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Review From The Seat

Read my reviews of plays, musicals, dance shows and performance-related events, seen through the eyes of a regular, arts-loving bum-in-the-seat - of the playhouse or auditorium. Agree or disagree but add your thoughts as comments.

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...

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.

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