2009

I’ve really struggled with this review. I saw the Bard on the Beach production of Richard II last weekend and have had a tough time formulating my thoughts. The main reason: I really didn’t like the show. You’d think it would be easier to write a nasty review than a glowing one but this isn’t always the case.

Bard plans to perform the entire history cycle of plays. Even in the UK, this is a huge and ambitious undertaking. Now, for...

John Murphy and Haig Sutherland in Richard II (this time, it's personal); photo by David Blue

Thank you Deborah Dunn for being so talented a dancer and so funny too!

Deborah Dunn presented four short choreographies, Four Quartets, as part of the Dancing on the Edge Festival; it was the last show I saw as part of the festival, and it was such a welcome highlight. 

Each piece was based on a poem by T.S. Eliot, drawn from his collection of the same name. The poems are read while Dunn dances, and the effect is a lyrical interpretation of the poet’s elegant language. What Dunn manages to pull...

Deborah Dunn

Henry Daniel’s *T2*, performed as part of this year’s "Dancing on the Edge Festival", was a piece with some interesting and some aesthetically pleasing moments but overall it left no distinct impression emotionally, aesthetically or intellectually. It’s not that there wasn’t any worthwhile content – there was – but this was a piece composed of so many disparate elements that I simply had a hard time finding a throughline or central message or truth from this show.

T2 included video, dance, live tabla drums, short bouts of storytelling, and a telematic video* that took the audience (with...

T2

This was my second opportunity to see Wen Wei Wang’s *Three Sixty Five*, and before the show, I was excited. I loved Three Sixty Five the first time I saw it and was looking forward to seeing its highly emotive physicality again as part of this year’s "Dancing on the Edge Festival":http://www.dancingontheedge.org/. Of course, choreographies evolve, and Three Sixty Five was a different show the second time around; it seemed a bit smoothed down, mellower in some ways, but it remained a showcase for the outstanding talent of Wang and his dancers.

The last time I saw Three Sixty...

wen wei dance go three sixty five

On a warm, windy summer evening in July, I sat on a folding chair outside the Roundhouse in Yaletown. This is an area of Vancouver I seldom frequent, yet at that moment in time, it felt like the heart of the city, of my city. I was surrounded by cement and brick, skyscrapers looming above me and above the makeshift stage. The sun was setting, Alvin danced.

I had seen "Alvin Tolentino":http://www.companyerasgadance.ca/en/co.html dance before and had an idea of what to expect. I previously found Alvin's performances to be emotionally intense, provocative and ambitious. In *PARADIS/Paradise*, Alvin seemed to...

Alvin Erasga Tolentino. Photo by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.

Knockabout Theatre Co. offers up a healthy dose of dirty fun in *Dirty Girls*, a modern fairy tale based on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Two Slatterns and a King.

A germophobic tyrant king must marry to fulfill a prophecy, but has already rejected every virgin in his kingdom on the grounds of being too filthy. He seeks the help of a sleazy matchmaker, who sets up a contest between the two remaining options: Tidy, the king’s besotted right hand woman, and Slut, the dirtiest girl in the kingdom.

With mud slinging aplenty and a clever script, the team behind Dirty...

Dirty girls proving that they are indeed Dirty Girls.

You don’t often see a lot of genre work in live theatre, especially not in one man shows, typically reserved for more personal topics. Sebastian Kroon cuts straight against the grain in his solo show *Circus*, a chilling tale about a young boy’s fascination with a mysterious carnival.

A series of ingenious lighting cues allow Kroon to jump through a cast of eerie characters, particularly capturing the youthful innocence of the seven year old protagonist as he falls deeper into a forbidden world. It’s a surprising but welcome change to have a live performance set its sights on a rarely...

Sebastian Kroon at the Circus

This 1950s adaptation of Cinderella with a queer twist tells the story of Cindy and Betty, two friends and fellow housewives who are both dissatisfied with their mundane existences. When Cindy’s fairy-drag mother appears and suggests she might be happier as Sid rather than Cindy, it rekindles the hope for happiness in both women.

Jennifer Pogue, as Cindy, delivers a restrained comic performance while Lauren McGill nails Betty’s confident domestic veneer and internal turmoil. Kwame Kyei-Boateng drags things down (no pun intended) with a flat performance as Bob, the fairy-drag mother. The piece plods at times and could use a...

No artwork from the company but here's a picture of a woman with a tray of food

Sex sells, and Fringe artists know it. But if past festivals are to be used as a benchmark, titillation and artistry don’t always go hand in hand. That is why *Peeler*, written by and starring Kiran Friesen, is such a wonderful surprise.

Friesen defies both gravity and stereotypes, the former on a brass pole, the latter on stage. Mixing direct address with dramatic realism, Friesen offers the audience a lucid account of the life of a stripper and both sides of the philosophical debate, as well as crafting the tale of one dancer’s complex struggle with her own self-image and...

image removed by request of some grumpy people in toronto

Based on the book by James Finn Garner, The Pheasant Plucker's Mates production of *Politically Correct Bedtime Stories* combines the unbridled fun of a kids show with the sophistication of satire designed to delight a more mature mind.

Bedtime Stories pokes fun at the trend of progressive over-sensitivity as well as the more incredulous elements of the familiar fables and fairy tales one takes for granted as a child. A brisk pace, perfect comedic timing, iconic and energetic performances from a vibrant cast (Marcel Dragonieri deserves special kudos for his John Hodgeman like turn as the gung-ho narrator), and efficient...

A pair of pheasant pluckers (we assume)

Pages