Picks of the Week – May 23, 2018

The entertainment keeps coming as summer steadily creeps closer.  This weeks picks finds heaps of arts & culture to keep you out and about.

New Wave: Former Talking Heads frontman, David Byrne takes the stage at Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight

Comedy: Get a full course of comedy when improv legend Colin Mochrie comes to the stage at The Vogue May 25 (two shows) and with VTSL at the Improv Centre May 24, and May 26 (two shows)

Abba: You’ll say thank you for the music as the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage,  until August 12th

Outdoor: A pair of outdoor concerts in parks kick off the open air season,  picks include Aussie singer/songwriter Tash Sultana plays Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park on Thursday, then Bon Iver plays Deer Lake Park on Saturday evening.

MilkMilk Lemonade

Awkward: Gender, sexuality, life and death, plus a chicken names Linda are what you’ll find in the Awkward Theatre Production of MilkMilkLemonade, by Josh Conkel, playing May 23-26 at CBC Studio 700.

Haida:  Museum of Vancouver is presenting, Haida Now. A collaboration with The Haida Gwaii Museum bring 450 works together in a one of a kind collection of Haida arts and culture, until June 15.

Duo: The Vancouver Art Gallery unites the works of two dynamic female early 20th century artists Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman, on view at the Gallery until September 3, 2018

MOA at UBC

Offsite: Vancouver Art Gallery presents Offsite: Shigeru Ban by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s Kobe Paper Log House, organized by the Gallery’s Institute of Asian Art at the Offsite Location at Shangri-La Vancouver

Culture: Musqueam, Squamish, Lil’wat, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Haida are collaborating for the first time so you can learn more about the cultures of these First Nations and the importance of their cultural centres at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s exhibition Culture at the Centre, until October 8th. d 

Resist: Also until October 8th at MOA, the new exhibit, 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.

Air: At The Dance Centre, Aeriosa is a breathtaking aerial productions combine the techniques of dance and rock-climbing, using rope rigging systems to find new movement, May 24 – 26.

Parker Art Salon

Salon: Open free to the public on Saturday and Sunday, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, the Parker Art Salon features artist talks, studio tours at 2pm and 4pm, live music, and more.

Opening: Kokoro Dance invites public to an Open House of KW Studios,  at 111 W Hastings, tour the new 5,600 studio including spaces for dance, theatre, music rehearsal, creation, production, and recording, catch lively entertainment, speeches, and refreshments on Saturday 3-6pm.

Kick: Whitecaps FC take to the pitch when they play host to New England at BC Place on Saturday.

Play: ITSAZOO presents the Western Canadian Premiere of David James Brock’s award-winning drama, WET, May 8-27, 2018 in the intimate basement of The Russian Hall.

Rides: Weekend just got more exciting as Playland reopens on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Say I Do to Mamma Mia at Arts Club

MammaMiaFrom the opening notes of the overture to the final sing-along curtain call, Mamma Mia now play at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, will have you dancing in your seat.

The feel-good jukebox musical inspired by the hit music of Abba is composed by Abba’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and written by Catherine Johnson with this production directed and choreographed by Valerie Easton.  Set Designer David Roberts’ beautiful set transports the audience to the beaches and tavernas on the fictional Greek Island of Kalokairi.

Mamma Mia opens as Sophie Sheridan (Michelle Bardach) prepares for her wedding to fiancé Sky.  Raised by single mother, innkeeper, Donna, Sophie seeks to know who her father is and discovering her mom’s diary she discovers three possible fathers.  Inviting all three, Sam, Bill and Harry, to her wedding unbeknownst to Donna, with none of them, other than Sophie, really sure why they are all on the island, all sorts of miscommunication comedy ensues.  Donna is supported by her two long time girlfriends and former girl-group bandmates, Rosie and Tanya.

