Fringe 2019: Quick Reviews


Is That How Clowns Keep You Up All Night?
Another successful installment in Maximaliste Productions’ “Is That How Clowns…?” series. Once again, clown sexpert Beatrice busts common myths about sex using homemade props. This time, she tackled the porn industry, periods and general beliefs held by ignorant “bro-dudes.” Beatrice made sure to involve audience members in the front row and played off their awkwardness with the subject. She was sure to be inclusive at every opportunity, using asides to reiterate that genitals do not determine gender. My personal favourite bit was her field report from inside the testicles, conveying the various struggles of a single sperm. In real life, actress Fiona Ross is a qualified sex educator, on a mission to change the outdated sex education we all received in high school.



Graduates of the John Abbot College theatre program staged a play centered around the life of Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian noblewoman who bathed in the blood of virgin girls to absorb their youth. The troupe incorporated dance and song into their performance, while a porcelain bath remained on stage throughout. Unfortunately, for such a fascinating story, I found the execution quite dull, as Bathory’s crimes were never shown on stage, only mentioned in dialogue. The actors seemed to still have the traditional methods of theatre ingrained in their minds. For a Fringe show, I felt there was even more room for experimentation. Additionally, the lead role of Elizabeth inexplicably switched actors as they transitioned from her upbringing to her later years. I found the decision confusing and unnecessary, since the actresses were of the same age.


Zack Adams: Love Songs For Future Girl

Shane Adamczak, all the way from Perth, Australia, revives the one-man show he introduced to the Montreal Fringe ten years ago, with a few tune-ups. Zack Adams returns home, weary from his cross-country solo tour. One thought that kept him going; proposing to his girlfriend. But she has other plans. Heartbroken and single once again, Zack makes a list of every girl he ever loved since kindergarten. Strumming on his guitar, Zack regales the audience with original funny songs about each of his former crushes and lovers, as well as a few covers by Billy Ray Cyrus, Bob Dylan and Third Eye Blind. Adamczak is incredibly entertaining and proves he is truly a Fringe fest veteran, wherever he roams.


Christianity Made Me A Slut

I was drawn to this show because I felt I would relate to the material. Elizabeth Blue brought her one-woman show up from New York City to the stage at Le Ministère. In a series of life-defining moments, she acts out the (fictional or autobiographical?) journey of a young girl discovering her sexuality. She starts off going to Christian youth groups, where she’s encouraged to give herself to Jesus and pursue a life of purity. Not wanting to break her oath with Jesus, she freezes up in sexual situations. But slowly, she gives into her urges, eventually leading to her own sexual liberation. Blue was able to communicate so much by having one-way conversations with numerous unseen boyfriends and family members. She had to get creative when acting out sex, using stand-in props like strawberries and roses. Overall, a very funny and touching performance.

Chris Aitkens has covered the Montreal Fringe Festival since 2016 and hosts Sewer Spewer, Monday 12 to 1 p.m. on CJLO 1690 AM