Picks of the Week – January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! We hit 2019 running away with more Vancouver entertainment picks of the week.

Lights: It’s your last chance to view the Canada’s North light display and the historic Woodward’s department store windows as Port Metro Vancouver presents the annual Christmas at Canada Place holiday event, until tomorrow January 3rd, 2019.

Ladies Dancing at Burnaby Village

Village: Celebrate a Heritage Holiday with traditions from a century ago at Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum until Friday January 4th.

Comedy: The Vancity Comedy Extravaganza brings laughter to the Vogue Theatre Stage on Friday, January 4th

Bright: Bring a twinkle to their eyes, as Bright Nights at Stanley Park brings a twinkle to the park and miniature train until January 5th

IIHF World Junior Hockey

Hockey: the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships 2019, moves into the knock-out rounds in Vancouver and Victoria heading to the medal games on January 5th.

Garden: Sunday, January 6th is your last day to wander through the spectacular Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden

Wiz: Take off to see the Wizard as The Cultch and Theatre Replacement present East Van Panto: The Wizard of Oz at the York Theatre until January 6th

Belle:  Join your favourite characters as a tale as old as time, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, returns to the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,  until January 6, 2019

Improv: Starting tonight, beat back the winter blahs with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz is a Wicked good time

Dorothy & friends are off to see the Wizard in
East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

Returning to the York Theatre for the sixth year, Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto : Wizard of Oz, paves the holiday road with laughter.  Until January 6, 2019 follow the yellow brick road to East Van as Dorothy and friends try to make it home to Poco.

Directed by Stephen Drover, the family friendly (not recommended for under 5 years) over-the-top musical combines the talents of playwright Marcus Yousef, choreographer Amanda Testini, and musician Veda Hille, who masterfully creates new lyrics for familiar pop tunes, with hilarious results.

East Van Panto
Christine Quintana stars as Dorothy in East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

Dorothy, skillfully played and beautifully sung, by Christine Quintana, lives in a Poco tiny house with her Aunts when the pipeline bursts and she is swept away to East Van, the progressive,  urban landscape of her dreams.  In order to make her way back to her beloved Aunts she must take that familiar journey to visit the Wizard. Along the way she meets a cavalcade of colourful, and familiar, West Coast characters, including a surprising Wicked Witch of the West, played by Craig Erickson.  Erickson and the supporting cast; Dawn Petten, Raugi Yu,  and Kayvon Khoshkam bounce between characters with gusto. Studio 58 students Angela Chu, Dylan Floyde, and Mallory James fill the chorus roles with the help of a rotation of adorable child actors.

In the long tradition of the British pantomime, the audience interaction adds to the fun and entertainment. The show starts with ‘the rules’,  which after this many seasons the audience has come to know, when to boo, when to cheer, show sympathy, and when to heckle the villain.  The joy of the unrestrained younger audience members’ participation brings an extra smile every year.

Craig Erickson as The Wicked Witch of the West
East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

The writing keeps the show accessible for all ages, everyone will find laughter in the slapstick, jokes or situations.  This year’s show is a bit more political than most, resulting in some very topical humour but also meaning some jokes might not land well depending on your leanings.  The Vancouver insider jokes are often told with an East Van-centric point of view, mocking other neighbourhood stereotypes as well as some Commercial Drive self-deprecating humour.  It’s hard to walk away from East Van Panto without having laughed and smiled for the previous two hours.

East Van Panto : Wizard of Oz plays at The Cultch York Theatre, 639 Commercial Driver until January 6, 2019. Showtimes, information and tickets available online at thecultch.com

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


East Van Panto – Snow White & the Seven Dwarves

Through the enchanted viaduct and over to the York Theatre in East Vancouver, we find this year’s East Van Panto, Snow White & The Seven Dwarves.

Photo: Emily Cooper

For the fifth year, Theatre Replacement and The Cultch have teamed up to present a holiday treat for the whole family.  Sticking to the traditional structure of a pantomime; take a children’s tale, add music, slapstick comedy, cross-dressing characters, topical jokes and pop-culture references and you’ve got an uproariously silly good time.  East Van Panto takes Snow White, a goth teen, lock her up in her aerobic instructor stepmother’s West Vancouver home, whilst she longs for the freedom and hipness of East Van. As she escapes, Snow encounters a collection of East Van characters and locations.  Ming Hudson’s Snow White is the centre of the show, a surprisingly grounded heroine who anchors the panto and allows the other crazy cavalcade of characters the freedom to be over the top.  Allan Zinyk’s Wicked Stepmother is a scenery chewing, ridiculous villain, eliciting the well deserved boos and hisses of the audience.

Photo: Emily Cooper

Most of the actors play multiple roles throughout the show, creating some interesting and comedic moments when both of those roles are in the same scene.  Amy Rutherford and Chirag Naik stand out in their supporting roles, both excelling in the slapstick comedy and music.

Veda Hille, also returning for a fifth year, music brilliantly combines modern pop and rock tunes with updated, topical lyrics that both move the story along but also bring up plenty of laughs.  Set to tunes of Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child, Lorde’s Royals, Push It by Salt-n-Pepa, Lose Yourself from Eminem, Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling and many more tracks lend familiarity while tickling your funny bone with hilarious lyrics.

