Picks of the Week – August 16, 2017

After weeks of smoky haze, the skies have cleared making it a pleasure to get out and enjoy the picks of the week

Spectacle: The tall ship Amara Zee docks along the shores of False Creek until Sept 3rd and becomes the backdrop & stage for a free, unique, acrobatic aerial musical Climatopian Spectacle – Nomadic Tempest.

Singer: acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter k.d.lang performs two shows at the Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday

Heartbreakers: Thursday night at Rogers Arena, rock legends Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers take to the stage

VQFF Closing Film: Handsome Devil

Films: Vancouver’s second largest film festival, VQFF continues around the city until Sunday.

Shakespeare:  Bard on the Beach is under the tents at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale are on the BMO Mainstage with The Merchant of Venice and Two Gentlemen of Verona in previews on the Howard Family Stage

Nooners: Don’t forget to enjoy the free afternoon concerts at the CBC Musical Nooners at the CBC Plaza on Hamilton St

Country: Friday night Rogers Arena is filled with country stars as Zac Brown Band stop in Vancouver

Roar: The BC Lions host Calgary Stampeders at BC Place on Friday night

Mary & Bert on a Jolly Holiday
photo: Tim Matheson

HeldOver: Enjoy the laughter and memories of evenings Stanley Park at Theatre Under The Stars presenting Mary Poppins and The Drowsey Chaperone on alternating evenings until August 26

PNE: Another season of Summer Nights Concerts kicks off as the PNE opens on Saturday

Pride: The Royal City rolls out the welcome mat for the New West Pride Street Party on Columbia Street and parties throughout Saturday

Kicks: Saturday, Whitecaps FC return home to play host to Houston Dynamo for the team’s annual Pride Night at BC Place


Movies
: Don’t forget to head outdoors and catch cinema under the stars with Outdoor Cinema BC shows popping up all over Metro Vancouver

 

Picks of the Week – August 9, 2017

The buzz of the BC Day long weekend, Vancouver Pride, Celebration of Light and so much more has come and gone but there’s still plenty in the picks of the week to keep you entertained all week.

Arts: The 27th Harmony Arts Festival  is underway now. Tonight, Best Of The West showcases local restaurants and wineries, then tomorrow Mixology Night On The Pier is a cocktail competition, all alongside the rest of the line up of arts & entertainment to West Vancouver.

Laughs: The dynamic duo of comedy Ryan Steele and Amy Goodmurphy bring another edition of The Ryan and Amy Show to XYYVR for two nights, August 10th & 11th

Shakespeare:  Bard on the Beach is under the tents at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale are on the BMO Mainstage with The Merchant of Venice and Two Gentlemen of Verona in previews on the Howard Family Stage

Culture: The New West Culture Crawl gets underway Friday night with an Opening Night party at Anvil Centre, kicking off the weekend Culture Crawl around the Royal City

Bach:  2nd Vancouver Bach Festival presented by Early Music Vancouver brings chamber music concerts, ensembles and soloists bringing classical music to Christ Church Cathdral and The Chan Centre until Friday.

 

Murals: Saturday the Vancouver Mural Festival hosts the Mount Pleasant Street Party, 10 blocks of car-free entertainment, arts, markets and performances by Yukon Blonde and Louise Burns.

HeldOver: Now that the season has been extended until August 26, there’s even more evenings to enjoy in Stanley Park at Theatre Under The Stars presenting Mary Poppins and The Drowsey Chaperone on alternating evenings.

Take Off: Celebration all things aviation at the 50th Abbotsford International Airshow, as static displays, aerial exhibitions, entertainment and fireworks fill Abbotsford Airport this Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Roar: Sunday, BC Lions play host to Saskatchewan Roughriders and their hardcore fans at BC Place

Croon: Famed English singer/songwriter Bryan Ferry brings his smooth sounds to the Orpheum Theatre on Sunday evening.

