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Noblemotion: Storm Front. Photo by Lynn Lane

Best of Festival, The Dance Gallery Festival.

On multiple media lists for performance invitations from around North America, it is rare that I find myself in a city on the same night for which I have an invitation. Despite my lifelong love of different forms of dance, both doing and watching, reviewing contemporary dance is way outside my comfort zone.

So when I realized that my one free night in New York this trip coincided with the Dance Gallery Festival's Best of Festival gala night at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, I decided that this opportunity to see contemporary dance performances from a variety of choreographers was not to be missed.

Martin Happer and Emma Slipp. Photo by Tim Matheson

Blackbird Theatre company celebrates its 10th anniversary of producing classical theatre with a sparkling production of The Rivals. From their first production, Schiller's Mary Stuart starring Gabrielle Rose (tonight AKA Mrs. Malaprop), their shows have always maintained a high professional standard with excellent performances and strong technical values and this production continues in that tradition.

Genevieve Fleming as Nora. Photo by Ryan McDonald

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Tamara McCarthy
There are only three performances left of this excellent production of an Ibsen classic so get out to Jericho Arts Centre and catch an evening performance tonight or tomorrow or a 2 PM matinee (Saturday).  It is beautifully staged, the costumes are gorgeous and the performances uniformly excellent. Nora is a dream role for an actor and Genevieve Fleming does it justice.

First published and performed around 1879, at a time in Western society when women had no "rights" and their aspirations and desires were subservient to  father...

Chris Cochrane, Jonathon Young, Matreya Scarrwener. Photo by David Cooper

Less than a year after my husband succumbed to cancer,  I saw "Wit", in which Seana Mckenna played Dr. Vivian Bearing, a solitary, career-driven English Professor, undergoing treatment for terminal ovarian cancer. Despite the brittle humour and sardonic wit  which sustained the self-contained Dr. Bearing through several courses of aggressive chemotherapy, the sense of absolute solitariness in which each of us, like her,  will ultimately face death, permeated the play; and I remember that I cried silently throughout the play.
Knowing that The Waiting Room was based on musician/vocalist/composer John Mann's own encounter with colo-rectal cancer, and his album...

Spectacular mountain view from the patio

Yesterday I faced down another fear and crossed a challenge off my "to conquer" list. I realize that those hardy souls who commute daily for an hour or more to get to work will think I am a real wimp but honestly the last time I set off  to drive solo to a distant destination was about twenty years ago... and that journey ended in a minor catastrophe from which I was saved by a gang of Hells Angel's bikers. That's a story for a later post.

Cast of Les Miserables Arts Club 2015. Photo by Ross den Otter.

This is the second time I have sat in the darkened Stanley Theatre caught up in the heart-wrenching stories of Les Miserables, and wishing I had used a tear-proof mascara. I loved the Arts Club 2009 production (ReviewFromTheHouse: Les Miserables). I have seen the musical 5 times since the first touring company came through Vancouver in the late eighties, and also seen both the 1998 and 2012 film versions.  So I was expecting to be able to sit back and watch the show from a detached and objective perspective. But alas from the first notes of Fantine's  "I Dreamed...

The cast of TUTS Hairspray. Photo by Tim Matheson

The two theatrical happenings that annually signal  summer in Vancouver are the Theatre Under the Stars musicals at Malkin Bowl and  Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.  This year's musicals are Hairspray and Oliver (which I have still to see).  But with this delightful and funny production of Hairspray, TUTS has a definite winner - don't miss it.

the Junior Entrepreneurs EXPO site

For the summer holidays. my grand-daughter CJ was enrolled in a summer camp program called College For Kids at a local community college. Among the range of courses including languages, design, art, theatre  sports and more, for her first two weeks  she chose robotics, theatre improv and a class with the intriguing title,  "Future Millionaires and Junior Entrepreneurs". 

Designed for ages 9 to 16 years, "Future Millionaires and Junior Entrepreneurs" runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes each day over 8 days, culminating on Day 8 with the Junior Entrepreneurs Business Expo. The concept is to teach children how they...

I have never been partial to deep crust pizzas or pizzas with a thick doughy crust but thin crust pizza or flatbreads with interesting topping combinations make for a light, quick and easy-to-share meal.

Before heading to Main Street's Fox Cabaret for a show a group of us wandered round the corner to Eight½ Restaurant Lounge for a light pre-show supper,  and their thin crust pizzas just hit the spot.

Tony di Gregorio and Joel Hanna. Photo by Allison Kuhl

Performing to a wildly enthusastic crowd that filled Main Street's Fox Cabaret venue, internationally renowned dancer/choreographer Vancouver's Joel Hanna, and fellow tap dance artists Calgary's Danny Nielsen and guest artist Jason Samuels Smith from New York, presented an outstanding evening of dance, music and song. 
 

Jennifer Lines and Colleen Wheeler. Photo by David Blue

For some reason this production of King Lear sparked an unusual and different emotional reaction in me than I usually experience in response to this play. I thought it was one of the better productions of Lear that I have seen and when intermission came, I couldn't believe that an hour and a half had passed.

My study of King Lear in the last year of high school in South Africa,  was my initiation into a lifetime of interest in Shakespeare's great tragedies and I can still remember much of Lear's railing against the elements as he wandered on the...

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