‘The Gooseberry’ headlines my NextFest theatre and dance reviews for Vue Weekly

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Vue Weekly gave me free reign of NextFest last weekend. Here are excerpts from my reviews of The Gooseberry, Where do we Begin?, Pretty Boy: The Musical, and Occupy.

The Gooseberry

… The Gooseberry is like a wreck you can’t look away from. Zena and Audrey gnaw at each other, openly antagonizing every party invitation, cooking preference and living habit. This animosity extends to the rest of the six-person cast too. Read more

Where do we Begin?

Joanna Simon and Lady Vanessa Cardona’s new theatrical work Where do we Begin? arrives as a poetic statement of reconciliation. Billed as a 45-minute land acknowledgment, the two creators take to the stage as themselves: Simon, a Plains Cree woman from here on Turtle Island, and Cardona a Columbian refugee. Read more

Pretty Boy: The Musical

Skinny Love Productions’ 90-minute, two-act original musical tackles a larger-than-life saga that’s captivating in its historical accuracy. Pretty Boy: The Musical follows the adult life of Charles Floyd (Damon Pitcher), a small-town, depression-era Oklahoma farm boy turned Robin Hood-esque criminal hero. Read more

Occupy

… One dancer glides across the stage in a wheelchair, while the other mirrors her movements atop a wheeled stool. A nurturing friendship exudes from the duet, complete with the wheelchair equivalent of trust-falls and several reclining embraces. Long moments of silence amid the vast space-like music set an introspective mood. Read more

Fantastic, homegrown theatrical art always invigorates me, and NextFest runs for four more days. You can purchase tickets at the onsite box office in The Roxy on Gateway Theatre or from the festival website.

‘Infinity’ theatre review for Vue Weekly

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I got to review one of my favourite shows of the year, Infinity, for Vue Weekly.

The story follows violinist and composer Carmen (Larissa Pohoreski), and theoretical physicist Elliot (Ryan Parker) from their first meeting at a house party, to their eventual married life together and beyond. Between their scenes filled with equal parts friction and genuine love, monologues from their mathematician daughter Sarah Jean (Caley Thomas) shift the focus of Infinity through time, as she tries to understand her place in relation to her parent’s world. Read more

My writing here doesn’t do this complex production or Hannah Moscovitch’s script justice. Definitely check it out before it wraps on May 6.

‘Undercover’ theatre review for Vue Weekly

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I got my first taste of “spontaneous theatre” this week when I reviewed Rebecca Northan’s Undercover at the Citadel Theatre for Vue Weekly.

While many improv shows rely on audience members for only a few moments to serve a gag, director and producer Rebecca Northan’s follow-up to her international hit Blind Date, takes a different approach. Undercover makes a single “rookie detective” the core component of the production’s 125-minute narrative conceit.

Police Sgt. Roberta Collins (Northan) hires the detective from the audience, quickly brings them up to speed on the job, and then sends them undercover to gather intel on a new criminal name in town at a private art auction on an acreage. Co-written by Northan and multidisciplinary artist Bruce Horak (who also plays Peter Vinen, the rookie’s inside contact) Undercover delivers an experience like no other. Read more

I plan to see the show at least one more time before it wraps in The Club theatre on Apr. 29, because it’s the kind of performance that will never be the same twice. I look forward to seeing what Northan thinks up next!

Video Games Live symphony concert preview for Vue Weekly

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I enjoyed a fun and personal assignment this week when I previewed Video Games Live for Vue Weekly.

When veteran composer Tommy Tallarico dared in 2002 to produce Video Games Live—an audiovisual spectacle featuring symphonic music—no one in the business thought it would work.

Tallarico recalls the game publishers, symphonies, and concert venues telling him “people who play video games don’t go to a symphony, and the people who do go to a symphony certainly don’t play video games. You’re crazy, kid. Get out of here.”

But 11,000 people showed up to his first show in Los Angeles, silencing the doubters and starting a wave of momentum that still rolls today. Video Games Live now holds a Guinness World Records for the most concerts performed by a touring symphonic production (450, and rising), as well as the record for most concurrent live viewers at a symphony: 752,000 at a concert in Beijing, China in 2015.

“No time ever in the history of music have millions of young people around the world come out to watch a symphony,” Tallarico says. “Before Video Games Live, it never happened.” Read more

Alongside the first conscious moment I can recall as a toddler playing Chrono Trigger (trying to catch the password-rat in Arris Dome,) the haunting bass line of the derelict 2300AD labs is the first piece of music I remember. So to interview Tallarico about his numerous arrangements of equally great video game music for Video Games Live was a special moment I won’t soon forget.

Video Games Live tickets almost always sell out, but if you’re in town and can make it, hopefully I’ll see you there!

‘Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’ Review for Vue Weekly

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Women The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown is my new favourite musical (overtaking Chicago and Rent) and I reviewed it for Vue Weekly.

Plain Jane Theatre Company has always had a knack for reviving musicals that didn’t necessarily live up to their initial potential during Broadway runs, but Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown is a standout.

A farcical tale of love, infidelity, and crime in ‘80s Madrid, Jeffery Lane’s screenplay (based on the 1988 film by Pedro Almodóvar) boasts an abundance of the embellishments that make a great romantic comedy work, while also presenting an endearing human narrative that’s brought to life with surprising continuity by Plain Janes’ cast and crew. Read more

Until now, I’ve never felt like I absolutely need to see a show twice during its run before, but this Plain Janes production absolutely warrants it. The show runs through Saturday at the Varscona Theatre, and you don’t want to miss it if you’re in Edmonton!

Mary and the Witch’s Flower review: A magical debut flight for Studio Ponoc

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It’s easy to get excited about an animated feature when you hear its coming from some of the creators behind Studio Ghibli’s greatest works, and in almost all respects, Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Mary to Majo no Hana) meets expectations.

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Clips from the rewarding Leduc Rep reporting gig I held in summer 2017

 

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I worked as a reporter at the Leduc Rep weekly newspaper from the start of June until the end of August 2017. The newsroom was small, but my audience was engaged. My writing and photography also served several municipalities, appearing in the Devon Dispatch, Beaumont News and several other small papers. I was worked to the bone, but I learned a lot in the process. Here are some of my favourite stories from the internship.

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