Archives for November 2019

It’s a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle: There’s still New Year’s to look forward to

The Arts Club is presenting Marcus Youssef's Christmas play at the BMO Centre.

Costumer Jessie Oostergo knows what she’s doing.
(Photo of Matreya Scarrwener, Nicola Lipman, and Glen Gordon by David Cooper)

One thing about seeing a show like It’s a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle: it will leave you with plenty of cognitive space to think about other things the next day.
[Read more…]

Fado: The Saddest Music in the World — is just a bit sulky

 

Puente Theatre and the Firehall Arts Centre are presenting Fado: The Saddest Music in the World

Gotta love the Portuguese tiles in Emma Dickerson’s set. (Photo of Lucia Frangione, Natasha Napoleao, and Pedro M. Siqueira by Jam Hamidi)

Fado: The Saddest Music in the World is an odd title for a play that evokes so little feeling.

The problem is the script. [Read more…]

East Van Panto: Pinocchio (gets his strings twisted)

Everything about this image is great: Amanda Sum as Jiminy Pattison in a costume by Barbara Clayden
(Photo by Emily Cooper)

If Pinocchio was my first East Van Panto, I’d be writing a different review. But I’ve seen all seven and some — especially Little Red Riding Hood (2016) and The Wizard of Oz (last year) — have been so much better that, although Pinocchio is a good show in some ways, it’s also a disappointment. [Read more…]

The Father: a mother of a production

The characters in The Father struggle for coherence. (Photo of Jillian Fargey and Kevin McNulty by Tim Matheson)

My smart, charismatic mom, who had always feared dementia, sank deeper and deeper into it for the last six years of her life. She’s gone. And now I fear dementia. So, when I was keeping notes as I watched The Father and I thought, “Fuck! Did I get that character’s name right? Am I going to be able to follow this?”, I felt panic.

I think that’s pretty much what playwright Florian Zeller intended. [Read more…]

Anon(ymous): no need to introduce yourself

 

Studio 58 is mounting Anon(ymous)

These two can act: Ashley Cook as Nobody and Isaac George-Hotchkiss as Pascal.
(Photo by Emily Cooper)

If good intentions were all that mattered, Anon(ymous) would be worth seeing. [Read more…]

The Double Axe Murders: one would be more than enough

Rusticate Theatre is presenting The Double Axe Murders at the Gateway Theatre.

All dressed up for the potential bloodbath. (Photo of Ashley O’Connell and Yoshié Bancroft by Kayla Isomura)

I think The Double Axe Murders wants to be atmospheric but, in this production at least, it’s not. [Read more…]

The Sound of Music: decorative Nazis, delirious music

The Arts Club is presenting The Sound of Music at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre

Houston, we have lift-off!
Maria (Synthia Yusuf) and the von Trapp children sing “Do-Re-Mi”.
(Photo by Emily Cooper)

Going into the Arts Club’s production of The Sound of Music I could hardly have been more resistant. I doubt you could find a more conventional, less adventuresome Christmas show. And the politics of The Sound of Music are weird: it tells the story of the Nazi invasion of Austria — without so much as an oblique reference to the persecution of Jews or any of the other groups the Nazis were rounding up and terrorizing at the time. The Sound of Music examines the Anschluss from the point of view of the Baron von Trapp, a nobleman of extraordinary inherited wealth who seems to object to the Nazi presence primarily on the basis of territoriality — and the Nazis’ rudeness.

So, you know, I was grumpy.

But I’ll be damned if director Ashlie Corcoran’s production didn’t win me over. [Read more…]

Crystal Pite’s Body and Soul

Crystal Pite's Body and Soul is playing at the Paris Opera

“She has shown us before how skilled she is at evoking both the individuality of the mass and the individual within the mass.”(Photo by Julien Benhamou, Opéra d Paris)

 

THIS IS A GUEST REVIEW BY MAX WYMAN

What has made Crystal Pite “one of the dance world’s most sought-after artists” (The Guardian) is not simply the ravishing movement sequences that she invents. Her dance-works are animated thoughts about the complicated miracle of being human in the universe—ongoing statements from an evolving worldview. She seems to want to touch the core of meaning, to glimpse, even for a moment, the why of it all (or not even that—the what of it all, the mechanics of existence). Through simple and unaffected images and metaphors that she manufactures from the unique language of human physicality—from dance—she invites us to join her in considering the enduring mysteries of the human condition. [Read more…]

Kuroko: All dressed up

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre is presenting Tetsuro Shigematsu's Kuroko at The Cultch.

The weapons are virtual. Is the relationship real? (Photo of Kanon Hewitt and Lou Ticzon by Chris Randle)

Sure, Kim Kardashian wears great clothes, but does she have a soul? There’s a similar problem — although it’s not nearly as severe or creepy — with Kuroko: the production is stunning but, narratively and emotionally, Tetsuro Shigematsu’s script is perfunctory. [Read more…]

Turn of the Screw: Fails to twist

Aenigma Theatre is producing Turn of the Screw at Studio 15

If you want to scare me, lull me first. (Photo of Sara Roa and David Bloom by Javier R. Sotres)

There’s too much too soon. [Read more…]

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