The Real Inspector Hound/Ryan Parker for Bright Young Things
I reviewed nine shows at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival for Vue Weekly’s EdmontonFringe.ca this weekend. Here they all are in one place, ordered from fav to least.
I sneaked a review of The Importance of Being Earnest into this week’s Vue Weekly. It’s one of my favourite dramatic farces, and Teatro’s star-studded local cast really did it justice.
Teatro la Quindicina’s second production of its 2018 season mounts a return of an enduring comedy in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.Wilde’s final play remains as sharp in 2018 as it likely did in 1895. It features self-aware commentary on institutions—like marriage, education or social class—that have persisted through late Victorian London until today. And when it’s delivered with the performative nature of period aristocracy, it’s nearly impossible not to have a great time. Read more
The show wrapped on Saturday, so fewer people than I’d like got to read this review in time, but it was a fun experience nonetheless.
Here’s another review I wrote for Vue Weekly last month. Wedding Bells and Bombshells was a fun and inclusive musical with excellent choreography.
Edmonton Musical Theatre’s final production of the season, Wedding Bells and Bombshells, centres on a couple just four months into their relationship. They make googly eyes at each other, they lovingly share a secret handshake, and they’re ready to get hitched. But, clad in simple loafers, khakis and a blue polo, Bobby (Stuart Old) finds himself out of his element amongst the family of his fiancé Marcy (Kellie Koekstra)—in terms of fashion, but especially in terms of personality. Read more
This was also my first piece for a new editor. It’s always nice to see the trust carryover during a changeover.
… 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
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
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
… 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.
I covered Crash Pad, an engaging exhibition from Albertan artist Cindy Baker, for Vue Weekly a few weeks ago.
Edmonton artist Cindy Baker’s latest exhibition explores the fat female body through inviting blue watercolour prints and evocative, yet relaxing, performance art.
Crash Pad was first shown at the Tangled Art Gallery in Toronto last December, and it features images of diverse women at home, lounging in varying states of undress as they prepare to begin or end their days.
Baker chose Somerset paper for these prints to preserve the feel of the original watercolour paper, and within each image she presents a soft feeling of domesticity. Laundry baskets, wheelchairs, canes, furniture, indoor plants, dogs, and cats all fill the frames in service of this goal. Read more
The exhibition runs until June 16 at the dc3 Art Projects gallery, with live performances held on Thursdays and Saturdays.
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.
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!
Kobo Town is an incredible Canadian calypso band, and I got to preview its upcoming concert for Vue Weekly.
When Kobo Town comes to play, they deliver a high-energy show with calypso classics and reinterpretations of the genre.
After moving to Canada as a teenager, Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves named the band after the historic neighbourhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad: the birthplace of calypso.
Gonsalves grabbed inspiration from all around him for the band’s latest album Where the Galleon Sank—whether by listening to hits from Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, working with legendary performers like Calypso Rose, absorbing ideas from French culture, or spotting quirks in Kobo Town’s home-base Toronto. Read more
Where the Galleon Sank is nominated for world album of the year at The JUNOS awards this weekend. Whether Gonsalves and his band earn the top nod or not, their concert isn’t one to be missed if you can make it to The Arden Theatre on March 29.
I tackled a film review of Doob: No Bed of Roses for Vue Weekly this week. I thought it was a great, probing film
Bangladeshi director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s latest lodges a chisel into a rock labelled “unfaithful love.” And during 85 minutes of film, he gently hews away until there’s nothing left.
No Bed of Roses (Doob) trains a plodding lens on infidelity—a subject that’s often only struck with comedic and glancing blows in western cinema—and places us within some of the most uncomfortable moments of a fracturing family in a present-day Bangladesh city. Muted greys and whites hang over each frame, draping an impossible-to-shake malaise over each character’s conversations during some of the lowest points in their lives. Read more
Serendipitously, Doob: No Bed of Roses hits on several things I’ve recently been thinking about and studying in fiction and reality (infidelity, global media systems, interpersonal pressures), so I was thrilled to tackle this review. The film runs at The Princess Theatre this Saturday and Sunday.
I had a fun time previewing La Traviata in Vue Weekly this week. It’s described as the ‘pinnacle’ of opera, and this production is set in a cabaret club.
Mercury Opera’s slogan may be “Opera where you least expect it,” but for this week’s production of the iconic La Traviata, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting venue in Edmonton than the Chez Pierre Cabaret.
La Traviata tells a tragic tale of overlapping love triangles in 1920s Paris, with Violetta Valéry (an accomplished courtesan) and Alfredo Germont (the first man she feels has truly loved her) at the centre.
And within the intimate club setting of Chez Pierre, Mercury Opera artistic director Darcia Parada says an eight-piece orchestra will bring Giuseppe Verdi’s music to life while internationally acclaimed singers unleash their voices up close as if every audience member is a part of the characters’ party. Guests are even invited to attend in ‘20s attire to suit the occasion. Read more
I can’t wait to see what it feels like to be so close to the performers. I love the way Mercury Opera‘s tries to hook new audiences, and Chez Pierre couldn’t be a better choice to flaunt that approach. The show runs through Mar. 11.