UnoFest 2012: The Adversary

28 05 2012
Andrew Bailey is The Adversary.

Andrew Bailey is The Adversary.

Master storyteller Andrew Bailey takes a compassionate stab at justice and dignity in The Adversary, the latest and perhaps sharpest installment yet in this hometown talent’s sweet-and-sardonic monologue series.

Best described as a tale of poetic justice, the narrative is based largely in Bailey’s decade-long stint as caretaker for Victoria’s St. John the Divine, the church tucked away at Quadra and Mason that serves equitable time as a haven for God’s children and an out-of-the way spot to shoot up for junkies.  Through the opinions from and interactions with a motley group of homeless people, we learn that Bailey’s gig was as much about connecting to the humanity in others as it was about pre-church lawn mows and de-needling the underbrush every Sunday.

Bailey uses his 60 minutes wisely to unpack justice as concept—both the street variety and otherwise—while commenting on tolerance, the heartbreak and fellowship of Victoria’s homeless population and his personal take on the kind of battles that are worth fighting.  While each piece before Adversary has exposed Bailey’s total lack of self-assurance, this new work trails his evolving sixth sense for knowing when to take charge and when to leave the shit-kicking to someone else.

Delivered with subtlety, honest wit and expert comedic timing, Bailey appropriately humanizes the story beyond the realm of preachy or patronizing and his clean transitions between both character and anecdote keep the audience on pace from start to finish.

As someone who has seen, loved, praised and publicly extolled the virtues of the award-winning Andrew Bailey Monologue Trilogy (Scrupulosity, Putz and Limbo, respectively), I see The Adversary as a comfortable fit for the more mature, less-freaked-out-but-still-geeky next chapter in Bailey’s confessional saga.  Mostly autobiographical, the sub-themes and people involved in each piece have been virtually the same—yet Bailey has deftly used each monologue to bring one element, one particular cast of characters from his life to centre stage for a level of charming and thoughtful analysis that earns every laugh, gasp and agreeable nod it gets.

Performed for the first time ever to a sold-out crowd on Sunday night, The Adversary is poised to become another runaway hit for Bailey on the Fringe circuit this summer.  Victoria is only too lucky to get to see it first.  — Melanie Tromp Hoover 

**Showing Monday, May 28 at 6:30PM and Tuesday, May 29 at 8:00PM at the Intrepid Theatre Club (1609 Blanshard).  Tickets are $16 and are available at


UnoFest 2012: The Birdmann

25 05 2012
The Birdmann

Trent Baumann is The Birdmann.

The Birdmann has already been called a lot of things in this town—words like ‘oddball’, ‘mind-blowing’ and ‘surreal’.  Returning to the city for a victory lap on the Uno stage, 2011’s Pick of the Fringe is just as rambunctious the second time round.

The show itself is a bit Seinfeld-meets-vaudevillian sketch in its eccentric take on nothingness but, more than anything, Birdmann is a giggle-worthy hour of silly and spectacularly-enacted joy.

Performer Trent Baumann has deftly blended a maze of observational one-liners with frat house party tricks that he brings new life to under the lens of absurdity.  It helps that he also possesses a knack for flawless physical comedy rivaled only by his ability to pull off skinny, skinny jeans.

Underneath all of this tightly-scripted showmanship is a jumble of plot points: amongst others, the plastic bag problem in our oceans, parental advice on the bare essentials of life and the benefits of meditation.  Having said that, my big takeaway was much simpler: The Birdmann is an exercise in play, in reclaiming childlike instincts (the ones that throw utensils across a room or, say, pour liquids through nostrils) to reinterpret the oddities that are put before us at any age.

If there’s a bigger message, I missed it between all of the laughs.  — Melanie Tromp Hoover

**One more show on Friday, May 25, 7:00 PM at the Metro Studio (1411 Quadra).  Tickets are $18/$19, available at

UnoFest 2012: Four Quartets

25 05 2012

Deborah Dunn in a scene from Four Quartets.

In Four Quartets, Deborah Dunn—famed across Canada for her prose-inspired dance pieces—brings a stylish new energy to T.S. Eliot’s brooding poetry of the same name. 

