Theatre

Frankly, the title says it all -- because that's what I was doing throughout most of the show.  Screaming Silently is a trainwreck, I'm afraid, and no amount of cute stage business or earnest delivery can save it.  The play is about four adult siblings reunited upon the death of their egomaniac film-director father, one Giles Forbes.  In the style of such stories, the siblings return home to pay their last respects and rivalries and dark secrets emerge.

The central flaw as I see it is that the playwright, Shane Rochon, takes on far more than he can handle with this...

Screaming Silently

Remember your mother telling you to finish your dinner because children were starving in Africa? As its central motif, ‘Nigeria’ contrasts the spiritual wealth of Africa with the obsession with monetary wealth, spiritual bankruptcy and ennui of life in West Vancouver. In spite of its dazzling verbal gymnastics, the play often feels clichéd. And then, in a refreshing u-turn, the playwright questions the authenticity of his own premise.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Quelemia Sparrow as Kris is superbly crisp and confident, while harboring a barely contained desperation. A high-powered, wheeler and dealer in the financial markets, Kris wears...

Nigeria

Freeman’s 1971 classic is well presented in the spare but perfect space of the Cultch’s Historic Theatre. Anyone familiar with early 70’s rundown institutional design and maintenance should viscerally respond with phantom aromas of the vintage nicotine colour palette and poorly maintained porcelain and badly procured paint and cleaning supplies. The set design, faithfully detailed by Lauchlin Johnston, wafts off the stage to create the perfect hopeless venue for institutional hopelessness and despair, seemingly only steps away from the realms ruled by the monarch of orderly sadism, Nurse Ratched. There is a Godot-like quality to the explorations of the...

Brothel #9 by Anusree Roy is the result of a partnership between the Diwali Festival and Touchstone Theatre, bringing a second production of this Canadian play to life, simultaneously celebrating both Canadian theatre and cultural diversity. This is true to Touchstone Theatre’s mandate to “stimulate public interest in Canadian cultural perspectives.”

I was dismayed to hear that Brothel #9 is the last production that Katrina Dunn will direct for Touchstone Theatre. Touchstone Theatre’s productions directed by Dunn have been a consistent joy to attend. Roy Surette is coming back to be Touchstone Theatre’s Artistic Director following Dunn’s 19 year reign,...

Photo credit: Tim Matheson

1973. Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected president, beloved by the people as a reformer and nationalizer, is overthrown in a CIA-initiated coup that brings to power General Pinochet. Hundreds of thousands of Chileans, identified by the new regime as threats to the nation, communists, and dangerous radicals, are rounded up, herded into sports stadiums, threatened, jailed, executed. Many endangered people flee the country. Anywhere But Here, a new work in first draft form by Carmen Aguirre, unfolds the story from the eyes of the children of a family who fled, then split up, and what happens when some of them...

The Women of Papiyek opens with Elizabeth, Martha and Taqood naming: the naming of those who are gone but who must be remembered. Transcending time and space, the women themselves are dead but are stuck in some kind of limbo looking for a way to the next level of existence.

The Women of Papiyek recounts the story of the three women, real women who once lived in what is now called Brockton Point in Stanley Park.

It turns out that the three women are of different ages and different eras but that was difficult to determine and...

Betwen us, the Plank Review Team has seen every single show at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Like you, we all have different tastes, so we thought a few of us would share our favourites thus far. We'll have a more complete list from the full team after the festival, but here's a little something to help whet your whistle.

If you're having trouble with the Fringe's regular website, the ticket site still seems to be working: https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/

Julia Fox
Walk the Talk -  innovative and artsy to the max
Generation Hot Program B - 3 amazing shows in 1 about a very current...

Leaving the life of the American demimonde for anthropology, survivor guilt and Asian primates is a wild ride for Holly, the ex-showgirl turned wannabe ape rescuer. This detailed reading of Jenn Griffin’s play, The Long Call, directed by Heidi Taylor, IS a wild ride. Funny at times, touching, a little bit menacing—who is Jack, what does he really want, and how is this going to end? I found it really fascinating to be witness to the process of developing this play, as reportedly the actors had only finished a cold-reading, and sound design was ongoing improvisation during this performance....

The Nether is a delightfully textured piece about catharsis, crime and how to navigate ethics and morality when reality isn’t reality any more. It will make you feel—disgust, temptation, anger, shock, love, sympathy, sadness, horror and pleasure; perhaps all at once—and it will make you think. Is this where we’re headed in our society? What would it mean for what we call our lives? Our identities? Is this “Nether” a blessing or a curse?

Written by Jennifer Haley, the Vancouver Fringe incarnation of The Nether was produced by Redcurrant Collective, a local company including many faces that will be familiar...

Frances Koncan has written a bold exploration of white male power, residential schools and oppression, whether formally institutionalized or directly ingrained in our psyche.

As we follow our young heroine through time and space, we visit a residential school where children are stripped of everything from their clothing to their dignity and identity; a white man’s 90s basement where he holds indigenous women hostage; and a post-apocalyptic future where men are nothing more than furniture.

At first the transitions can be hard to follow between the different times and places but if you let go of your...

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