Saturday, 16 April 2011


Whatever you do, don't call playwright Brad Fraser the "bad boy" of Canadian theatre. Okay, maybe "bad man." But certainly Fraser has outgrown the "bad boy" moniker, even as he gives good quote to The Globe and Mail. About his recent plays premiering in Manchester Brad said, "Because I don’t live there I haven’t actually alienated everyone in town." Not to mention to Xtra whom Brad told he believes Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian is responsible for a mediocre Toronto theatre scene.

Brad Fraser
"My work seems to be accepted and lauded in the UK much more than in my home country," Brad said. "Part of it is the level of critical mediocrity that permeates the Toronto theatre scene, specifically because of the pernicious influence of Richard Ouzounian at the Toronto Star, who really should give up the professional theatre and become the flamboyant high-school drama teacher he was meant to be."

Fraser's new play 5 @ 50 (about five 50-year-old women and middle-aged friendship) premiered at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre this week and runs until May 14, while his critically-acclaimed 2009 play True Love Lies (sequel to his 1989 international hit play Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love) opens in his hometown on April 23, at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre.

Personally, I really enjoyed True Love Lies during its Canadian debut run at Toronto's Factory Theatre in 2009. On the eve of that run, Brad (who turns 52 on June 28) told me some wild stories about his youth. Take the time Brad walked along Ste-Catherine St. from Montreal's downtown Black & Blue circuit party – that was the year 3,500 hot boys paid $14 per head (!) to attend B&B at Métropolis in 1992 – all the way to the Village wearing nothing but a jockstrap and army boots.

"I’d never been so high in my life and ended up [leaving] with four guys," Brad recalls. "When I came to [my hotel room] in the morning, I was naked on the bed. There was this giant bottle of lube and it’s empty and I’m like, ‘What the fuck did I do?’ I’m sore all over and I thought, ‘Well, I’m in Montreal, no one will know!’ A year later, a New York Times reporter was interviewing me and said, ‘I saw you dancing on a speaker at Black & Blue last year!’"

Brad continues, "That’s why I love Montreal. I have nothing but those [kinds of] stories."

Brad may no longer consider himself to be the "bad boy" or even "bad man" of Canadian theatre anymore, but his fuck-you attitude has, ultimately, served him well -- a brand as iconic as Chanel.

Admits Brad, "When I turned 40 I stopped going to gay bars, drinking and fucking around every night of the week." But today, healthy and happy, he adds, "I’m having better sex now than I ever have!"

5 @ 50 runs at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre (UK) until May 14

True Love Lies runs at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre from April 23 to May 15

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