Reviews

  • Go see this show!

    Why?

    1) It is fun, sexy, and exciting.

    2) You will be awed by what the human body can achieve; you will laugh, clap your hands and shout; your breath will catch in your throat.

    3) You enter the auditorium through a fridge.

    And that’s about all you need to know.

    What’s that? I’m supposed to write some more?

    OK. You asked for it.

    I once conceived a proposal for a television series that had nothing more than a working title: Girls in Pajamas. I thought that was about all I needed...

    Loft, circus, dance, pyjamas
  • HIVE2 takes our audience selves and blurs the possibilities of what we're invited to be.

    When we walk into the large, hangar-like space that used to be a Finning factory, the atmosphere is enticing. The lighting is medium-low but comfortable. Curtains and doorways close off certain parts of the building, piquing our anticipation. People gab and drink as they stand waiting at the "stations" that each of the 11 theatre companies has installed to sort out different sizes of audiences. Capacities range from 1 for The Only Animal to 18 who get to carry "The End Is Here!" signs for...

    HIVE2: the crowds gather
  • Well, I was feeling good about my review assignment last night. Andy Jones’ show An Evening with Uncle Val was up at Presentation House promising a dose of Newfoundland comedy.

    I know all about Newfoundland. Heck, I lived in Halifax for two years, so that’s real expertise, right? And I saw a movie about the place once. There were a bunch of academics, (historians, actually) and they were sleeping around and stealing primary documents from each other, which you should never, never do, and Joey Smallwood was there, in a snowstorm, and then someone burned all the evidence which proved...

    Andy Jones in An Evening with Uncle Val
  • There is a scene – maybe half way through blood.claat – where the mother of Mudgu, the play’s central character, appears. The scene takes us back approximately three years to when Mudgu had her first period, before her mother’s departure for Canada.

    The mother’s reaction to her daughter’s period is in marked contrast to Granny’s disgust over a blood-stained sheet in a scene at the top of the play. Where Granny insists that Mudgu wash both the sheet and her “something” with Dettol, her mother greets the onset of menstruation as something to be celebrated. Mommy is so filled with...

    blood.claat
  • "This is my story", the spirited young woman sings in her backyard, by the cinder blocks and corrugated tin walls.

    She's washing the blood from between her legs with a cloth, and happy because she'll soon be heading off for netball practice before school. "I have gold trophies on my mind/woopsie all the time", she sings. The fact that she's washing away blood is essential, because this is a story about the power of blood: the blood of creation, and the blood of destruction.

    Given the topic, it's a good thing we have mudgu (d'bi.young.anitafrika) to guide us, with her...

    d'bi.young.anitafrika in blood.claat
  • It’s hard to say anything bad about Andy Jones. He’s just such an affable guy. The kind of guy you just want to sit around drinking and laughing with and listen to him talk.

    The opening scene of An Evening with Uncle Val sees Jones begin this one man show as Uncle Val, sitting at a table writing to his dear friend Jack back in his hometown, a village somewhere far away from St. John’s. The year is 1986, and Uncle Val has been banished to live in the suburbs of St. John’s with his daughter Margaret, her husband Bernard,...

    Living it up with Uncle Val
  • One morning, a young geneticist awakes with a box on his head. The box is simple, unadorned cube and a familar, comfortable shade of brown. At first he thinks it's a dream, or a morning like when you're a sick child and your eyelids stick together, but he soon learns that the box is permanent. His questions begin to loop: am I alone, or is there someone else out there?

    Unable to find out, and unwilling to kill himself, [boxhead], the star of the show by the same name, decides: "If I can't change the quality of my life, at...

    Boxhead, it's lonely in the city
  • Early on Wednesday, a Facebook friend sent me a video of neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor giving a talk at conference this past March (it’s worth a look). In it Dr. Taylor describes the morning she awoke with a blood clot in her brain causing a massive stroke. Being a brain researcher, she saw the stroke as a great gift for her, and her insights into the event are her gift to us.

    [boxhead] from Toronto based Crow’s Theatre in association with Mammalian Diving Reflex, covers some of...

    Boxhead, vancouver's a hard place to get to know people
  • _We are deeply disgusted with the contemporary theatre (verse, prose and musical) because it vacillates between historical reconstruction (pastiche or plagiarism) and photographic reproduction of our daily life; a finking, slow, analytic, and diluted theatre worthy, all in all, of the age of the oil lamp._

    That wonderful quote is from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, one of the founders of the Italian Futurist Movement. It was inside the program for the BellaLuna/Theatre at UBC co-production of Return of the Futuristi. It touches upon an intriguing paradox that...

    Return of Futuristi! Susan Bertoia and a vacuum; photo: Ali Sohrabzadeh
  • As soon as the lights dim, the red stage curtain performs a striptease, rising and falling flirtatiously. After this warm flush, a beautiful Italian woman invites us to use fax machines and cell phones during the show.

    Before we know it, a wounded man in a leg cast miraculously rises from his crutches because he (mistakenly) sees a murderer – but there’s no resolution. This sintesi is over and the next one begins.

    The show is Bella Luna's The Return of FUTURISTI! Futurism was an Italian avant-garde movement that started in 1909 and thrived until 1914 in its...

    The Return of the Futuristi, Kris Tung, Joe Procyk, Stefano Giulianetti, Louis Chirillo, Astrid Varnes; photo: Ali Sohrabzadeh

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