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The Globe and Mail

Canadians making waves in Edinburgh, London, New York, Chicago

Lots of news to report on Canadian playwrights and performers working outside the country lately.

The Edinburgh Fringe, which ended on Sunday, was a positive experience for many of our artists who made the trip.

Invisible Atom, from Halifax's 2b theatre company and starring Anthony Black, got some four-star love from Guardian critic Lyn Gardner ("a real cut above the usual one-man show"), five stars from the Scotland Herald and, again in the Guardian, kind words from actor and director Cora Bissett, who called it the best thing she saw at this year's Fringe.

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Invisible Atom won one of the Bank of Scotland Herald Angel Awards and ended up extending its run by a week.

Ex-pat Canadian Deborah Pearson, co-director of the Forest Fringe with Andy Field, won a Herald Angel award as well for Like You Were Before - her show about being an ex-pat Canadian!

In the Guardian, Gardner writes of the show that Pearson "uses old video footage to explore the gap between the person she was in 2005 before she left her native Canada, and the person she is now. The person she was is a ghost behind the camera, never as in focus as the laughing female friends she will soon wave goodbye to; the person she is stands before us as flesh and blood." ( Like You Were Before was also shortlisted for the Arches Brick Award and a Total Theatre Award for Innovation.)

Kristen Thomson's much-loved I, Claudia also got an excellent review from the Scotland Herald. Thomson was nominated for The Stage's Best Solo Performer award and for a Total Theatre Award.

Not all the reaction to I, Claudia was entirely positive, however. Thomson got a got a bad review from The List, which I'm only linking to because I was amused to find Anthony Black from 2b defending the show in the comments. Canadians sticking together!

Other Canadians in Edinburgh included cabaret performer Sharron Matthews (whose blog is always an entertaining read), comedian Darrin Rose and actor Alon Nashman, who went over with his solo show, Kafka and Son. I'm not sure how Nashman's show was critically received, but he made the Edinburgh Evening news for what the paper called a "wacky publicity stunt":

[O]e oddball performer might have gone a step too far when he squeezed himself into an animal cage on a traffic island on Forest Road.

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In a valiant attempt to stand out from the crowd, Alon Nashman, star of the one man show Kafka and Son, spent lunchtime on Friday waving at passers-by.

I'll have to ask Nashman about that next time I see him...

Elsewhere in the world, a few prominent upcoming openings to note:

-- In London, Wajdi Mouawad's Scorched is about to get its British premiere in the Old Vic's new performance space under Waterloo Station, The Old Vic Tunnels. Patricia Benecke directs a new translation of the play by Simon Scardifield. It opens on September 3.

Mouawad's acclaimed drama also gets its Chicago premiere next month at the Silk Road Theatre Project (in the Linda Gaboriau translation we all know and love).

-- Another Canadian visiting Chicago is recent Dora winner and Soulpepper regular Jeff Lillico. He's starring as Romeo in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's production of Romeo and Juliet. Directed by Gale Edwards, it opens on September 15.

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-- Last, but certainly not least, in New York, Adam Seelig's One Little Goat Theatre Company gets the honour of opening La MaMa ETC's season with its acclaimed production of Ritter, Dene, Voss by Austrian playwright Thomas Bernard. The all-Canadian cast of this show, which has already played Toronto and Chicago, includes Shannon Perreault, Maev Beaty and Jordan Pettle.

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