Arts Club Theatre Company : Once

Gili Roskies & Adrian Glynn McMorran
photo: Emily Cooper

Once is definitely not enough when it comes to seeing Arts Club Theatre Company’s Once, now playing at the Granville Island Stage.  The final show of the season, and for Artist Director Bill Millerd’s 45 season reign as the guiding force of the Art Club, certainly makes a memorable impact.

The heartwarming and heartbreaking story of Guy meets Girl, based on the 2007 film of the same name, takes the audience on a journey filled with music, laughter, melancholy, romance and inspiration.  Known only as Girl (an ‘honest’ Czech aspiring pianist, played by Gili Roskies) and Guy (a struggling Dublin musician, played by Adrian Glynn McMorran), our leads’ meet cute involves busking and a Hoover.  That oddball scenario, foretells the unique show that’s to come.  While Girl struggles with her feelings for Guy and loyalty to her estranged husband, she champions Guy to never give up on his heart and music.  Once would be nothing without that music, written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova (the original film’s leads) the heartfelt songs stand-out like a third lead; moving the story along, connecting the characters and allowing Guy and Girl to sing what they can’t say.

To help bring the duo’s musical aspirations to a fruition, a company of colourful characters gather; both Czechs and the Irish play multiple instruments, dance, and sing often all at the same time.  While all the company are solid; stand outs include Chris Cochrane as Billy the music shop owner and admirer of Girl, who plays well off of the always solid Caitriona Murphy.  There are a couple moments when the Irish accents sound a bit like their protecting their Lucky Charms, but it’s not enough to distract from the feeling that the audience is a Dublin pub with the company.  Set designer Ted Roberts makes the most of the small Granville Island stage to recreate the feeling of an Irish Pub, which is open to the audience for on stage drinks and a kitchen party style opening jam session that leads into the show.  From this lively opening to the emotional Academy Award winning song “Falling Slowly”, Once moves us and makes us cheer for Guy and Girls’ relationship and leaves us fulfilled but wanting to know the rest of their stories.

See it once or often but definitely see it before it’s gone.  Once is playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage until July 29, 2018.

Dancing on the Edge 30th Anniversary opens July 5, 2018

Canada’s longest running festival of contemporary dance, Dancing on the Edge Festival is coming to Vancouver venues July 5 -14, 2018.

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Dancing on the Edge Festival’s longevity serves as a powerful reminder of the contributions of dance, to our past and future of the Arts in the community. Building on its 30 years of history the30th annual Dancing on the Edge Festival will bring dance in all shapes and forms to Vancouver audiences.

Festival Founder and Producer Donna Spencer announced that this year’s DOTE showcases over thirty performances involving more than twenty innovative companies and choreographers. Artists from across Canada, from Belgium and South Korea will take to stages and streets during the ten-day festival, performing in full length and mixed bill programs, as well as site-specific works.

Highlights of this year’s lineup include performances by visiting companies including;
Montreal’s Paul-André Fortier/Fortier Danse-Création
Belgium’s Liz Kinoshita,
South Korea’s Dab Dance Company
Montreal’s Lara Kramer Danse

MascallDance

BC choreographers are well represented too, performing a mix of new works and audience favourites include; Wen Wei Dance, Company 605, Lesley Telford/Inverso Productions, Co.ERASGA/Kasandra Lea, Kokoro Dance, Mascall Dance, Noam Gagnon/Vision Impure, and many more performances for the 30th anniversary. 

Outdoor site-specific work includes;

Gail Lotenberg of LINK Dance Foundation’s choreography Crosswalk Hustle, a new installation in “The Intersections Series” where pedestrians and vehicle traffic meet in a choreographed routine (performances at Davie & Bute and Commercial Drive &1st Ave),

Dances for a Small Stages Summer Series brings four short works to Granville Island ranging from tap to hip hop, from contemporary to flamenco.

Dancing on the Edge Festival kicks up its heels with a opening 30th Anniversary Party by-donation, community celebration on July 5th at Firehall Arts Centre.

For a full line-up and schedule of events, plus ticket information visit dancingontheedge.org

Picks of the Week – June 20, 2018

Summer 2018 is upon us and bringing with it a plethora of entertainment to keep your week moving along with these picks.

Eat: Take a flavourful tour of Vancouver’s West End on Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates West End edition.

