Forget Me Not: Forget the script, remember the rest

The Cultch is presenting Ronnie Burkett's Forgeet Me Not.

In Forget Me Not, much of the beauty is in the physical craft. (Photo by Dahlia Katz)

Ronnie Burkett is a phenomenal performer. The puppets that he and his team creates are works of art. And he needs a whole lot more help with storytelling than he’s getting. [Read more…]

Unikkaaqtuat: a gift from the North

The Cultch and DanceHouse are presenting Unkkaaqtuat at the Vancouver Playhouse.

This raft doesn’t always stay afloat. (Photo by Alexandre Galliez)

Unikkaaqtuat, which is billed as a circus, is a sincere and generous gift from the rich traditions of several northern peoples. From my southern settler perspective, some of the show is gorgeous and some of it is boring. [Read more…]

Infinity: actually 90 (very mixed) minutes

Infinity by Hannah Moscovitch is at The Cultch

Annoyingly, this isn’t a production photo, but it does show you Amy Rutherford and Jonathon Young.
(Photo by Dhalia Katz)

Two of the three characters in Infinity claim that they can hear time. I listened very closely, but I couldn’t hear the play’s heartbeat. Hannah Moscovitch’s script is emotionally alienating and its ambitious themes are underdeveloped. But I enjoyed it — because the character voices are fantastic and, under Ross Manson’s direction, this production is exquisitely tailored. [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…]

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…]

Certified: You’d be crazy not to see it

Touchstone Theatre is presenting Jan Derbyshire's Certified at the Vancity Culture Lab.

Jan Derbyshire: let her tell you a story, let her sing you a song. (Photo by Ben Laird)

Jan Derbyshire’s Certified is pretty much perfect. And how often do I get to say that?

Certified is about Derbyshire’s journey with mental illness and mental health, but it’s not one of those stories that collapses into the horrors of madness. Derbyshire allows herself to be vulnerable, but she’s also levitatingly funny. And she changed the way I see the world. [Read more…]

Take d Milk, Nah?: Yeah, take d milk

Take d Milk, Nah? is playing at The Cultch.

According to Jivesh Parasram, Hindu cows don’t say moo.
He’s in a position to know.

I’ve been so bored in the theatre so often lately that I’ve been starting to wonder if I’m dead inside. That’s why I’m feeling so high right now:  Take d Milk, Nah? kept me consistently stimulated and engaged. [Read more…]

Nassim is a retread

Nassim Soleimanpour's new show Nassim is playing The Cultch in Vancouver.

In Nassim, Nassim Soleimanpour reuses his mystery-script device. (Photo of the playwright by Studio Doug)

Nassim feels like an endless set-up for an experience that barely arrives. [Read more…]

New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken—homemade okayness

The Cultch is presenting New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken at the York.

The sing! They peel potatoes! (Photo by Charles Frédérick Ouellet)

New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken is inventive but not dazzling, an intermittently engaging form of theatrical folk art.

In the show, a cast of six prepares a meal of chicken and mashed potatoes as well as appetizers—all while performing popular American songs from the 30s. The music involves a lot of yodeling and harmonies from the two female performers, who are billed as the New Cackle Sisters. And the instrumentation includes everything from kazoos to a tuba and percussion achieved by slapping raw poultry.

The meal prep is just as eccentric. When the New Cackle Sisters peel the potatoes, for instance, one of them skewers a potato with a hand-held drill, then turns it on, rotating the potato at speed while the other runs a peeler along it as if she were working a lathe. Potato skin and chunks of potato go flying. [Read more…]

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