The 5th Annual March of Dames Quint-essential comedy Festival is a wee feminist comedy festival that grew and now is celebrating its fifth year in March with week-long performances at Theatre Passe Muraille's Mainspace.
Put together by Lisa Merchant, Dames began as a mini-celebration of madcap women comics in 1994 and went on to entertain sold-out houses with lots of blunt, top-notch comics, as well as raise thousands of dollars for such charities as March of Dimes, Common Ground Women's Centre, Planned Parenthood of Toronto and Houselink Community Homes.
This year's lineup promises to be smart, bold and foxy, and includes hot theatre artist Diane Flacks (recently back from New York City with her one-woman show), Queen clown Sue Morrison, musical absurdist Stella Walker, camped-up sixties tribute trio Washed Up Blondes, as well as dynamic duo Shoshanna Sperling and Lisa Brooke, Dumpling and Death's Teresa Pavlinek, stand-up slacker Kristeen von Hagen, local Loogie Sue Greenbank and singing satirist Nancy White. Up-and-comers included Tabitha Wells and Dawn Whittwell, while Second City veterans Jenny Parsons, Janet Van de Graaff and Kathryn Greenwood join in the fun.
Fest founder Lisa Merchant also takes her turn on stage and television celeb Dini Petty is host.
As always, March of Dames continues it commitment to local charities by programming a Sunday evening benefit performance. This year's recipient is the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund, which supports up-and-coming comedic performers or troupes. The March of Dames runs from March 24 to 29. Call 416-504-7529 for tickets.
-- By Mira Friedlander