Skip to content

As I See It

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...

Cast of The Value of Things

Ironically, sitting in the darkness of the Scotiabank Dance Centre black box performance space watching a metaphorical dance/theatre piece about choices and human values, my mind wandered to pondering the relationship between theatre and dance... and then to thinking about what exactly defines dance. The usual first dictionary definition of the verb "to dance" goes something like "to move rhythmically to music" but clearly since I have seen exquisite dance routines performed with no sound accompaniment, music is not an essential component for the action of dancing.  That left me with the words "move rhythmically".  Hmmm... A runner or a...

Lindsey Angell, Dawn Petten, Daniel Doheny, Sereana Malani. Photo by David Blue

Before I say just how much I liked this fast paced, high energy, steampunk version of The Comedy of Errors, I should declare that I had the unusual pleasure of vicariously experiencing the evolution of this production, as my daughter, Amanda, enjoyed the privilege of being Apprentice Director to the ingeniously creative director, Scott Bellis.

The plot  of The Comedy of Errors with its dual sets of long-time separated identical twins hinges on the failure of the twins and everyone else around to figure out that there are identically named, identical twins in town, and hence that each twin is...

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.


Subscribe to As I See It