It wasn’t until shortly after I attended a couple of performances at the Edmonton’s 34th Annual Fringe Festival that I learned about it being the oldest and largest fringe theatre festivity in North America. Looking back, that explains some things.
Like why Whyte Avenue was a madhouse and why I was able to eat a nutella funnel cake on a Tuesday afternoon while watching a man juggle swords before wandering two blocks over to where a comedy show was happening. It also explains why Fiddler on the Roof the following Saturday was amazing!
Okay, so to be honest, I had no idea about Fiddler on the Roof before walking into this acoustically marvelous church. Something like 150 years of choirs had sung in there, and that is where I heard Tevya ponder what life could be if he were a rich man.
I solidly enjoyed every scene but found Golde’s less wonderful than the rest, possibly due to a shrill undertone. Or else I just was way more invested in Tevya’s character. Either way, considering my knowledge beforehand was null, I learned a lot and had fun doing it.
“By yourself? You must be a reviewer!” the fellow laughed as he greeted me to the 2015 Edmonton Comedy Festival. In a walled off conference room of the Varscona Hotel. Nice enough. Folding chairs were moderately comfortable and bar was definitely an aid to both seating arrangements and humor levels.
The ECF was pretty good, but when a comedian can only joke on one topic, that’s why they’re the opener. Maybe it’s because I don’t also have a prosthetic foot, but I couldn’t force more than a chuckle. Following the spinning of his fake leg to ensure us it was ‘really fake’, the opener constantly called out to the audience. “Are you two married? How did you meet? How old are you, young person? Wow, let’s all reminisce about how old we are by comparison.”
[In looking up his bio, I’ve found the blurb even mentions his fake foot and the book with a titular pun on his uni-pedal condition. Dude, get some new material.]
The other two acts were pretty great, including one fellow, Lars Callieou, who’s actually done a comedy special. He was interesting, engaging and it actually felt like a comedy show. I didn’t consider the Edmonton comedy fest to be on the same wavelength as Ha!lifax or Winnipeg, though it could well be.
I suppose since each night is different comedians, maybe Tuesday wasn’t the prime-time but it was still – for $13 – a good night out.