Designed as a temporal study of the human condition, this piece is ultimately a story of contrast.  Eliot’s opus—and, by extension, Dunn’s brave choreography—dabbles in beginnings and endings, in stillness and movement and in spirituality versus the impact of earth’s most physical elements.

In short, there’s a lot going on. 

Add to these themes a layer of metered language in voiceover interfacing with movement and the audience is asked to tackle a lot in 60 minutes.  Even with a sparse set free of distraction, it took much of the first quarter to settle into the consuming pace of synchronized listening and watching.

But Dunn’s strength as a dancer—in both precision and in potency itself—is as impressive as it is enduring.  There’s a moment in the first poem where a wash of red light isolates every muscle in Dunn’s naked back—an image of vulnerability, perhaps, but also a testament to the physical possibilities of the human body despite Eliot’s view that “humankind cannot bear very much of reality.”

The moments when Dunn’s choreography becomes a literal picture of Eliot’s language are the only soft spots in an otherwise clever mash-up of form and function.  Delivered with wit and decisive grace, Dunn’s quartets are an elegant contribution to the UnoFest lineup.     — Melanie Tromp Hoover   

**One more show on Friday, May 25, 8:30 PM at the Metro Studio (1411 Quadra).  Tickets are $18/$19, available at  Full details on the UnoFest website.

CALENDAR: Bhoy, Toys, Sweets and Beats

28 03 2012

This week enjoy family-friendly events and make a difference for local charities at the toy fair or while eating out. Gear up early for Easter and indulge your sweet tooth at the Greek bake sale. Then take in one of the most popular comics touring today or experience a true hip-hop legend at Lucky Bar. Plus…

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Win tickets to the Ultimate Hobby and Toy Fair this SUNDAY at Pearkes! Just comment below or email (subject WIN) and tell us why you should win.

DINING OUT FOR LIFE – 65 restaurants and pubs on the island will donate 25% of your food bill to AIDS Vancouver Island this THURSDAY. Reservations are suggested and tell them you’re “Dining Out For Life”. 250-384-2366,,

MASTA ACE – With Marco Polo and Stricklin. This rap veteran was one of Eminem’s biggest influences. Hip hop. FRIDAY 9pm at Lucky.  $16.

DANNY BHOY – Just For Laughs is thrilled to bring back the Scottish comedy sensation. FRIDAY 7:30pm at the McPherson (3 Centennial Square). $39.50.

10th ANNUAL GREEK EASTER BAKE SALE AND SNACK BAR – Featuring numerous yummy home-made Greek Easter desserts, pastries and freshly made Loukoumades.  Souvlaki, Gyros, spanakopita and refreshments will be available at the Snack Bar. Proceeds support the Victoria and Vancouver Island Greek Community Society cultural programs and charity purposes. 10am at the Greek Community Centre (4648 Elk Lake). SATURDAY and  SUNDAY. 250-479-9391,

VICTORIA’S ULTIMATE HOBBY & TOY FAIR – You never know what you might find with almost 200 tables of fun. Door prizes, silent auction for the MS Society and special charity carnival with all proceeds going to BC Children’s Hospital. Plus, a Superhero Creation Station with Superheroes of Victoria. SUNDAY 9am at Pearkes Arena (3100 Tillicum). $3 adult, kids free. 250-385-8697,


21 03 2012

Get funky with it this weekend and support local DJ’s at the Sunset Room, take in Aussie hip hop group Bliss N Eso or check out the Island’s best musicians, SATURDAY at the Fort Cafe. There’s also a variety show for the kids to finish Spring Break strong, and an important breast cancer awareness event. Plus, once again…

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Win four tickets to Grease on Ice, or tickets to Celebrate Kids: A Variety Show for this weekend! Email (subject WIN) or comment below and tell us why you should win.

BASSLINE WARFARE: ROUND 2 – DJ battle with Whoa Grenade. FRIDAY 10pm at Sunset Room. $10/$15.

