FringeBlog

What’s your scene? Lit, food, arts, music, theatre, find out what’s happening in the city of churches.

  • Review: A Lot to Love in ‘Good People’

    • Good People at Centaur to Dec. 9

    Good People has been described as a love letter written by the playwright to his hometown of South Boston or “Southie,” and a love letter it most certainly is.

    Featuring hard-working, tough-as-nails characters, the funny play is a well-crafted commentary on the socio-economic divide in America.

    Directed by Roy Surette, Good People comes to life on Centaur’s main stage only a year after premiering in New York City and being nominated for a Tony Award.

    In a heart-breaking first scene we are introduced to the central character Margie Walsh (Johanna Nutter), a single mother of a handicapped adult daughter, who is being fired from her job at the dollar store.

    In an attempt to find a job, Walsh seeks out an old boyfriend, Mike (Paul Hopkins) who has made it out of Southie and become a doctor. As the play progresses the disparity between the two economic classes becomes more and more apparent. It finally climaxes in a heated scene as Margie stands in Mike’s fancy living room and accuses Mike of being the father of her daughter.

    The short time Nutter spent in South Boston is apparent with her perfect Boston accent and her depiction of a hard-working mother whose life has been completely worn out. Her acting is spot-on in portraying a woman whose desperation has hit its peak.

    However, it was Catherine Lemieux, playing Margie’s wise-cracking best friend Jean, who stole the show. Lemieux’s character especially shone when interacting with Dottie (Sandy Ferguson), the uptight, clueless landlady. Lemieux effectively makes Ferguson’s character out to be a pest, culminating in the play’s most hilarious scenes.

    The set design is extremely effective and innovative, consisting of a garbage dump that when opened up transforms into a cozy kitchen. The grungy outdoor alleyway of Southie transforms into a swanky doctor’s office further giving the audience perspective on how desperate the economic situation is in working-class neighbourhoods.

    Some of the actor’s Boston accents were more convincing than others, but all in all Good People is a great show. Take a trip down to Southie for a night and see how Good it really is.

  • Fringe Binge

    Our wine reviewer, Zoey Baldwin, takes on Montreal’s La Grande Dégustation. There were over 1200 different wines, rums and spirits. She only got through 35. This is her journey. Photos by Elysha del Giusto-Enos.

  • Fringe Arts Editor vs. Community Editor on The Darcys

    Point: Katie – Fringe Arts Editor, Music Junkie

    Generally, I’m a really big fan of cover songs, in the same way that I generally like The Darcys and I generally like Steely Dan.

    But good Lord, together they make an awful combination.

    When The Darcys released a track-by-track cover album of AJA, Steely Dan’s best selling album, I was pleased.

    Not pleased enough to go out and purchase a copy, but it didn’t infuriate me or anything.

    The same thing cannot be said about my mental state Friday night.

    The opening band that night at Casa del Popolo, Mexico City’s Rey Pila, was just setting up. They went on to play a completely solid set, to a pretty small crowd sipping beers nearby the bar. The singer was great, and if they had their CDs for sale, I definitely would have bought one.

    However, this promising theme did not continue.

    I’ve seen horrible shows before… I once saw a Pavement show (after waiting my entire adolescent life for a reunion tour) where I actually started to cry. Stephen Malkmus refused to play any songs with the band and drunkenly stormed off stage. I’ve also seen Shania Twain live. Need I go on?

    But The Darcys’ performance on Friday was the worst show I’ve ever seen.

    Having listened to many a cover song in my day, I feel like I can say I’m somewhat knowledgeable on the subject. What I’ve figured out is this, the more you try to impersonate a person’s voice that is drastically different than your own, the more things are going to go downhill—fast.

    This is why “This Charming Man” covered by Death Cab for Cutie is one of the worst covers ever recorded and why “Merry Christmas Baby (Please Come Home)”, also covered by Death Cab, is one of the best.

    Darcys, this advice is for you: y’all should probably take this theory into account the next time you want to cover a beloved album live.

    Counterpoint: Sam – Community Editor, Photographer

    To a classic rock purist, the songs of Steely Dan could only ever be gelded by a troop of scruffy hipsters like The Darcys. It’s true that seeing their droning and overly-melodic takes on the tracks of Steely Dan’s Aja was certainly not the most entertaining hour I’ve ever spent. However, I appreciated the attempt to add a twist on tracks that—although arguably great—have been played ad nauseum over the classic rock airwaves throughout the last few decades.

    It seemed to me that the covers, which were said by the band in an interview with Exclaim! to be motivated by a genuine nostalgic attachment to Steely Dan, were more a not-completely-successful attempt to resurrect that music in the modern musical lexicon than an attempt to just recreate their music. That is, The Darcys tried to bring what they loved to their audience, in a musical language that that audience could understand.

    The translation or reinterpretation of anything forces artists to straddle the line between the work of its creator and one’s own style. In the case of The Darcy’s, that balance was either not met or the two styles were just incompatible. In any case, it was an endeavour that—although imperfect—deserves some acknowledgement for being an interesting project.

    I too much preferred the upbeat and abrupt stylings of the opening band, Rey Pila, but I don’t think the distaste caused by the implied pretension or the imperfection in The Darcy’s performance should warrant the title “worst show I’ve ever seen.”

  • Abandoned, Industrial Dystopia

    The Factory is a massive, old, abandoned 5-story paper mill that burned down decades ago and has since been claimed by graffiti artists. The windows are smashed out and remain sooty from the fire. The ground is littered with rusted, empty spray cans by the hundreds. The tired, ugly Factory has become the backdrop for a colourful plethora of art pieces.

    Cops rarely, if ever, go to the Factory. It is not worth their time. Many locals don’t even know about it. The building is close to the downtown metro station Lionel Groux. Pass under freeways, through fences and walk a mile through a construction wasteland, park aides and empty lots to access it- past junkies and tradesmen and artists.

    Last time I was there in the summer there was a nude soft porn-shoot taking place as we drank white wine on the rooftop. There is an ominous, illegal ethos about the Factory. It is an urban paradise, an industrial dystopia.

  • Deer Heads and Car Wrecks

    Painting, graffiti, illustration, installation—it’s all included in MTL ZOO. Nearly 20 of the city’s most talented artists under the age of 26 have contributed to the first instalment of the event.

    The exhibition is organized by artists Olivier Bonnard and Fonki, who aim to make it a yearly tradition in Montreal’s young artistic community.

    From installations with curbside finds like deer heads and plants by Phil Lanimal to embellished, half-wrecked cars by Garbage Beauty, MTL ZOO has something to offer for all tastes.

    MTL ZOO / Galerie Agora of the Cégep du Vieux Montreal (255 Ontario E.) / to Nov. 1st / Free