Two things the Arts Club does that bug me

Arts Club Theatre, Les Misérables, Nicola Lipman, Andrew Wheeler

Actors should ALWAYS be having a good time onstage. Watch Nicola Lipman and Andrew Wheeler to see how it’s done.

I love the Arts Club. For decades, Bill Millerd has kept multiple stages running, employing hundreds of artists and technicians, and entertaining thousands. The Arts Club is committed to developing new scripts, too, so more power to ’em.

That said, I wish they’d admit that previews are rehearsals and charge a reduced rate for them, like Bard on the Beach does. As far as I’m concerned, if a show’s not ready for the press, it’s not ready for the public to pay full price for it, either. And we all know that shows grow a lot between the first preview and opening night. 

I also wish—faint hope on this front—that the Arts Club wouldn’t quote me out of context. When I approached the Stanley on the opening night of Les Misérables, for instance, I was surprised to see that I had already reviewed it. A banner hanging from the marquee reads, “A knockout!” and credits the Georgia Straight.

That quote comes from a review I wrote of the production the Arts Club mounted five years ago. The latest Arts Club incarnation of Les Miz is more than a remount; several key roles have been recast, and, although this version is very entertaining, I wouldn’t call it a knockout.

Short of holding my breath until I turn blue, there’s not a lot that I can do about that, but it is a reminder for the buyer to beware. If you want to know what a critic really thinks, read the current review in its entirety.

And, you know, by all means go to Les Miz. It’s a really good show. And, if you’re like me, you’ll want to grow up to be Nicola Lipman, who plays Mme. Thénardier.

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.


  1. Greg Armstrong-Morris says:

    Amen Sister-Brother Grrlfriend!

  2. Kathryn Aberle says:

    I agree, on both counts.

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