GREASE ON ICE – Take a classic movie, throw in incredible talent, choreography and music and you have an amazing  show that is sure to delight and entertain the whole family. SATURDAY 2pm and 7pm. Also SUNDAY 1pm at Archie Browning Sports Centre (1151 Esquimalt). $15. 250-412-8510, 250-412-8500,

VANCOUVER ISLAND MUSIC AWARD NOMINEE SHOWCASE – With Ryan McMahon, Michael Tension, Spaceport Union and more. SATURDAY 8pm at the Fort Cafe. $7.

CELEBRATE KIDS: A VARIETY SHOW – A variety show for children with dancers, singers, martial arts and much more. Refreshments for sale. SUNDAY 2pm at the Centennial United Church (612 David). $2/$5. 250-384-6424,

BLISS N ESO – With Rich Bros and guests. Hip hop. MONDAY 9pm at Upstairs. $20.

CANADIAN BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION: ASK AN EXPERT – Researcher Dr. Peter Watson and Dorothy Yada, Breast Health Patient Navigator from Vic General Hospital present the latest info on breast cancer research and breast health. Jules Sesia, a breast cancer survivor and comic shares her story. TUESDAY 7pm at Saanich Commonwealth Pool (4636 Elk Lake). Free. 250-384-3328,


15 03 2012

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend and there are tons of events around town to help you celebrate. The Maritime Museum is hosting a fun night with Cookeilidh and Battle of the Bridge is Victoria’s own MC competition supporing a local charity. For you festival fans, check out Josephina as part of the Spark Fest or the World Storytelling Festival events. Plus:

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Win tickets to at the Maritime Museum’s event! Email (subject WIN) or comment below and tell us why you deserve the luck o’ the Irish this weekend.

MUSIC FROM THE SHAMROCK SHORE: A ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATION WITH COOKEILIDH – Set in our beautifully restored 19th century Courtroom, enjoy traditional jigs and sing-alongs to bring out the Irish in all of us! Also get your feet tapping with  special guests the O’Connor O’Brien Irish Dancers. It will be a night to truly remember. FRIDAY 7:30at the Maritime Museum (28 Bastion Square). $12.

BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE 7: HUNGRY FOR BEEF: Sixteen emcees, and only one can be left standing as the new Battle Of The Bridge Freestyle Champ. Food drive and MC battle benefitting the Mustard Seed. SATURDAY 2pm at Incite Screen Printing (2514 Douglas). $3/$5.

JOSEPHINA: A shockingly beautiful, sexy, funny, and mysterious piece of physical theatre about a man and a woman: is it the story of a perfect, passionate couple, or a shattered one? TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY 8pm at Metro Studio (1411 Quadra). $17-$23.



7 03 2012

This weekend support local skaters in memory of  James Lindsay and have the chance to win prizes at a a silent auction all while rockin’ out to DJ Squantos at Lucky Bar. Or get some tips on ecologically-friendly wine practices at Flights and Light Bites. Plus…

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Win tickets to Flights and Light Bites OR weekend passes to the Small Change Expo! Comment below or email (subject WIN).

FLIGHTS AND LIGHT BITES: Sustainable Wines – Sommelier Stuart Brown of Trialto Wine Group will take you through the rising trend and practices of making sustainable wines around the world. SATURDAY 4pm at Hotel Grand Pacific (463 Belleville). $20 plus tax. 250-380-4478.

JAMES LINDSAY MEMORIAL FUNDRAISER – Fundrasing gala and silent auction. With DJ Squantos and Rennie ‘Dubnut’ Foster. Supporting an addition to the Vic West skatepark. Auction MC Ken Gordon. SUNDAY 9pm at Lucky. By donation.

5th ANNUAL LIFEMARK HEALTH ESQUIMALT 5K RUN AND WALK – 7:45am kids run and 8:30am 5K race at Esquimalt Rec Centre (527 Fraser). $2 for the kids run $22 for the 5K. 250-412-8502,

SMALL CHANGE EXPO – Lectures, prizes and more. FRIDAY 12pm at the Victoria Conference Centre. Also SATURDAY 10am. $6-$10.

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