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!
Bob Baker’s 17-year tenure as the Citadel Theatre’s artistic director may have wrapped last summer, but his connection to the company and Edmonton’s theatre community persists with Sense and Sensibility—the final production he’s directing this season.
Baker asked local playwright Tom Wood to adapt Jane Austen’s literary classic to the stage, because it’s more than a romantic comedy of manners.
“It’s got a lot of edge to it,” Baker says. “It’s got a lot of pain in it, it’s got a lot of heart in it. So I thought it would be a great production for the Citadel to present, but also for the participants of the Citadel Banff Program.” Read more
Baker is an old professional acquaintance who directed me in all of my appearance at the Citadel Theatre, so it was great to reconnect with him and learn about his current and future ambitions.
Sense and Sensibility opens tonight and runs until May 14 in the Citadel’s Shoctor Theatre. You can get tickets from the box office website.
I missed this preview going live on Vue Weekly earlier in the month, but the Wildfire Teen Improv is still ongoing. The junior high division finals of the competitive festival are on Saturday with additional performances tonight and tomorrow.
“Wildfire Teen Improv Festival is very strange,” says 17-year-old Darby Gynane.
She’s heading into her fourth run at the festival alongside her teammates from Louis St. Laurent. The improv competition, running from Feb. 7 to 25 at the Citadel’s Ziedler Hall, pits teams of junior and senior high students from across Edmonton and Alberta against each other to see who’s the most spontaneously entertaining.
“You see people who are creating art in front of your eyes that they’re never going to do again and you’re never going to see again,” Gynane says. “It’s very much an in the moment kind of thing.” Read more
Rapid Fire Theatre is an absolute force in Western Canada, and their festival that develops youth is no exception. You can get tickets for the last three shows of the festival through Eventbrite. Each performance starts at 7pm in the Citadel’s Ziedler Hall.