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The Montreal Fringe Festival, Day 1, Part 1: Austen for the Attention-Impaired

Posted by Amie / June 11, 2011

Montreal Fringe Festival - Austen for the Attention-ImpairedSince I planned to start my Montreal Fringe Fest evening with the show "Austen for the Attention Impaired", I figured I should get myself a little impaired so as to write a fairer review...

Fringe Fest has been on for a week, but the theatre productions really got rolling last night. The nice thing about the Montreal festival is that a lot of the venues are in the same area (especially if you have a bike and stay sober enough to ride it...), so at 6pm I had to be at Caberet du Mile-End. That meant I could pick up my ticket at 5pm at the venue and still have time for a pre-theatre drink in the Mile End.

Lots of patios, and just in time for happy hour. The box office guys were a little late setting up, but I was heading to Baldwin Barmacie - only about 5 minutes away by foot - leaving more than enough time for an overpriced cocktail. By 5:15 I was settled into a swiveling bar stool staring at a menu.

I'd heard this place was expensive. Known for their muddled and shaken boozy concoctions in the $10-$12 range with cute names such as RéalRegate (a cocktail of rum, freshly-pressed lime juice and not freshly-pressed cranberry juice - only the citrus gets the royal treatment), I figured one drink was all anybody not working in finance could afford. At happy hour, however, it's booze time for the masses! Campari, soda, and grapefruit juice went down easy at $5.

A little too easy since I still had 20 minutes before the show was supposed to start, and judging by the ticket guys' behavior it definitely didn't seem as though the show would start on time anyway...Besides, I certainly wasn't impaired enough yet.

$6.50 and a Kir Royal later (just prosecco with a tiny bit of creme de cassis at the bottom) and I was off to the Cabaret.

Just in time, I settled in while the male and female narrators were introducing the premise. Girl loves Austen, guy doesn't get it. Girl wants to simplify for all those people who, like guy, think there are better ways to occupy the hours of the day than with period novels about people getting married. Guy, being a good guy, volunteers to help act out various Austen novels. Oh, and guy and girl used to date, of course.

There's some song, some white rap, some British accents that kind of disappear, some eight-bar blues that's more like two-bar blues plus six-bars of folk/pop...some moments when I wish the guy would stop hitting on the audience, and a gravy/poutine reference that Midnight Poutine lovers could probably live without...

...but there are some great moments when you find yourself impaired enough to let go, loosen up, and laugh because it's sweet. It's quick and entertaining, light and fun. The guy even grows on you, like gravy on poutine (his words, not mine).

And most importantly, they really do break down Austen for you. All those heroines with pride and little fluttering hearts secretly (or less than secretly) filled with butterflies and romance. The dances, the customs of the day, and most importantly, it's not even too much of a chick flick of a play. I'm going to say women will probably like the show more than men, but it's a good way to start or end the evening.

And if Jane Austen doesn't grow on you or you aren't liking the show, you can get a beer at the venue and see if being slightly more impaired helps. If it doesn't help, you still get a beer. Win-win.

Austen for the Attention-Impaired
Where: Cabaret du Mile-End, 5240 avenue du Parc (at Fairmount)
When: Sun. June 12, 2:30pm; Tues. June 14, 9pm; Thurs. June 16, 6pm; Fri. June 17, 2:30pm; Sat. June 18, 7:45pm
How Much: $12 general, $10 students/seniors or anyone wearing a top hat or a bonnet
Buy Tickets: Online or 1 hour before the show at the venue



Sang / February 4, 2015 at 09:19 am
Jane Austen earned in the neihoborgohd of 600 pounds in her lifetime from her books. Which went a lot further in the early 19th century (it was more than the Dashwoods' yearly income in their reduced circumstances in Devonshire), but still painfully small when you consider how much people have made on her creations in the years since. As a writer so interested in the power of money, and having so little in the way of financial independence herself, I hope she would savor the irony. But in her situation, I would be seriously displeased to have died before my genius was recognized or remunerated.
Kanchipuram sarees / June 6, 2018 at 10:39 pm
nice post
golu dolls / June 6, 2018 at 10:39 pm
nice post

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