In the production of Chelsea Hotel: the Songs of Leonard Cohen—that ran from March 18-29, 2014 at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre—director Tracey Power and her cast of six met with great success (and awe), as was apparent by their twelve day run, and specifically, by the performance of March 18th and the talkback session that followed.
The malaise of existence is anchored to our being by way of regret. Our skeletons perpetuate the inevitable tragedy that is life, finding a way to pry themselves from our tightly locked closets and seep into the fabric of our routine. While we may not consciously wear our inner quarrels on our sleeves, they define our personalities; they map our identities. At least, this is what I understood from the March 20th performance of This Stays in the Room at Gallery Gachet.
"Moon over Buffalo", on now at the Metro Theatre is a classic comedy about a day in the life of a family of eccentric stage actors, who finally have a chance at big screen stardom. The play lovingly pays tribute to everything that goes on behind the scenes of the theatre, but not without making excellent use of classic comedic elements such as mistaken identities, love triangles, drunken buffoonery and slap stick pratfalls. There were several noteworthy performances from lead actors David Wallace as George Hay, Michelle Collier as Charlotte Hay, and Devon Busswood as Rosalind.
Let’s be real for a moment. As important of a text Decent of Man is, it is one dry read. Seriously, have you tried to sift through the gaudy jargon and period writing tropes with a casual interest? Absolutely not happening without frequent breaks, the occasional nap, and several pots of coffee. Incidentally, I have never had that opinion about hip-hop. In fact, I get wildly interested when I hear a rap song for the first time. Whether it is the crème of the genre or YouTube clip of some 9 year old thinking that 2Chainz is the perfect role model, I’ll listen with the same level intrigue.
Improv is a funny thing. No, literally, improv is a funny thing. It has funny people too. I had the (dis)honour of attending the premiere of The Amazing Improv Race last week. For those unfamiliar, it is a “competition” where three improv pairs show-off their best make-believe to a hysterical audience. The prize – at least on this night – was a six-pack.
While many people might be getting their fix of musicals from movies these days – this year’s edition of the Oscars even celebrated the movie musical – there are many good old fashioned stage shows coming to town. Vancouver’s premiere professional company, the Arts Club, keeps up the quality with their production of Dreamgirls. Dubbed the ‘Motown Musical’ and inspired, in part, by figures such as Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, and James Brown, the show follows the rivalry of two female show singers – Effie White and Deena Jones – their group “the Dreamgirls” and their conniving manager.
On Tuesday, March 5, The Cultch hosted the premier of Conspiracy Theatre’s Extraction, a theatre documentary surrounding oil mining in Alberta and the economic relationship between Canada and China. While the concept of a “theatre documentary” is peculiar and enticing, Extraction defines the genre and is now the standard to which similar performances should be held.
Unfortunately, that bar is now set rather high.
For anybody who is a regular fringe-goer, they have probably seen a show by festival legend TJ Dawe. He’s been touring the country’s summer festival circuit for the last 10 years or so. All his shows are one-man shows that are often comedic and inspired by life’s absurdities. But his new piece, Medicine, is vastly different than any past fringe show.
It is always when young aspiring thespians start their own theatre company. It can be doubly challenging when the actors are in their senior years. Brand-new acting company FOG Theatre Society pulls it off effortlessly with their rendition of Tom Stoppard’s “Heroes” – running at the PAL Studio Theatre until September 30. Directed by Terence Kelly and starring William Samples, John Innes and Michael Dobbin – all long-time veterans of the Vancouver & Canadian theatre scene – Heroes is a play for the ages (and aged).
I suspect that Astrid and Otto Rot are from another planet. No one is as wickedly funny as uber-talented musicians (and not just any planet; Kepler-22b to be specific.) The newly discovered planet happened to be the subject of their opening number. With Astrid looking like a 24th century Elizabeth 1 and Otto resembling a futuristic hippie, the near sold-out Cultch was quickly turning into a groove fest.