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F-f-f-f-freezing f-f-f-fringe

The mercury dropped so low on the fringe's opening night, one venue volunteer said she'd be wearing mitts Thursday.

But attendance was a record 3,013 for an opening Wednesday, well past the 2,494 recorded in 2008. There were two sellouts , Altar Boyz and Wanderlust, and a few other productions that got close.

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"I'm amazed," said executive producer Chuck McEwen. "That's huge. I didn't expect it.

"We had some great crowds at the indoor shows. The outdoor stage was a bit quiet, obviously -- it was a bit chilly. We're just waiting for the weather to clear up so the outdoor stage at Old Market Square can really start to hum."

Of the 146 shows, one has cancelled: Dark Corners at Venue 11.

See the headless woman!

Step right up! A two-minute carnival sideshow boasting a headless woman drew about 100 gawkers on Fringe's opening night.

Not a bad headcount considering shill Mike Wright estimates only about 200 potential marks stopped by the new tent in vendors' market.

MTC Warehouse techie Wright and his partner Rick MacPherson -- the Warehouse's technical director -- have wanted to mount a sideshow since they saw one at the Edmonton Fringe Festival about 10 years ago. But finding a headless woman is not as easy as you might think. And mounting the $2 show took a lot of help from friends, including Wright's artist girlfriend Arlea Ashcroft, who created the mini-venue posters featuring a headless Marilyn Monroe and Rosie the Riveter.

Having witnessed the awesome spectacle, I can tell you it's not all smoke and mirrors. (I suspect it's just mirrors.) Not recommended for younger kids -- or the faint of heart.

--Pat St. Germain

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 17, 2009 D5

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