With 150 shows in 28 venues over 10 days, the Toronto Fringe is both the birthplace of tomorrow’s stars and a home for veteran artists testing new material. Musicals, clown shows, standup comedy and the occasional kitchen-sink drama mean that there’s something to suit every taste. While queer artists are plentiful, the sprawling program can make them hard to find. But we’ve sifted through the roster to find the fest’s queer best.
By Lucas Brooks
Lucas Brooks admits his show may not put you in the mood to fuck. The NYC-based actor and sex educator’s offering recounts a series of sketchy hook-ups that left him wondering whether he’d contracted an STI. Based on his long-running blog The Intellectual Homosexual, Catcher tracks Brooks as he sling-bangs random tricks, sucks questionable dicks and awaits test results at sexual health clinics.
He’s had his own show on The Comedy Network, did seven years with This Hour Has 22 Minutes and wowed crowds at Just For Laughs. But Canadian comedy sensation Gavin Crawford still loves to get his Fringe on. His current turn takes on social media overload and smartphone addiction. Poking fun at those certain Facebook friends we all have (the person who posts Onion articles thinking they’re real, those perpetually bidding, Cher-style farewells only to return minutes later), his quirky take on the people who fill our feed will make silencing your phone easy, at least for an hour.
Klondyke: Stand Up Straight From the Yukon
By Jenny Hamilton
Whitehorse-native and capital-D dyke Jenny Hamilton’s standup follows the time-honoured tradition of learning to laugh at life’s shittiest moments. A compilation of material developed while touring Canada, the US and Australia, Klondyke runs the gamut from experimenting with Kegels to being turfed from the Mormon Church. Equal parts unapologetic filth and pointed honesty, Hamilton’s comedic stylings have won over everyone from burly gold miners to grey-haired grandmas.
The McComedy Show
By Shannon McDonough and Michael McLean
With the plethora of options offered by Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, cultural columnists have been hailing the death of television for what feels like a decade. But not everyone’s convinced the boob tube’s reign is over. Actor and TV producer Shannon McDonough gets to the heart of this timely subject with her one-woman comedy spectacular. Operating like live channel surfing for challenged attention spans, McComedy flips between crime dramas, zombie thrillers, home shopping, child pageants and psychic readings. A skilled impersonator who counts Roseanne Barr among her fans, McDonough is sure to have you in stitches at the same time she convinces you to keep your cable.
By Ryan G Hinds
Hinds’s latest cabaret endeavour was inspired by a chance encounter with a kid in San Francisco. A potential diva-in-waiting whose life took a decidedly different turn from his own, the meeting propelled Hinds to sift through his own journey, from bathroom mirror lip-syncher to self-proclaimed diva. Along with putting his personal spin on Aerosmith, Evita and The Little Mermaid’s Ursula, he recounts teenage drag tragedies, audition room flubs and onstage triumphs. As he continues his quest for celebrity, Starry Notions begs audiences to be true to their ambitions, no matter the cost.
You Are Not Alone
By Kenneth Collins
Fortunately for 17-year-old author Kenneth Collins, this coming-out dramedy isn’t based on his own life. First presented as part of the Paprika Festival earlier this year, the revved up production by a team of high schoolers examines sexual awakening against the backdrop of a Catholic boarding school. Equal parts touching and tragic, You Are Not Alone explores on the unique challenge of coming out in the age of social media.
Toronto Fringe Festival
Wednesday, July 1–Friday, July 12, 2015