By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
If you aren’t just a little amazed to see a long queue of people outside a theatre waiting patiently to see a 1950 absurdist play by Ionesco — at noon, on a weekday — you, my friend, are officially jaded.
Ditto, if you squeeze into one of the last seats in a makeshift school theatre to catch a play about the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. Or you realize that the servers in a hot Strathcona restaurant have created and staged a new musical, or a young company has rediscovered a long forgotten 18th century gender-bender comedy.
You just can’t take the Fringe, Edmonton’s best and most influential idea ever, for granted. You have to be startled by this place. And by the sheer dimensions of its favourite festival. Which brings me to the alarming realization that the Fringe does actually does end this weekend.
The curtain doesn’t come down in the Fringe’s 50 venues in Old Strathcona and beyond till Sunday night. But Where The Wild Things Fringe, the 38th annual edition of Edmonton’s favourite festival, goes into its final weekend with box office revenue up. By Thursday night, 121,000 tickets has been sold ($1.3 million in sales), 4,000 ahead of the same point last year.
So, for your last weekend of fringing, have a look at our reviews on 12thnight.ca (all grouped under Fringe 2019) by me, Marc Horton, and Alan Kellogg. Wrap a tendril around the grapevine. Overhear the buzz. Or take a chance, experiment! After all, that’s what artists do when they try something at the Fringe. If you’re completely flummoxed in the 258-show world, let the Fringe’s Randomizer ( fringetheatre.ca/festival/randomizer/) select for you. It just picked Things To Ruin, billed as “a theatrical rock concert,” for me.
Whatever you do, see a show. Or several. Go Wild. You haven’t fringed till you have.