Fringe Fest 2015: The Fighting Season is cause for celebration

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      Playwright Sean Harris Oliver’s dad volunteered as a doctor in the war in Afghanistan, and the first, crucial success of this script is that it doesn’t feel like bullshit.

      In The Fighting Season, Oliver goes inside the heads of three members of a Canadian medical team who have been sent home after being traumatized by an encounter with an injured Taliban fighter. The play is very moving, as the medic struggles with whether or not to return to Afghanistan, the doctor tries to bury his PTSD in his enthusiasm for his lawn in the Okanagan, and the nurse wrestles with the consequences of her actions.

      Under Evan Frayne’s direction, the performances are fantastic. Kyle Jespersen (the medic) will knock your heart out of your chest. Tom Pickett deftly captures the doctor’s frightening mood swings. And newcomer Siona Gareau-Brennan’s emotional transparency is beautiful.

      There are flaws: the prose gets purple and it’s jarring when the actors play secondary characters. But having such a successful original drama at the Fringe is cause for celebration.

      At Carousel Theatre on September 15 (8 p.m.), 17 (10:45 p.m.), 18 (5 p.m.), 19 (7:45 p.m.), and 20 (2 p.m.)