Vancouver Fringe Fest review: The Ballad Of Herbie Cox offers a lot of love


Herbie isn’t perfect, but it offers joy. Why resist? Husband-and-wife performers Victoria Chiu and Roland Cox are warmly Australian and they’re dancers—so they’re sexy. And their material is generously personal: in this piece, which mixes dance and text, they examine their ancestry, including the grandfather on Chiu’s side who was raised as a girl and the one on Cox’s who was packed off to Australia at 13 as a condition of his widowed British father’s remarriage. There’s playfulness in the form: ghosts tossed tissues around a bedroom, according to family lore, so some family members are presented as tissue puppets. On the downside: it’s hard to keep relationships straight, the portraits never go deep, and there’s too much shapeless this-is-how-I’m-feeling dancing. Still, the highlights feel like blessings. In the final piece, Cox plays Vittorio Monti’s exuberant “Czardas” on the piano while Chiu dances over and around him, contributing notes with her fingers—and toes. It’s such a delightful portrait of their marriage that I wanted to marry them both.

At the False Creek Gym on September 7 (6:30 p.m.), 8 (3 p.m.), 9 (4:30 p.m.), and 11 (9:30 p.m.).

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