Bakersfield Mist at The Arts Club Theatre

The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Bakersfield Mist, now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, reminds the audience just how subjective the art world really is, and who decides what makes a masterpiece.

Award-winning playwright Stephen Sachs based Bakersfield Mist on a true event. Detailed in the documentary “Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock” tells the story of retired truck driver Teri Horton’s $5 thrift shop painting that was possibly a Jackson Pollock.  The story follows Teri’s, or Maude Gutman as she’s now named in the play, attempt to have the painting authenticated and the fight against the established art world.

Bakersfield Mist takes place completely in Maude’s Palm Springs trailer, filled with her art ‘finds’. The contrast of the tchotchke laden trailer with the supposed Pollack masterpiece shadows the contrast of foul-mouthed Maude, played by the brilliant Nicola Cavendish, against the uptight, pretentious art expert Lionel Percy, played by Jonathan Monro.  The performances from both players make the character feel authentic as they try to cement their viewpoint.  I’m sure we’ve all had debates like this about subjectivity of art, Bakersfield Mist is the amplification of all of those debates – who decides what makes art.

While the trailer-park perfect set may seem cluttered and the language is colourful, the simplicity of having just the dynamic duo on stage and no intermission grabs the audience and drags them along on the pairs back and forth as they find they have more in common than first meets the eye.

Bakersfield Mist is now playing at The Arts Club Theatre’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until November 20th.

Take a trip to “Ithaka” on stage

Ithaca_2016-04-24 23.55.50Opening in one week at the Havana Theatre, Ithaka, is a new play by Andrea Stolowitz, directed by Jessica Anne Nelson. Co-produced by dream of passion productions and Excavation Theatre, the Canadian Premiere performance runs, May 3-7 and 10-14, 2016 at the intimate Commercial Drive stage.

Ithaka is about a Marine Captain, Elaine Edwards, who has just returned from her latest tour in Afghanistan but this time things are different – home doesn’t feel right and nothing makes sense. After a blow up fight with her husband propels her to skip town, she undertakes an Odyssean journey through the American landscape battling her monsters, trying to find her way home.

Stefania Indelicato, artistic director of dream of passion productions, also a performer in Ithaka, found the work and brought it to the stage under the direction of Jessica Anne Nelson of Excavation Theatre. The duo previously collaborated on 2014’s After, also at the Havana Theatre.

In response to the plays subject matter, a marine dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the producers have partnered with Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC), a non-profit organization that supports Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, and their families, through a wide range of national programs and services.  Corporal David Macdonald, WWC’s National Partnerships Director says, “Having served in Afghanistan with the Canadian Infantry, this portrayal of a US Marine coming home from war strikes an all too familiar tone with me. Andrea Stolowitz captures it completely with an ending that will leave the audiences feeling what it means to be a veteran now home from war.”

To experience the powerful story yourself, get Ithaka tickets online now.
The Havana Theatre is located at 1212 Commercial Drive.
Performances are May 3-7 & 10-14, 2016 nightly at 8:00pm nightly with a 2pm matinee on May 7th.

Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike @ Stanley

vanya-and-sonia-and-masha-and-spikeThe Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Christopher Durang’s Tony Award winning comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, is playing until April 19th at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.

In spite of its references to the works of Chekov, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a ridiculously topical comedy. The mash-up of the classics and the world of mobile phones and short attention spans masking as “multi-tasking” collide brilliantly in the cross generation cast.  The male leads bookend the play; the always brilliant Jay Brazeau as Vanya, grounds the play with the hope of keeping things the same while Robert Salvador’s Spike strips off the ways of yesterday and brings the modern world into the monotonous day to day shared by Vanya and scattered, spinster sister Sonia (beautifully played by Susinn McFarlen). Hollywood diva sister Masha played by Anna Galvin is torn between the worlds which causes much angst in her attempt to stay relevant as she ages. Punctuated by a hilarious, scenery chewing performance by Carmen Aguirre as Cassandra the housekeeper and Nina, the classics fan, played by Katey Hoffman the whole company fits perfectly into their rolls.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike runs until April 19, 2015 at the Arst Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. 

“One Man, Two Guvnors” – Lots of Laughs

one-man-two-guvnorsNow playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, One Man, Two Guvnors is an uproarious funny comedy starring Andrew McNee as the ‘one man’, Francis Henshall.  Set in 1963 Brighton, England the play is performed in a classic British farce/vaudeville style.

