Picks of the Week – November 7, 2018

The Holiday season is underway, but this weekend we also take a moment out of the entertainment to remember the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI.

Ceasefire Series : Three Winters
photo: Emily Cooper

Ceasefire: The Cultch honours the Armistice with the Ceasefire Series of three plays exploring the causes, effects, and traumas of war from different lenses,

Honour: Sunday November 11th, veterans will be honoured at the Cenotaph at Victory Square in Vancouver, starting at 10am, followed by a Remembrance Day Parade.

Dumplings: Tonight, get your fill of delightfully filled morsels as Vancouver Foodster and Tasting Plates YVR present Dumpling Fest 2018, an exploration of Dumpling dishes around Vancouver

Bloom: Thursday night, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre welcomes Troye Sivan: The Bloom Tour, with guest Kim Petras

Ache Brasil
Pic: David Cooper Photography

Brazil: Celebrate the Bossa Nova as Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre Society (VLACC) presents a dazzling concert showcasing Brazil’s multi-faceted musical culture in Aquarela do Brasil: An Explosive Celebration of Music and Dance, November 8 & 9, 20188pm at Vancouver Playhouse.

Gum: Until December, visit Mouthfeel at Western Front, a spectacular, peculiar exhibition commissioned by the City of Vancouver about gum, co-created by students

Clockwise from bottom left: Georgiy Rhatushnyak (Randy), Stefanie Stanley
(Mother), Brennan Cuff (The Old Man), Owen Scott (Ralphie)
pic: Emily Cooper

Ralphie: Align Entertainment brings the holiday classic A Christmas Story: The Musical to the Michael J. Fox Theatre stage in Burnaby, from November 2 – 17, 2018

Screening:  Thursday evening join MISCELLANEOUS Productions for a free screening for the Vancouver film premiere of Monsters, at The Annex, preceded by a new 5-minute short film, Ghosts of Productions Past.

Enemy: The Enemy at The Firehall Arts Centre is a topical, contemporary interpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, running November 10 – December 1, 2018

JTJustin Timberlake brings his Man of the Woods tour to Rogers Arena for two dates Thursday and Friday night

Son: Gateway Theatre remounts, the autobiographical one-man show, Empire of the Son, a son’s tale of an emotionally distant father, running November 8 – 17, 2018

Laughs: Just for Laughs presents French comedy star,  Gad Elmaleh at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC on Thursday evening.

Sweat: The Arts Club Theatre Company continues to Sweat at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, until November 18th.

Couture: The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Guo Pei: Couture Beyond is the first Canadian exhibition devoted to the work of Guo Pei, China’s preeminent couturière until January 20, 2019

Art: Visit Kimoto Gallery November 2 – 24, for a new series of paintings, Water, by Vancouver artists David Wilson looking at the natural watery surroundings and rain-soaked city streets of his hometown.  

Pop: British pop singer/songwriter Lily Allen brings her sounds to the stage at Vogue Theatre on Friday night

Youth Gives A Christmas Story : The Musical, A Leg Up

The youthful cast of Align Entertainment’s A Christmas Story: The Musical.
photo: Robert Sondergaard

Align Entertainment kicks off the Holiday theatre season with A Christmas Story : The Musical.  The joyful musical is based on the film version of Jean Shepard’s semi-autobiographical anecdotal book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. The 1983 holiday classic comes to life with book by Joseph Robinette and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the award-winning songwriting duo behind La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman.

Set in the 1940s, A Christmas Story: The Musical opens on Jean Shepard’s Manhattan radio show, and takes us back to his youth and recollections of Ralphie Parker’s burning desire to find a ‘Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model BB Gun with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time’ under the Christmas tree. Along the way we meet the the Parker family; younger brother Randy, Mother and “the Old Man”, and Ralphie’s school friends and foes.

From left: Georgiy Rhatushnyak (Randy), Stef Stanley (Mother), Owen Scott (Ralphie), and Brennan Cuff (The Old Man).
photo: Robert Sondergaard

The musical brings all the familiar scenes from the film version to life; snowsuits,  Scut Farkus the school bully, Flick sticking his tongue to flag pole, The Old Man’s ‘major award’ – the famed leg lamp, Ralphie’s pink bunny suit, a tastefully updated Christmas dinner at the Chinese restaurant and of course, the visit to Santa to ask for the Red Ryder BB Gun.

