Montreal Fringe Festival is back

Montreal Fringe Festival

Montreal is making a gradual recovery from all that isolation and lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And one good sign of that recovery is the reintroduction of the festival that always kicked off Montreal’s summer festival season: the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival.

Montreal Fringe Festival

And to make it extra special, the festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary. And the gifts go to its many loyal fans (or “Fringers”) and newcomers in a hybrid festival that will combine both in person and virtual programming (both online and on-demand) from now until June 20. Now here are the numbers for festival #30: 154 performances done by over 250 artists from 30 companies, in 5 live venues (with limited capacities), 23 Encore shorts, 8 podcast episodes and 5 artist panels.

And after last year’s virtual only festival (which was titled “This Is Not A Fringe”), the buzz surrounding the 30th anniversary edition has reached a fevered pitch; since tickets went on sale on May 25, over $10,000 worth of show tickets have been sold so far, with live shows rapidly reaching sold out status.

One of the live shows that’s not to be missed at this year’s Fringe Festival is “Knife Fight X”, in which local comic/writer/actor/podcaster/pro wrestling maven Walter J. Lyng marks 10 years of combining his passion for comedy and knives (that’s right … knives) for five shows at the Petit Campus, located at 57b Prince Arthur. Along with his musical accompanist and second banana Leighland Beckman, Lyng will assault audiences with a mad mix of pop culture, flip charts, obsessions (and of course, knives) as a longtime Fringe mainstay that branched out into madcap sequels such as “Pitching Knife Fight”, “Knife Fight Tonight” and “Brunch Fight” starts its second decade. Also joining Walter and Leighland is comic Chris Venditto, whose job is to warm up the audience each night to get them ready for a sharp night of comedy. (June 12, 13, 16, 19 and 20).

When is the Montreal Fringe Festival?

Other Fringe 2021 highlights include festival veteran and storyteller extraordinaire Nisha Coleman’s latest solo storytelling production “Alright: Solving the Problem of Living” (streaming online on Fringe TV); “Generations”, an ode to an immigrant mother’s love, wisdom and sacrifices (not to mention good food) at the Balustrade of the Monument National Theatre (June 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20); “Glenmary Katemoss” gives a look at what would happen if David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic play Glengarry Glenross was written by a woman (La Chapelle Theatre, June 11, 12, 13, 16 and 19); “It’s Me Inside”, an exploration of mental health as seen by two documentary-style dramatic performances that uses nightmarish imagery and audio recordings (streaming on Fringe TV); and Matt Enos and the River Men, a concert filled with soulful blues, jazz and folk songs (Petit Campus, June 10, 12, 14, 17 and 20).

As well, the virtual side of this year’s Fringe Festival has a whole new dimension to it. First of all, the festival will be doing its first ever podcast series called “The Fringebuzz Lab”, which will take a fond look back at 30 years of Montreal Fringe Fest history and memories. New episodes are being released every Tuesday in French, hosted by Veronik Raymond and every Thursday in English, hosted by Sarah Deshaies. The line-up of guests to appear on the podcasts include Tranna Wintour, Mike Payette, Rick Miller, Mado Lamotte, Kahlil Ashanti, Jamie O’Meara and festival founders Kris and Nick Morra.

And the festival’s streaming service, FringeTV, has just been inaugurated, and will feature all of this year’s shows that are going to be streamed online, as well as screen encore presentations of selected content from last year’s Bouge d’Ici and “This Is Not A Fringe” festivals.

Montreal Fringe Festival tickets for sale

So in order to do your share of fringing this month, go to www.montrealfringe.ca for more information, or to purchase your tickets and/or 3-, 6-, 10-show or Carte Blanche festival passes.

By: Stuart Nulman – [email protected]

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