Eternal Theatre Collective presents 13 the Musical

Do you remember what it was like to be 13?  Fitting in, the braces, the relationship troubles, the bar mitzvahs?

All this comes to the stage as Eternal Theatre Collective (ETC) presents their first musical ever: 13, Jason Robert Brown’s acclaimed Broadway musical 13, which explores the life of an adolescent boy thrust from the bright lights of New York to the lamest place in the world: Appleton, Indiana. Evan Goldman’s life has just gone to hell. Due to his parents’ divorce, he is forced from the life he knows and loves and made to move cities – and only a few months before his 13th birthday! With his bar mitzvah coming up, Evan needs it to go well – after all, it’s the most important time of his life. All he wants is for the cool kids to come to his party, but small-town kids are a little bit different from the big city dwellers Evan knows, and that might be a little bit more difficult than expected.  These teenage angst are all set against an unforgettable pop-rock score from Tony-Award winning composer, Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County).

Exploring the transition from boyhood to manhood, 13 the Musical is perfect for families of all ages. 13 also explores issues surrounding disability and bullying in early adolescences, and features a prominent character afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Just as 13 is a musical about fitting in – and standing out, the Eternal Theatre Collective is a company composed entirely of outstanding young people.  Founded in 2015, ETC’s board members, designers, actors, and directors are all aged 13 – 25. Since incorporation, ETC has produced four productions including two cabarets and four short plays written by young people. ETC is committed to supporting young artists and giving them the experience they need to further their talent and get their names into the professional world.

13 the Musical from ETC plays at the Revue Stage on Granville Island August 9 – 12, 2017.
Tickets are on sale now
Youth tickets: $17
General tickets: $22

Picks of the Week – Aug 2, 2017

The August long weekend in Vancouver is always packed with so much entertainment; Pride, Fireworks, Festivals, Concerts and more make it hard to choose the picks of the week…

Lights: Look up, way up and witness the explosive entertainment of Celebration of Lights as United Kingdom lights the night tonight and Canada wows the crowds on Saturday

Punks: Reminisce with the contrasting of rock styles when Echo & The Bunnymen and Violent Femmes take the PNE Amphitheatre stage on Thursday

Arts: As if you need more to do this weekend, the 27th Harmony Arts Festival kicks off on Friday bringing 10 days of arts & entertainment to West Vancouver.

Shakespeare:  Bard on the Beach is under the tents at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale are on the BMO Mainstage with The Merchant of Venice and Two Gentlemen of Verona in previews on the Howard Family Stage

Pier: Pride comes to North Vancouver this year with the new Prance on the Pier, an all-ages dance party at the Shipyards pier in lower Lonsdale

Bingo: At Wednesday’s Bingo 4 Life Pride Edition Grease is the word as Mina Mercury and Carlotta Gurl channel their inner Sandy’s while calling numbers to raise money for Vancouver Friends For Life

Bach: Early Music Vancouver presents the 2nd Vancouver Bach Festival with chamber music concerts, ensembles and soloists bringing classical music to Christ Church Cathdral and The Chan Centre until Aug 11th

Run: Get your weekend off and running, supporting charities while you’re at it. Drop your gear for the Pride Undie Run, a quick jog from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the Davie Street Party on Friday night.

Street: Pride really gets going with the annual Davie Street Dance Party filling the street from Burrard to Jervis with music, food, drink and entertainment

Stars: Enjoy the evening in Stanley Park at Theatre Under The Stars this season presenting Mary Poppins and The Drowsey Chaperone on alternating evenings.

Beach: Sunday the Sunset Beach Festival opens at 11am for a day of music, outdoor beer garden, food trucks and marketplace. 

Parade: The main event of Vancouver Pride the 39th Annual Pride Parade starts at Noon at Robson & Bute then makes its way to Sunset Beach entertaining thousands of spectators along the way.

