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Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fringe celebrating 25 years with all-day extravaganza

Posted: 07/12/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Think you're a formidable fringer?

Maybe so, but are you fierce enough to get your fringe on for 25 straight hours?

At Wednesday's media launch for the 25th annual Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, running July 18-29, executive producer Chuck McEwen challenged ferocious fringers to celebrate the silver anniversary by fringing all night at a special event.

Here's the drill: You attend a kickoff performance by Vancouver comedy team Peter 'n Chris at 11 a.m. on July 21 at the RMTC Warehouse.

Then you choose your own shows to keep fringing all day and evening, and drag yourself back to the Warehouse at midnight to survive eight back-to-back shows in a 12-hour theatre orgy, ending at noon July 22.

A 25-hour pass valid for 16 shows is $112.50. A pass for just the July 21 kickoff and the eight overnight shows is $60.

The all-nighter includes fringe stars such as Jem Rolls, Ryan Gladstone, Crumbs and Hot Thespian Action. Seasoned fringe storyteller TJ Dawe joins the fun with his new show Medicine.

"There'll be plenty of coffee flowing all night long," McEwen promised, "and we'll even have breakfast in the morning. It should be a blast."

This will be the biggest Winnipeg fringe ever, with 172 local, national and international productions at 31 indoor venues. Fringe performers hyping their shows at the media launch ranged from a troupe of local teens in Shakespearean costume (the cast of The Tempest) to Lady Winifred, a towering, screechy-voiced Regina drag queen who stars in the Screw You Revue.

"I should have called my show Lady Winifred in Winnipeg," gushed the prima donna, who was flattered to be called statuesque. "'Grotesque' is the word I usually get," she quipped.

The fest will be based around Old Market Square as usual, with Albert and Arthur streets closed to traffic between Bannatyne and McDermot avenues for merchants, street performers and the Kids' Fringe.

About 87,851 tickets were sold last year. McEwen hopes to top 100,000 this year.

Single tickets are $5 to $10, with 100 per cent of box-office revenue going to the performers. For the first time, tickets bought in advance can be picked up at the venues, saving fringers a trip to the RMTC box office.

Another first is a new mobile website that lets fringers plan their moves on smartphones (there's free WiFi in Old Market Square).

Prices are unchanged from last year for a Frequent Fringer (10-show) pass at $79 and a Buddy Pass (14 shows shared by two fringers) at $109.

Special offers of two tickets for $10, introduced last year, are being expanded. More than 70 such discounted performances are yellow-highlighted in the printed program. More will be added during the festival, McEwen said (check winnipegfringe.com for updates).

Printed programs, priced at $5, are available now at the RMTC box office, Liquor Marts, some Safeway stores and McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Advance ticket are on sale now, in person at the box office, winnipegfringe.com or 942-6537.

alison.mayes@freepress.mb.ca

All the fringe that's fit to print

The Winnipeg Free Press offers the most extensive coverage of the 25th annual Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. Check out the daily pullouts full of performer profiles, reviews and news from in and around Old Market Square. Reviews of all 172 shows will be available online by Sunday afternoon. Visit the Free Press News Cafe where a nightly Fringe talk show will feature a daily dish of performances and chatter.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2012 C3

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