satire

Exuberant, youthful energy is palpable throughout Daniel K. McLeod’s updated production of this 2015 Fringe hit. It’s funny, sunny, and thoughtful, and doubly energized by a cast, musicians and crew who clearly work well together whether dancing, singing, or delivering the satire.

Many of last year’s strong cast are back, notably Adam Olgui playing multiple roles including the dapper and haughty Pierre Trudeau, and Avy Crowchild playing the lead role of May Lee. Emily Elliot and Caylee Watrin return as May Lee’s close friends, and they are a lovely, animated pair of supporting actresses. Elliot plays the role...

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...

The Positive of Power Thinking is a 70-minute play written by Wallace Fessler and Joshua Fisher that runs at Performance Works. It stars Lance Banks who is an egotistic, smarmy motivational speaker, here to get your life on track with the help of his assistant Dave. Together, they demonstrate the power of the LanceLifeTotal Life System program and how it can make you more money, more powerful, more material possessions and more dependent on their multi-step program to success.

The format and idea behind...

I had pretty high expectations for when I arrived at the Havana for the Opening Night of The Furious Anger Fun Hour. I mean this Vancouver Sketch Comedy Troupe is made up of the hilarious physical comedy duo Peter n’ Chris (Peter Carlone, Chris Wilson),  Sam Mullins (Tinfoil Dinosaur)  and stand-up comic Bryan Nothling.  About thirtyish audience members joined me in the theatre (which at the Havana is over half full) and we were greeted by a stage empty except for a microphone in a stand & a well-loved loveseat.  

As the show begins we  are welcomed by our...

Comedy, Satire

During the filming of Star Wars, George Lucas allegedly gave his actors the immortal directions: “faster” and “more intense”.   

While I’m thankful to Twisted Knickerz Co-Op for bringing the Canadian Premiere of Christopher Durang’s Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them (currently on at the PAL Theatre) to Vancouver, I couldn’t help but feel that somehow this production lacked in the speed and intensity this complicated farce requires.

Why Torture is Wrong is a dark, dark exploration of US paranoia and violence, specifically male-forms of paranoia and violence. With its ripped from...

Elizabeth McLaughlin and her knickers are comedic gold and profound truth

Ali & Ali 7: Hey Brother, Can You Spare Some Hope and Change? begins with a slide show that is both amusing and quizzical. Set to a loud thumping beat, the audience is shown a quick succession of images of Muammar Gaddafi looking eccentric, Stephen Harper sporting his blue sweater and stock sympathetic smirk, and Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson from the film A Few Good Men. We are left to ponder which of the two leaders looks the most ridiculous: a Salvador Dali-esque Gaddafi wearing tinted shades and long robes, or an awkward Stephen Harper wearing a suit...

Camyar Chai and Marcus Youssef in Ali & Ali 7, photo by Tim Matheson

Your PLANK Panelists taking in Solo Collective's new black comedy The Project are Andrew Templeton and Kirstie McCallum.

Andrew: In his latest piece, Aaron Bushkowsky attempts one of the holy grails in playwriting:  to create a play that features a cast of irredeemable characters with whom it is impossible for the audience to have a proper emotional investment. Without the usual emotional narratives to build on, the playwright must use compelling situations and characters who intrigue us not through compassion but through (usually horrified) interest.

With The Project, Bushkowsky has almost pulled off this near impossible trick. The first half...

Lindsey Angell and Andrew McNee working on The Project