Picks of the Week – November 28, 2018

The last week of November and the first weekend of December brings us a plethora of festival fun to entertain the whole family.

Pride: Catch the follow up to Pride & Prejudice with Miss Bennet : Christmas at Pemberley at The Arts Club Granville Stage until December 30

Date: Until December 30, spend your date night watching Blind Date at The Arts Club Goldcorp Stage, each night is a unique show as a new audience member is the date in each show.

James & Jamesy – O Christmas Tree

Whimsy: The award winning duo, James & Jamesy’s O Christmas Tree brings their physical comedy to Massey Theatre on December 1st, with a Christmas cuppa brimming with holiday cheer, and much more.

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

Jazz: Tyrant Studio’s Friday Jazz enjoy the New Orleans style sounds of Marc Lindy and Guests at the Tyrant Studio Lounge upstairs from The Penthouse

Merry Kiss-mas
VTSL

Improv: Vancouver Theatresports presents Merry Kiss-mas – an improvised holiday comedy, parodying all the inane clichés and funny, awkward moments you’d expect to see in a holiday TV special or film at Improv Centre until Christmas Eve

Lights: Friday night, catch the 12th annual light-up of the 76ft tall Vancouver Christmas Tree at Robson Square, and Saturday the annual Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Gardens opens, plus enjoy many other Festival light displays around the city

Gold: The Vancouver Canucks play host to Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday at Rogers Arena

Pi Theatre’s Hir Jordan Fowlie and Victor Dolhai
Photo: Emily Cooper.

Gender: Pi Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of American playwright Taylor Mac’s Hir, exploring the dynamics of a family dealing with PTSD, gender politics & more, from November 22–December 8, 2018, at Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex.

Drama: Seven Tyrants Theatre presents John Patrick Stanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama Doubt : A Parable from November 23 – December 14

Swing: Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox brings a vintage touch to modern pop songs at The Vogue Theatre on Saturday night

Laughs: Saturday nights Tyrant Studio’s Comic Strip brings stand-up comedy to the Studio Lounge Stage with Byron Bertram, plus James Hammond and Alex Sparling

Dance:  From Montreal Frédérick Gravel’s This Duet That We’ve Already Done (so many times) continues at The Cultch Historic Theatre until Saturday

Vancouver Christmas Market
Photo: Lindsay Elliott

Market:  The Vancouver Christmas Market celebrates its 9th year as it returns to Jack Poole Plaza, until December 24, 2018

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

Shopping: From the West End, to Dunbar, and Delta, Visit one of the many Christmas Craft Markets happening around Metro Vancouver this weekend

Aurora Winter Festival

Festival: Aurora Winter Festival, Canada’s Largest Winter Festival, brings a a skating rink, a tube park, light displays, Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, and many more activities to Concord Pacific Place November 23 – December 30

Albireo, A New Musical, Shines

Like it’s namesake star, Albireo, a new work by Annahis Basmadjian, shines with potential. Albireo was brought to the Red Gate Revue Stage by producers Rushed Productions Ltd with support from UBC Players Club.  Liam Lazenby directs a cast of experienced and new to the scene actors and singers to bring Annahis Basmadjian’s light musical-comedy to life.

Telling the story of two estranged brother’s Charon Chambers (Colton Fyfe) and Wriker Writeov (Jed Weiss), who we learn are half-siren/half-human. Orphaned by their siren mother and deaf-father (therefore could not succumb to the siren song), the brothers fended for themselves using their power for a life of crime.  When Chambers took another young human orphan, Holly, under his wing to settle down and raise her, he left behind his brother and their grifter ways.  When Writeov finds Chambers and Holly about to host a party, some comedic and dramatic events occur that push the brothers to work together to save their family.  Realizing that the bonds of family make their power stronger they are able to fend off a rival.

Being sirens, music is a vital part of Chambers and Writeov’s lives and therefore the play.  Basmadjian has crafted some catchy, pop tunes for Alberio and witty dialogue to go along with them.

The actors’ varying skill levels come into play during the performance, creating a uneven rhythm to the musical as the players move between flat out comedy and dramatic portrayals of their characters.  Seasoned musical-theatre performer Colton Fyfe brings a fully developed character and a more dramatic turn to his Chamber.  Whereas, recent graduate Jed Weiss, in his theatre debut, brings an erratic Jim Carey-style to his comedic portrayal of Writeov.  Having more stage experience performing with his band, his singing and guitar playing skills excel.   Some of the ensemble also stand out, for the wrong reasons, lampooning or murmuring too loudly drawing attention to the background.  On a small space, like the Revue stage, it doesn’t take much to distract and requires creativity from the director, managers and cast to avoid excess noise and balanced performance volumes.

