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Vancouver theatre review

Brett Wiilis, Julia Grace, Meghan Hemingway. Photo by Tracy-Lynn Chernaske

12 Angry Jurors
Based on Twelve Angry Men -TV film and play by Reginald Rose
and adapted by Sherman L Sergel
Directed by Sean Anthony

Vancouver, BC: Twelve Angry Men was first conceived by Reginald Rose in 1954 as a play for television, later adapted for the stage, and then in 1957 made into a film, ranked by the American Film Institute in 2008 as the second best courtroom drama ever made (The number one selection was To Kill a Mocking Bird!). It has been adapted and staged in different formats countless times since - as Twelve...

Elizabeth Kirkland,Frank Zotter, Sharon Crandall, Art Kitching. Photo by Alex Bischoff

The Concierge of Vancouver
by Shaul Ezer
directed and dramaturged by Ian Farthing
Matchmaker Productions
Studio 1398, Granville Island
Oct 7 to16th, 2016

Vancouver, BC: "Does the end justify the means" is a question that has been debated in many different situations but when the context is the crazy Vancouver condominium market it gives this question an intriguing twist.

Al (Art Kitching) is the long time  concierge who looks after a high rise tower in Coal Harbour, where most of the apartments, owned by investors, stand empty for much of the time. As one of...

The cast of Pericles. Photo by David Blue

Pericles by William Shakespeare
Directed by Lois Anderson
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Kamyar Pazandeh and Serana MalaniVancouver, BC:  Pericles is one of the plays in the Shakespeare canon that has until now not made it to my list of "must read" Shakespeare plays. The first of the four romance or tragicomedic plays of the latter part of Shakespeare's career, (Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest), Pericles introduces the theme of past injuries or injustices that are...

Luc Roderique and Kayla Deorksen: Photo by David Blue

Othello by William Shakespeare
Directed by Bob Frazer
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
Howard Family Stage at Vanier Park
June 24 to Sept 17, 2016

Vancouver, BC:  In my review of the Bard on the Beach 2009 production of Othello, I commented that Othello ranks as number one favorite on my list of Shakespeare's tragedies. Despite some pushback from those who champion Macbeth or Hamlet, I still favor Othello because the complexity of the characters of Iago and Othello leave so much room for interpretation and debate. With a stellar cast on Amir Ofek's...

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...

Sandra Medeiros and Carlo Marks. Photo by Angelo Renai

While a thunderstorm rages over an isolated log cabin deep in a forest, siblings Bobby and Betty, are there together ostensibly to clear out a tenant's property from the cabin. But this is no Hansel and Gretel story of innocent siblings threatened by a mean step-mother and a cannabilistic witch with a fairy tale happy ending. Instead it is a dark exploration of the truth and lies  behind the emotions of an big sister-baby brother relationship now grown up.

Evan Frayne, Ron Reed. Photo by Damon Calderwood

Vancouver, BC: Who would have thought that a 65 minute play about an imagined conversation between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis could be as spell-binding as I found this show to be? I was enthralled throughout.

And this just might be Ron Reed's finest performance yet, as the physically ailing Freud, whose mind and wit remains sharp as it ever was despite the excruciating pain of his oral cancer.

Graham Percy as Marlowe. Photo by Benjamin Laird Arts and Photo

Vancouver, BC:  Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe is a tough, hardboiled, private detective, who operates in the seedy underworld areas of 1940s Los Angeles. First appearing in The Big Sleep, his second appearance as protagonist was in Farewell My Lovely, the novel that is the basis for this adaptation.

The storyline is a tad hard to follow but as expected in the genre of private  eye fiction there are beautiful and mysterious but lethal women, guns, blood and bodies, and strangely a psychic who turns out to be ... someone else.

Richard Russ as Wolfie. Photo by Tim Matheson

What a joy and a privilege it is to be witness to the premiere of a powerful beautifully written and performed Canadian play. The impact of Kanagawa's sensitive adaptation of Ibsen's play was evident by the momentary electrically-charged silence of the audience before applauding at the end of both the first and second act.

The image that ended the first act, of the boy floating in water, was quite haunting, and will fix this play in my memory for a long time.

Andrew Wheeler and Emmelia Gordon. Photo credit: Pink Monkey Studio.

I missed last year's run of PROUD at The Firehall so I was happy to be able to get to the opening night of this 2015 run of PROUD. Although, knowing it was a political comedy about Stephen Harper, and being far more of a fan of Harper than a detractor, I confess I was a bit apprehensive that this would be a carping diatribe against the PM and his policies.
Was I wrong!  Michael Healey has written a clever, very funny political satire. His script shoots verbal arrows that skewer his target dead on yet don't leave nasty...

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