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BY SARAH BERMAN, VANCOUVER SUN

FREUD VS. HIS EGO

When: Friday at 5:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Where: Revue Stage

Ryan Gladstone is Sigmund Freud, and so is his co-star Bruce Horak.

The pair of local Fringe vets are flawlessly synched as Self and Ego in a lively journey through the subconscious mind of the cigar-chewing father of modern psychology. With only an hour left to live, Freud and his embodied id embark on a hilarious quest of self-analysis.

Though the material is undeniably cerebral, the two-man comedy is far from highbrow. Rife with genitalia jokes, Freud vs. His Ego seamlessly incorporates slapstick antics, timely wordplay and biographical tidbits. Horak boasts a collection of European accents and rubber-limbed acrobatics, while Gladstone’s interrogations drive the plot forward.

Although the tempo is relentless, the duo is able to ad-lib through technological glitches and keep the crowd laughing. Having already tackled the careers of Shakespeare, Louis Riel and Napoleon in previous plays, Gladstone’s latest composition strikes a particularly clever balance between entertaining and informative. Psychoanalysis degree not included.

SHADOWS IN BLOOM

When: Saturday at 9:40 p.m., Sunday at 5:40 p.m.

Where: Waterfront Theatre

Written and performed by British virtuoso Gemma Wilcox, Shadows in Bloom proves that relationships—much like houseplants—require a special kind of attention to flourish. With a small black bench as her only stage companion, Wilcox weaves through 20 characters including men, women, children, potted plants, and a curious pair of Welsh lobsters.

Recently-divorced protagonist Sandra reunites with a past flame, but is suddenly consumed by her ticking biological clock and a nasty streak of jealousy.

Wilcox creates vivid scenes and boldly explores acidic emotional territory—skills that won her Pick of the Fringe at last year’s festival. Shadows in Bloom is an ambitious display of chameleonic talent, but at times teeters on the brink of narcissistic exhibition.

The semi-autobiographical tale features one beautiful moment where Wilcox breathes in the audience like an immaculate garden of attentive faces. For an instant, green thumbs and golden hearts become one and the same.

ESCAPE ARTISTS I & II

When: Friday at 5:15 and 6:15 p.m., Saturday & Sunday every hour from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Where: Fire Escape at Johnson and Old Bridge Street

Although these two plays share both a name and a venue, the pieces stand apart in both style and delivery. Escape Artists I is a mostly-comedic investigation of escapism in various forms (alcoholism, romance novels, runaway brides and so on) while Escape Artists II is a dramatic post- or pre-apocalyptic pursuit of community.

Both half-hour shows invite a handful of audience members to chase a young cast of Vancouver performers up a several-story fire escape.

With a few interactive surprises in each, these intimate collages of site-specific theatre bring a breath of fresh air to the festival.

Published September 15. Special to the Sun © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Fringe+Festival+Have+cigar+with+Sigmund+Freud+psyche/3535920/story.html#ixzz0zk4E4Slu

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