Arts & Entertainment
2 min

A Fringe binge for two days

Best picks for the weekend

The Fringe clock is ticking away, and many Fringe-goers are scuttling between venues trying to catch those last performances. With two days to go, there is a lot to see, but choosing can be a problem.

Xtra has been covering the festival: many plays have been seen, all have been enjoyed and a few have really made an impact.

Roller Derby Saved My Soul
is a hysterical account of a 30-year-old socially awkward single woman who finds her inner superhero as a rookie in the world of roller gals. Nancy Kenny is funny and charming. As the main character, she sketches out the sibling rivalry between two sisters, her first lesbian kiss and her attraction to a comic-book-loving barista in a way that keeps the audience laughing with her and rooting for her. This play might make you want to put on your roller skates to find out what all the hype is about.

Am I Blue is another show with a quirky character. Elizabeth Blue takes us through the streets of New York, looking for happiness, the ideal partner and her true self. The audience sees her struggling in her therapist’s office, working up to masturbating in the sex therapy workshop (time runs out and she has to leave), taking a travel-writing class, toying with the idea of getting an HIV test and, finally, finding her inner cupcake decorator. The time sequence is disjointed and her progress vague, but that’s the point. Am I Blue shows us that finding oneself is not a linear, one-dimensional journey; rather, it is a sporadic escapade where the truth is found in the moment.

Another performance where truth and honesty plays an integral part is Falling Open, by Luna Allison. Xtra interviewed Allison earlier in the week, but reading about how she describes Falling Open is vastly different from seeing it. Allison’s performance is powerful, her narrative engaging and her story — uncomfortable.

The audience is seated in the comfort of a cozy bedroom. It is intimate, and Allison takes advantage of that as she delves into the issue of sexual abuse. Through the eyes of a doll she explores the motives of the abuser and the lasting effect the abuse has on the survivor. It is not a depressing show — it is too beautiful for that. However, it could unlock memories for some and invoke anger in others, but for everyone it should encourage dialogue and discussion around the realities of sexual abuse. Unlike Roller Derby Saved My Soul and Am I Blue, you won’t leave Allison’s performance with the lingering feel of belly laughter, but leaving a show feeling contemplative about life is equally satisfying.