Parties: Fill in the weekend with any of the multitude of parties and cruises like Love & Freedom Events’ Big Pride Weekend,  Ruff Vancouver, TFD Presents’ Rapture Pride Weekend, Vancouver Arts & Leisure’s Alternative Pride, Cruisy-T’s Boat Cruise and more

 

 

Picks of the Week – July 26, 2017

Where does the time go? July is already coming to a close but never fear there’s plenty of fun in these picks of the week…

Kick off: The 2017 Downtown Pride Premiere brings a taste of things to come with entertainment, Queens, food trucks, games and more at Robson Square, today from 3pm – 10pm

Mars: Not the planet but the popstar Bruno Mars comes to Rogers Arena for two nights, Wednesday and Thursday

Drum Is Calling Festival

Drum: Celebrate Indigenous Arts and Culture at the Drum Is Calling Festival, Free at Larwill Park until July 29th

Highschool: See the gritty and intense Girls! Girls! Girls! presented by Excavation Theatre at Havana Theatre  before it closes July 29th

Games: Head to Jim Deva Plaza on Davie for West End for some fun and play on West End Games Night on Thursday

Mary & Bert on a Jolly Holiday
photo: Tim Matheson

Stars: Enjoy the evening in Stanley Park at Theatre Under The Stars this season presenting Mary Poppins and The Drowsey Chaperone on alternating evenings.

KidFree:  Leave the kids at home and head to Playland, where Friday’s in July are Adults-Only. Spend your evening with a drink in hand as you wander the park surrounding by those 19+ only

Brit: Singer-Songwriter,  and sometime GoT guest, Ed Sheeran comes to Rogers Arena for a concert on Friday night

Arts: The Arts Club Theatre Company   season comes to a close this weekend when Bittergirl The Musical closes July 29th at Granville Island Stage

Sissy: The Odyssey gets Pride off to an early start with Sissy Boy: Pride! featuring the best of the 70s, 80s & 90s on Friday night

Shakespeare:  Bard on the Beach is under the tents at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale are on the BMO Mainstage with The Merchant of Venice and Two Gentlemen of Verona in previews on the Howard Family Stage

Mystery: Join Joel, Jonah, Crow, Tom Servo and Gyspy as they Watch out for Snakes! on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Live at Orpheum Theatre on Sunday

Girls! Girls! Girls! from the headlines to the stage

Onstage this week at Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive, Excavation Theatre presents Greg MacArthur’s Girls! Girls! Girls!.

Director Jessica Anne Nelson crafts the gritty play into a sometimes uncomfortable, but insightful, look at teen angst and anger.  MacArthur wrote the play in the late 90s as a reaction to violent high school stories like the Columbine Massacre and, closer to home, the tragic death of Reena Virk in Victoria.

The bare-bones staging and intimacy of the Havana Theatre puts the audience in the midst of the action, forcing viewers to invest in the players more than in distant seating. The five characters of Girls! Girls! Girls! cover the cliques of high school that many of us will recall.  Splitz (Sachi Nisbet) is the key to the action, a popular gymnast used to winning and being the centre of attention with high expectations of her status.  When her world is rocked by not winning, jealousy and anger get the best of her.  This temperament trickles down to her ‘gang’ of friends, who in reality are more like followers, Puss (Bronwyn Henderson) and Jam (Demi Pedersen) are a hand-in-glove pair of outsiders, with Puss being the more aggressive, dominant of the two girls and Jam a more thoughtful follower.  Rounding out this gang of merry misfits is Little Bucky the Fag (Riley Davis) a seemingly innocent boy that the girls treat more as a mascot than an equal, making him show off his ‘wiggly piggly’ to elicit laughter and mirth to brighten Splitz blues.

