Review Fringe 2015: Adam Bailey is on Fire 4.5/5

BY , EDMONTON SUN

FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2015 05:16 PM MDT | UPDATED: TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2015 05:23 PM MDT

Adam Bailey is on Fire

Growing up knowing you’re gay can bring about many emotions and pressures and anxieties of being able to come out to those who love you. Now imagine trying to do it as the son of an Evangelical priest and hearing sermons every Sunday about the evils of homosexuality.

Adam Bailey shares his personal journey of his incredibly difficult experience, and he does it in a way that had his audience laughing — but also entrenched to the emotional side of his story.

You can immediately tell that he’s the son of a preacher. He starts out his performance sharing what his church’s communion was like. He shared a loaf of bread and Welch’s grape juice and at one point in his performance he played a game called “Lets Challenge the Devout.”

While at times he took the comedic approach to get his message across, there’s the darker side of a young man who struggles with the ability to come out to his family. It pushes him further and further away. His trips home, become few and far between.

When he arrives at university, he feels like this will be the perfect opportunity to explore his sexuality. But, he quickly realizes that the dating scene in the homosexual world will take a lot to get used to.

After experiening love and heartbreak early on, he struggles with the lifestyle. He at one point gets just as comfortable in a bath house as he did in his local church communion, experimenting with cocaine, “poppers” and “rebound sex”.

It wasn’t until he came home for the funeral for his grandfather that he comes to the realization that he needs to come to grips with his life. He needs to find comfort in his sexuality, and reconcile with his family.

Bailey does a great job portraying the friction and the struggles his family endured, and you finally see him at peace when he comes home with his fiancee ready to “come out” to his family — and he realizes that his family will still accept him.

This play is a great example how people’s views are changing for the better when it comes to LGBT community, but there are struggles that have come with it, and it was great to have Bailey share his experience with us.

4.5/5

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4 Stars for Adam Bailey is on Fire!

From Vue Weekly (For Tickets Click Here)

We’ve all heard the story of the gay Christian who comes of age in the big city, but Adam Bailey’s tale feels like a high-speed rip through suburbia, turning from hilarious to heartfelt to hopeful at breakneck speeds. Bailey is a quick-witted and flexible storyteller, working to connect with his audience. He sucks you right into what was happening with this personable, conspiratorial stage presence, keeping you in on the jokes and heartache, the constant struggle for identity when you’re spilt between two very different worlds. Everywhere that it could have been cloying or cliché, this production was inventive and honest. — Sarah Culkin

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Adam Bailey is on Fire at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Adam Bailey is on Fire at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Interview With J on July 29, 2015 for afterthehouselights.com

Describe your show in five words.

Fag Takes on Hell: Wins? Featured Image -- 224

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

It’s a surprisingly funny coming of age story that focuses on the effects of a strict religious upbringing in a person who is gay, based on my own experience as a minister’s son in an evangelical church. I felt in the modern climate of gay rights vs religious rights it was important to tell a story that reminds people that these sectors often overlap, within families and individuals, and explore the results this can lead to.

Your show ‘promises not to pull any punches or be sentimental’ – why was that important to you in creating Adam Bailey is on Fire?

Coming to terms with religion and trying to find a place in gay culture is a huge issue for many LGBT people, and I don’t think the PG version of being gay that we see weekly on Modern Family is helpful to everybody (although that show is hilarious). I researched a lot of other people’s experience while working on dramatizing my own in order to decide the best way of approaching the subject. In the end I’m a firm believer that “Daylight makes the best disinfectant”. So the show deals with some of the grittier elements of gay-culture as well as the church, we see the distance this struggle creates within families, we get to peek inside bathhouses and sex-parties as well as bible-studies and mission work. There’s a connection between a repressive upbringing and some of the high risk behavior seen in the gay-community, if you look at the statistics gays with religious upbringings are much more likely to get involved with drugs and higher risk sex than those with supportive backgrounds. Its time we took a look at that.

Adam Bailey is on Fire was developed with the assistance of Factory Theatre. How did the company contribute to the development process?

I want my work to delight and provoke thought, and I always want humour to be present. But even with the best intentions autobiographical one-person shows based on potentially heavy subject matter can be risky; audience members do not want to pay to watch your therapy session. Regardless of money, audience give you their time and your responsibility is to them. Having high-level professionals help with the show was important to me to ensure the best quality product considering the nature of what I wanted to create and Factory Theatre did not disappoint. I got to work directly with Artistic Director Nina Lee-Aquino, who had several different actors perform my one-person show for me, a rare treat in the world of one-person shows. This allowed me to separate the play form my life and see it from an audience perspective. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity, it took my writing to the next level and I am confident that audiences are getting a great experience because of this.

