Matilda the Musical survives its director

The Arts Club is presenting Matilda the Musical at the Stanley.

This girl, Thailey Roberge, is one of the best reasons to see Matilda at the Arts Clubs. There are also reasons not too. (Photo by David Cooper)

Matilda the Musical survives Daryl Cloran’s direction, even though he makes a good stab at bludgeoning it to death with overstatement. [Read more…]

Other Inland Empires: surfing in shallow water

Julie Hammond's Other Inland Empires is at the rEvolver Festival

It’s hard to care about an earring and a tooth — even if they’re embodied by women wearing goggles — if you haven’t had a chance to get to know them. (Photo by Tim Matheson)

Formally innovative, Other Inland Empires also looks like it’s also going to be theatrically and thematically rewarding — at first.

Writer and director Julie Hammond presents three characters: she has written herself into the piece as a narrator; her grandmother, who survived the Holocaust, is present as a recorded voice; and Gidget from the surfing movies shows up both in readings from one of the Gidget books and as an actor who does some onstage surfing. [Read more…]

Lady Parts: I like ’em

After Party Theatre is presenting Lady Parts as part of the rEvolver Festival.

Are you interested in pubic hairstyles? Of course you are. Who isn’t? (Photo of Katey Hoffman and Cheyenne Mabberley by Mark Halliday)

Lady Parts is a feminist revue that includes sketch comedy, personal testimony, and a whole lot of political fuck-you-ness.

It’s hilarious, it’s necessary, and it’s so welcome. [Read more…]

The Cake: bittersweet, delicious

Pacific Theatre is presenting The Cake.

Erla Faye Forsyth is one of the best actors in Vancouver. Whether or not you already know that, go see her in The Cake. (Photo by Javier Sotres)

I’m so grateful.

Pacific Theatre’s production of The Cake is coming at the right time — at the necessary time. With Alabama’s virtual ban on abortion just the latest in states’ restrictions of female autonomy, the Trump administration’s assault on LGBTQ rights, and the pursuit of similar agendas by Doug Ford in Ontario and Jason Kenney in Alberta, it’s frighteningly clear just how hostile populist conservatism is to anything other than cis white hetero male supremacy.

That’s why I’m so grateful for the tenderness of The Cake— not to mention its wit. [Read more…]

The Fitting Room: the pieces don’t fit

Collectivus Theatre is presenting The Fitting Room at the Havana Theatre.

Kelly Vanderswan as Amy, the mom, and Ciaran Volke as Henry in Ellery Lamm’s The Fitting Room. (Photo by Victoria Simpson)

Ellery Lamm, who wrote The Fitting Room, shows promise as a playwright, but that promise hasn’t ripened yet. [Read more…]

Nassim is a retread

Nassim Soleimanpour's new show Nassim is playing The Cultch in Vancouver.

In Nassim, Nassim Soleimanpour reuses his mystery-script device. (Photo of the playwright by Studio Doug)

Nassim feels like an endless set-up for an experience that barely arrives. [Read more…]

The Great Leap: hobbled by a slight script

The Arts Club Theatre is presenting The Great Leap by Lauren Yee.

Milton Lim’s performance and Chimerik’s projections are two of the best things about The Great Leap. (Photo by Pink Monkey Studios)

This script’s heart doesn’t start pumping until well in to Act 2. Until then, it’s on the artificial life support of a visually dynamic production. [Read more…]

The Sea floated my boat — intermittently

The Slamming Door Collective is presenting Edward Bond's The Sea at the Jericho Arts Centre.

Slamming Door delivers a stylish production of Edward Bond’s eccentric script. (Photo of Cheyenne Mabberley and Genevieve Fleming by Erin Aberle-Palm)

Like a kid who has had the wrong kind of home schooling, Edward Bond’s The Sea is wildly creative—and undisciplined. It takes you to a refreshingly original imaginative world but then insists that you linger too long in some of the duller corners. [Read more…]

Dead People’s Things: dump ’em

Zee Zee Theatre is presenting Dave Deveau's Dead People's Things at Studio 16.

Eileen Barrett and Meghan Chenovsky at the end of Dead People’s Things, which is when things get more interesting.
(Photo by Tina Krueger Kulic)

This play contains one moderately interesting idea. It comes very near the end of the 95-minute runtime. It’s a long wait.

In Dave Deveau’s new script, Dead People’s Things, a young woman named Phyllis has inherited a house from her estranged aunt, who was a hoarder. When Phyllis shows up at the property, Beatrice, an older woman who was the aunt’s neighbour and best friend, greets her with the keys—and undisguised hostility. [Read more…]

Bed & Breakfast: Don’t spend the night

The Arts Club is presenting Bed & Breakfast at the Granville Island Stage.

Five shades of grey: Mark Crawford and Paul Dunn wear Dana Osborne’s costumes on her set. (Photo by Moonrider Productions)

The title is a spoiler.

The show is called Bed & Breakfast for Christ’s sake so, when gay couple Brett and Drew spend their first half hour onstage together dithering about whether or they’re going to open a B&B, I felt like screaming, “Haven’t you read the program? Haven’t you seen the posters? Get on it with it!” [Read more…]

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