Throughout the 2 hour musical the story of love, female empowerment, and friendship is perfectly woven into the familiar Abba songs.  Amongst the solid storytelling, some numbers are just for the sheer fun of it, enter Donna and the Dynamos who’s camp costumes takes the audience back to the heyday of the Swedish quartet.  The Dynamos, Rosie and Tanya, are played with just the right blend of slapstick and camp by Cathy Wilmot and Irene Karas Loeper (respectively), while Stephanie Roth brings a perfect balance of power and emotion to Donna’s vocals.  With Ms Bardach vocally matching Roth’s, the two leading ladies anchor Mamma Mia with the grace and strength.  Among the male leads Michael Torontow as Sam, stands out with a strong voice and leading man charisma.  Local theatre veterans, Warren Kimmel as Aussie Bill and Jay Hindle as Harry, while not carrying as much of a musical load, bring a nice blend of comedy and fatherly friendship to their roles, in spite of Hindle’s distractingly wavering British accent.

While there appeared to be a couple prop and wardrobe slips on opening night, not surprising in such a physically challenging song and dance production, the veteran cast improvised their recovery with seamless ease.  The overall spirit of Mamma Mia and the joyous Abba music is sure to win over even the hardest demeanour with smiles and laughs throughout the show, especially during the rousing encore as the company (and many audience members) reprise Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen and Waterloo.

Mamma Mia plays at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre until August 12th, with special sing-along performances on July 28th. Visit artsclub.com for showtimes and tickets.

Picks of the Week – May 16, 2018

The Victoria Day, May long weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season for many of us, bringing with it a bounty of entertainment to fill our picks of the week.

Abba: You’ll say thank you for the music as the Arts Club opens the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage tonight, onstage until August 12th

Rock: Your hair might not be as long but be ready to bang your head as thrash metal group Slayer takes to the Pacific Coliseum

Kicks: Can Whitecaps FC redeem themselves in fans eyes and find a win when San Jose Earthquake come to BC Place tonight?

GollyMolly Misbegotten is the new play from by Beau Han Bridge, presented by the Mid Twenties Theatre Society at Havana Theatre May 10-12 and 15-19, 2018.

Ice: Catch Canadian Olympic Figure Skaters including Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir,  Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, Kaetlyn Osmond and many more as Stars On Ice 2018 Tour comes to Rogers Arena May 17th

Country: The 72nd Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair returns to the Surrey fairground for 4 days of family entertainment, May 18-21, 2018

Friendship: The unlikely friendship between JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis and its influence on Middle Earth and Narnia is on stage in Pacific Theatre’s Tolkien running May 11 – June 9

Magic: American magician, illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine brings his unique talents of amazement to Queen Elizabeth Theatre for 2 shows, Friday and Saturday

Comedy: English stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr brings his dry, deadpan humour to the Vogue Theatre for two shows on Sunday night.

Haida:  Museum of Vancouver is presenting, Haida Now. A collaboration with The Haida Gwaii Museum bring 450 works together in a one of a kind collection of Haida arts and culture, until June 15.

Museum of Anthropology

Culture: Musqueam, Squamish, Lil’wat, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Haida are collaborating for the first time so you can learn more about the cultures of these First Nations and the importance of their cultural centres at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s exhibition Culture at the Centre, until October 8th

Resist: Also until October 8th at MOA, the new exhibit, 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.

Duo: The Vancouver Art Gallery unites the works of two dynamic female early 20th century artists Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman, on view at the Gallery until September 3, 2018

Offsite: Vancouver Art Gallery presents Offsite: Shigeru Ban by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s Kobe Paper Log House, organized by the Gallery’s Institute of Asian Art at the Offsite Location at Shangri-La Vancouver

Wet

Play: ITSAZOO presents the Western Canadian Premiere of David James Brock’s award-winning drama, WET, May 8-27, 2018 in the intimate basement of The Russian Hall.

Amusement: Weekend just got more exciting as Playland reopens on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Coastal City Ballet

Ballet: Coastal City Ballet closes out its 2018 season with a remount of Irene Schneider’s ballet, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  onstage at Vancouver Playhouse May 19 and if you miss it, catch it June 8 at Surrey Arts Centre

Picks of the Week – April 4, 2018

April Showers seems to be fulfilling the first half of the proverb, but will they bring May flowers or more crazy weather? One thing is for sure, the Picks of the Week will keep you entertained to start your month.