While this Rushed Production Ltd production has ended, if we are lucky enough, we will get to see Alberio again with different companies and stages as the musical continues to develop over the year, it definitely has the DNA for success.

Pi Theatre opens the Canadian Premiere of Hir

Pi Theatre’s Hir. l to r: Jordan Fowlie, Andrew Wheeler, Victor Dolhai, Deb Williams. Photo: Emily Cooper

Just as the American Thanksgiving brought families together, laying bare all the dysfunction, family drama, laughter and love that accompanies holiday get togethers, Pi Theatre opens, Hir, a darkly comic exploration of family.  The Canadian premiere of acclaimed American playwright Taylor Mac, Hir runs until December 8, 2018, at Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex. The production explores the dynamics of a suburban family dealing with PTSD, identity crises, and gender politics in a realistically comedic fashion.

“Hir is an outrageously provocative play in the rich tradition of black comedies centered on the dysfunctional American family,” says Pi Theatre Artistic Director Richard Wolfe, who also directs the work. “Mac’s take-no-prisoners satire of family dynamics is very much of our time, interrogating the bumps of transition that we are experiencing as the world turns away from a Western-centric hegemony. Hir examines the conflict between our need for safety and our desire to risk it all to find a better, truer way to live — no matter the collateral damage to those we love. Each of the characters in the play is undergoing profound transformation, just as we are feeling colossal shifts in our cultural and political landscape. Hir puts a deliciously caustic bow on all of it.”

Pi Theatre’s Hir Jordan Fowlie and Victor Dolhai
Photo: Emily Cooper.

Called an “audacious and uproarious black comedy” by The New York Times, the play follows the dishonourably discharged Isaac, returning home from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan to find an equally embattled homefront. His father, Arnold, has suffered a stroke and been rendered incapacitated; his mother, Paige, is finally out from under the thumb of her violently domineering husband; his younger sibling, Max, is a transgender teen out to destabilize the patriarchy. The confluence of Arnold’s disability and Max’s coming out has turned Paige toward a radical feminism that sees her refusing to clean the house in an act of unbridled defiance. She exacts revenge on her husband for years of verbal and physical abuse, humiliating Arnold by force-feeding him estrogen, dressing him as a wild drag clown, and putting him in diapers. While Hir is a manic, absurdist tragicomedy, it is also a wake up call about the need for honest communication. 

Directed by two-time Jessie Award-winning Richard Wolfe, Hir features an extraordinary cast of accomplished performers from across Canada.
Hir is now onstage at
Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex, 823 Seymour St, Vancouver. Tickets are on sale at pitheatre.com/hir

Celebrate the Season with Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley

The Arts Club Theatre Company welcomes the holiday season with the opening of Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley, playing at Granville Island Stage until December 30, 2018.

The seasonal sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice revisits the Bennet sisters, focusing on the bookish, unmarried middle sister Mary (Kate Dion-Richard).  Written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley casts a modern eye on the sisters, and their lot in life.  To celebrate a family Christmas, three sisters arrive early to Pemberley, the country home of Mr Darcy (Chris Walters) and wife, Elizabeth (Lauren Jackson), the second eldest of the sisters. Jane (Leslie Dos Remedios), the eldest, pregnant and married to Charles Bingley (Tim Carlson), is supported on the journey by Mary, the spinster sister.  Lydia (Baraka Rahmani) is the younger flighty, vain sister, stuck in an unhappy marriage.  Mary is bold, forthright and tactless but also saddened by being the unmarried sister, burdened with caring for their parents. Left to be comforted by her books and pianoforte she starts to find discontent in her expected role within the family.  Suddenly her world is thrown for a turn with the arrival of equally bookish, nervous Lord Arthur (Matthew MacDonald-Bain), Darcy’s distant cousin.  In Lord Arthur we see Mary has met her match in brains, tact, and experience with the world.  Throw in an unexpected romantic rival (Carmela Sison), and the situation lends itself to camp comedy of classes and the sexes.

While never quite fully realizing the farce, the likes of Oscar Wilde, Miss Bennet does allow this cast to chew the scenery as they spit out fun, fast paced comedy. The scenery by Ted Roberts is a beautiful re-creation of the Pemberley country house drawing room.  Director Roy Surette keeps the pace and the eight characters in motion like a dance to the sounds of Mary’s pianoforte.  Like all good Holiday stories, Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley wraps itself in a ribbon of happy endings for all.

Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley runs at The Arts Club Theatre Company Granville Island Stage until December 30, 2018.

 

Picks of the Week – November 21, 2018

The Holiday Season is in full swing, as we are just a couple weeks away from Hanukkah and a month away from Christmas, there’s plenty of festive fun in this week’s picks.

Ariel: Children’s Theatre of Richmond Association presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr a children’s production of Disney’s musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, November 24-25 at Massey Theatre

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

Late-night: Vancouver Art Gallery’s late-night art party returns with FUSE: Object Lessons on Friday, November 23, 8pm – midnight.

Dancers: Dancers of Damelahamid an Indigenous dance company from the Northwest Coast of BC, with a rich history of masked dance performs Thursday at Noon, part of the Discover Dance! series at Scotiabank Dance Centre

Dancer Dennis Alamanos in Chotto Desh.
Photo: Richard Haughton

Dance:  DanceHouse, with SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs and Théâtre la Seizième, are co-presenting the Vancouver premiere of Akram Khan Company’s award-winning solo, Chotto Desh at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts until November 24th

Jazz: Tyrant Studio’s Friday Jazz finds Jimi James Trip making their way to the Tyrant Studio Lounge upstairs from The Penthouse

Merry Kiss-mas
VTSL

Improv: Vancouver Theatresports presents Merry Kiss-mas – an improvised holiday comedy, parodying all the inane clichés and funny, awkward moments you’d expect to see in a holiday TV special or film at Improv Centre until Christmas Eve

Ice: Join Moana, Belle, Elsa and other Disney favourites as Disney On Ice takes to the Pacific Coliseum until November 25

ASL: Red Gate Revue stage welcomes a world premiere of Albireo: A New Musical, a unique new production by Annahis Basmadjian, featuring ASL (American Sign Language), the story of brothers Wriker and Chambers, half human, half siren, their mythological hypnotic powers only activate when singing together in harmony.

Art: It’s your last chance to visit Kimoto Gallery to view Water, by Vancouver artists David Wilson a series of paintings looking at the natural watery surroundings and rain-soaked city streets of his hometown, closing November 24.

Pi Theatre’s Hir
Photo: Emily Cooper

Gender: Pi Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of American playwright Taylor Mac’s Hir, exploring the dynamics of a family dealing with PTSD, gender politics & more, from November 22–December 8, 2018, at Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex.

Drama: Seven Tyrants Theatre presents John Patrick Stanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama Doubt : A Parable from November 23 – December 14

Laughs: Saturday nights Tyrant Studio’s Comic Strip brings stand-up comedy to the Studio Lounge Stage with Simon King, Darcy Boon Collins, Ari Matti, and Colin Sharp

Vancouver Christmas Market
Photo: Lindsay Elliott

Market:  The Vancouver Christmas Market celebrates its 9th year as it returns to Jack Poole Plaza, until December 24, 2018

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

Shopping: From the West End, to Dunbar, and Delta, Visit one of the many Christmas Craft Markets happening around Metro Vancouver this weekend

BBall: The Vancouver Showcase featuring 4 men’s and 8 women’s U.S. Division I college basketball teams compete until Nov. 24 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Festival: Aurora Winter Festival, Canada’s Largest Winter Festival, brings a a skating rink, a tube park, light displays, Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, and many more activities to Concord Pacific Place November 23 – December 30

Candy: Saturday, Yaletown transforms to Candytown, Vancouver’s free Christmas festival filling Hamilton, Mainland and Davie Streets with Holiday fun.

 

10 Plays For The Whole Family This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to gather the family together and enjoy the fun of live theatre.

Align Entertainment started the season off with their, just ended run of, A Christmas Story : The Musical. This holiday season finds theatre offering something for everyone in the family, from romance, to drama, comedy to fantasy.

Check out the list of 10 plays to find something that’s sure to please you and your family or friends this season.

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley – November 15 – December 30, 2018 Arts Club Theatre Company Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver
In this modern follow up to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, take another trip to Pemberley as romance and comedy mix with Christmas festivities.

Merry Kiss-mas

Merry Kiss-Mas – November 21 – December 24, 2018 – Improv Centre, Granville Island, 1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver
‘VTS Channel’ presents Merry Kiss-mas – an improvised holiday comedy parodying all the inane clichés and funny, awkward moments you’d expect to see in a holiday TV special or film.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr – November 24 – 25, 2018 – Massey Theatre, 735 8th Ave, New Westminster
Children’s Theatre of Richmond Association presents this children’s production of Disney’s musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale.

