Monday, June 30, 2008 How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Fringe:

Though the Toronto Fringe's 148 shows are selected by random lottery, the majority of the theatre, comedy and dance festival's programming has become quite predictable.

You can always count on at least one Something Unlikely: The Musical! (this year's edition includes Fart Factory, Hockey and Floozy: The Musicals!), a feminist twist on Shakespeare (this year: 'Beth), a couple of plays about the jobs actors work in between gigs (The Reservation, set in a restaurant, and Silver and Stinky, about bike couriers), as well as more autobiographical solo shows than you can shake a microphone stand at.

As an example of how much of an artistic echo chamber the Fringe has become, note that the 2008 edition has not one, not two, but three shows with titles that riff on Dr. Strangelove: How I Stopped Worrying and Learnt to Love The Mall, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Abortion and, last but not deceased, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Zombie Master. (The zombie play is another Fringe mainstay.)