Arts Club Theatre Company : Once

Gili Roskies & Adrian Glynn McMorran
photo: Emily Cooper

Once is definitely not enough when it comes to seeing Arts Club Theatre Company’s Once, now playing at the Granville Island Stage.  The final show of the season, and for Artist Director Bill Millerd’s 45 season reign as the guiding force of the Art Club, certainly makes a memorable impact.

The heartwarming and heartbreaking story of Guy meets Girl, based on the 2007 film of the same name, takes the audience on a journey filled with music, laughter, melancholy, romance and inspiration.  Known only as Girl (an ‘honest’ Czech aspiring pianist, played by Gili Roskies) and Guy (a struggling Dublin musician, played by Adrian Glynn McMorran), our leads’ meet cute involves busking and a Hoover.  That oddball scenario, foretells the unique show that’s to come.  While Girl struggles with her feelings for Guy and loyalty to her estranged husband, she champions Guy to never give up on his heart and music.  Once would be nothing without that music, written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova (the original film’s leads) the heartfelt songs stand-out like a third lead; moving the story along, connecting the characters and allowing Guy and Girl to sing what they can’t say.

To help bring the duo’s musical aspirations to a fruition, a company of colourful characters gather; both Czechs and the Irish play multiple instruments, dance, and sing often all at the same time.  While all the company are solid; stand outs include Chris Cochrane as Billy the music shop owner and admirer of Girl, who plays well off of the always solid Caitriona Murphy.  There are a couple moments when the Irish accents sound a bit like their protecting their Lucky Charms, but it’s not enough to distract from the feeling that the audience is a Dublin pub with the company.  Set designer Ted Roberts makes the most of the small Granville Island stage to recreate the feeling of an Irish Pub, which is open to the audience for on stage drinks and a kitchen party style opening jam session that leads into the show.  From this lively opening to the emotional Academy Award winning song “Falling Slowly”, Once moves us and makes us cheer for Guy and Girls’ relationship and leaves us fulfilled but wanting to know the rest of their stories.

See it once or often but definitely see it before it’s gone.  Once is playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage until July 29, 2018.

Picks of the Week – June 20, 2018

Summer 2018 is upon us and bringing with it a plethora of entertainment to keep your week moving along with these picks.

Eat: Take a flavourful tour of Vancouver’s West End on Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates West End edition.

Bard: Make your picks between a Beatles themed version of As You Like It or the Scottish Play in the Bard on the Beach 2018

Jazz: The Vancouver and Victoria International Jazz Festivals both get underway June 22 with Macy Gray, Dee Dee Bridgewater & The Memphis Soulphony, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Bonobo, The Jerry Douglas Band and more

Queer Arts Festival: Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax

Arts: The 10th Anniversary Queer Arts Festival is underway until June 28th at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.

Kicks: Get your FIFA World Cup fix and soak up the global vibes at various venues around town

Exhibit: Get away to the cabin at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever a new exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018. As well, David Milne: Modern Painting  on until September 9th, offers highlights of Milne’s half-century career, which took him from New York City, to the battlefields of Northern  France and Belgium, and back to the wilderness of Canada and the US.

Fest: The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra presents the Global Soundscape Festival a celebration of Middle Eastern music at venues around town June 16 – 27, 2018

Concert: Saturday night at Vancouver Playhouse, Sweet Bubbling Nights, presented by Soulful Productions is a sizzling celebration of soul, Motown, funk, show tunes and drag in support of LGBTI Pulse Memorial Scholarship.

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art reopens after renovations with BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest an exhibition deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation

MammaMiaAbba: You’ll have a hard time not singing along at the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage, until August 12th

Irish: The final show of the 2018 Arts Club Theatre Company season closes with ONCE, at the Granville Island Stage.

Outdoor: DOXA Documentary Film Festival presents, Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, for its annual Outdoor Summer Screening at Robson Square on Saturday at 9:30pm

Resist: Until October 8th at MOA, 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.

Midway: Enjoy summer excitement at Playland on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Wild: The Museum of Vancouver opens a new exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives, which takes a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city.

Picks of the Week – June 13, 2018

The last full week of Spring 2018 blooms with plenty of entertainment to make it tough to choose from these picks of the week …

The SuperDad Show

Father: Celebrate dear ol’ dad with a celebration of parenthood at The SuperDad Show at Vancouver Theatresports League, a hilarious family-friendly 2pm show on Father’s Day perfectly timed to fit between taking Dad for brunch or dinner

Exhibit: Get away to the cabin at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever a new exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018.

Dance12 Minutes Max at the Dance Centre, Friday night, showcases five eclectic dance works by some of Vancouver’s most exciting and innovative up-and-coming choreographers: Katie Cassady, Alejandra Miranda & Juan Villegas, Sophie Maguire, Jhoely Triana, and Sujit Vaidya.

