Arts Club remounts hit play Onegin for 2017.

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.

King Charles III reigns over The Arts Club

Until November 19th, experience the reign of King Charles III at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.

Queen Elizabeth II has passed and King Charles III has ascended to the Throne, but even before the Crown is upon his head, controversy and confrontation with his Parliament erupts.  Asked to sign his assent to a bill limiting freedom of the press, he doesn’t agree with Charles flexes his god-given right as regent to decline ascent which causes a conflict between Crown and State and by extension, the public.   Like a Shakespearean drama, the behind-closed-doors Royal family conversations and audiences with Ministers create for interesting ‘what if’ scenarios that the future king’s reign may hold. This King tries to control his destiny while forces for and against him work their own agendas.

While the play is set in the future, the basis for the storyline is based on the 2011 Levenson Enquiry into the British media’s phone hacking scandal.  In spite of being based on a fairly recent, the speed at which the news cycle changes its focus and the personal growth of some of the Royals, especially Prince Harry, who is portrayed as the flippant playboy of old, make some of the play’s content already feel out of date.  Brexit now rules the headlines, Harry is now a settled, social advocate and government officials trying to limit freedom of the press is now very much a reality, no longer hypotheticals.

Ted Cole’s King Charles brings a regal air to the stage, as he addresses both his court and the public (the audience), and delivers play’s blank verse.  While many of the other characters seem to lose the rhythm of the verse, as well as their accents, throughout the course of the play, the unevenness is also, perhaps, the reason the satirical aspect of the work seems to fall flat.    The Duchess of Cambridge is controversially portrayed by Katherine Gauthier as a power-hungry, not-soon-enough future Queen.   Leader of the Opposition and political fence-sitter Mrs Stevens (Christine Willes) shows us a perfect ‘politician’.  Charlie Gallant as Prince Harry also stands out as the prince tries to shed his old ways and find love.  The side-story of Harry’s love interest, Jess, meant to be a republican well below the class of the Prince, however the character loses its controversy on this side of the Atlantic and could have been dropped from the play without any real loss.

Against the simple set designed by Kevin McAllister,  Christopher David Gauthier’s detailed and elegant costumes help elevate the Royals and level the commoners.   Gauthier’s spot-on recreation of the style icons we know Diana, Kate and Camilla help the actresses become the women.  The costumes help us spot who’s who even when not speaking, as the play opens with the whole Royal cast lining up on stage at the funeral and ends at the Coronation.

King Charles III runs until November 19th at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.  Tickets are on sale online at artsclub.com

Picks of the Week – October 4, 2017

Shine on Harvest Moon…we have a bright full moon to light our nights as we explore these picks of the week

Angels: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s  Angels In America: Perestroika closes at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage this weekend, October 8th.

Circus: The Goblin Market, a contemporary Kiwi circus troupe swings into action at The Cultch York Theatre until October 14th

Keys: The Piano Guys tickle the ivories at Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight, Oct 4th.

Beer: Raise your stein and cheer as #dasoriginal Oktoberfest kicks off on Friday at Vancouver Alpen Club.

R&B: Rogers Arena will be filled on Thursday night when The Weeknd takes the stage.

L to R: Julian Lokash (Archie), Julia Mclean (Patrice), Graham Verchere (Evan), Jason Sakaki (Brett), Kyra Leroux (Kendra), Michelle Creber (Lucy)
Photo Credit: Anita Alberto

Musical: Bring On Tomorrow Theatre Company presents 13: The Musical, a musical take on adolescence at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island Oct 4th – 8th

Comedy: Funnyman Nick Offerman brings his brand of comedy to the Orpheum Theatre on Thursday night.

Films: The 36th Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) continues on screens around the city from until Oct 13th

Talk: This Saturday afternoon gain some perspective on the city’s history at The Vancouver Lookout’s Perspectives Lecture Series.

Rock: Venerable local rock act 54-40 holds their yearly audience for their fans at the Commodore Ballroom on Friday and Saturday night.

Photo:  City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism is a photo-based exhibition display at MOV running to February 18, 2018.

Dance: Based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstien Miscellaneous Productions presents Monsters at the Vancouver Dance Centre Oct 6 – 7

Punt: The BC Lions play host to Ottawa Redblacks at BC Place on Saturday afternoon

Pucks: At Rogers Arena on Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers take the ice to open their 2017/18 season.

DJ: Electronic legend DIPLO will keep the fans dancing when he plays the Pacific Coliseum on Saturday

Indie: Fans of indie/alt-pop will be giving thanks when Imagine Dragons take over Rogers Arena on Sunday night

Picks of the Week – September 20, 2017

I hope you didn’t fall for the early pumpkin spice trick, the first weekend of Autumn is only just now upon us, let’s see what Fall fun we find in these picks of the week

Shakespeare:  It’s the final few nights of this season’s Bard on the Beach  before the tents fold for another winter on September 23rd.

Angels: As one curtain draws another opens, the Arts Club Theatre Company’s 2017-18 season is now underway with Angels In America: Perestroika in stage at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Art: Vancouver artist David Wilson‘s Instagram inspired exhibition “Interrupting the Interface” runs at Kimoto Gallery until September 30th.