Talking about what happens to Snow White along her journey may give away too much of the story will ruin some of the current affairs humour and characters so just go see East Van Panto for yourself and find out what happens to Snow White.

East Van Panto : Snow White & The Seven Dwarves runs until January 6th at  York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.  Visit thecultch.com for information and to purchase tickets.


5 Plays for the 2017 Holiday Season

O what fun it is to see family friendly live theatre!  Here’s 5 Christmas themed plays that everyone in the family will enjoy this Holiday season.

A Christmas Carol – December 7 – 24, 2017 – Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Charles Dickens’ classic, plus a few Ghostly visitors, help Scrooge and all of us find the spirit of Christmas


The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
  – November 25 – December 31, 2017 – Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver
Join the Pevensey children as they step through the wardrobe and visit the magical world of Narnia in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia classic adventure


Disney’s Beauty And The Beast – December 7, 2017 – January 13, 2018 – 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 and lush sets.


East Van Panto : Snow White And The Seven Dwarves
– November 29, 2017 – January 6, 2018 – York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Join Snow White as she flees across East Van from the Evil Queen of North Vancouver with helps of the magical Vancouver characters she meets along the way.


Christmas Queen 4 – Secret Santa – November 22 – December 23, 2017 – Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island, Vancouver
HRM (Her Royal Meanness), The Christmas Queen returns to once again attempt to foil Christmas, will she finally succeed?  

Bonus: Christmas Queen – Drag Race – Saturdays November 25, December 2, 9, 16, 23 at 11:15pm – Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau Street, Granville Island, Vancouver
The Christmas Queen is joined by guest host, The Unstoppable Connie Smudge for 5 naughty late night shows when anything could, and will, happen.

Picks of the Week – November 30, 2016

December is finally upon us, perhaps we can find some dry days ahead to enjoy some of the festival fun in these picks of the week;

Bright: Until January 1st, millions of lights fill Bright Nights Christmas Train and Stanley Park Train Plaza to the delight of children young and old

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company brings the hilarious Avenue Q back to the Granville Island Stage until December 31st while  The Day Before Christmas is on the Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre until Christmas Eve and family fave Mary Poppins starts on Saturday.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks are back at Rogers Arena for a pair of games this week; Thursday versus Anaheim Ducks and Saturday against Toronto Maple Leafs

Van Dusen Festival of Lights

Garden: The annual Festival Of Lights brings the dancing lights and illuminations to Van Dusen Botanical Garden from December 1st to January 2

Panto: The 4th Annual East Side Panto: Little Red Riding Hood brings some local flavour to the fairy tale at the York Theatre until December 31st.

Tree: Robson Square is now the spot to be on Friday night to watch the 10th Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

Laughs: Funny lady, Amy Schumer brings her opinionated, bawdy humour to Rogers Arena on Friday night.

Queen: Will the Christmas Queen find herself a beau? Found out if her suitors can melt the mean, cold heart of Vancouver Theatresports League’s Christmas Queen  

Luminate: The third annual Lumiere Festival lights up the night with art-light installations at Morton Park, Jim Deva Plaza and throughout the West End

After-Party: Once you’ve enjoyed the lights and art of Lumiere Festival, head upstairs to XY YVR for ONYX – Lumiere After-Party with DJ Bertossi and host Bibi Souphresh


Lights: Throw on your boots and trek your way through Enchant, the worlds largest Christmas light maze and market illuminating the shores of False Creek (between Cambie Bridge & Olympic Village)

Market: Ride the Carousel, grab a bite or drink as you shop the Vancouver Christmas Market at its new location in Jack Poole Plaza

East Van Panto – Little Red Riding Hood

eastvanpanto-redThrough the woods to Grandmother’s house Little Red Riding Hood is making her way to the grand old York Theatre, from November 23rd – December 31st.  The 4th annual East Van Panto, finds Little Red Riding Hood cycling down the Adanac bike trail to deliver a basket of goodies to her sweet little granny, along the way she battles bike thieves, distracted drivers and of course, The Big Bad Wolf.  Providing help or hinderance, the Three Little Pigs make an appearance as well. 

Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto has become a winter tradition for hundreds of local families. The theatre company continues to expand the circle of artists that work on the East Van Panto including an all-star cast featuring Andrew McNee, Rachel Aberle, Chirag Naik, and James Long. This year, writer Mark Chavez and director Anita Rochon are welcomed into the Theatre Replacement Panto family.

Vancouver comedian Mark Chavez is one-half of world-renowned comedy duo the Pajama Men, who regularly tour North America, Europe, and Australia with their unique style of live narrative comedy that tends towards the surreal and macabre. When not on the road, Chavez spends his time in Vancouver where he joins improv group The Sunday Service.

This year’s director of East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood is Anita Rochon, who is also one of the Artistic Directors at Vancouver’s The Chop Theatre here in Vancouver. The award-winning Rochon frequently collaborates with some of the city’s most celebrated companies including Theatre Replacement, Théâtre la Seizième, Vancouver Opera, Bard on the Beach, and Electric Company Theatre.

The Cultch presents East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood at the York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, from November 23 – December 31, 2016.
Tickets are available online from $20.