Canuck fringe circuit scores auds in hockey’s off-season

Fest attracts record numbers

VANCOUVER — The booming western Canadian fringe circuit — starting in Saskatoon moving to Edmonton, Victoria and concluding here with an 11-day run beginning Thursday — will reach auds of more than 700,000 this summer, a record total.

The Vancouver fest will have about 500 performances from 101 groups, second in size to Edmonton’s 150 productions, which is the largest fringe in North America and second internationally after Edinburgh’s fest.

Among the highlights in Vancouver will be the circuit hit “LovePlay,” written and performed by the Weird Sisters (comedy duo Allison Goldie and Kath Burlinson), “Mac-Homer” in which Montreal comedian Rick Miller performs 50 voices from the “The Simpsons” TV show, and “‘Nucklehead Fever!,” a trip inside the mind of a hockey nut.

The Canuck fringe phenom, partially explained by the fact that it does occur in hockey’s off-season, is an uncensored free-for-all for artists and companies trying out new things, such as: “The Kama Sutra” (Eyewitness Theatre Co.), “My Left Breast” (shameless hussy productions), and “Billy Nuthin'” (Theatre Skam) performed in a parking lot, as opposed to a previous effort that was performed in a car in a parking lot.