The Book of Mormon is the best new show in town—but you have to win the lottery to get in

The Book of Mormon

Clearly, A.J. Holmes (Elder Cunningham) would be delighted to see you at The Book of Mormon.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which is fun, is still on at the Stanley—and it just might be the best thing you can get tickets to.

A slick touring production of The Book of Mormon is at the QE. That’s fun, too, but the only way you’re going to get tickets is by going down to the theatre and waiting for returns—or entering the lottery they’re holding. You can score one or two tickets for 25 bucks each in that deal, but you have to be there two and a half hours before the curtain. Winners are announced two hours before the curtain.  If you’re feeling adventurous…

It’s spring and the fresh talent is blooming

Katey Hoffman, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Arts Club Theatre

In Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Katey Hoffman is part of a bumper crop of fresh spring talent.

I’ve got three shows to recommend this week and they all feature strong performances from young artists.

In Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Christopher Durang’s crazy Chekhovian mashup, which runs at the Arts Club’s Stanley Theatre until April 19, Katey Hoffman gives a hilarious performance as a wannabe actor named Nina. This show also contains terrific work from Susinn McFarlen and Jay Brazeau.  [Read more…]

2014: some of the best of this year in theatre

Corina Akeson, Leontes, The Winter's Tale

Don’t mess with Corina Akeson when she’s cross-dressing: she makes one serious dude

People often say to me, “You must get so sick of going to the theatre!” But I don’t. I love my job. Not to put too fine a point on it, but my job is fucking spectacular: I get to think and feel for a living.

As a way of saying thank-you to everybody who makes theatre in Vancouver—and to everybody who cares about theatre in Vancouver—here’s a list. It’s not an inventory of my favourite shows; it’s a selection of some of the performances and moments that embedded themselves most deeply in my psyche during 2014. [Read more…]

BEST holiday shows—for grown-ups and for families

Cinderella: An East Van Panto, Avenue Q

Cinderella: An East Van Panto is in the running for this year’s Christmas Pudding Award for best family entertainment

Okay. Time for the First Annual Christmas Pudding Awards.

There are two categories: Best Holiday Show for Families, and Outstanding Holiday Entertainment for Crusty Old Adults.

Let’s do the Family category first; kids have short attention spans.

The Family nominees are: the Arts Club’s Mary Poppins, Crazy for You at the Gateway, and Cinderella: An East Van Panto at the York. (I tried to see Carousel Theatre’s James and the Giant Peach, but they wouldn’t give me a comp. I’m telling Santa.)

Artistically, all of these shows are worth seeing. [Read more…]

Top three holiday shows—so far

Crazy For You, Gateway Theatre

Carmen Alatorre’s crazy-good costumes contribute to the giddy good time that is Crazy For You

I’m going to start to sound like a  rerun of Sesame Street, but Avenue Q is still my favourite show in town. Both the material and production are first-rate: irreverent and original. Things get a little spicy—there’s Muppet sex—and that’s great for adults, but Avenue Q is clearly not the best choice for family entertainment.

Kids would definitely prefer Cinderella: An East Van Panto over at the York. It’s a teensy bit bawdy, but in a way that will fly right over kids’ heads. Little ones will love booing the villains, and all of the sane adults will love booing the Christy Clark-like character who’s one of the baddies.  [Read more…]

Q tip

Selina Wong, Andy Toth, Avenue Q, Arts Club Theatre

Selina Wong and Andy Toth: two members of Avenue Q’s perfect cast

The best holiday entertainment I’ve seen so far this year is still the Arts Club’s Avenue Q. This outrageously funny but warmhearted musical is running at the Granville Island Stage until January 3.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to see a whole bunch more holiday shows so stay tuned for more tips.

BTW, Avenue Q features Muppet-like puppets doing un-Sesame Street-like things, including having riotous sex. If you’re offended by that—as some people who have commented on my review on straight.com seem to be—stay home, and have your own run-of-the-mill human sex. See if I care.

This weekend: Speed-the-Joan

David Mamet, Speed-the-Plow, Craig Erickson, Aaron Craven

If you want to see some actors having a really good time, check out Aaron Craven and Craig Erickson in Speed-the-Plow.

The top picks for this weekend are wildly different: Speed-the-Plow at Studio 16 and Saint Joan at the Stanley.  [Read more…]

Go see Saint Joan

Meg Roe, Saint Joan, Arts Club, Kim Colier

Meg Roe is wonderful in Saint Joan—kind of like she is in every show I’ve seen her do.

What to see this weekend? That would still be Saint Joan, which is on at the Stanley until November 23. Don’t wait until the last minute though; if there’s any justice in the world, it will sell out.

Director Kim Collier brings the intelligent but talky text to vivid, visceral life. Meg Roe, who’s playing Joan, is one of the best actors in the world—I’m not being hyperbolic—and there’s an embarrassment of riches in the rest of the cast, which includes Dean Paul Gibson, Haig Sutherland, Scott Bellis and Tom McBeath.

Two great shows to see this weekend

Hunter Gatherers, Pippa Mackie, Jay Clift

Pippa Mackie and Jay Clift are livin’ la vida del carne in Hunter Gatherers

They’re really different and they’re both really good: Saint Joan at the Stanley and Hunter Gatherers at the Havana.  [Read more…]