If you like your Canadian politics with an extra helping of camp, then Laureen: Queen of the Tundra is the Fringe show for you. Named after the wife of our Prime Minister (portrayed by Montreal drag queen Connie Lingua), this cabaret drag show explores what it’s like to be queer and Canadian under a conservative government.

The structure of the show is very loose. A sketch comedy number is followed by a lip synch performance followed by a testimonial. But throughout the production everyone’s favourite bad guy “Stephanie” Harper (a delightful cameo by Jordan Arsenault) makes sure to keep her evil eye over what’s going on.

The tone of the show skips back and forth between silly and serious. The silly numbers are mostly a portrayal of your standard Canadian clichés; RCMP officers, Celine Dion and Shania Twain all make appearances. Some of these numbers are hilarious; you’ll be laughing in spite of yourself at the Dion number for instance. Others numbers make the show start to drag a bit; the fake talk show number felt like a reject sketch from This Hour has 22 minutes.

But the real reason to see this show is the more serious aspect; the testimonials. In between all the silliness each member of the cast comes out and monologues what it like is to be Trans, queer, or an immigrant in Canada. The raw emotion and expressions of pain, fear, and hope is lovely stuff. It would be great if someone turned that aspect into a whole new show… maybe for Fringe 2016?

Laureen: Queen of the Tundra plays at Cafe Cleopatre until June 21st, for tickets or more info, please consult the Montreal Fringe website

This year the bilingual, multi-disciplinary Montreal Fringe Festival turns 25. Running mostly out of The Plateau, this year’s festival boasts over 700 shows from over 500 artists. As always the offerings range from sweet to naughty, amusing to just plain out there.

So whether you want to take part in a strip spelling bee, watch drag queens race on tricycles, or take in a night of indie music, Fringe has you covered. The tricky part is what lie you’re going tell your boss so you can fit in all the fun!

Here are some of the shows that Forget the Box is excited to see this year:

  1. Trantasy: Stand-up comedienne Tranna Wintor explores her wildest fantasies onstage at The Wiggle Room from June 4th-21st
  2. No More Radio Showcase: Every year the folks from No More Radio put on a free showcase of indie music at Fringe Park. This year’s line-up on June 12th includes Heirloom, Grand Bend’s Stegall, and Sarah Segal-Lazar.
  3. Attention Seeker: British comedian Gerard Harris (Let’s Start a Country) returns for another year at The Fringe with a one-man show that seeks your attention from June 12th-21st at the Studio Multimedia de Conservatoire.
  4. Laureen: Queen of the Tundra Named after the Prime Minister’s wife, this show is whimsical exploration of what it means to be Canadian for a group of drag queens. Playing at Café Cleopatre from June 12th-21st
  5. Shirley Gnome: Real Mature This Vancouver act promises to take the audience on a hilarious 60 minute musical ride at Café Campus From June 12th-21st.

Make sure to visit Forget the Box often for upcoming reviews of all these shows and more! The Montreal Fringe Festival runs until June 21st. For ticket information, visit montrealfringe.ca