Between scenes the cast take turns performing musical numbers alongside The Craze, the on-stage skiffle-band who ushered in the acts and perform songs that help reinforce the Swingin’ 60’s British invasion ambience. The plot, based on the 18th Century Italian comedy Servant of Two Masters,  revolves around the confusion of Francis trying to hold down two jobs, with subplots of mistaken identity, con-artists and love-triangles.  The juggling of predicaments results in hilarious slapstick and physical comedy, coming mostly from McNee and Andrew Cownden’s senior citizen character, Alfie. The remainder of the brilliant cast enhance McNee’s antics and even when playing the straight-man tongues are firmly planted in cheeks. Many break the ‘fourth wall’ for a wink and a nod to the audience but McNee smashed it down to venture out and speak directly with the audience and to choose unsuspecting audience members to ‘assist’ onstage for added hilarity.  The show makes the audience feel like they’re participating in the fun rather than just watching from the pews.

One Man, Two Guvnors runs at The Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 22, 2015, catch it before it sells out!


Krokodile Pear Yaletown

Photo 2014-11-01, 16 14 17Vancouver juice company Krokodile Pear has recently opened a new retail outlet in Yaletown.  The bright and spacious location on Davie at Richards, is a great, central location to grab your juice on the way to work, home or before spending the afternoon in Emery Barnes Park across the street.

Krokodile Pear believes we are what we eat and is committed to making their cafe a place to get quality, natural, organic food and drinks.  Sixteen ounce bottled juices, smoothies and 2oz juice shots are all ready to serve from the coolers for quick and easy service.  To compliment their range of cold-pressed juices they have partnered with like-minded local food providers like Nourish Vancouver, to carry complementary food items.  If you’re looking to kickstart your diet, Krokodile Pear also offers a 1, 3 or 5 day juice cleanse.

Juice Shot with Nourish Vancouver Salad
Juice Shot with Nourish Vancouver Salad

Krokodile Pear Yaletown is located at 518 Davie Street.
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Music Creates Opportunity at The Cultch

Swagger: Pronunciation: \?swa-g?r\ Function: verb:
. marked by elegance or showiness
. how one presents him or her self to the world.

MusicCreatesOpportunityThere was plenty of swagger in last night’s opening performance of Music Creates Opportunity at The Cultch.  The Bboyizm Dance Company show is a tour de force of dance, mainly hip hop, with elements of contemporary, jazz, african and more.  Crazy Smooth (Yvon Soglo) leads his crew of 6 other dancers on a near wordless journey demonstrating the unifying joy and expression achieved through the universal language of music and rhythm.

The 60 minute performance flies by as the series of songs and dances effortlessly flow together, but from the sweat flying off the dancers it’s far from effortless on their part.   Wary The Warrior (El Houari Si Abdelkader) told me in the after-show reception that each night of the show is slightly different as only about 80% is choreographed, allowing for the remaining segments to be freestyled to show the individual dancers’ personalities.

Music Creates Opportunity plays until October 26th at The Cultch, Historic Theatre at 1895 Venebles Street (at Victoria).

Follow @TheCultch and @BBoyizmCompany on Twitter to follow the show and watch the teaser video to whet your appetite for Music Creates Opportunity

The Arts Club Theatre – Venus In Fur

venus-in-furThe Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage got the 50th Anniversary Season underway this week with the opening of Venus In Fur. Venus In Fur is a David Mackay directed production of David Ives’ Tony Award winning play.

The play opens on Thomas, played by Vincent Gale, in a sparsely decorated, brick-walled studio space complaining to his fiance, over his mobile phone, about the inability to find the right actress for his adaptation of Venus In Fur.  As he’s about to leave in walks Vanda, a loud brassy profane blonde bombshell who at first glance seems to be the complete opposite of Thomas’ prayers. Over the course of her audition, whether she is or isn’t is left up to the viewers interpretation as the line between the play within the play is blurred. Played by Lindsey Angell, Vanda is a scenery chewing role that could easily swing into overacting but Angell holds a fine balance between comedy and farce, and, sexy and trashy.

Billed as “A Kinky Comedy”, the two person play lives up the the billing but just how kinky and how much comedy depends on personal perception. From my point of view, I didn’t feel it was too kinky but had plenty of laughs but I’m sure many people would have been scandalized by the amount of profanity, slinky costume on Angell as well as perceived and stated sexual content. I heard a few comments after the play, from my friends and others, that the jumping between the play-within-the-play and the play itself caused some confusion and broke the tension. Occasionally, the larger laughs would drown out the next line of dialogue making it hard to keep up with the scene.  Overall,  it was a thoroughly enjoyable performance from two strong actors who keep the 90 minutes from ever seeming long or unnecessary, everything is poured onto the stage.

Venus In Fur runs at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage until November 2nd, 2013. Visit for tickets and showtimes.
Follow The Arts Club on Twitter @TheArtsClub or to keep up to date with The Arts Club Theatre.