At the very beginning when Jennifer Martin started speaking about her childhood, I couldn’t follow the connection of the scenes. She seemed to be flitting about with different people and topics that were seemingly unconnected, but as all of the pieces of the story began to align, her childish way of speaking started giving off undertones of dread. Long before anything poignant has been said or done, you know it’s coming. As the story unfurls like a black rose, you’re brought to a very dark place full of possibilities of happiness but never shedding the permeating feeling of loneliness....

From the moment you enter the theatre, the play has already begun. Two men, Shane Adamczak playing Frank and St John Cowcher playing Al , are already on the stage clearly establishing their characters before you even sit in your seat. Adamczak being the rigid somewhat nerdy janitor and Cowcher being the slovenly couch-potato, their characters are the perfect juxtaposition for a comedy.

The Ballad of Frank Allan really worked to engage all of your senses. As the duo begin to speak, their voices carry you through the heartwarming story with a rapid staccato nature that keeps you...

Rich insights into the power of love, courage and ritual in the face of great trauma are at the heart of this drama. Its message of compassion resonates both with classical tragedies and with our own contemporary anxieties about terrorism. It is timelessly relevant.

The play is set in the Scottish countryside, beside a stream, seven years after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 in which 270 people died. Grieving the loss of their own family members, and suffering from the trauma of witnessing body parts, metal fragments, and bodies still strapped to their seats falling from...

Produced by RAGMOP, Falling Awake is a delightful creation written and performed by Nayana Fielkov & Matthew “Poki” McCorkle. The duo won a spot in the annual lottery held by the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals leading to a cross-country tour with this newly created surreal play that wanders between sleep and consciousness.

Upon entering the theatre, we hear strains of old-timey instrumental music. The set is sparse -- a table and two chairs, random dishes on the table, a clothesline with white frilly garments and what turns out to be a bed. As the show opens, a woman is...

Pig farmers are proud people. They have to be. Their families shoulder burdens both absurd and poignant. Bennett’s family history, in this second chapter of my experience with the walkabout bard, spinning his tales of family chaos to an intimate room in Granville Island’s Waterfront Theatre, nicely blends the traditional yarn-spinning of the Outback poets with multimedia, audience participation and familiarity. My Dad’s Deaths feels like the annual catch-up at a reunion, a chance to relive the stories of past reunions and expand on our knowledge of quirky families and how they got so quirky in the first place....

What do we want and why do we want it? What happens when what we think we want turns out to be too scary, or too boring, or too confusing? When do you trust your gut, and when do you ask for advice? Who knows anything about anything?

Relationships are hard, and even harder when you have no idea if your instincts are sound, or if you should phone a friend. With every choice, doors slam shut, but windows open. When many of those doors and windows are virtual, and the choices multiply, what’s a love and sanity seeking homo...

Ryan Gunther’s mock seminar on how to keep a job and do as little as possible, while getting good pay was certainly thorough with a pile of silly statistics, funny strategies, and satiric corporate anecdotes. He makes it clear that business in Fortune 500 companies is like a group of ferrets, which, incidentally, is exactly what a group of ferrets is called, a ‘business of ferrets’ (no kidding) like bosses, oops, ‘crows’ who are called a ‘murder of crows’.

Yes, I did laugh here and there at his advice about how to do effective emails that record your real message...

Today I went down to Granville Island to the newly opened Fringe Box Office!

I parked near Arts Umbrella and popped in to see a friend - she wasn't available, but I noticed a Fringe rehearsal in full swing just off the lobby. Also, one of the staff members offered me a postcard for his upcoming Fringe show - Just Watch Me: a Trudeau Rock Musical (which apparently was well reviewed by PLANK Magazine last year because the postcard featured a quote from one of our 2015 Fringe review team members)....

Vancouver Fringe 2016 - The Sandwich Boards are HERE!

DANCING ON THE EDGE is a contemporary dance festival held in Vancouver. It provides vital cross-pollination between local performers and internationally renowned dance artists. Through platforms such as this, artistic boundaries are expanded for all of us, ever widening the creative field. The festival opened last night with Edge 1; three diverse works which wooed, challenged and captivated its audience.

‘Here on the Ground’, choreographed by Sarah Chase and performed by Meghan Goodman and Julia Carr was a physical theatre piece about the unusual real life friendship of the two dancers. With simple stage props, recorded music, spoken word and...

Joshua Beamish cred J Alex Brinson

Valentijn Dhaenens explained to the audience in the opening night talk-back of BigMouth that he wanted to provide an unfiltered experience, full and unapologetic, leaving his audience free to think what they please. I must admit, going into the performance at the York Theatre earlier that evening, I was expecting something of a dramatized lecture, speeches interspersed and contextualized by commentary. Instead, Dhaenens plunged headfirst into his material, transitioning from one oration to the next with only a live soundscape, a whiteboard projection and his chameleon physicality to keep us on track.

It was a strong choice. If...

Valentijn Dhaenens, photo credit: Maya Wilsens

Hofesh Shechter Company returned to Dance House, Vancouver, last night with Barbarians, a thrilling, gripping piece in three parts. I first saw the company perform in my native UK several years ago and I was equally enthralled by the experience this time. This is a dynamic, expressive performance, brimming with energy.

Having danced with Batsheva under the direction of Ohad Naharin, Shechter, in his work, displays the trademark intensity and subtlety of movement formed from a grounding in this unique lineage. Naharin’s own creation of a language of movement he calls Gaga is central to it. What unfolds is a...

tHE bAD – Hofesh Shechter Company

Ballet BC turned 30 this year, one year younger than I am. Attending the first performance of their thirtieth year on the last day of mine felt perversely symmetrical. I can only wish that I had grown as sophisticated, thought provoking and heartfelt with age. 

The pre-show talk was concluded with the wish that each audience member honour their own experience of the work, whatever it may be, without worrying whether their response is appropriate. We can distrust our own experience of art, looking to experts to tell us what we should be feeling or thinking. But Program 1 is...

Twenty Eight Thousand Waves / Choreography / Cayetano Soto Dancers / Gilbert Small, Scott Fowler & Alexis Fletcher
The Damage is Done is a multimedia conversation about trauma, blame and liberation. The run of the production, directed by Ken Cameron and featuring Rita Bozo and Gabor Maté, was sold out before curtain on opening night so I hope you already have your tickets!
 
More of a conceptual and emotional exploration than traditional theatre, The Damage is Done is highly personal and occasionally "meta". The courage it takes to not only create, but to market and perform such a personally insightful piece is immense. Bozi portrays her family and friends with a fresh, enthusiastic compassion while Maté provides...
Video still by Patrick McLaughlin

Kicking off the Firehall's 2015-16 season is Love Bomb, an original premiere production by shameless hussy productions. Directed by Renee Iaci, this performance aims to meet the company's mandate of "telling provocative stories about women to inspire the hand that rocks the cradle to rock the world." It tells the story of a mysterious connection between a young rocker named Justine and her much older, self-proclaimed superfan Jillian. 

Book and lyrics by Meghan Gardiner with original songs by Steve Charles, Love Bomb tries to offer its viewers a rock concert and a mystery tale all in one. This ambitious effort...

I have a lot of sympathy for the first show of the first day, especially since there are only 3 hours of technical rehearsal for fringe artists, but the performers of Spookeasy on September 10th did not make it easy. Starting a show expecting applause will get you off on the wrong foot with me every time. As will breaking character to apologize/complain about your own show multiple times, insulting the audience and hideously missing your light (as in leaning OUT of the spotlight).

That said, in spite of all the disastrous technical issues, the troupe kept their energy up throughout the...

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