You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a more quintessentially Vancouver Fringe Festival show than the Leaping Thespians’ The Troll and the 3 Lesbians Gruff.
Taking place on and around the Alder Bay Bridge behind the Granville Island Community Centre, the site-specific story is loosely based on the traditional Norwegian folk tale Three Billy Goats Gruff. In The Troll and the 3 Lesbians Gruff, an idealistic village of lesbians is taken over by an evil troll that pits its residents against each other, feeding off the negative energy that is generated. Having already departed on her journey quest before the troll arrives, it is up to Grace (Nina De Luca) to defeat the troll’s spell over the village on her return.
Director Karen White utilizes the outdoor surroundings to great effect including the waters of False Creek as Grace sets off on her quest in a kayak and Troll (Piper) and sidekick Toady (Jingo) arrive at the village via rowboat. The clever use of lanterns suspended on long poles held by members of the crew, follows and helps to light the action.
Kerri Mesner, who does double-duty as one of the Villagers, has created some expository original songs that add to the folksy nature of the show. Accompanying herself on the guitar, she is helped by the ensemble on a number of occasions.
There is plenty of silliness with a hobby horse race and some funny physical humour from Jingo as the green-faced Toady, but that is much of the charm of the piece that talks as much about building community as it does in trying to entertain.
The Vancouver Fringe Festival is all about providing an opportunity for theatrical expressions that may not always see the inside of a traditional theatre; The Troll and the 3 Lesbians Gruff embraces that opportunity, giving us an original piece that is hard to resist both its folksy charm and feel-good nature.
Written and directed by Karen White. A Leaping Thespians production as part of the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival. On stage at the Alder Bay Bridge through September 14, 2013. Visit http://www.vancouverfringe.com for tickets and showtimes.