vancouver fringe

Fringe Review Team Top Picks Thus Far

Danielle Benzon
Vancouver Fringe Festival 2016

Betwen us, the Plank Review Team has seen every single show at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Like you, we all have different tastes, so we thought a few of us would share our favourites thus far. We'll have a more complete list from the full team after the festival, but here's a little something to help whet your whistle.

If you're having trouble with the Fringe's regular website, the ticket site still seems to be working:

11 Questions for Executive Director David Jordan about 2013 Vancouver Fringe

Just last week I had the opportunity to meet with David Jordan on Granville Island and chat about this year’s festival. Due to the new office space, I went on a bit of a hunt to track him down working upstairs in a room filled with unpacked boxes. Though I had invited him for coffee, we ended up hanging out in his very busy office space (as he ate lunch which just means the Fringe is nearly here). Enjoy the conversation!

QUESTION ONE - What’s great about the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival?

Author Name: 
Allyson McGrane
Photograph Caption: 
David Jordan himself

Oh my god I have to write a review! It’s 10am, the Sunday after seeing the play What You Want on Friday night at the Havana Theatre, and I still haven’t written the damn review.

Andrew, I sympathize. What to write? How to write it? The never ending torture a writer must go through.

Random notes I took while watching the play:

  • Entertaining, Funny, Quirky  
  • I laughed A LOT (use another word)
  • Learned about a new term – ASV (Anal Sex Virgin) – can people really do that on Craigslist? Could I do that? What am I thinking?!
  • ...
Russell Bennett in What You Want

If you can only go to one show this festival, 52 Pick Up would be a good choice.  Fifty two playing cards are thrown into the air.  Each card dictates a scene that Gemma Wilcox and Sam Elmor perform in the order they are chosen, gradually revealing a romantic relationship that is complex, funny, infuriating, passionate, Mars vs. Venus typical, funny (oh, did I already say funny?, well, it’s very funny), and frighteningly familiar.  

Wilcox and Elmor pull off this amazing feat of acting with extraordinary subtlety. Each scene is compelling and I was moved in every direction.  I...

52 Pick Up

Allan Girod has a captivating physical presence on stage. He is truly mesmerizing. I liked nothing more than watching this six-foot-nine Australian man contort himself into a child, a louche motivational speaker and an asocial perfectionist.

When Harry Met Harry introduces us to a lonely man so isolated even from himself his dreams retell the moment he was abandoned as a boy. (Hats off to the lighting design for the eerie mindscape.)

Girod’s flawless control of his long limbs transformed the stage. He built his characters on the physical movement and shape of their bodies, transforming his own to fit...


If you take your foreplay with a side of voyeurism and kink, you’ll like the disquiet of Wicked Shorts and these four one-act plays that hinge on perversity, farce and that ultimate rite of passage—the first date.

Opening with “Matador Love” by Morwyn Brebner, we meet a librarian and hear about her bestial fantasies (about fucking horses, those long-dong beasts of the animal kingdom). She also orgasms at the touch of strangers. (“We’re establishing a rapport here,” breathes the man responsible.) Sheltered and shut-in, she’s ultimately pent up; a crowded sidewalk is orgiastic and she pairs her conservative knitwear with...

wicked shorts

One Man Show takes us down the metaphysical rabbit hole of Fringe theatre. What’s a one-man show if it’s a two-man show? It’s a one-man show in a fringe festival.

one man show has no photo that we could find

Zdenka Now! was hilarious and revealing until Precious Chong abandoned us on a bus with an Inuk teenager and broke the whimsical and romantic reverie of her off-the-wall characters.

Moving but non-sensical, Zdenka Now! held together thanks to the utter commitment and talent of Chong. Why these characters are on stage, I can't say, but I was gripped to know what sorry case would pop out from the racks of clothing and Chong’s bizarro brain.

Barely clinging to the premise of its format, the audience is introduced to the No. 1 television talk show host of the former Yugoslavia, Zdenka,...

Zdenka Now!

This has to be one of the very best performances at this year's Fringe.  A strong pair of professional actors and a riveting script combine to build the tension minute by minute as the ante is upped one more notch by each player, leading to an unexpected conclusion.

Poison the Well

Is it the end of the world or the beginning?  The Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world as we know it and the beginning of another in December 2012.  We were all braced for complete disaster because of Y2K but we were fine... then we had 9-11 and we're still fine (some of us, anyway)...then Planet X was coming towards us... Do we need constant impending global disaster to control us?  Do we respond with reactionary fear?  Riots?  Or do we seek out community and each other for comfort and solace?

While it was sometimes difficult to catch...

Escape Artists ll