East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz

East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz – November 28, 2018 – January 6, 2019 – The Cultch York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
East Van Panto returns for its sixth year, finding Dorothy and Toto flung to the Land of Oz in the depths of East Van

Disney’s Beauty And The Beast – December 1, 2018 – January 6, 2019 – Arts Club Theatre Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver
Disney’s tale as old as time comes to life, with a song as old as rhyme, lavish costumes, lush sets and great casting in this remount.

James & Jamesy – O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tea – Various Locations including; December 1, 2018 -Massey Theatre, 735 8th Ave, New Westminster // December 10 – 11, 2018 – Kay Meek Arts Centre, 1700 Mathers Avenue, West Vancouver
The award winning duo, James & Jamesy bring their physical comedy to the regioni with a Christmas cuppa brimming with holiday cheer, and much more.

Little Dickens – December 4 – 22, 2018 – The Cultch Historic Theatre – 1895 Venables, Vancouver
Ronnie Burkett’s Little Dickens, finds the cast of The Daisy Theatre take on the beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, in the merriest marionette mash-up ever.

It’s a Wonderful Life – December 6 – 31, 2018 Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Take a trip to Bedford Falls and watch George Bailey come back from despair to realize that it is a wonderful life.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – December 6 – 16, 2018 – Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
In this lively Christmas classic, the six Herdman kids, “the worst kids in the history of the world”, take over the annual Christmas pageant, much mayhem and fun follows in this hilarious and heartwarming story.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr – December 7 – 8, 2018 – Massey Theatre, 735 8th Ave, New Westminster
Children’s Theatre of Richmond Association presents this children’s version of Disney’s beloved musical

 

PuSh Festival Debuts Its 15th Anniversary Program

This week, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival launched its 2019 Festival Program, at a party at John Fluevog Shoes in Gastown. The 2019 Push Festival, January 17 to February 3 will mark the milestone 15th annual festival, bringing international performing arts to venues around Vancouver. Featuring 26 works from 24 companies from 13 countries — including six world premieres — this showcase of visionary collaboration and cutting-edge arts brings a welcome highlight to the winter culture season.

Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat
Feb 2 –
Club Push at XY
Photo: The Other Richard

 “We launched in 2003 as a three-show series that drew 2,500 people to 21 performances at three Vancouver venues,” says Roxanne Duncan, PuSh Festival’s Interim Executive Director. “The inaugural festival opened a short two years later in 2005. Now as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, PuSh has welcomed more than 300,000 people to 366 productions from 30 countries.”

 Joyce Rosario, Interim Artistic Director of the PuSh Festival, adds: “Our programming ignites important, meaningful discussions about the world around us and is a reminder that we are a part of something bigger. The 15th anniversary holds personal significance to me. Not only does it mark the final iteration guided by the vision of Norman Armour, PuSh’s co-founder and former Artistic and Executive Director, but it’s also the sixth shaped by our collaboration together as a curatorial team. This year’s festival is the result of many such partnerships, amongst the intrepid team at PuSh and with our presentation partners — some of whom have been with us since the very beginning. In 2019, we bring audiences face-to-face with a broad range of thought-provoking works that subvert the dominant narrative by changing whose perspectives are centred.”

Kids by Liu Kuan-Hsiang
Jan 24-26 at Dance Centre
Photo: Etang Chen

The six world premiere performances will be presented by contemporary dance organization Company 605; boundary-breaking dance company MACHiNENOiSY; composer and musical director Joelysa Pankanea; Dora Award-winning dub poet and actor D’BI; the performers of Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons; and Guatemalan performance artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa.

In addition to the world premieres, another 11 performances will be Canadian premieres, including a suite of three sound-based works from Japan by ASUNA, Marginal Consort, and Tetsuya Umeda; Dancenorth Australia featuring music from Indonesian band Senyawa; and a piece from Taiwanese choreographer Liu Kuan-Hsiang.

X Marks the Movement – Opening Night at The Beaumont Studios
Photo: Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons

New for the 2019 season, Club PuSh, the home of the festival’s most edgy and experimental work,  will be located in multiple spaces across the city and home to Opening and Closing Night parties.

The PuSh Film Series at Vancity Theatre, presents movies perfectly paired to the program,  and PuSh Assembly will stimulate dialogue through free talks for the public and industry networking events.

To celebrate its 15th year, PuSh Festival is offering audiences a limited time offer of $15 tickets for 15 days. The 15x15x15 offer applies to the full festival program: 26 critically acclaimed works from different artistic disciplines. The 15X15X15 promotion is on now and November 30th so get your tickets at pushfestival.ca before they’re all gone.