While Trent Glukler as Jean Shepard, Brennan Cuff as The Old Man, Stefanie Stanley as Mother and Amanda Russell as teacher, Mrs Shields anchor the show with their solid vocals and characterizations of the ‘grown ups’, it’s the younger actors who steal A Christmas Story.  Lead by a charming Owen Scott as Ralphie, Georgiy Rhatushnyak as Randy, the company is filled with many more young actors, allowing co-producer/director Chad Matchette to create a tight, energetic, fun show.

Owen Scott (Ralphie) on table left and Georgiy Rhatushnyak (Randy) on table right.
photo: Robert Sondergaard

In this production, the ability to have up to 30 actors on the Michael J Fox stage, allows choreographer Melissa Turpin to create some fun Busby Berkeley-esque song and dance numbers.  Unfortunately, I feel that some of the fantasy pieces could be reduced or cut altogether, to trim the 2.5 hour run time.  While long, the youth save the day, their energy and joy at being part of A Christmas Story, invigorate the audience.  You can’t help but smile at the wide-eyed innocence portrayed by Owen in his lines and lyrics, bringing to mind the iconic film portrayal by Peter Billingsley, but making the role his own.

The detailed set by Conor Moore and great period costumes, by Maureen Robertson complete the picture and take us back to the 1940s. Having a live orchestra, under director James Bryson, ads extra depth to the performances and fills the theatre with the catchy tunes of Pasek & Paul like; It All Comes Down To Christmas, Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun, Ralphie To The Rescue, and wrapping it all up with A Christmas Story, to send the audience home with a song in their heart and Christmas on the mind.

Align Entertainment’s A Christmas Story : The Musical plays at Michael J Fox Theatre until November 17, 2018. Find tickets and showtimes at alignentertainent.ca 

Backbone Makes You Sit Up & Take Notice

Backbone, now playing at the Vancouver Playhouse, is edge of your seat entertainment!

The Cultch – Backbone
Photo: Carnival Cinema

Presented by The Cultch, Australian circus troupe Gravity and Other Myths (GOM) will literally throw your perceptions of circus out the window.  Like other contemporary circus/physical theatre troupes, GOM tests the boundaries of the human body.  Backbone strips down any flashy sets and theatrics, to put the 10 acrobats and their mesmerizing abilities front and centre.  The company themselves also strip down to start the performance, swapping and changing clothing as they warm up with some tumbling and leaping. The show feels as though organically flows from beginning to end. Although it appears improvisational the movement is like a finely choreographed dance as the acrobats move from skill to skill.  The warm up leads to balance tricks, many in motion as they walk across the stage while stand (up to four performers) tall on others’ heads or shoulders. An extended set of swinging, and tossing of performers high across the stage keeps the audience’s’ eyes busy following all the action.  Backbone is full of brilliant action, I was afraid to miss a single twist, toss or tumble.

The Cultch – Backbone
pic: Darcy Grant

The company fills the Playhouse Theatre with so much energy and fun, the gap between performer and audience shrinks as everyone shifts to the edges of their seats.  The 10 members and 2 musicians, are on stage throughout the 80 minute show, tagging each other in and out of tricks to quickly change, or take a breathe.  The trust and connectivity demonstrated by the company creates sexy, but not sexual, intimacy as the ten performers become one creative movement.  In spite of the rough and raw sets and costumes of Backbone, the fluidity of their skills form a beautiful work.

Backbone will enchant everyone in the family, get your tickets soon.

Gravity and Other Myths’ Backbone, presented by The Cultch, is playing until November  4, 2018 at The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, 600 Hamilton St.
for Showtimes and Tickets visit thecultch.com

Picks of the Week – October 31, 2018

It’s Halloween night! As the veil between realms is lifted, get out and have a hauntingly good time. Then get ready to fill the longer nights of November with more entertaining picks of the week.

Fright: It’s the final night to experience the thrills and chills of the haunted houses, rides and ghouls of Fright Nights at Playland

Improv: Grab your ghoulfriends and enjoy a month of eerie laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Spooktober; a selection of themed shows wraps up tonight.

Glow: Van Dusen Garden invites the whole family to Glow In The Garden. Like Hansel and Gretel follow the breadcrumbs to find Halloween fun for all ages all around the garden.

Train: Tonight is the last night to right the Stanley Park Ghost Train on a voyage of the dead to explore a Celtic Halloween.