Rock: The Darkness brings their glam pop/rock sounds to The Vogue tonight

Photos: The 5th Annual Capture Photography Festival opens this week, bringing a month long celebration of all things photographic and lens-based.

Once On This Island: Michael Gnansounou and Brianna Clark
Photo: Tina Clellan

Island: From Broadway to Granville Island, Fabulist Theatre brings a diverse cast to Once On This Island, a current hit on Broadway, opening April 6th, running at RedCard Review Stage until April 14th

Dance: Norwegian Dance Company WEE and Italian Choreographer  Francesco Scavetta collaborate on Hardly Ever an entertaining look at truth and falsehoods, at Scotiabank Dance Centre April 5 – 7

Take 6
photo: John Shyloski

Choir: Chor Leoni’s VanMan Male Choral Summit takes place this weekend, getting underway with a show from award-winning a cappella group Take 6 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday

Cohen: The Firehall Arts Centre celebrates its 35th Anniversary with its award winning Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen playing until April 21st.

Comedy: Letterkenny Live brings the Canadian sitcom to life, onstage at Orpheum Theatre

Haida: Until June 15, Museum of Vancouver has a new exhibition, Haida Now. A collaboration with The Haida Gwaii Museum bring 450 works together in a one of a kind collection of Haida arts and culture

Culture: Musqueam, Squamish, Lil’wat, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Haida are collaborating for the first time so you can learn more about the cultures of these First Nations and the importance of their cultural centres at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s exhibition Culture at the Centre, until October 8th.

Ice: Your last chance to catch Henrik and Daniel before they retire is Thursday night at Rogers Arena as Vancouver Canucks hosting Arizona

Family: The Arts Club Theatre Company has the Tony-Award winning family drama, The Humans onstage at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage and Stephen King’s Misery brings a fright to the Granville Island Stage

Forget About Tomorrow at The Arts Club is Unforgettable.

The new play, Forget About Tomorrow, is now playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.  The new and personal work from Jill Daum, one of the Mom’s The Word Collective, takes the audience through the journey of a family’s trials as the patriarch is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.  Playwright Jill Daum understands this journey all too well, going through a similar experience with her husband, singer/actor John Mann (Spirit of the West), who also has the disease.  Mann provides some of the music sung by characters in the play.

Forget About Tomorrow, centres on empty-nesters Jane and Tom, played by the captivating Jennifer Lines and Craig Erickson.  The couple live comfortably while facing everyday stresses like keeping their daughter (Aleita Northey) in university in Toronto, and concern for son (Aren Okemaysim) who’s just moved to Montreal to pursue a music career with few prospects of income.  The family’s comfortable existence is shattered when a scan confirms the diagnosis, at the end of the first act.

As they deal with the thought of Tom slowly forgetting their lives,the emotional toil wears on the couple as well as their distant children and the characters evolve.   Tom is angry and Jane spends more time at work, a retail shop The Nest.  Her boss and friend Lori, played in broad-style by Colleen Wheeler, provides much needed comic-relief.   Also at work, she meets customer Wayne (Hrothgar Mathews), at first a kindly and flirtatious grandfather but as the play progresses as he aggressively pursues her romantically becoming almost predatory.

Unfortunately, the lack of chemistry between Mathews and Lines makes Wayne a hard character to invest in, no matter how much we care about Jane.  The children mainly appear by webcam calls but Northey and Okemaysim make the most of their two-dimensional characters.  Knowing that this is semi-autobiographical brings added depth and intrigue to the play, the audience is left to imagine how much is real and how much is fiction, the truth is probably somewhere in-between but the emotions generated are 100% genuine.  The play will no doubt serve as support to those who have experienced a similar journey, knowing another family has gone through this as well.