Splitz’s anger towards the naive and innocent, and drunken, Missy (Isabella St Clair) who trumped her for the top prize at a gymnastics meet, cannot be contained, setting off a chain reaction of devastating proportions.  Sending her minions out to reclaim her title, by any means necessary, from Missy, Puss and Jam find her but Little Bucky finds his own trouble.  From here the play seems to move in two realms, Nisbet portrays Spitz with single-minded jealousy and rage, which emboldens the gleeful bully in Henderson’s Puss which in turn causes allows Pederson to bring confusion to Jam who must balance her own moral compass and need to fit in. Meanwhile, Little Bucky abused and alone confronts his own mixed feelings which Davis juggles like a cirque performer.  The 75 minute play builds like seething temper to a climax that’s not the expected outcome, taking a look at how far a bully can go and how much the bullied can take.  No matter what group you identified with Girls! Girls! Girls! takes us all back to those high school thoughts of loyalty, jealousy, self-worth and peer-pressure.   All the cast are captivating as they fit their roles into this complicated puzzle of teenagehood.

Girls! Girls! Girls! plays at the Havana Theatre, Tuesday to Friday this week, July 25 – 28, 2017 at 8pm. Tickets are available at the door or in advance on Eventbrite for $20, general admission.

 

 

The Drowsy Chaperone wakes up Theatre Under The Stars

For its 71st season, Theatre Under The Stars welcomes the Tony Award winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone to the stage.   Alternating with Mary Poppins, the slapstick musical parody is a hilarious good time.

Man In Chair listens to the 1928 musical The Drowsy Chaperone cast.
photo: Tim Matheson

The Drowsy Chaperone is a play- within-a-play format, opening on the single room apartment of a downtrodden musical-theatre lover (Shawn MacDonald, playing a perfectly relatable every-man) who perks himself up by taking to his chair and listening to a recording of his favourite musical, 1928’s The Drowsy Chaperone, sharing his love and insight of the show with the audience. Once the record plays we’re all taken back to the 1928 performance of The Drowsy Chaperone, a rip roaring prohibition-era good time.  If you’re a musical lover you’ll relate to the Man In Chair as he sings and dances along to his favourite bits from the musical, imparting his indepth knowledge about the cast and stars of the Jazz Age.

Shawn Macdonald as Man In Chair
photo: Tim Matheson

The Drowsy Chaperone began life in Toronto in the late 90s as a musical spoof written by Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison for the stag party of their friends Janet van de Graaf and Bob Martin, both award-winning comedians and writers in their own right.  After the party, Martin joined the trio in fleshing out the musical into what we now know.   The lead character of the show-within-the-show retain the original names, Robert McKellar and Janet van de Graaf, and the show centres around their wedding day…on the way to the alter various musical tropes are used and abused to hilarious effect.  Man in Chair reveals how the plot of the 1928 show becomes more convoluted and funny with the many attempts to fit in every 1920s stereotype possible.

Shannon Hanbury as Janet & Stuart Barkley as Robert
photo: Tim Matheson

The performance I saw started off with some technical difficulties due to a power outage, which saw the cast having to get halfway through the first number without mics before being called off stage to restart the equipment. The restart showed the comedy skills of some of the performers, smartly making light of the replay in ad libbed lyrics.  The cast at TUTS is filled with stand out performers, the always classy-act, Caitriona Murphy plays the title character Drowsy Chaperone, bridesmaid to Janet. Shannon Hanbury plays Janet with maximum glamour and camp while Stuart Barkley’s Robert has the perfect matinee idol looks which combine with a talented song and dance man.  The dancing and comedic timing of the duo of Kai Bradbury and Nicholas Bradbury as the Gangsters stand out as well as they bounce around the B Plot, involving starlet Janet’s Follies produce attempts to hijack the wedding.

It wasn’t until the end of the performance that I realized that I’d been smiling and laughing for the entire 2 hours, and judging by the huge peels of laughter around the audience, The Drowsy Chaperone struck a chord with everyone.

The Drowsy Chaperone is onstage at Theatre Under The Stars, at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, alternating with Mary Poppins until August 19th. Tickets available online at tuts.ca