Pie: It’s your last chance to visit Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop at 348 Water Street as The Snapshot Collective presents the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Harvest: Until November 5th, Harvest Glow at Milner Gardens in Langley isthe ultimate family harvest festival; pumpkin patch, corn maze, pumpkin carving, Harvest Market with 20+ merchants.

Owen Scott as Ralphie
pic: Emily Cooper

Ralphie: Align Entertainment brings the holiday classic A Christmas Story: The Musical to the Michael J. Fox Theatre stage in Burnaby, from November 2 – 17, 2018.  

Fest: Music on Main invites you to immerse yourself in the diverse music of the 2018 Modulus Festival from November 2 – 6, 2018.

Gum: Until December, visit Mouthfeel at Western Front, a spectacular, peculiar exhibition commissioned by the City of Vancouver about gum, co-created by students

The Cultch – Backbone
Photo: Carnival Cinema

Acrobat: The Cultch presents Backbone, a mesmerizing take on the circus,  that leaps from the Vancouver Playhouse stage with breathtaking excitement, until November 4th.

Puck: The Vancouver Canucks play host to Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night and then host Colorado on Friday night at Rogers Arena

Play: The Arts Club Theatre Company continues to Sweat at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, until November 18th.

Couture: The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Guo Pei: Couture Beyond is the first Canadian exhibition devoted to the work of Guo Pei, China’s preeminent couturière until January 20, 2019

Bros: Part of The Ceasefire Series, The Believers are But Brothers is now playing at The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab until November 10th.

Roar: Saturday, head to BC Place for the final BC Lions home game of the regular season against Calgary Stampeders

Lumiere – Luna

Lights: November 2-4 are brighter as Lumiere Vancouver lights up the nights with illuminated light displays and events at Jim Deva Plaza, English Bay and šx????n?q Xwtl’e7énk Square (Art Gallery North).

Stage: The Cultch & Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre present The Ones We Leave Behind a mysterious, comedy about the redemptive power of human connection, playing until November 3 at The Cultch Historic Theatre

‘While Others Are Sleeping’ acrylic on canvas by David Wilson

Art: Visit Kimoto Gallery November 2 – 24, for a new series of paintings, Water, by Vancouver artists David Wilson looking at the natural watery surroundings and rain-soaked city streets of his hometown.  

Films: The 22nd Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival brings both English and subtitles Asian language features and shorts from independent Asian filmmakers around North America and around the world.

Jazz: East End Blues and All That Jazz at Firefall Arts Centre, is an evening of gospel and blues, jazz and memories, with remarkable historical photos that pays tribute to the life and contributions of the historic East End Black residential community featuring a tribute to local legend Thelma Gibson and family, until November 3rd.

Picks of the Week – October 24, 2018

Halloween week is upon us, the ghouls and good times are out in full force as the entertainment ramps up for the season.

Eat: Explore the flavours of Gastown as Tasting Plates takes a tour around the neighbourhood for another evening of great tastes tonight.

Fright: Experience the thrills and chills of the haunted houses, rides and ghouls of Fright Nights at Playland throughout the month.

Glow: Opening Friday, Van Dusen Garden invites the whole family to Glow In The Garden. Like Hansel and Gretel follow the breadcrumbs to find Halloween fun for all ages all around the garden.

Improv: Grab your ghoulfriends and enjoy a month of eerie laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Spooktober; a selection of themed shows throughout the month

Train: The Stanley Park Ghost Train takes a voyage of the dead to explore a Celtic Halloween until October 31st.

Dancehouse Borderline
photo: Agethe Poupeney

Dance:  The Dancehouse 2018-19 season opens with the Canadian premiere of France’s Company Wang Ramirez work, Borderline, playing October 26 and 27, 2018 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks play host to Pittsburgh Penguins on October 27th at 7pm at Rogers Arena

Authors: The Vancouver International Writers Festival may have closed but the events continue as the festival presents an evening with Ian Rankin on October 27th and Yotam Ottolenghi on October 31st.

Play: The Arts Club Theatre Company brings Sweat to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until November 18th.

