When All You Need is “Yaga,” You Better Be Ready to Fight Instead of take Flight

Halloween season has begun! And to get your early scares on, The Belfry is bringing the cross country hit, Yaga, to Victoria, BC!

Kat Sandler's Yaga Title Card
Playing at The Belfry, Victoria, BC
From Sept 14th, 2023 to Oct 8, 2023.
Tickets are available here

Please check Playwrights Canada for other regional performances.

The formula for what Kat Sandler‘s play, simply titled Yaga, is about may well be like an episode of Twin Peaks for some attendees, but for myself, I’m thinking Murder, She Wrote. But instead of solving mysteries from the perspective of a best-selling author, the point of view is from an omniscient presence needing more than the usual sustenance. Baba Yaga is an infamous Slavic witch known to eat children, but these days, she’s not picky.

Ever since this show’s debut in 2019, various theatre houses have put this play on across Canada. To kickstart Victoria, BC’s The Belfry 2023/24 season and get attendees ready for Halloween, it seems the director Jani Lauzon added an indigenous touch on top. We’re in a birch house to listen to the very beginnings of life. It’s told by a woman shaman (Tracey Nepinak) in a set that I believe was designed to resemble a traditional First Nation longhouse.

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Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry, An Interview and Where to Find This Show Next

This parody of the Harry Potter world is a fun adventure, and in Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry, who knows who might make a guest apperance.

Barry Potter and the Magic of WizardryAlthough Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry isn’t headed to the Vancouver Fringe Festival, fans will have to check social media to find where Tim Motley will be performing next. I’m sure this talented magician-comedian has a lot more shows lined up during the remainder of this year, and as for what he’ll do afterwards, we have to wait and see.

As a fan of his works, namely his Dirk Darrow adventures, I knew I had to ask him about why change it up? As stated before in my review, he’s not retiring the character. Instead, he’s expanding his repertoire, and it’ll be interesting to see if his Barry persona will include brand-new adventures instead of recapping the Harry Potter universe, which is what his latest play does from an outsider’s perspective.

The following is my brief interview with him after the show:

When did you get the idea to create Barry Potter?

It was a few years ago. I had a girlfriend who was a Harry Potter fanatic, and we’d watch all the movies together. He was the biggest thing in magic since Houdini. He’s bigger, and also the whole world [this character lives in] is a massive pop culture phenomenon. I asked why isn’t there a magic show too?

I looked into it, and I tossed around the idea for me to do it instead. But I don’t even have an English accent [to pull the performance off]. Like, how can I possibly do justice to it? I gave it a go in January of this year, and now it’s like gangbusters–I’m taking it on the road!

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A Nerd’s Guide to the 2023 Vancouver Fringe Festival

With a lot more shows being presented at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival, making a top ten list on what to see has been a bit more difficult, but we got a list.

Vancouver Fringe Festival
Runs Sept 7 to 17th, 2023 Various Venues across Vancouver, BC (prominently on Granville Island)

Anyone living in the Pacific Northwest region has a double dose of Fringe should they choose to follow those travelling acts! The Vancouver Fringe Festival has a lot more to offer, and as for what I like to see, perhaps a weekend trip is in order. I’m always tempted to, but alas the budget sets me back. To alleviate this problem, there’s a few online shows being offered!

And what I’ll do is select new shows to check out rather than to repeat what I’ve seen from the Victoria Fringe Festival. Presented in no particular order are:

Warhol- Bullet KarmaWarhol: Bullet Karma

Garry Roost
(Available to view online)

A darkly witty take on American pop art godfather Andy Warhol, with guest appearances from iconic figures such as Lou Reed, Capote, Edie Sedgwick and a visiting Francis Bacon. See what they all have to say about him and what HE says about them!

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[Victoria Fringe 2023] Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry isn’t the Same ol’ Same Ol’

There’s more than just a parody going on in delivering what Potterheads love from the WB franchise in this Fringe wonder titled Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry.

Barry Potter Throws ConfettiAustralian Comedian-Magician Tim Motley has a new act called Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry, and thankfully his famous Dirk Darrow personality is not being retired! This new persona is related to the famous Harry of a certain J.K. Rowling fame (or should that be Warner Bros.?), and what’s presented is a look at everything that’s been made to date; even the stage play about the Cursed Child is along with Fantastic Beasts. And the way he brings this world together is simply marvellous.

Although the show is familiar, using the same repertoire of magical trickery to engage audiences and also the sealed envelope trick, the way this talent makes this show different is with his rapid-fire delivery of puns. They are moments that would even impress Tom McGrath (who voices Skipper in Penguins of Madagascar). Timing is everything and Motley is a master. The only reason I make this comparison is that I saw the DreamWorks movie two days prior. I noticed the word play with names was exactly the same!

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[Victoria Fringe 2023] Even “June Bug” Needs to Grow Up

June Bug is a thoughtful work that ups the ante in what The Peanuts comic strips would do when concerning the kids dealing with adult situations.

June Bug Ragamuffin ProductionsAshley Chodat is a playwright who wants to help empower audiences. Although she went from performer to educator in the performing arts quite fast, anything she produces is worth noting. Her show, simply titled, “June Bug,” may seem like a love letter to alien conspiracies and X-Files, but there’s more to this multi-layered story.

Here, Juniper Myers is telling us about her life. She’s 11 years old, and she dearly loves her grandmother. The two are inseparable. Mom is trying her best to keep this family afloat because there’s no father around. Little is said about him and I suspect he doesn’t exist. But as for grandmama, I brought everything we wanted to know about her to vivid life. They both love Patrick Swayze and watching the movie Dirty Dancing, and despite protests from mum, nothing ever changes.

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