Picks of the Week – November 15, 2017

Mid-November we find even more Christmas and Holiday events heating up the picks of the week.

Craft: The Christmas craft market season is in full swing with Christmas at Hycroft on this weekend.

Artisans: Out in the Valley, Abbotsford hosts one of the largest craft shows, West Coast Christmas Show & Artisan Market runs November 17 – 19, at Tradex

Air: Join the great Bernard Cuffling for an Orwellian one-man show Coming Up For Air at Kay Meeks Centre until November 25th.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company hails King Charles III at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until November 19th and The Day Before Christmas opening at the Goldcorp Stage

Knights: Vancouver Canucks take to the ice on Thursday vs Las Vegas Golden Knights, and on Saturday vs St Louis Blues

Joseph: Align Entertainment’s remount of the celebrated musical Joseph and The Technicolour Dreamcoat continues at the Michael J Fox Theatre until November 18th

Culture:  Explore 500+ artists in their open studios as the Eastside Culture Crawl runs through the weekend

Broadway: The award winning jukebox musical Jersey Boys comes to Queen Elizabeth from Tuesday November 14 until Sunday November 19

Scoop: At Firehall Arts Centre, from November 11 to December 2nd, Only Drunks And Children Tell The Truth tells the tale of the 60’s Scoop of indigenous children with truth and humour

Solo: At Performance Works, Vanishing Vancouver comes to life in Solo Theatre Collective’s Satellites, playing until November 16 – 26.

Mashup:  Alley Theatre presents The Ridiculous Darkness, a satirical mash-up of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now at the Annex Theatre until November 19th

Improv: Laugh yourself to another world at Vancouver Theatresports League with Improv Wars: The Laugh Jedi, sharing the Improv Centre stage until November 18.

 

The Ridiculous Darkness descends on Annex Theatre

Until November 19th, the Annex Theatre is home of The Ridiculous Darkness, an ambitious work adapted from an award-winning German radio-play.  A mash up of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocolypse Now and in turn its source material The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.  Now set in Afghanistan, the satirical outline takes on modern racial and social stereotypes.

photo: Wendy D Photography

Being a radio script leaves producers Alley Theatre and partners Neworld Theatre open season to create the world in which this off-beat satire exists on paper, the result is Ridiculous by name and ridiculous by nature.  Although the storyline follows the actions of German Military Officer Pellnerin and his boat pilot Stefan Dorsch secret mission to find the rogue Colonel Deutinger in the depths of the Afghan wilderness,  the production often veers off course to tackle local social issues and breaks the 4th wall to introduce other local cultural collaborators.

photo: Wendy D Photography

The production comes off as a random collection of thoughts loosely strung together by the Afghan adventure.  Envisioning it like a old-school radio serial; each episode includes a brief tale of action-adventure, a cultural interlude and a social commentary, helps to makes some sense of the eclectic 2 hours.  And like a radio play, the 6 core actors play all the characters, interchanging parts like a game of musical chairs.

photo: Wendy D Photography

Like its collaboration of thoughts, The Ridiculous Darkness co-producers Alley Theatre and Neworld Theatre and the core 6 players bring together an impressive collaboration of other local arts and cultural groups; Theatre Terrific, Tetsu Taiko, RealWheels Theatre, Richmond Youth Honour Choir, Downtown East Side Street Market Society, Downtown East Side Vendors Collective, Afghan Benevolent Association of BC, and East Van Powwow all contribute to the show at times packing 40+ people onstage.

The Ridiculous Darkness opened to a sold out audience at Annex Theatre on Remembrance Day, and closes on November 19th.  Visit Alley Theatre and Neworld Theatre online for more information and tickets.  Note: November 17th will be ASL interpreted 

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 18, 2017

The late October is upon us, the picks of the week are filling with more and more hauntingly good fun.

Tastes: Tonight, explore the new flavours of Chinatown as Tasting Plates explores the historic neighbourhood.

Pop: Hard to believe but the trio of brothers, Hanson, are celebrating their 25th Anniversary with the Middle Of Nowhere Tour stopping at The Vogue Theatre on Wednesday

Books: The 30th Annual Vancouver International Writer’s Festival is now underway on Granville Island until October 22nd.

Beer: Raise your stein and cheer as #dasoriginal Oktoberfest continues for a final weekend at Vancouver Alpen Club.

Lookout: Elevate your experience with Vancouver Heritage Foundation takes at The Lookout at Harbour Centre’s Perspectives series of Talks, October 19th is Historic Crime: Early Forensic Investigations

Jedi: Laugh yourself to another world at Vancouver Theatresports League with Improv Wars: The Laugh Jedi, sharing the Improv Centre stage until November 18.

Diwali: Part of Diwali in BC, The Cultch presents Encounter by Navarasa Dance Theatre until October 22nd and The Firehall Arts Centre presents Happy Place until October 29th.

Rail: There’s an Alien Invasion going on in Stanley Park at the 2017 Ghost Train, running until October 31st

Broom: Hops on your broom and pick up your diploma from Broomelda’s academy at Fly Over Canada until Halloween

Kimmel & Wright
photo: Emily Cooper

Music: Friday night, the Gateway Theatre 2017-18 season opens with A Little Night Music, running until October 21st.

Benefit: The final David Foster Miracle Gala and Concert brings a star studded roster to the stage at Rogers Arena on Saturday

Pigskin: The BC Lions take the field at BC Place to host Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday evening

Scene: Saturday night, Broken Social Scene play the Commodore Ballroom

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company sets the table for Thanks For Giving running at the Granville Island Stage until November 4th and King Charles III starts in previews this week at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Fright: The 2017 Fright Night at Playland spooks the patrons with houses of horror and thrilling rides until Halloween

 

A Little Night Music lights the Gateway Theatre season

Cast Photo: Emily Cooper

Gateway Theatre’s 2017 / 2018 season got underway this week with a lavish performance of Stephen Sondheim’s classic A Little Night Music.

