The Sci-Fi Sampler also includes soft elements of horror, and I’m glad it deals with other aspects of the genre that defines speculative fiction.
The Sci-Fi Sampler is a very loving tribute to the genre by Outpost 31. It’s playing at the Victoria Fringe Festival, and it is a collection of stories inspired by cinema, fiction, and television! The set design is minimal, and to help audiences see what’s going on, the backgrounds are projected onto a huge movie theatre sized screen. The video production that goes with the first story is very snazzy and more often than not, I kept on being reminded of Frank Miller’s splashy Sin City design.
In act one, “The Back with Two Beasts” (written by David Elendune), we meet Blair, the host to a virtual reality video game which Emma and Dave play in to solve their marital problems. The software helps them out, but when we get a huge self-aware in-joke (regarding the name of the game) referring to what to expect, I had to chuckle as these tales are intermixed with their story.
These narratives look at existentialism in clones and robots. In another work, we are watching what some alien race is planning. The last two narratives hint at a thread linking all these narratives together. Although they were written independently, the writer in me senses a greater scheme which unites everything in The Sci-Fi Sampler.
Outpost 31‘s theatrical productions are a regular feature at the Victoria Fringe Festival, and I hope room is always going to be made for their shows. This year will see them expanding beyond, with their take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at Theatre Inconnu. Their productions have a wonderful sense of connecting with the sensibilities from the era to which they are set in. With Winnie the Pooh, children were hiding from the chaos of World War I; the stories they were telling each other saw stuffed dolls come to life. To present Casino Royale with sounds effects recreated live made me revisit old time radio. Leer simply made Hell look sexy.
This year, this theatre company is looking at everything Sir Arthur Conan Doyle imbued into the character of Sherlock Holmes. Was he just simply overzealous? Was he mad? Just what makes this character tick? Just who he is gets explored for half of the play. From his first meeting of him to those final days, apparently, M15 (a secret service, and yes, from James Bond) is asking where did he disappear off to? Through flashbacks, the story unfolds as a trip through memory lane.
LOCATION: Downtown Activity Centre 755 Pandora, Victoria, BC V8W 1N9
SHOWTIMES: Wed Aug 31, 9:45pm Sat Sep 3, 6:45pm Sun Sep 4, 4:45pm
The 2016 Victoria Fringe Festival production of Winnie the Pooh & Tales of 100 Acre Wood is simply wonderful. Children can enjoy seeing the bedtime pyjama party of Pooh Bear, Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Christopher Robin recounting the tales from A. A. Milne‘s 1926 publication. Literary enthusiasts (mostly me) can read into the context being provided to make this production a look into troubled times for the era poignant. Award-winning Victoria local, playwright David Elendune and director Ian Case made a show that’s a delight to seen by all. This team known as Outpost 31 was also involved in last year’s Victoria Fringe Festival show, Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.
I was particularly enthralled by the world that frames the story. The vintage radio made me ga-ga over the fact that this show will be a period piece. The set design is beautifully period. The framing narrative sets the tone: the London Blitz is happening, and Britain is facing difficult times. The citizens of this country are finding creative ways to cope, and the children we meet — whom there’s only one we know by name, Chris Robin (Ellen Law), faces the most difficult challenge while sheltered at a hospital.
If you’ve followed Kelly Hudson’s Twitter in a previous lifetime you’ll surmise that this actress is nothing like the timid Piglet she’ll be portraying in Outpost 31 Victoria‘s Fringe play Winnie the Pooh and Tales of 100 Acre Wood. But her bubbly personality matches the talent she will bring to the stage during this play that is based off the works of A. A. Milne.
After uprooting from Saskatchewan over 20 years ago, Hudson has become a comfortable fixture of the West Coast arts scene. A co-founder of RKO Productions, the company that performed The Rocky Horror Show in 2014 (where she played Riff Raff), Hudson has loaned her talent to many local productions on the island she now calls home. Some of her past roles have included Wes Borg and Paul Mather’s The War of 1812 (One Dead Troll and a Cranny), the Conjur Woman of Howard Richardson and Richard Berney’s Dark of the Moon (at the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre), Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors (Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre), Madre/Chorus in Elaine Avila’s Lieutenant Nun (Theatre SKAM, Puente Theatre, and SNAFU Dance Theatre), and Constance Blackwood in the Broadway-bound, Dora award-winning musical Ride the Cyclone (Atomic Vaudeville).
The Hundred Acre Wood has become a little more populated recently. In an earlier article, we announced the reuniting of Langham Court Theatre‘s Pride and Prejudice actors Ellen Law and Ian Simms for Winnie the Pooh and Tales of 100 Acre Wood. Today, production company Outpost 31 announced a new cast member Melissa Taylor. She is an actor, writer and director. She created Bereavement (produced by the University of Victoria’s Student Alternative Theatre Company in 2011) and The Oldest Trick in the Book (as part of Theatre SKAM‘s SKAMpede in 2015).
Her one-act play Macramé will be performed next month (August 4 and 5) at Intrepid Theatre. Taylor has garnered critical praise for her portrayal of Mia in the Victoria Theatre Guild’s edgy production of Polly Stenham’s That Face. Times Colonist newspaper’s resident critic Adrian Chamberlain wrote, “[Taylor] captured the truth of her character, Mia, in a tremendously convincing manner. It was a skilled performance.”
She will be juggling the roles of bouncing Tigger and the respected Owl.