The Montreal Fringe Festival returns for the 2023 edition. After years of varying degrees of restrictions (while the 2022 edition was back in-person masks were still prudently mandatory for the audience).

I’ve been “Fringe Adjacent” for nearly a quarter of a century. I volunteered at the Fringe Park for a few shifts in the late 90’s in high-school. I by no means have ever Fringe’d hard. My high-score was probably taking in about 10 shows in a given year.

This year I managed to take in 5 (so far) and with the second weekend of the festival coming up here are a few quick takes on the show’s I’ve seen.


From the Let Lowns Theatre Co. The description of the show promises the creation of a “Live Mixtape” for the Fringe stage, combining storytelling through monologue, video projections and new music. Unfortunately only one of those things seems to have made it into the final show. Victoria Morrison sits center stage and provides 90’s tinged indie-rock guitar riffs and sweet vocals over looped beats played through an old tape deck. The music is actually pretty good, although the balance between the vocals and the electric guitar could have been better (or she could have been mic’d up ideally). We were there for opening night, so maybe the absent monologues and video projections have worked their way back into the show. But based solely on what we saw the show was basically just an intimate little concert.


A tale of the transformation of losing your hearing told through the medium of interpretive dance. First off, I went into this show completely unaware of the premise (it was one of Sarah’s choices). So I had the unique experience of watching the three performers on stage perform an eclectic mix of dance movies coupled with sign-language as (intentionally) muddled audio loops pulsed and droned.

Even with no context I managed to glean that we were witnessing a painful transformation, and the use of sign-language was enough to guide me towards the idea this was related to being hearing impaired. I am always impressed any time an interpretive dance manages to convey its intentions without needing the Cliff Notes.

That said, if the show was more than 30 minutes I may have grown a little tired of some of the more repetitive elements of the show. Obviously I think there would be an entire extra layer of enjoyment if you happen to know sign-language.

Dual Reality Magic:

So despite the fact that the image on the Fringe website contains two magicians and the title of the show is “Dual Reality” – the show that we saw featured only Jason Acoca. Mind you the description of the show does imply that Acoca is the only performer. Was it a last minute change? Who knows.

Whatever the case may be Acoca is a skilled magician and mentalist, running through a string of tricks that combine the power of suggestion, sleight of hand and misdirection. Unfortunately for me, I have watched a few too many YouTube videos revealing how some of these tricks are performed. Sarah has not. Her mind was blown again and again by the performance to the point that I was a little jealous.

Acoca himself embodies the vibe of a performer from the late 90’s or early 2000’s which adds a sort of tinge of nostalgia to the entire affair. Conjuring up (ha!) some dormant memories of being taken to magic shows as a kid.

Honestly at $15.50 this show brings some high quality magic and with La Ministere as the venue you can grab a drink and enjoy the magic.

Hey B*tch, Love You

So we had a bunch of the talented people from Half Twin Theatre on our “Go Fringe Yourself” podcast special last week to talk about their show and we were lucky enough to catch their second showing this past Saturday.

Long story short with as few spoilers as possible: It’s Erickah’s wedding day and she’s having a crisis, but instead of calling her Maid of Honour she calls her childhood best-friend Penny. What ensues is a messy exploration of friends you thought you had, may have grown apart from and may not have been that good of a friend in the first place.

The dialogue is quick and snappy and the use of time loops and resets is a fun way to simultaneously experience the things we wish we said against the things we actually say. And maybe it doesn’t even matter what we say anyways?

“Hey B*tch, Love You” is part of what is becoming almost a rare breed at the Fringe: an actual play. Definitely worth watching.

Tales of the Rise of the Fallen

As we sat in the venue to watch Johnny Prince tell us stories, we were immediately enthralled. Prince sat on stage, legs crossed in a high backed chair with a fedora casting his face in shadow. Definite Leonard Cohen vibes.

When the show started in earnest he stepped up to the podium and began to read selections from his apparently ever expanding collection of short stories. Each set somewhere in his schizophrenic drug addicted memories of Montreal as it existed to him in the 70s, 80s and 90s (depending on when each story took place).

Prince’s delivery improved as he settled in to the storytelling, and even the few faltering moments of the first few minutes were more than made up for by the content of each tale. Stealing chemicals from a science lab in high school, jabbing himself with needs at the top of Mount Royal and eating cockroaches are a few highlights of the selection he shared with us. And that’s more than enough for you to decide if this is the sort of thing you will enjoy or not.

We did.

Sarah bought 2 of his collected short stories.

The Montreal Fringe Festival runs through to June 18th, and most of these shows still have a handful of showings. Head to for tickets, info and more.