Bard: Make your picks between a Beatles themed version of As You Like It or the Scottish Play in the Bard on the Beach 2018

Jazz: The Vancouver and Victoria International Jazz Festivals both get underway June 22 with Macy Gray, Dee Dee Bridgewater & The Memphis Soulphony, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Bonobo, The Jerry Douglas Band and more

Queer Arts Festival: Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax

Arts: The 10th Anniversary Queer Arts Festival is underway until June 28th at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.

Kicks: Get your FIFA World Cup fix and soak up the global vibes at various venues around town

Exhibit: Get away to the cabin at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever a new exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018. As well, David Milne: Modern Painting  on until September 9th, offers highlights of Milne’s half-century career, which took him from New York City, to the battlefields of Northern  France and Belgium, and back to the wilderness of Canada and the US.

Fest: The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra presents the Global Soundscape Festival a celebration of Middle Eastern music at venues around town June 16 – 27, 2018

Concert: Saturday night at Vancouver Playhouse, Sweet Bubbling Nights, presented by Soulful Productions is a sizzling celebration of soul, Motown, funk, show tunes and drag in support of LGBTI Pulse Memorial Scholarship.

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art reopens after renovations with BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest an exhibition deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation

MammaMiaAbba: You’ll have a hard time not singing along at the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage, until August 12th

Irish: The final show of the 2018 Arts Club Theatre Company season closes with ONCE, at the Granville Island Stage.

Outdoor: DOXA Documentary Film Festival presents, Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, for its annual Outdoor Summer Screening at Robson Square on Saturday at 9:30pm

Resist: Until October 8th at MOA, Arts of Resistance: Politics and the Past in Latin America, invites visitors to take a closer look at the political and social significance of Latin American artistic traditions to express political realities.

Midway: Enjoy summer excitement at Playland on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Wild: The Museum of Vancouver opens a new exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives, which takes a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city.

Wing It with Vancouver Foodster Chicken Wings Challenge

The Vancouver Foodster Chicken Wings Challenge is back for its 2018 edition with more tasty and creative chicken dishes.

From June 21st to July 15, 2018, Vancouver Foodster has challenged restaurants around Metro Vancouver to create their best Chicken Wings.  get out and try any or all of the unique Chicken Wing dishes prepared by the participating restaurants.

The restaurants have entered their favourite Chicken Wings from their menu or have come up with a unique recipe for their Vancouver Foodster Chicken Wings Challenge dish. The chef’s entries may range from simple to elaborate, feature unique and innovative ingredients, they may be breaded or naked; saucy or dry seasoned; baked or fried.

As with all of Vancouver Foodster’s food challenges, a panel of media judges (including myself, Joyce Lam @VanFoodies and Sherman Chan @ShermansFoodAdv ) will taste and crown the Judges’ Choice Chicken Wings.  The public is also invited to try any or all of the entries, then vote for the People’s Choice  Chicken Wings creation at vancouverfoodster.com/chicken-wings-challenge . On social media, tag your chicken wings experiences #ChickenWingsChallengeYVR and see what other’s are enjoying along the Chicken Wings Challenge.
The 2018 participating restaurants are;

Vancouver

Davie Dosa Company, 1235 Davie Street

U & I Thai, 3364 Cambie Street 

Mission

U & I Thai, 33261 1st Ave 

Abbotsford

U & I Thai, 3757 South Fraser Way

Langley

Ban Chok Dee, 20563 Douglas Crescent

Maple Ridge

Ban Chok Dee, 20395 Lougheed Hwy

For more details on the Chicken Wings Challenge restaurants and dishes, visit vancouverfoodster.com/chicken-wings-challenge .

Macbeth opens Bard on the Beach 2018

Macbeth

This week, the 2018 season of Bard on the Beach opened with Macbeth on the BMO Mainstage.

The famed Scottish Play, starts with the General being forewarned by a trio of witches, who prophesy that he is destined to be the King of Scots, creating a tale of ambition, treachery and murder that turns to madness and tragedy.

Directed by Chris Abraham of Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre, this production of Bard on the Beach Macbeth stars Shaw Theatre Festival veteran Ben Carlson, making his Bard debut, as Macbeth.  His Lady Macbeth is played by Moya O’Connell making a return to Bard, along with a host of other Bard veterans; Andrew Wheeler as MacDuff, Craig Erickson as Banquo, Jeff Gladstone as Malcolm and many more rounding out the able cast.