Set Designer Pam Johnson has built a creatively simple turntable stage that easily serves as both The Nest and the family home, and as the cloud descend over the family, Brian Kenney’s Light Design turns the bright and neutral blonde-wood set into a grey.

The Arts Club Theatre Company production of Forget About Tomorrow runs at the Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre until March 25, 2018.  Purchase tickets online at artsclub.com

 

Picks of the Week : March 7, 2018

It’s already the second weekend of March and the city is brimming with activities to choose from for our picks of the week.

VTSL : Lady Power

Women: To celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8th, Vancouver TheatreSports League highlights the talented women of VTSL on stage and behind the scenes, with all-female casts for the 7:30pm & 9:15pm shows . Plus first-come, first-served Free admission (available starting at 6pm) to the 9:15pm #noFilter show on Thursday night.

Lila Downs

Pop: Continuing a focus on strong women, Grammy award winning Mexican-American songstress Lila Downs brings her immense talents to the stage at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts, on Saturday night.

Comedy: Laughter continues throughout the city as JFL Northwest brings the best and funniest comedians, like Bill Burr and Trevor Noah, plus Film Festival to Vancouver until March 10th

Kiwi: Rogers Arena will be filled with music fans as Lorde takes the stage on Thursday evening

Dance: Vancouver International Dance Festival brings global rhythm to the stages around the city until March 24th

Heaven: Relive those fumbling, exciting and confusing moments of youth as Eternal Theatre brings the award-winning Seven Minutes In Heaven at Studio 16 until March 10th

HSBC Canada Sevens

Sevens:  If you seen groups of outrageously costumed revellers around downtown, it’s not a timewarp to Halloween, it’s the the HSBC Canada Sevens filling BC Place with the excitement of Rugby Sevens on Saturday and Sunday.

Theatre: The Arts Club has the Tony award winning Fun Home at Granville Island Stage running until March 10 and Forget About Tomorrow, from a creator of Mom’s The Word, is onstage at Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre until March 25

Ice: The Vancouver Canucks take to the ice on Wednesday to host Arizona then on Friday hosting Minnesota at Rogers Arena

Electronic: One of the Greatest DJs of all time, Tiesto hits the decks at Harbour Convention Centre (former Edgewater Casino) on Friday night

 

 

Picks of the Week – February 28, 2018

The end of February…already!? Let’s see what March has to offer in these picks of the week.

HipHop: Tonight at The Vogue, Ty Dolla $ign brings his hip hop, soul blended sounds to the stage

Coastal First Nations Dance Festival

Dance: The 11th Annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival at MOA brings together Indigenous Music and Dance from the Pacific to Scandinavia, until March 4th

Rain: 7 Tyrants Theatre’s 10th Anniversary season continues with A Steady Rain at the Penthouse Studio Theatre until March 3rd.

Folk: Canadian folk artist Bahamas brings his sunny sounding moniker to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday

Comedy: Laughter reigns supreme as JFL Northwest bring the best and funniest of comedy stars to Vancouver from March 1st to 10th

Rock: Touring on behalf of their latest, Grace Street, rockers Big Wreck take to the Commodore Ballroom twice this week on Thursday & Friday

Trucks: The weekend gets raucous at Pacific Coliseum as Monster Jam has 4 shows over Mar 2-4, 2018

Theatre: The Arts Club has the Tony award winning Fun Home at Granville Island Stage running until March 10

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks take to the ice on Friday as they play host to Nashville at Rogers Arena

Pss Pss photo: Pipo Gialluisi

Clowning: Taking inspiration from classic comedic works from Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin,  Pss Pss by Compagnia Baccalà runs until March 4th at The Cultch York Theatre.

Exhibition: The Vancouver Art Gallery celebrates the opening of Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg with a birthday bash, preview, dinner and party, the day before the opening of the Japanese artist’s first Canadian retrospective.

WhitecapsFCKicks: Whitecaps FC bring soccer back to BC Place to kick off their 2018 season on Sunday with a roster of new and old faces