Last season, The Arts Club Theatre Company debuted Onegin, an ambitious new work based on the verse Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky. This season, the cast remains the same but the home of Onegin changes to Granville Island for a run until December 31st.
Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille have written the book, music, and lyrics that covers all the emotions in the two hour show; light-hearted comedy, romance, drama, tragedy. The musical is mostly sung-through with very little dialogue and most of that dialogue is directed at the audience, when the players break the fourth wall. The pop-rock infused songs are strong enough to stand alone, and with the band (Jennifer Moersch, Barry Mirochnick & Marguerite Witvoet) onstage throughout, suggest the whole show could be performed in concert without set or costumes and still be brilliant. However, Drew Facey’s set filled with chandeliers, books and candles and Jacqueline Firkins’ Imperial Russian costumes do great work to place Onegin in 19th century St. Petersburg, Russia.
The whole theatre is the stage as players regularly step into the aisles to interact and bring the audience even closer to the production. Sharing laughter, drinks, chit chat and passing notes, the casual atmosphere is like a visit with friends that you don’t want to end, the two hour show passes all too quickly. In their second season in these roles the actors and characters mesh as one, allowing them to deliver the adlibs and scripted lines with equal comfort. The cast is filled with veterans of Vancouver stage and screen and no one performer stands out because they are all equally brilliant in delivering one of the best new shows that has crossed our stages in recent years.
Onegin plays at The Arts Club Theatre’s Granville Island Stage until December 31, 2017. Visit artsclub.com for tickets and more information.