Director Abraham notes that he had in mind how this beloved play was staged in the open-air, daylight theatre in 1600s.  In contrast to the daylight of old, Abraham has created a dark production, with Carlson and O’Connell bringing must angst and madness to their roles.  Most of the main characters have a cloud of darkness and tragedy hanging over them, which does make the lighter moments of the comedy relief characters slightly jarring in their abrupt change in tempo.

The themes of loss, ambition, jealousy, suspicion, even the mysticism of the weird sisters, are treated differently in today’s society, all things that affect the production and the audiences viewpoint allowing even the most historically authentic of stagings to take on its own life.  The set, designed by Pam Johnson, plays on the open air of the BMO Mainstage to recreate the feeling of Shakespeare’s historic Globe Theatre.  With Christine Reimer’s Shakespearean costumes bringing another touch of 17th century authenticity the production tries to transport the audience to how it would have been originally staged, albeit with women playing the female roles, not men, as was required in Elizabethan London.  Running at nearly three hours, including intermission, Bard on the Beach’s Macbeth is a long but worthy show, and probably as close to an authentic Shakespearean experience as we’ll get in Vancouver.

For full cast and crew details, showtimes and special performances, please visit bardonthebeach.org/2018/macbeth

Honda Celebration of Light 2018 Park Stage Line-Up

Honda Celebration of Light organizers recently announced the line-up of acts taking to the Park Stage at Second Beach during the three days of music during the fireworks festival.

The Park Stage at Second Beach performers offer enjoyment for all ages and offer a full-day of entertainment leading up to the 28th annual fireworks show above English Bay on July 28th, August 1st and August 4th. The line-up features a diverse list of musical acts including Jully Black, Five Alarm Funk and Busty and the Bass.

Other acts joining taking Stage include Bend Sinister, DiRTY RADiO, Missy D & Friends, Ashleigh Ball, Schwey, The X Presidents, Sister Says, The Hairfarmers, Luca Fogale, Alex Maher and Niska Napoleon. 

The free festival at Second Beach will also features food trucks, the REMAX Family Zone, and other sponsor activations. Licensed from 2pm – 9pm the festival is the perfect place for friends and  family to enjoy the friendly and entertaining atmosphere with an afternoon of music, beverages, food, and (hopefully) sunshine.  

Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof

If the Park Stage at Second Beach isn’t your scene, Honda Celebration of Light offers plenty of ways to make the most of all that the longest-running offshore fireworks competition in the world has to offer, from the prime viewing at The Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof, the Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk or with guaranteed family friendly seating at the YVR Observation Deck. 

For a full schedule, event details and tickets visit hondacelebrationoflight.com

Chor Leoni brings Mane Event to the tents at Bard

As Bard On The Beach gets underway, Chor Leoni is also readying for its 25th, and final, season performing under the tents at Vanier Park with a new show Mane Event

Chor Leoni Memories of Bard

Mane Event blends the old with the new, folk songs with Broadway, and funk with power ballads in a program guaranteed to thrill you.  At their very first Bard performance, in 1993, the men’s choir premiered a mash-up arrangement by Miles Ramsay that merged Cole Porter’s So In Love with Leonard Bernstein’s Tonight from Westside Story.  For their 25th anniversary this beloved gem returns, along with other favourites culled from their repertoire from years past, including The Impossible Dream, Canadiana MedleyInto the West, and the tongue-twisting Trinque L’amourette. The production isn’t just about looking back at their past, it will include new arrangements including Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, Try Everything (sung by Shakira in Zootopia), and a high-energy Lady Gaga/Madonna mash up.

Mane Event is the choir’s opportunity to shake out their manes for their 25th and final production at Vancouver’s favourite summer venue. Expect familiar tunes, mind-boggling choreography, over-the-top costumes, and a crackerjack band as the lions close out their season with a wink and a roar.  Add in amazing choreography, fantastic costumes, and a crackerjack band led by Ken Cormier and it’s clear this more than just a concert. 

Chor Leoni Men’s Choir (“choir of lions”) is recognized as one of North America’s premiere ensembles and performs to over 15,000 patrons each year. A local treasure, the choir has been voted Best Local Classical Vocal Ensemble four years in a row by the Georgia Straight readership, and Best Choir in the WestEnder’s Best of City 2017 poll.

MANE EVENT takes place Monday June 25,  and Monday July 2 at 3pm and 8pm in the BMO Mainstage Tent at Bard on the Beach, Vanier Park. Tickets start at $30 online at chorleoni.org