Dan is a longtime Fringer and volunteer, who takes most of the festival off from work to have maximum time to enjoy shows. He took a moment to talk to Intrepid Theatre about his tips for getting the most out of the Fringe, his past favourites and how he selects shows to see.
1. How many shows did you see at the Fringe last year?
I saw 34 last year. I’d have seen more, but I missed part of the first weekend to go to a wedding. Seriously, who plans a wedding during Fringe?!‽
2. What was your favourite?
That’s a tough one, especially a year later. “Grim and Fischer” has pretty magical, “Charles” was probably my favourite comedy, and “The Birdmann” was so marvellously bizarre I can’t leave it off any list. Instead of a #ThreeWordReview, can I get away with three reviews?
3. How do you choose what shows to see at the Fringe?
I usually start with the performers I’ve enjoyed in the past. Then I’ll check out reviews and tips from friends who’ve been to earlier stops on the tour like Edmonton and Winnipeg. People at the Fringe Club are good resource, and I’ll always try to get out to support my friends’ shows.
I make a point to try out some newer and smaller shows, especially early in the festival. You never know what surprises await. As a bonus, you might help them make their big break.
4. What’s your favourite FringeClub event?
Either FringeKids for Adults or Monobrow.
5. What do you think is the festival’s best kept secret?
If I told you that, it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it?
6. Why do you Fringe? What is it you love about the festival?
So much great theatre in such a compact package. There’s a huge range of shows at your fingertips (and at a great price) and nothing quite like it the rest of the year.
The Fringe community is a big factor too. I love the way you can see a show, and then hang out with the performers, volunteers, and staff to cap the night. I’ve made lots of close friends at Fringe, and with many of them scattered across the country and beyond, I always look forward to seeing who’s won a spot to come back in the Fringe Lottery.
7. What shows are you on your must-see list for this year?
That’s tough! Still working on my list, but if I had to pick a few shows to start, I’ll go with:
- “Bookworm” has some really good buzz (and is dramaturged by TJ Dawe, which can’t hurt).
- I’m looking forward to getting to know the real Matthew Payne at “Hello, My Name Is Matthew Payne”.
- I missed Ryuzanji Company’s “High Life” a few years ago, and I don’t intend to make the same mistake with “Hanafuda Denki” this year.
8. Any other Fringing tips?
Try volunteering on the production crew. It’s interesting work, and a great chance to get in some volunteer hours without having to miss any shows. It never hurts to know a few behind the scenes crew if you ever want a few tips on good shows.
Try out a few shows that are playing to small houses. Just because a show hasn’t found it’s audience yet, doesn’t mean it won’t blow you away.
Share your lists with friends. Fringe works by word of mouth, so spread the word. Besides, it’s usually more fun to see a show with someone you know.
You can find Dan Pollock on twitter @DanPollock and of course in Fringe lineups during the festival – if you see him, say hi!