Reviews

  • There are plays that have a real emotional impact on its audience - and when you see one, it stays with you for quite some time.  The Measure of Love is one of these plays and it will most definitely stick with me for a very long time.

    The play debuted in 2005 at the famed Stratford Festival. Jean Topham (who plays Mabel in this particular production) was so enamored with the work that she wanted to produce it.  Topham and Geli Bartlett (who plays Joan) are both well-suited for this two-hander, and do an exceptional job. The chemistry between...

    Measure of Love moves cynical Plank reviewer
  • When Wes Borg moved to Victoria last fall he showed up with his laptop, a guitar, half a pack of smokes and a duffel bag of dirty clothes. Now, almost a year later...those smokes are long gone. And he's got a hit Fringe Play on his hands.

    As a founding member of Edmonton's "Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie", Borg is no stranger to Fringes; in fact that troupe was making people laugh at Victoria's first Fringe over 20 years ago. And now The Borg is back in town - and he's been busy. Working with Atomic Vaudeville, The 30...

    Ha Ha
  • Old Growth is a new thought provoking production composed and performed by Alex Eddington. It now features Allison Williams who replaces Aura Giles.

    The play is set in 1997, when two musicians, Alex and Aura (Williams), go on a pilgrimage to the Queen Charlotte Islands. While there they visit the site of the fallen Golden Spruce Tree, which was cut down by a deranged logger named Grant Hadwin.  Alex wants to become a shaman who can heal and bring the spirit of the tree to other parts of Canada.  Adding levels of complexity to the piece, Alex effectively recites ‘envirologues’...

    Hug that tree!
  • A life in customer service is explored through the eyes of a barista in SeriousBucks, written by Caroyn Birch and performed by Kelly Hudson.

    Hudson is an accomplished comedic force in Victoria, best known for her work with comedy juggernaut Atomic Vaudeville and her performance is very strong. While I’m not sure if she’s ever worked at a corporate coffeehouse, she conveys the material with a realism that convinces otherwise. While the funny script is uneven in spots, Hudson keeps it moving along and keeps the audience engaged.

    Prerecorded voiceovers and multimedia are used to help with the storytelling. While...

    Seriousbucks: can't we just say, small, medium and large?
  • Letters from Lithuania is a site-specific work so complete in the use of its environment, so capable of immersing the audience into a different time and space that you will practically walk out of the show speaking Lithuanian.

    OK maybe that’s a bit much, but in our little hamlet of Vancouver, I easily forget that site-specific theatre can be created for reasons other than our severe lack of theatre space (Click here for an update on the dangers of producing site-specific theatre for Mortal Coil).

    Letters from Lithuania takes place at the Miniature Train in Stanley Park, which...

    Allan Zinyk and Emma Slipp prepare to battle raccoons on the set of Letters from Lithuania. Photo by Tim Matheson.
  • Fringe shows are typically driven by a small number of people, with fairly small casts and fairly light technical demands. Some even attempt to make some form of statement. Lysistrata’s War has a cast of twenty-five and kept the venue technician very busy. As for the statement it tries to make, it’s basically a political allegory gone wrong.

    In the tradition of the story of King Arthur being adapted into the musical Camelot or Pygmalion into My Fair Lady, you can see what David Hamilton (director and lyricist) and Mark D. Williams (composer and musical director) were going for. What...

    Lysistrata's War. Who cares if they can sing, Mike? Check this out, they're against war
  • The Panel:
    Alison Broverman is a playwright and arts reporter and a superhero in her mind.
    M. John Kennedy is an actor, writer and teacher, often mistaken for his secret identity.

    The Play:
    Kid Cosmic, a multimedia superhero musical about a dude in a coma.

    Alison: For something as awesome-sounding as a "multimedia comic book musical" (called KID COSMIC, of all things!), this show was surprisingly dull. It seemed stuck between camp and earnestness, without going far enough in either direction to be either entertaining or particularly meaningful. So I was disappointed - I had hoped Kid...

    Kid Cosmic!
  • Amid the "Solo Character Monologue", the "Seri-comic Monologue", and the "Solo Comedic Monologue" (not to mention the "Solo Comedy Drama" and the "Solo Fiction") it's refreshing to see a Fringe show listed simply as “Standup Comedy" - but that's Nile Séguin for you, cutting through the BS and going right for the funny bone - via the jugular.

    Séguin begins his show, Fear of a Brown Planet, (which gets my vote for best show title at this year's Fringe) by telling you a funny story that happened to him a couple of days ago. It involves an unexpected run-in with...

    Nile Seguin is bigger in real life, anyone with evidence Plank will post the picture here
  • While I’ve always admire the talent and dedication that go into producing a large-scale musical, and I can respect the musical’s place as a mainstream art form, I must confess that it just isn’t my thing. I walked in to The Music Man a skeptic. But I came out a fan.

    By now, the story is familiar: con man Harold Hill comes to a small Iowa town to sell instruments, uniforms, and dreams of a marching band, but finds much more than he expects, including a good woman, the gratitude of the townsfolk, and a decency that had been previously...

    The Music Man, Christopher Van Hagen as Winthrop Paroo and members of the company; Photo: David Hou
  • I’ll get this out of the way first. I’m a big musical theatre nut. When I showed up at Wood Hall to catch the Victoria Fringe premiere of Les Ms., I knew I wasn’t alone in that. A good-sized number of fringe-goers were there to see this send-up of the Broadway/West End classic, performed by Nelson-based performers Robyn Lamb and Lisel Forst.

    Upon entering the venue, I overheard the Rick Astley tune “Never Gonna Give You Up” playing over the house speakers and wondered if this was some form of “Rick Roll” foreshadowing. I brushed it...

    Les Ms

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