Silence! The Musical: shut up!

DSR Productions is presenting Silence! The Musical at the BMO Theatre Centre.

One of the best things about this production is its minimalist staging. (Photo of Stephanie Liatopoulus and Seth Gordon Little by Derek Fu.

Why, dear God? This production of Silence! The Musicalis a waste of talent. [Read more…]

The Drawer Boy belongs on the drawing board

Ensemble Theatre Company is presenting The Drawer Boy at the Jericho Arts Centre.


(L-R) Darcey Johnson, Angus Gill, and Chris Lam confront each other about why The Drawer Boy is so listless. (Photo by Zemekiss Photography)

***Guest review by David Johnston

My editor would probably ask me to rewrite this review if I just made it the word “NO” in 128-point font, so let’s get through this as painlessly as possible. [Read more…]

Superior Donuts: superior production

Ensemble Theatre Company is producing Superior Donuts at the Jericho Arts Centre

You want to see these guys perform together. You really do. (Photo of David Nykl and Chris Francisque by Zemekiss Photography)

Superior Donuts is delicious.

Set in 2008, Tracy Letts’s script is about the friendship between Arthur Przybyszewski, a white, second-generation Polish-American guy who runs a donut shop in the Uptown neighbourhood of Chicago, and Franco Wicks, an ebullient young black man who shows up very eager for a job and immediately starts recommending poetry nights and healthy menu options. [Read more…]

Born Yesterday: a difficult birth but, finally, a healthy baby

Ensemble Theatre Company is presenting Born Yesterday at the Jericho Arts Centre.

Like a certain orange president, Paul Herbert’s Harry Brock thinks it’s all about him. (Photo by zemekiss)

Billie Dawn, the central character in Born Yesterday, may go down in history as the greatest bimbo of all time. I’ve watched the movie version of Born Yesterday over and over and there’s a small, sunlit temple in the inner reaches of my heart that’s dedicated to the worship of Judy Holliday, who won an Academy Award in 1950 for her performance as Billie.

I used to feel guilty about loving bimbos; I thought that adoring apparently dumb blondes made me a bad feminist. Those days are gone. Bimbos are innocent clowns and their innocence gives them powerful insight.

The thing that has always made Born Yesterday thrilling — and that makes it urgent right now — is the way that it combines feminism with a stirring defence of democracy and democratic institutions. [Read more…]

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…]

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