Vancouver Playhouse

Dean Paul Gibson and Sabina Allemann. Photo: Trudie Lee.Tosca Cafe
Created and staged by Carey Perlhoff and Val Caniparoli
Répétiteur: Nancy Dickson
A Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company/ Theatre Calgary presentation of
the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco production.
Vancouver Playhouse
Oct 8 to 29, 2011

Vancouver, BC: There was magic in the air on opening night at the Vancouver Playhouse when music, movement and theatre came together in a show that made me want to dance but also brought tears to my eyes.

Nol Simonse, Peter Anderson, Dean Paul Gibson. Photo: Trudie Lee.The story of the bartender at the Tosca Cafe is told, in the  main, wordlessly through movement, look or gesture, and it is so perfectly done that you can follow every scenario as if there were a spoken text.

MacHomer
Created and Performed by Rick Miller
Directed by Sean Lynch
Designed by Beth Kates
Wyrd Productions
Vancouver Playhouse
May 11-15, 2011

Vancouver, BC: Unlike reviewers in the international press I don't have smart writers coming up with headlines for my stories but  I could not resist the challenge in the MacHomer program where 12 of their favorite MacHomer headlines are listed. Since I loved the Vancouver show - and it is now closed.... well d'oh!

According to Rick Miller, MacHomer is "essentially a tribute to the creative vision of Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) and the genius of William Shakespeare".

But it is also a hilarious and entertaining vehicle to showcase the vocal genius and on-stage charisma that Rick Miller has in spades.

From its casual origin in 1994 as a sketch for a MacBeth cast party, MacHomer in various incarnations, has toured  worldwide intermittently over 13 years, but somehow I missed seeing it until it came to Vancouver last week for a short run at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Kevin K. James, Tom McBeath, Bob Frazer. Photo by Emily Cooper.Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Directed by John Cooper
Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
Vancouver Playhouse
Feb 12 to Mar 5, 2011

Vancouver, BC: If the dream of a young male actor is to play Hamlet, then Willy Loman would be the dream role for a theatre veteran.

In what must be one of the virtuoso performances of his career, Tom McBeath does not merely play Willy Loman. He is Willy Loman; a sad, pathetic, bone-weary 63 year old road salesman, who can no longer distinguish between the incomprehensible real world he inhabits, and the fantasy world he has built in his own mind. As Loman flashed back and forth between reality and and his dream world,  there was not a micro-second in which McBeath did not carry me with him, often causing an errant tear to leak onto my  cheeks. 

Todd Thomson, Megan Follows, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Fabrice Grover and Karen Holness. Photo by David CooperThis by Melissa James Gibson
Directed by Amiel Gladstone
Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
Vancouver Playhouse
January 8-29, 2011

Vancouver, BC:  Under the able direction of Amiel Gladstone, with a luminous Megan Follows leading an accomplished cast of actors, Melissa James Gibson's  This sparkles with humour while touching on the internal angsts and troubled relationships of this group of thirty-something friends.

 Jane (Megan Follows), published poet, teacher and mother, is raising her child alone, after the death of her husband a year earlier. She is visiting her friends Marrell (Karen Holness) and Tom (Todd Thomson), the exhausted parents of an infant who only "sleeps in 15 minute increments".

Norm Foster, Peter Anderson, Cailin Stadnyk. Photo by David CooperThe Love List
by Norm Foster
Directed by Max Reimer
Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
Vancouver Playhouse
Mar 6 -10, Mar 25 - April 10, 2010

Vancouver, BC:  Confession number one! I came home from opening night of The Love List and in accordance with my New Year's Resolution to get my thoughts down before they get forgotten (see Queen Lear), went straight to my computer to start on my review. But instead I found myself writing a list! 

With a little difficulty I came up with the Top Ten qualities of my Ideal Man. Isn't it always easier to think of the ten things you don't like?  I carefully wrote my Top Ten as legibly as I could. We've all  heard about mistakes due to doctor's illegible handwriting.

But alas - my expectant ear heard no  knock on my door.  Maybe it's our condo access security system that blocked Mr.Perfect from reaching my door. Or maybe you really need the right paper from that Gypsy match making entrepreneur at "Got A Match."  Anyone have her address? or email?

Bill MacDonald and Meg Roe in Toronto, MississippiBill MacDonald and Meg Roe in Toronto, Mississippi Toronto, Mississippi by Joan MacLeod
Directed by Dean Paul Gibson
Vancouver Playhouse
Playhouse Theatre Company
Feb 28- Mar 21, 2009

Photo by David Cooper.

Vancouver, BC:  I was really happy to be able to catch the closing night performance of Toronto Mississippi, the day after I returned after three weeks away from Vancouver. The play itself is one that I had often heard discussed but had never read nor seen performed and I expected that Dean Paul Gibson would draw strong performances from the cast of Colleen Wheeler (Maddie),  Meg Roe (Jhana), Bill MacDonald (King) and Alessandro Juliani (Bill). 

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