Stationary: A Recession Era Musical

Stationary: A Recession Era Musical
Directed by Laura McLean
Written by  Christine Quintana
Music and Music Direction by Mishelle Cuttler
Rap Lyrics by Brad Cochrane
Presented by Delinquent Theatre as part of the Neanderthal Arts festival
The Cultch

Vancouver, BC. This "recession-era" musical may be about doom and gloom in Lotus-land but as long as there is a plethora of smart, talented and energetic theatre artists and fledgling companies creating shows like Stationary, there is no need for doom and gloom about the Vancouver theatre scene.

I first saw this work in its earlier incarnation Parked, as part of an evening of short performances called Bridge Mix staged in a downtown parkade. While there were several innovative or provocative pieces that  impressed, at the time I thougt that Parked was the standout show of the evening. I was pleased to hear that this short work had been developed further into a longer one-act.

A genuine ensemble piece, the structure gave the six performers (and two musicianns) equal importance within the story and equal amount of singing time. The story was clearly about the relatively shy and quiet receptionist, Lizzie (Christine Quintana who also wrote the piece), and her unrequited love for new-employee Aiden (Alexander Keurvorst). However, Britta's bitter boozy anger (Claire Hesselgrave), Mel's high work performance and high hem lines (Meaghan Chenosky), Brad's secret "playa" lifestyle (Brian Cochrance), and the boss Anna's bitchery (Mishelle Cuttler) are equally important to the story - as are the two musicians, Arlen Kristian Tom and Evan Lamberton, who are revealed behind the grey cubicle wall for each song and then hidden away again during the play's action.wall

The diversity of this group was clearly on display when the majority of them played multiple instruments. The convention of bursting into song was very carefully orchestrated by director Laura Mclean with characters breaking the fourth wall of the office to speak directly to the audience. These moments also showed the strength of the ensemble because other characters accompanied the vocals on various instruments or moved set pieces to accommodate the action of the song. For example, hidden on the boss's desk was a keyboard which she played to many of the songs, under the desk of the secretary was a drum kit.

The songs were very catchy, I found myself humming a few of the tunes in the days after the performance. For me, the standout songs were the Recession Rag, Kill the Bitch (Boss) and I will be your little spoon. Actually, all of the songs were memorable and melodious. Most exciting for me however was the happiness that one could feel emanating from the stage. These performers were thrilled to be there and gave it their all.

I was accompanied by an out-of town companion with a weath of experience in dance and performance. He loved the show. The feedback from other attendees of this year's Neanderthal Festival was that overall, it has been very entertaining, and that Stationary presented a really rocking good time. I look forward to the next project from this  company.

There are two shows left. Tonight at 7 PM and Sunday at 6:15 PM. If you get a chance catch this show. The audience on the night I saw it gave them a standing ovation, and I think you will love it too.

The Cultch is at 1895 Venables Street, Vancouver. For ticket info call 604-251-1363 or check www.tickets.thecultch.com

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