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As I See It

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...

Colleen Wheeler and Scott Bellis. Photo by Emily Cooper

Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire
An Arts Club Theatre Company production at
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.
Although I enjoy almost every form of theatre I most love plays that leave me with an idea or question to mull over on my way home. In Good People there were two words that echoed in my mind as I drove home. The first was choice; the second was perspective.  These two concepts resonated strongly within me partly because  the conflict between the protagonist, Margie (Colleen Wheeler) and her one-time boy friend, Mike (Scott Bellis), perfectly illustrated points made at...

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.

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...

Jennifer Copping and Aubrey Joy Maddock. Photo by David Cooper

This Arts Club production of Godspell has lots going for it, that could make it a runaway succcess. The multi-talented ensemble members are strong vibrant singers, lively dancers and play a variety of musical instruments. Director Hosie's concept of setting this in a railway station afforded set, lighting, projection and sound designers Alan Brodie, Sean Nieuwenhuis and Geoff Hollingshead the opportunity to develop a creative and novel set. I loved the way through projection and sound that they believably replicated split flap arrivals and departures boards, and the Vegas style change of background colour that matched with each character's signature...

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