Bloody exciting

I recommend two evenings this week.

Macbeth, at Bard on the Beach, is bloody good. Colleen Wheeler makes a terrifying Lady Macbeth and Bob Frazer draws a clear and compelling arc as Mr. Mackers. Director Miles Potter makes great big choices and most of them—notably his staging of the appearance of Banquo’s ghost—pay off. Even if you feel like you’ve seen Macbeth a hundred times, this production will make it fresh for you.

I also REALLY like the double bill that I saw this Friday: This Is Cancer and The Progressive Polygamists.

I saw Bruce Horak’s Cancer at the Fringe last year and admired it very much. Seeing it for the second time, I was impressed once again by the guy’s sheer confidence and charisma. He’s transgressive: what’s a cancer show without a good Terry Fox joke?. But there’s an unsentimental emotional frankness about the show: Horak refers to his own experiences of cancer and invites audience members to do the same.

Entertaining and cathartic. What more could you ask?

And the two young women who wrote and perform The Progressive Polygamists blew me away.  Emmeila Gordon and Pippa Mackie have written a witty, audacious show about polygamy, a show that should light the fire of gender politics in everybody who sees it. And they too perform with absolute confidence. Their timing is flawless, even when they’re improvising in response to audience members.

The Cancer/Polygamists double bill is up again next weekend, June 29 and 30, at the Firehall.

And Macbeth runs on Bard’s mainstage until September 20. Don’t get cocky, though. Book now.

For my full reviews, go to

Oh. And King John opens on Bard’s second stage July 14. King John has the rep of being Shakespeare’s worst play, but I’ve just read it for the first time and I’m very excited to see what director Dean Paul Gibson and his fellow artists are going to do with it.

There are some great roles and gob-smacking scenes in this play. And it’s all about political expediency. Does that speak to our times, or what?

Watch the Straight for my preview interview with Scott Bellis (King John) and Aslam Husain (a terrific character called Philip the Bastard).


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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