Fringe time to the city he got the f#ck out of.
The show is an homage of sorts to the free spirit Bird who passed away in 2009 at the age of 41. It’s Borg in cabaret mode, with keyboard, guitars, and an assortment of funny original songs, anecdotes, diverse annotations and musings, amusing free associative detours, derailments of trains of thought.
You’ll hear I Hate Toronto, which rolled out the shortcomings of everywhere in Canada (except Alberta) and landed the Trolls a six-show CBC contract. Borg’s latest song is a musical tribute to his new wife. “I saw her on the internet,” he says. They were married last fall. “She’s a motorhome…. In B.C. it’s perfectly legal to marry a vehicle.”
He needed a volunteer. “Does anyone here play no instruments whatsoever?” That’s how he picked Tamara for harmonica duties. He has songs denouncing dreams, OS operating systems, slavish political correctness. His introductions are funny; he remembers good times with Bird.
Borg is a relaxed performer, with an unusual tolerance for chaos. His own operating system seems capable of multiple re-boots without seizing up. In Winnipeg, not only was Borg not unduly rattled when the lighting board malfunctioned, he seemed secretly delighted that improv was required.
So, like the Fringe itself, you’ll be taking a chance, embracing the unpredictability factor when you sign on to this show. Veteran fringe-goers won’t want to miss an opportunity for group nostalgia. Newbies may find it all a bit baffling — its principles of “organization” are, er, elusive — but the songs are a hoot.
As seen at the Winnipeg Fringe.