What makes the Fringe the Fringe?

For me, it’s about all of the risks that the artists take as they use the festival as a staging ground for new methods, new scripts and new ideas.

This Is Cancer — starring Bruce Horak as the living and breathing embodiment of cancer —
is one adventurous show.

To the shock and dismay of a disgruntled few, This Is Cancer is a comedy.

It also involves a lot of very interesting audience participation, being the only show that I know of where an audience member is invited up on stage to beat the stuffing out of an actor. And that’s just the very tip of the unusual audience- participation iceberg with this show.

Strange though the play may be, Horak succeeds in all that he attempts to do, ultimately leaving the audience laughing at cancer instead of being afraid of it.

Me, My Stuff and I is another show that strays from the beaten path. Digging into his enormous archive of Polaroids, audio and video recordings, and Grade 1 spelling assignments, Barry Smith takes his audience on a multimedia journey through his dramatic life, from birth to present day.

The story is both touching and funny, as Smith isn’t afraid of opening up to the audience and sharing his strange joys as well as making light of his own personal pains and misgivings.

The end result is the most intimate use of PowerPoint that I’ve ever seen, well steeped in
honesty and humour.

The Only Friends We Have is also worth mentioning for its fantastic use of physical comedy.

It takes a skilled actor to be able to make an audience laugh with just a glance of the eyes or a stretch of the arms. It’s a real treat then to see such talent tripled in performers Matt Chapman,
Josh Matthews and Sarah Petersiel.

The trio also engage in some experiments with format: Popping out of scenes every so often
to show the audience hilarious little micro-scenes ranging from “three friends having an intervention” to “three friends smelling Indian food.”