World’s Fair 1876 – Fringe 7

I finished off my Friday fringing with World’s Fair 1876: Centennial Exposition. The show is a musical comedy combined with a history lesson or two.

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The Show board for World's Fair 1876: The Centennial Exposition.
World’s Fair 1876 Show board.

The protagonist of the show is Ethelbert Watts, a young, anonymous inventor. Watts is competing with Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, H. J. Heinz, for the Ulysses S. Grant. This prize will be presented by president Grant himself.

I watch a lot of Civil War and Reconstruction videos on YouTube. In particular I’m fond of The Wilder Historian and the Gettysburg National Park Service. I also love shows with singing, and I figured this show should be right up my alley. It is.

World’s Fair 1876: A Grand Celebration

The show opens with all five performers singing the praises of the United States’s first 100 years. This is a great, upbeat song about how great the U.S. is, providing you overlook certain aspects. This is a strong clue to how the rest of the show is going to go.

In the competition, Watts and Heinz, are pitted against Bell, and Edison. Bell and Edison are portrayed as a-holes, one of the good bits of historical accuracy in the show. Heinz’s invention, which he is trying to pass off as a medical cure-all(I don’t think it ever was), is my least favourite condiment. If you have followed my blogging for any length of time, you will know which one it is.

Watts on the other hand has an invention that is literally like nothing you have ever seen. As Watts and Heinz work to get their inventions over the finish line they start to develop a bond. The show climaxes with each inventor presenting their inventions, including one hilarious anachronism.

I won’t tell you who the prize winner in the show is. The real prize winner for the evening is the audience. The show offers up well-balanced singing and acting from all the performers. The pacing is lively. Plus, besides being entertained, you will learn about an important time in U.S. history, one that is still shaping our neighbours to this day.

Gargoyle theatre

World’s Fair 1876, is being held at The Gargoyle Theatre. This building has a long and varied history. Current owner, Andrew Davidson, has done a terrific job of redecorating the space. It is low-key luxurious, with a fine lounge towards the back. There are beverages, ice cream, and chips available.

If you need one more reason to go to World’s Fair1876, experiencing The Gargoyle Theatre is a good one.