Couture: The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Guo Pei: Couture Beyond is the first Canadian exhibition devoted to the work of Guo Pei, China’s preeminent couturière until January 20, 2019

Balls: Vancouver Whitecaps FC won’t make the MLS postseason but you still have one more chance to watch Alfonso Davies take the pitch at BC Place, when Portland Timbers come to town

Pie: Until October 31, The Snapshot Collective has opened Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop at 348 Water Street to present the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

The Ones We Leave Behind
photo: Ray Shum

Stage: The Cultch & Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre present The Ones We Leave Behind a mysterious, comedy about the redemptive power of human connection, playing October 24 – November 3 at The Cultch Historic Theatre

 

 

 

DanceHouse opens with Borderline

Borderline: Kompanie Wang Ramirez
photo: Frank Szafinski

DanceHouse is launching their 2018/19 season with the Canadian premiere of France’s Company Wang Ramirez work, Borderline, playing October 26 and 27, 2018 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. 

Performed to layered rhythms and spoken word by percussionist, composer LACRYMOBOY (Jean-Philippe Barrios), along with choreographic duo Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang combining hip hop and contemporary dance with the movement of martial arts in exploration of democracy, immigration, manipulation, and the place of individuals in society.

“Coinciding with escalating nationalist rhetoric and contentious debates on immigration worldwide, Borderline’s open-ended examination of diasporic identity is more relevant than ever,” says Jim Smith, Artistic and Executive Director of DanceHouse. “As Canada is largely a country of immigrants, local audiences will resonate with the work’s illumination of the beauty and the challenges inherent in embodying more than one culture — honouring multiple traditions and languages, while forging a new blended identity of one’s own. Company Wang Ramirez has created a theatrical experience that will linger long after the curtain falls, and stimulate essential discourse about the future of democracy.”

Dancehouse Borderline
photo: Agethe Poupeney

Choreographed in 2013, Borderline consists of several thoughts, ideas, and moments that question the meaning of democracy. Wang and Ramirez are joined on stage by fellow dancers Louis Becker, Johanna Faye, and Saïdo Lehlouh, along with aerial rigger Alister Mazzotti. The five dancers, attached to cables perform a series of 11 intimate vignettes, with the rigger acting in concert with and against the dancers.

DanceHouse presents Company Wang Ramirez: Borderline, October 26 & 27, 2018 at 8pm, at the Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street. A pre-show talk with Borderline artists takes place at 7:15 each evening.

For tickets and further information about Borderline, visit dancehouse.ca

 

Picks of the Week – October 17, 2018

Even though the weather doesn’t feel like it,  Halloween is just around the corner and we’re well into the Autumn entertainment season.

Kicks: Whitecaps FC play their second to last home match of the regular season tonight at BC Place

Beer:  It’s your last weekend to experience #DasOriginal Oktoberfest at Vancouver Alpen Club this Friday and Saturday night.

Twisted: At The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, find out what happens when an imaginary friend overstays his welcome, in Mustard, playing until October 20th

Read: The 31st Vancouver International Writers Festival celebrates the written word and the authors who write them, around Granville Island until October 21st.

Improv: Grab your ghoulfriends and enjoy a month of eerie laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Spooktober; a selection of themed shows throughout the month

Diwali: A Vancouver Guldasta peaks inside the home of the Dhaliwals —a Punjabi family in Vancouver as they deal with events at home and abroad in Punjab, in the early 1980s. Presented with Diwali in BC at The Cultch Culture Lab until October 21th.

Lights: In addition to Vancouver Guldasta, check out the other events included in Diwali in BC

Comedy: Catch Chris Griffin for a live taping comedy special at Biltmore Cabaret for two shows on Thursday

Fright: Experience the thrills and chills of the haunted houses, rides and ghouls of Fright Nights at Playland throughout the month.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks host Boston Bruin on Saturday night at Rogers Arena

 

Beckett: Seven Tyrants Theatre brings Samuel Beckett’s absurdist one-man masterpiece: Krapp’s Last Tape, to Tyrant Studio until October 26th

Rock: The Hard Rock Casino brings American rockers, Third Eye Blind to the Molson Canadian Theatre stage on Friday night

 

Glow: Opening Friday, Van Dusen Garden invites the whole family to Glow In The Garden. Like Hansel and Gretel follow the breadcrumbs to find Halloween fun for all ages all around the garden.

HumansA Brief History of Human Extinction runs October 10 – 20 at The Cultch Historic Theatre, taking a look as the last couple, plus otter, on earth prepare to take off on a space arc to save humanity

Jazz: The Vogue Theatre brings jazz great Pat Metheny to the stage on Saturday night.

World: Sunday night, Balkan virtuoso Goran Bregovi? and his Wedding and Funeral Band makes his debut at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC, bringing a unique blend of Bulgarian, Georgian, Corsican and Romani music.