Music: the final concert of the Sea To Sky Gondola Sunset Music series brings classical music to the mountain with a performance by the Sea to Sky Orchestra on Friday evening

Runway: Vancouver Fashion Week struts its stuff at the Chinese Culture Centre until Sep 24th.

Sip: Across the water the Victoria Wine Festival brings the grape to the glass Friday and Saturday at The Parkside Hotel and Spa

Duo: On Friday, English electronic music duo Goldfrapp comes to The Vogue

Roar: Show some Lions Pride at BC Place on Friday night when the BC Lions play host to the Hamilton Ti-Cats

Kicks: Saturday night get your kicks when Whitecaps FC hope to maintain their first in the West standings against Colorado Rapids at BC Place

Rock: Saturday night at the Commodore Ballroom, Apocalyptica brings their unique blend of cello metal rock to the stage

 

Picks of the Week – July 19, 2017

Mid-July and summer fun is in full swing with more than enough activities to full two sets of picks of the week

Highschool: Opening tonight, Excavation Theatre presents Girls! Girls! Girls! a story relating the angst and traumas of high school life told in nursery rhyme-rap style at Havana Theatre until July 29th

Punk: British new wave act The Psychedelic Furs brings their reunited line-up to the Commodore Ballroom on Wednesday

Broadway: Give into the spirit of the night as Broadway Across Canada brings the legendary Phantom of the Opera to the Queen Elizabeth Stage starting tonight until July 23

photo: Ken Thorne

Youth:  Midtwenties Theatre Society presents their brilliant debut production of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth,  at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island through this weekend

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

Festival: The 3rd Annual African Descent Festival takes over Thornton Park on Main Street, Saturday and Sunday, to celebrate Vancouver’s vibrant and rich African descendant community

Stars: Theatre Under The Stars has returned for another year with Mary Poppins and The Drowsey Chaperone alternating throughout the summer at Malkin Bowl

Orange: Show your Lions Pride as BC Lions host Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday

Arts: The Arts Club Theatre Company  Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, closed June 25th while Bittergirl The Musical continues until July 29th at Granville Island Stage

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.

Run: Vancouver Pride events get an early start with the annual Pride Run & Walk happening in Stanley Park on Saturday July 22nd

Fancy: Don your finest and spend the day at the races, the 9th Annual Deighton Cup returns to Hastings Racetrack on Saturday

Closing: With the new Polygon Gallery nearing completion the Presentation House Gallery comes to a close with a closing party on Saturday afternoon; Exile On Mainstreet

Kicks: Whitecaps FC play host to Portland Timbers in a MLS/Cascadia Cup clash at BC Place on Sunday

Picks of the Week – June 28, 2017

This weekend marks the crescendo of the year long Canada 150 celebrations for Canada’s sesquicentennial providing plenty of activities in the picks of the week.

Canada 150! : On Saturday and throughout the weekend Canada Day events will be everywhere you turn, check out our list of what’s on for Canada Day at Canada Place, Steveston, Surrey, Burnaby, New West and more

Jazz: Vancouver International Jazz festival continues through the week;  highlights include the great Branford Marsalis playing with the VSO tonight and Thievery Corporation tomorrow at the Orpheum Theatre

Food: Feast on over to Olympic Village for Canada Day Cook Out a fantastic weekend will with concerts throughout the weekend, mix with YVR Food Fest: Street Food Showdown, a gigantic BBQ plus food talks, collaborative dinner plus much more.

Doc: Come Together a documentary film exploring the coming together of North and South American artists to begin an Art Festival in Bogota, Columbia. Friday night take in one of three premier screenings followed by Art Exhibit plus opening night party

Future: As we celebrate Canada 150, experience what it will be like in another 150 years at FUSE 2167 late night at the Vancouver Art Gallery, open from 8 – 2am the VAG is filled with future, fun and festivities.

 

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.

Rock: They Will Rock You…Queen with Adam Lambert perform at Rogers Arena on Sunday evening.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company has a pair of shows on now; Million Dollar Quartet at The Stanley Stage, extended until July 16th, Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, until June 25th and Bittergirl The Musical running until July 29th at Granville Island Stage

Picks of the Week – June 21, 2017

Finally, Summer is upon us, with the long days that gives us more time for more picks of the week

Comedy: It’s Thursday Night Live when SNL comedian Michael Che takes the stage at The Vogue Theatre

Seeds: Australian act Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds bring down under to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday night

Tents:  Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing is playing now and The Winter’s Tale comes to the tents starting Thursday night.

Rhythm: West Coast Hip Hoppers Jurassic 5 bring their unique brand of hip hop to the Commodore Ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights.

Words: The Museum of Anthropology’s exhibition Traces of Words: Art and Caligraphy of Asia examines forms of the written word around Asia, on until October.

Roar: The BC Lions 2017 regular season home schedule kicks off with Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place on Saturday night.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company has a pair of shows on now; Million Dollar Quartet at The Stanley Stage, extended until July 16th, Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, until June 25th and Bittergirl The Musical running until July 29th at Granville Island Stage

Ring: The WWE Live Summerslam Heatwave Tour comes to Rogers Arena on Saturday night

Artifacts: The Museum of Vancouver has a quirky, exhibition running throughout the summer, Unbelievable demonstrating the stories behind some unique artifacts