British Columbia artists are winning over New York and London

Betroffenheit is a hit in London.

Betroffenheit, by Jonathon Young and Crystal Pite, is just about as dark—and successful—as they come.

Local artists are standing on top of the world in New York and London.

Charles Isherwood of The New York Times named Ride the Cyclone one of the best shows to open in the Big Apple in 2016. And the Guardian’s Luke Jennings chose Betroffenheit as one of the year’s top ten dance performances.

Ride the Cyclone, which is a musical, started life as an Atomic Vaudeville production in 2011 and played a short run at the Arts Club’s Revue Stage before being reworked and moving on to a Chicago mounting in 2015. The Chicago interpretation, which is directed by Rachel Rockwell, opened off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on December 1st this year. 

In Ride the Cyclone, five teenagers from the Saint Cassian High School Chamber Choir who were killed in a rollercoaster accident sing in a bizarre contest in which the winner gets a second chance at life. Written by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell, Ride the Cyclone is a wild mash-up that includes everything from cabaret to glam rock.

Victoria actor Kholby Wardell is the only member of the original cast to have made it all the way to New York. Wardell plays Noel Gruber, a queer kid. “Being the only gay man in a small rural high school is kind of like having a laptop in the Stone Age,” Noel tells the audience. “I mean, sure you can have one, but there’s nowhere to plug it in.”

Referring to Wardell in my review of the Arts Club run, I wrote, “Mark my words: this kid is going to be a star.” I also advised Vancouverites to buys tickets at the Arts Club run or Ride the Cyclone “because it’ll be cheaper and easier than lining up to see it in New York.” I am fucking psychic.

As I posted on Facebook last night, Betroffenheit, which is a production of Electric Company Theatre and Kidd Pivot Performing Arts Society, made it into the Guardian‘s top ten dance performances of 2016.

Betroffenheit, which played London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre this spring, combines theatre and dance to explore the aftermath of shock and grief.

Vancouverites who are able to witness Betroffenheit in its performances at the Playhouse in February know what a profound artistic achievement it is on all levels: conception, performance, and design.

Betroffenheit won the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award at this year’s Jessies.

Here’s a link to the Guardian‘s top-ten article: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/dec/04/luke-jennings-best-dance-2016-akram-khan-michael-clark-tamara-rojo

And here’s the top ten from The New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/theater/best-theater.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&smtyp=cur&_r=0

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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