‘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!

‘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!

Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2017: My Reviews Are In

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I reviewed 15 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.

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‘Sense and Sensibility’ Preview for Vue Weekly

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I got to chat with Canadian theatre heavy-weight Bob Baker this week in a preview of Sense and Sensibility for Vue Weekly.

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.

Citie Ballet’s ‘Boundaries’ Preview for Vue Weekly

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I previewed Citie Ballet’s third and final production of its 2016/2017 season for Vue Weekly today.

This weekend, Edmonton’s Citie Ballet wraps its fifth season at the Timms Centre for the Arts with Boundaries—dance that challenges traditional balletic conventions.

The company’s artistic director, Jorden Morris says the two-part performance features something for everyone. Read more

The first featured ballet is choreographed by 22-year-old Kylee Hart, who’s also a dancer with Citie Ballet. It was incredible speaking with both Hart and Morris about the way they’re trying to push the conventions of their art.

Check out the company’s website to learn more about Boundaries and to grab tickets to the 7:30 p.m. evening performances on Friday and Saturday, as well as the 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday.