Fringe Festival wins over a skeptic

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I was slow to embrace the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival. A bunch of shows by no-name performers in makeshift theatres. I didn’t see a lot of reason to go.

But then I did, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. That was around seven years ago. Since then, I’ve managed to convince other initially-skeptical family members to join me, and have gone every year.

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Fringe has enticed me because it’s wacky, risky, unpredictable. Sometimes the shows are not that good. Many of them are terrific. Most of them are worth your time. There’s a bunch of passionate people who want to put on great shows for you. Sometimes it’s sobering, uncomfortable drama. Sometimes it’s very funny (and occasionally profane) comedy. And sometimes it’s Shakespeare, usually with a twist.

It’s enough for some people to build their summer vacations around. I know this from a fine Fringe tradition — gossiping in line. Of all the lineups I’ve been in, Fringe lineups have been the most fun and most informative. Instead of a bunch of silent people staring at their toes and avoiding eye contact, Fringe lineups often end up being a pre-show party.

I encourage you to join the fun.

Fringe runs Aug. 21 to 31 at 12 locations in Greater Victoria with 300-plus performances of 50-plus shows.

More details, including ticket prices, at the Victoria Fringe Festival website.

A disclosure: one of the family members who was initially skeptical about attending Fringe is working for the festival this year.

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