Macbeth

Bard: Make your picks between a Beatles themed version of As You Like It or the Scottish Play in the Bard on the Beach 2018 repertoire this week.

Laughs: The hilarious Kevin Hart brings his “The Irresponsible Tour” to Rogers Arena on Saturday.

Roar: The BC Lions get their 2018 season off to a roaring start when they host Montreal Alouettes at BC Place

Walk: The 7th Annual South Granville Art Walk takes place Saturday, opening 10 different exhibitions, artist talks, refreshments and more from 10am – 5pm.

Fest: The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra presents the Global Soundscape Festival a celebration of Middle Eastern music at venues around town June 16 – 27, 2018

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art reopens after renovations with BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest an exhibition deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation

Haida:  There’s a couple more days to visit Museum of Vancouver before the exhibition, Haida Now. closes on June 15th.

Abba: You’ll have a hard time not singing along at the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage, until August 12th

Irish: The final show of the 2018 Arts Club Theatre Company season closes with ONCE, at the Granville Island Stage.

Doc: Victim Impact is a unique live documentary from Theatre Conspiracy directed by award winning Jiv Parasram, taking the stage at The Cultch Historic Theatre until June 17.

Photo. Michele Mateus Photography

Music: The Cultch also offers three performances, June 14, 15, 16 of Perfect Imperfections: The Art of a Messy Life a multi-disciplinary performance from Celeste Snowber, bassist Jodi Proznick and harpist Alexa Reimer,

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.

Midway: Enjoy summer excitement at Playland on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Queer Arts Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival (QAF) celebrates its tenth anniversary with the multi-disciplinary summer festival, June 16 to 28, 2018 at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. The annual festival, this year titled DECADEnce, also commemorates Pride in Art’s 20th year as an artist-led collective. QAF 2018 features a boundary-pushing, dialogue-igniting array of creators that amplify artistic risk-taking and incite creative collaboration and experimentation.

Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax

The diverse festival line-up includes the world premiere of Lesley Ewen’s work Camera Obscura; a 30-year retrospective concert honouring Barry Truax’s trailblazing work titled Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax. Operatic tenor Jeremy Dutcher’s performance of traditional Wolastoqiyik songs from his debut release Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (Maliseet Songs); performances from local art disruptors Su-Feh Lee, MACHiNENOiSY, and Erato Ensemble; and the always popular Queeraoke closing night blowout, plus much more.

In a settler colonial society, we have a very solidified perception of what ‘counts’ as worthy of commemorating. And all too often, the voices and lives that are articulated at QAF not only fall outside of this – but are obscured or erased by this HIStory,” says SD Holman, Artistic Director. “For 20 years, we have championed the voices and visions of fearless artists to challenge normative misconceptions in both art spaces and the greater society. Still today, we are living with the burden of an uncertain future and a precarious present that denies freedom, the self-governance of our bodies, minds, and artistic visions. At ten years in, the importance of having a Queer Arts Festival has only grown more palpable.”

Art and conviviality converge at the grand opening, celebrating 10 years of the Queer Arts Festival, June 16th with Art Party! Gala Opening Reception, a pay what you can event at 7pm at Roundhouse Community Centre.

Visit queerartsfestival.com for the full festival lineup fo great shows and events

 

Picks of the Week – June 6, 2018

Yes, it’s already June, 2018 is nearly half over but the Summer entertainment is just beginning, here’s my picks of the week

Cabin Fever

Exhibit: Get away to the cabin at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever a new exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view June 9 to September 30, 2018.

Rock: Local legend, Bryan Adams plays Rogers Arena Wednesday night, June 6th

Bard: The Scottish Play opens Bard on the Beach 2018, as previews begin today with the opening night next week.

Body Language

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art reopens after renovations with BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest an exhibition deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation

Fest: Breakout Festival 2018 takes over the PNE Amphitheatre June 9 & 10 with Migos, Tory Lanez, 6lack, Lil Pump and many more over the weekend

Haida:  There’s just one more week to visit Museum of Vancouver for the 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, closing June 15.

Kicks: Can Whitecaps FC build on the momentum of last week’s win to put another W in the column? Find out Saturday when they host Orlando City FC.

Doc: Victim Impact is a unique live documentary from Theatre Conspiracy directed by award winning Jiv Parasram, taking the stage at The Cultch Historic Theatre from June 8 – 17.

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 June 8 at Surrey Arts Centre

Abba: Does your Mother know you’re having a great time at the Abba musical Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre Stage, until August 12th

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.

Italy: Musica Magnifica! is the theme of 2018’s Italian Day on The Drive, celebrating Italian music and its impact, plus of course lots of food, this Sunday June 10th

Singer: Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd brings his unique sounds to Malkin Bowl on Saturday night.

Midway: Enjoy summer excitement at Playland on weekends with three added rides for the family’s excitement.

Punk: Spend the weekend with punk rock legends Social Distortion as they take over the Commodore Ballroom for a two night stand, June 9 – 10.

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