A co-presentation with Patrick Street Productions, and directed by Peter Jorgensen, the Tony award winning musical is set in Sweden at the turn of the last century.  A tale of romance and class structure,  as characters deal with forbidden lust, infidelity, long-lost loves,  jealousy and reminisce about past liaisons. Through the characters’ trials and tribulations of love Jorgensen lets the comedy of the situations shine through.  The director took inspiration from Ingmar Bergman, the director of the source film of the musical, Smiles of  Summer Night, finding comedy in tragedy.  Patrick Street Productions and Jogensen have added their modern touch to the show with hints of sexual fluidity in the maid Petra’s character.

Kimmel & Wright
photo: Emily Cooper

Led by the always dependable Warren Kimmel as Fredrick Egerman, and Katey Wright as Desiree Armfeldt, who both have the acting and musical talents to all eyes on them when they’re onstage.  The cast also included stand-out turns from Arinea Hermans and Caleb Di Pomponio as Fredrick’s virgin (2nd) bride and his angst-ridden son, Henrick. Nick Fontaine’s Count Carl-Magnus and Lindsay Warnock as his put-upon wife, Countess Charlotte provide scenery chewing comedy performances. Young Elizabeth Irving displays talent beyond her years as Desiree’s daughter, Fredricka.  The capable ensemble rounds out the cast, making the performance light and breezy, in spite of its 2.5 hour run time.  Coming towards the end of the show, the musical gets late energy boost from the famed Send In The Clowns.  Throughout the show, Sondheim’s music, and Hugh Wheeler’s book, share the storytelling duties effortlessly.  Alan Brodie’s simple set and lighting design help to highlight Jessica Bayntun’s lush, period costumes.

Set & Lighting Design by Alan Brodie, photo by Emily Cooper.jpg

Find your own reasons to love and laugh as A Little Night Music continues at Gateway Theatre until October 21st.

13: The Musical brings back teen spirit

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

Bring On Tomorrow Co’s production of 13 : The Musical, now playing at Waterfront Theatre, brilliantly brings back all the feelings of adolescents.  We’ve all been haunted by the spirits of teen angst but thankfully it’s much more enjoyable watching the trials and tribulations when it’s happening to someone else.

The company, made completely of teenaged actors, bring to life Dan Elish’s story of Evan Goldman.  Ripped from the comfort of his New York City life and plunked into Appleton, Indiana just as he turns 13 years old.  With his Bar Mitzvah plans now thrown into array, Evan must balance the tricky teen worlds of popularity and friendship.

Graham Verchere brings Evan to the stage with a believable awkward innocence of a boy becoming a man, or at least trying to navigate his way to teenhood, with a little help from his friends.  Patrice, literally the girl next door, played beautifully by Julia Maclean, and Archie, Julian Lokash, plays the ‘boy with the terminal illness’ not to be laughed at but laughed with.  While every character has moments of light and dark the powerhouse performance of Michelle Creber as Lucy the main manipulator of the gang, is a girl everyone remembers from school as is Brett, played by Jason Sakaki, the quintessential jock.

Just like back in school, the girls have developed earlier than the boys.  Most of these female performers have rich powerful voices while the adolescent boys bring back those memories and blushes of the occasional cracks and squeaks when you least expect them, bringing even more reality to Jason Robert Brown’s songs.  Chris Adams direction and Nicol Spinola’s choreography work hand in hand to juggle the large ensemble as they recreate the energy of the Dan Quayle Junior High School student body. Christopher David Gauthier’s simple set design makes quick changes to reveal all the halls and rooms of the school.

While Bring On Tomorrow Co’s 13 : The Musical ends on October 8th, if you have the chance get out and see it.  Relive the comedy and tragedy of being 13,  there’s sure to be a character who reminds you of someone you went to school with, if not yourself.

Théâtre la Seizième Announced 2017-18 Season

Théâtre la Seizième has announced its 2017-2018 season, including two local and four visiting productions coming to Vancouver stages.  Founded in 1974, Théâtre la Seizième is the only French language, professional theatre company in British Columbia. Every year, Théâtre la Seizième presents a mainstage season, and a young audiences season, in addition to a series of drama workshops, a training and dramaturgical development program for local artists.

No matter the language, Théâtre la Seizième aims to reach all culture lovers while also surprising its audience with new faces and new forms of stage performance.  This season’s plays have been selected for the light they shed on some of today’s hot button issues (immigration, superficiality and appearance, birth rate and environmental protection, individualism and unity of the family, and the cult of performance).

“We are living in an age marked by profound changes and it is good, sometimes, to sit together and take stock of what is taking place around us. This is precisely what this season’s plays are offering, intelligently and with creativity.” stressed Esther Duquette, Artistic and Managing Director. 

Théâtre la Seizième adds performances English surtitles, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday shows to allow more non-French speaking culture lovers to experience the works.

This year’s season includes;

Mainstage Productions:

UNITÉ MODÈLE
October 17-28, 2017 at Studio 16

BIBISH DE KINSHASA
November 28 – December 2, 2017 at Studio 16

POURQUOI TU PLEURES…?
February 16-17, 2018 at Waterfront Theatre

DES ARBRES
May 8-12, 2018 at Studio 16 

Young Audiences Productions:

CRÈME-GLACÉE
April 7, 2018 at Studio 16
On tour in primary schools from April 3 to June 8, 2018

AVANT L’ARCHIPEL
On tour in high schools from May 3-25, 2018

Find production details and information plus book subscription packages and single performance tickets visit seizieme.ca