Arts Club double whammy

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This week, I have two shows to recommend: Good People and Onegin. Both are from the Arts Club.

If you haven’t already seen Onegin, buy your damn tickets! The run is selling out—partly because people are seeing Veda Hille and Amiel Gladstone’s vivacious adaptation of Pushkin’s verse novel three and four times.

The regular run of Onegin continues until April 10. And the Arts Club has been able to add three more shows: Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30, and Wednesday, April 13, at 1:30 and 7:30.

So grab yourself some seats. Don’t let those piggy repeaters suck them all up.

And Good People has just opened at the Stanley. The Act 1 set-up is laboured, but Act 2 catches fire.

Set in Boston, largely in a poor neighbourhood called Southie, Good People examines the stories that we tell ourselves about economic class.

David Lindsay-Abaire’s script asks nuanced questions and it’s often funny.

Laughlin Johnston’s set is superbly cinematic. Just wait till you see those rooms sliding together like puzzle pieces.

And there are some terrific performances, especially from Colleen Wheeler, Scott Bellis, and Jenn Griffin.

Vancouver theatre artists often diss the Arts Club. It’s a big commercial theatre, so it’s a large target, and it’s good for producers, large and small, to be held to account. But, right now, let’s give the company credit for two solid shows, one of which is an original local creation.

Onegin: more

Onegin, Arts Club, Andrew McNee, Lauren Jackson

Andrew McNee and Lauren Jackson are having an excellent time in Onegin. Mind you, dressed in Jacqueline Firkins’s fabulous costumes, I’d be having fun, too.

When I write reviews, I try to cram in as much information as possible—but there’s almost never enough room, so, right here, I’m going to cram in a little bit more about the Arts Club’s production of Onegin.

Director Amiel Gladstone has done a fantastic job.

A couple of images spring to mind. One is Gladstone’s staging of the duel. I’ll leave the moment for you to discover. Let me just say that it works because it’s so  understated.

The other image is of actor Lauren Jackson running across the stage. This is kind of a random memory, but it’s telling, I think. Jackson’s character, Olga, is happy in that moment, but, so, I think, is Jackson. And that’s emblematic of the palpable sense of JOY that saturates this production: everybody on-stage seems to be having a REALLY GOOD TIME. That joy comes from the company, of course, but, in to setting the tone, the director is hugely important.

And, of course, under Gludstone’s direction, the whole frickin’ thing is insanely stylish and vivacious. But I’ve said that already in my review, which is on straight.com.

Go see Onegin. It is, hands down, the best show on this weekend.