Author Archive for Colin Thomas, Vancouver Editor

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.

Newsies: the news is it’s frickin’ fantastic

Newsies TUTS

Just wait till they start dancing. (Photo by Lindsay Elliott)

This show features some of the best musical-theatre choreography I’ve ever seen — and I’m gay and old, so I have seen a lot of musical theatre, my children. [Read more…]

Mamma Mia!: a nest of earworms

Theatre Under the Stars is presenting Mamma Mia! at Malkin Bowl in 2019.

Shiny pretty things. (Photo of Lori Ashton Zondag, Caitriona Murphy, and Sheryl Anne Wheaton by Lindsay Elliott.)

Mamma Mia! Here were go again.

Mostly, director Shel Piercy’s production of this ABBA jukebox musical is cluttered and loud, but it also contains some really good bits. [Read more…]

All’s Well That Ends Well: the pick of the season (so far) at Bard

Bard on the Beach is producing All's Well That Ends Well at Bard on the Beach.

Sarena Parmar is both steely and fragile as Helena in All’s Well That Ends Well (Photo by Emily Cooper)

Yes! This is the Bard on the Beach production I’ve been waiting for. This is the one to see.

All’s Well That Ends Well is rarely produced — and there are good reasons for that — but co-directors Johnna Wright and Rohit Chokhani have set the story in India in 1947, in the last days of the British Raj, and that choice unleashes myriad pleasures. It’s exciting to see more of Vancouver represented onstage and in the audience, thrilling to hear Hindi spoken in a Bard production, a joy to be introduced to so much previously unfamiliar talent, and a treat to revel in the aesthetic exuberance of the spectacle — including the glittering fabrics and infectious dancing. [Read more…]

Hello and Goodbye: Say hello to gifted performers (and goodbye to the script)

Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye is at The Nest.

Riaan Smit and Deborah Vieyra impress the best way — with subtlety. (Photo by Deborah Cohen)

Athol Fugard’s 1965 scripts Hello and Goodbye largely fails as drama, but it contains two excellent roles for actors — and the performers who are taking on those parts in this production are really, really good.  [Read more…]

Shakespeare in Love: not even sustained infatuation


Bard on the Beach is presenting Shakespeare in Love

Ghazal Azarbad and Charlie Gallant make an openhearted—and comely—couple as Viola and Will.(Photo by Tim Matheson)

My experience of Shakespeare in Love at Bard on the Beach was kind of like an okay date that ended with some fantastic making out. The morning after, am I in love with this show? Nope, not by a long shot, although I’m grateful for the pleasures it offers. [Read more…]

The Taming of the Shrew refuses to be tamed

Bard on the Beach is presenting the Taming of the Shrew, directed by Lois Anderson.

In Bard on the Beach’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, the dresses are a lot more fun that the comic business. (Photo of Kate Besworth and Jennifer Lines by Tim Matheson)

Director Lois Anderson has brought us the all-yelling version of The Taming of the Shrew. It offers virtually no emotional access. And it doesn’t make sense. [Read more…]

Zastrozzi: the play is not the thing, the production is

Star & Moon Productions is presenting Georg F. Walker's Zastrozzi at the Vancity Culture Lab.

The production — including Birkett Turton’s seamless performance as Zastrozzi — is more appealing than the script.

Zastrozzi: The Master of Discipline is like a dream of cool masculinity — as conjured by a deeply reactionary 14-year-old straight boy. [Read more…]

Jerusalem: England’s green chaotic land

United Players is presenting Jerusalem by Jem Butterworth at the Jericho Arts Centre.

Rooster (Adam Henderson) and Professor (Jack Rigg) get their bacchanal on. (Photo by Nancy Caldwell)

In 2011 in a forest glade somewhere in Wiltshire, England, lives Johnny “Rooster” Byron in a trailer surrounded by trash. A middle-aged waster, he hosts alcohol- and drug-laced parties for the local teenagers. There’s a new housing estate nearby and the town council wants him evicted. But Rooster is part of a mystical English lineage. He is a Green Man, a nature god, the embodiment of rejuvenating vitality and chaos. “I’ve seen oak trees cry,” he says. “I’ve heard beeches sing hymns.” Two of the girls in his pack are named Tanya and Pea, evoking Titania and Peasblossom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Frustrated with the hypocritical townsfolk who want him gone, Rooster rails, “What the hell do you think an English forest is for?”

Jez Butterworth’s script is hilariously freewheeling and sometimes thrilling. And director Kathleen Duborg’s mostly amateur production for United Players is astonishingly well realized. [Read more…]

Chicken Girl: clucking obscure, clucking intriguing

Derek Chan's Chicken Girl is playing at The Annex.

B.C. Lee and Amanda Sum are SUCH pros. (Photo by Emily Cooper)

Playwright Derek Chan speaks a private artistic language. It’s frustrating, but I like the way it sounds.   [Read more…]

A Steady Rain: drenched in noir

Seven Tyrants Theatre is presenting A Steady Rain.

Daniel Deorksen and David Newham loom large in A Steady Rain.

> > >This is a guest review by David Johnston

If you stabbed A Steady Rain in the jugular, it would bleed cigarette smoke and malt whiskey.

Seven Tyrants Theatre is closing their season with a week-long remount of last year’s detective thriller duet. Keith Huff’s script is a 90-minute injection of pure noir. The hard, unadulterated stuff.

Are there streets? Are they mean? Are they rain-slicked and gleaming like the dying hopes at the bottom of a shot glass?

Reader, you need not ask. [Read more…]

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