Morag, You’re a Long Time Deid — much like this script

 

publicity photo for Morag, You're a Long Time Deid

(Photo of Claire Love Wilson by Pedro Augusto Meza)

I’m rarely this bored in the theatre.

During Act 1 of Morag, You’re a Long Time Deid, I reassured myself by mentally repeating, “You have free will. You can leave at intermission.” My companion didn’t want to leave. Act 2 was a bit better.

My big problem with Morag, You’re a Long Time Deid is that it wants to be poetic, allusive, and deep, but it’s shallow and obvious. [Read more…]

The Ballad of Georges Boivin: subtle and rewarding

production photo for The Ballad of Georges Boivin

John Innes: onstage for the first time in seven years (Photo by Javier Stores)

The premise is a cliché, but the execution is poetic and the insight genuine.

I used to sit on screenwriting juries and I was surprised by how many of the stories dealt with feisty codgers escaping from long-term care facilities. There wasn’t much of a pay-off in those scripts, but Martin Bellemare’s The Ballad of Georges Boivin is smarter.

The title character, who has been a widower for a year, sets off from his care facility in Québec with three pals: grumpy Gérard, tremulous Clement, and Jean Pierre, whom Georges describes as “my lifelong friend, a deaf old man who barely says a word.” But the quest belongs to Georges: he’s in search of his first love, Juliet Chacal, who moved to Vancouver decades earlier. The address he has for her is 50 years old. [Read more…]

Beneath Springhill: excellent performance, dull material

publicity photo for Beneath Springhill, Arts Club Theatre

Jeremiah Sparks is terrific in Beneath Springhill,
but the material doesn’t support him.(Photo by Moonrider Productions)

When does a pile have no depth? When it’s a pile of clichés.

I can understand why programming Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story might have looked like a good idea. This solo musical is based on the real-life experience of Maurice Ruddick, a Black Canadian miner who was trapped underground for nine days in a mining disaster in Springhill, Nova Scotia in 1958. Apparently, his singing helped to keep a small group of fellow survivors alive.

With Covid and climate change, the world is going to hell, so I can understand why the Arts Club’s artistic director Ashlie Corcoran would be attracted to a story of endurance and triumph. And, given the uncertainties of the pandemic and the financial hit that theatres have taken, it makes sense to program a one-person show.

But there are no ideas in Beneath Springhill and there’s virtually no dramatic tension. [Read more…]

yellow objects: an adventure

Poster for Derek Chan's yellow objects

There’s a lot going on here — and a good deal of it is engaging.

Playwright Derek Chan’s yellow objects is about Hong Kong’s democracy movement, which was crushed in 2020 — although its spirit lives on. Artistically, yellow objects is adventuresome. Ten audience members at a time move through an experience that’s staged on the Firehall Arts Centre’s playing area and in its outdoor courtyard.

The event’s loose narrative straddles two timelines: 2019, when demonstrators protesting against the Communist Party of China’s antidemocratic impositions on Hong Kong are being beaten, rounded up, tortured, and sometimes disappeared; and a period about 50 years after that in which a young Canadian woman named Sandra Wong arrives in Hong Kong to find a resting place for her grandmother’s ashes. [Read more…]

Three Little Pieces — with big hearts

Vagrant Players, Three Little Pieces

David Lennon and Stephanie George try for love at first click in the age of COVID.

Who wants to be seduced? I’m not talking about hard-wired seduction, the kind that’s all about your junk. I’m talking about the kind that opens your heart to irrational possibilities — like love — the kind that sets you floating in the universe and leaves you feeling a little drunk around the edges. [Read more…]

Tom Kerr, “a giant of a man”

Obituary of director Tom Kerr

Tom Kerr was a major force in Canadian theatre and has left an enormous legacy.

Hi everybody,

Glen Cairns, the longtime partner of theatre director and teacher Tom Kerr, wrote the tribute I’m sharing here.

Stay well,
Colin [Read more…]

House and Home: a recommended short-term rental

The Firehall Arts Centre is presenting Jenn Griffin's House and Home.

Jillian Fargey and Andrew Wheeler both rock in House and Home (Photo by Reznek Creative)

It’s kind of a shapeless bag of jewels, but it’s still a bag of jewels. [Read more…]

The Sea floated my boat — intermittently

The Slamming Door Collective is presenting Edward Bond's The Sea at the Jericho Arts Centre.

Slamming Door delivers a stylish production of Edward Bond’s eccentric script. (Photo of Cheyenne Mabberley and Genevieve Fleming by Erin Aberle-Palm)

Like a kid who has had the wrong kind of home schooling, Edward Bond’s The Sea is wildly creative—and undisciplined. It takes you to a refreshingly original imaginative world but then insists that you linger too long in some of the duller corners. [Read more…]

Mrs. Krishnan’s Party: accept this invitation

production-shots-23

I feel revived. So many things in the world these days are so depressing and alienating—the endless Trump news, for instance. Grounded, personal, and celebratory, Mrs. Krishnan’s Party is the perfect antidote for all of that. I don’t know when I’ve left the theatre feeling so refreshed and renewed. [Read more…]

The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe—and some very good acting

Pacific Theatre is presenting Ron Reed's adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Pacific Theatre.

John Both and Rebecca DeBoer in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lighting by John Webber. (Photo by Ron Reed)

When you watch an actor transform from one character to another, it’s like watching an excellent magic trick. It’s alchemical: they were one thing and now they’re another. And there are many such transformations in Pacific Theatre’s skilled, innocent production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. [Read more…]

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