BYOV is the Fringe slang for an independent venue, and this year’s list of BYOVs is the longest I’ve ever seen: Avenue Theatre, the Roxy, New City, La Cité francophone, the U of A’s Media Room, the Paint Spot, Planet Ze, as well as about three dozen bars, churches, and hotels on and off Whyte Avenue.

At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if within a year or two there were more Fringe plays happening off the main festival site than on it — especially after seeing this year’s promising enormous lineup of BYOV shows.

And I do recommend seeing them.

Personally, I’m looking forward to attending Grimmer Than Grimmer Than Grimm, which quite literally promises to be a grimmer continuation to last year’s Grimmer Than Grimm. Directed by Kenneth Brown, Grimmer Than Grimmer Than Grimm’s four-person cast provide comedic-yet-creepy reinterpretations of some well-known fairy tales. If you love slapstick comedy, this is probably the show for you.

I’m also curious to see Songs For Caligari, a musical tribute to the mad and murderous doctor. The songpieces I’ve heard so far have been amazing, and with a cast featuring the insane talents of John Ullyatt, Twilla MacLeod, Dave Clarke and cellist Martin Kloppers, it will surely be a hypnotizing show.

Finally, the original works of quite number a of University of Alberta drama students will also be making an appearance at this year’s Fringe.

One of these is Rapture!, a high-energy and thoroughly captivating show that explores what the end of the world may (or may not) bring. I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing Rapture! at this year’s New Works festival and I look forward to seeing this utterly engaging play again, with all of its laughter and tears.

Elena Belyea tells me that she and Rapture co-writer Colin Matty have polished the play especially for the Fringe and that they’ve also re-cast it to include U of A and Grant MacEwan drama students Ben Dextraze, Jessica Peverett, Chelsea Preston and Ben Stevens.

It sounds like Rapture! should be a delight.