You’ve been a performer in Toronto’s cabaret scene and host of stand up and burlesque shows as well as playing characters in various shows, but this is an autobiographical piece. How is preparation for an autobiographical show different than for cabaret?

Cabaret work teaches you how to keep things moving, the audience needs to be constantly entertained. The lessons in pacing I learned in cabarets are very evident in this show, which the CBC called “lively” while the story “flies by like a church service on speed”. This show is a real work-out by comparison to some of the cabarets I’ve done simple because its just me up there, but the confidence and whimsy that I have learned in years of doing cabaret are certainly both in the show. There’s a really fun game-show sequence in the piece that is clearly influence by my work in sketch, and I think that people will be nicely surprised by how active this one-man show is.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Bring Kleenex just in case. Yes, it’s funny but I’ve also touched some heart strings.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Nigel Shawn Williams who’s a national treasure works at the Factory and was able to see me do a reading of the show and he loved it, which had me on Cloud 9. My director Matt White is the General Manager at Necessary Angel, and so has worked closely with Canada’s top solo artist Daniel MacIvor. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to an Edmonton connection as it will be my first time in your city but everything I’ve seen that’s toured out of Edmonton has been great and I know that you have a vibrant theatre community that I’m eager to connect with during my stay. Happy Fringeing everybody!

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca starting August 4.

Adam Bailey is on Fire plays at The Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way) August 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23

We’re Kicking off Our Fundraiser for Adam Bailey is On Fire!

God, Gays and Growing Up the Son of a Preacher Man: Adam Bailey is On Fire is Going on The Road!

Couple That Challenged Ban On Same-Sex Marriages Wed In California

Being Gay and Christian means having to answer a question most people don’t want to ask: Am I Going to Hell?

Adam Bailey, a homosexual raised the son of an evangelical music minister, tries to answer this question in his humorous and insightful new play, directed by Matt White, which will have its World Premier at the Winnipeg Fringe before traveling to the Edmonton Fringe later this summer.

Travel is costly, but this story is an important one and we hope you can help. One of the gifts we can give if you choose to assist us is the gift of a video prayer, performed by Adam Bailey, and sent to you as well as posted on this site. We’re sure that this will be a favourite! You can also get invited to a gay pizza party at Adam Bailey’s house where he will show you his wedding photos.

Just click on the link (HERE) to get to the FWYC site to make a donation.

The struggle between faith and sexual identity is often a private one, hopefully by making it a bit more public we can help some LGBT people feel less alone. We hope you are able to give generously.

Last Chance to See The Critically Acclaimed Show

Our Cast

Best of Fringe Winner, The Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward has one Last Show Sunday July 27th at 3pm, and then it Must Close!

Find Out The Amazing True Story of The Assassin of Jesse James and Ponder its Eerie Similarities to Life Today. Be entertained by what the Charlebois Post called, “A tight show with passion, wit, and challenging ideals.”

Tickets Can Be bought Here.

All of Our Reviews Are Here.

But Don’t Miss Out! Once The Show is Over the Mutton Chops Get Shaved!

BEST OF FRINGE WINNER!!!

Our CastThe Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward was a critically acclaimed show at this year’s Toronto Fringe, garnering a spot on several must see lists as well as a 4 Star review from the Torontoist and the title Best of Fringe which it shares with 8 shows. Each Best of Fringe Show enjoys an extension of its run at the prestigious Toronto Centre for The Arts, giving fans an extra chance to see shows that they might have missed at the Fringe Festival.

We’ve added three more performances!

July 17, 2014 9:00 pm
July 22, 2014 7:00 pm
July 27, 2014 3:00 pm

Tickets Are Available Here.

Newborn Theatre Calls it: “Mesmerizing and Gripping”

Mooney on Theatre Says: “It’s terrific!” and “A Must See”

Now Magazine Says: “Strong performances, and wink-and-nod references to a certain present-day mayor, keep the storytelling intriguing.”

The Charlebois Post Calls it: “A tight show with passion, wit, and challenging ideals.”

Check out Our Full Reviews Here.

 

Eight Questions About the Toronto Fringe

Exit Upstage

The Toronto Fringe is in full swing of what is by all accounts a tremendous year for the festival. So while we’re right in the thick of it, let’s start a discussion about things that have come up this year so we can help make an even better festival next year.

1.  Are Ticket Sales Really Up? Buy how much? What does this translate to for average artist return? What was the average sell-through? Was sell-through more-or-less even across timeslots and venues?

There was concern that the move to 100% advance sales availability would hurt the Fringe, as patrons who didn’t get to see their top show would give up rather than come down to the festival to find out what else to see. I’ve always said that concern was unfounded as other festivals that moved that way actually reported massive sales increases.

Anecdotally, ticket sales and sell-outs at the…

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