Vangroovy is a Theatre Ocean Production written and directed by Christopher Ross-Ewart. The show got off to a bit of a rough start. Our Box Office manager playfully got upset at the crowd for not reacting during the preshow speech. We weren't exactly brimming with energy. Unfortunately the show didn't help get us out of our stupor. 

Vangroovy is about Vancouver. And what a terrible place is it to live.  It focuses mainly on how screwed we all are because of the pipeline and global warming and how we are all self obsessed zombies who are incapable of creating...

Genre Definition = Funny · Weird · Tear-Jerker

Personal taste aside, this troupe does have a lot going for them. Quick disclaimer: sketch comedy isn’t my specialty. A complete lack of structure just seems pointless to me and I don’t share the love of cringe and shock humour that most Vancouverites seem to have. 

In my opinion, the bulk of the sketches were random and ridiculous and some just plain tasteless but there were a few I actually enjoyed, like the 9 - 5 office worker scene and the Tony Teriyaki sketch. I did appreciate how imaginative some of the sketches were and that the bulk...

Genre Definition = Funny · Weird · Intellectual

From the moment the members of the Pump Trolley Comedy Troupe gather onstage in their plaid shirts and flashlights uplighting their faces in the dark I knew the audience was embarking on a wild ride through history. We are reminded by the members of the troupe that time is not linear and somehow it all has to do with ancient bears. I never did quite figure out the relevance of the bears to Canadian history but the presence of the bears allowed for a nice tie in at the end of the show. 

As with many sketch comedy...

Genre definition = Funny · Silly · Intellectual

Summer Shapiro enters the stage clothed in a white southern belle dress. With the raise of an eyebrow and an intense stare she begins to set the stage for what looks like to be a dinner date. It is immediately clear there is no fourth wall. She can see us and we can see her. No sooner is the romantic evening assembled; it comes crashing down around her, literally and figuratively. She then spends the rest of the show, sometimes successfully and sometimes in vain, trying to pick up the pieces.

Entering the Performance Works venue I really didn’t know...

Genre Definition = Funny · Silly

Classic Fringe!  With a late start the cast of the opening show was perhaps struggling to find their confidence but while young, they’re obviously troopers.

Javia Selina (Veronica) and Jina Anika (Simone) share the stage nicely with good vocals and believability in their roles as best girlfriends.  Kalvin Olafson (Theo) is solid in stage presence and his characterization of the bookish thug with a bit of a crush and Daniel Cardoso (Edwin) amps up his ambitious and hyperbolic Edwin with some pretty suave dance moves.

The interesting Manhattan Transfer-style songs were somewhat drowned out by the background music which was...

Genre Definition = Funny · Naughty

If five sets of shamrock pastied boobs bouncing fiercely onstage within the first 20 seconds of the show doesn’t endear you to this comedy ensemble, nothing will!  

I won’t single out any performer in this review because they each have strong stage presence, delivery, comedic timing and delightful audience rapport.  Jackie Blackmore, Lauren Martin, Megan Phillips, Sidika Larbes, and Iva Kapsikova met while performing with the VFS Sketch Company and the chemistry amongst them is dynamite.

The new kid at school, the poker game, sibling loyalty, pressure tactics for signing a contract and tellers dealing with troublesome...

Genre Definition = Funny · Silly · Naughty


Before I watched this show
I waited alone in the seats
A couple sat in front of me, then they moved behind
(It was their first Fringe they said)

Genre Definition = Weird · Funny · Intellectual

We muse little on the cult of death in 2013. Instead of funerals, everyone is invited to attend a celebration of life. But a funeral is what it is. A memorial service. A remembrance of a soul gone from this earth.

As we enter the theatre, fog is everywhere. A man in a top hat wanders and mutters. There is a printed card on my seat which reads: "All kinds of black fur and seal-skin are worn in deep mourning." Now the man climbs up near the balcony and he keens: "Listen to the little lady!" The little...

Tara Cheyenne Friedenburg in Highgate

Drawing from a number popular dystopian themes, Broken Sex Doll is a slick, silly, scifi satire. Kinda like if Ray Bradbury had written Grease.

The story revolves around, as you can imagine, a “broken” sex doll but there are a number of twists and turns in the plot to keep you on your toes. The musical numbers are strong, the set is fabulous, and the acting is fun and fearless. Without giving too much away I’d like to say that my favourite parts were the very first action sequence, the umbrella montage and some very expressive leg acting.

The ensemble...

photographer Bettina Strauss

The Arts Club is bringing to the stage a holiday one-man show. Starring Ryan Beil as Crumpet, The Santaland Diaries offers one elf's experiences in the New York world of Macy's Santaland. And if you like your Christmas entertainment on the sarcastic side, this may just be for you.

Written by David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries began as a radio essay read by the author on National Public Radio in 1992. An overnight sensation, it was the author's first big break and led to him continuing to share his diary entries with radio listeners monthly. The onstage version was...
Ryan Beil as the Macy's elf named Crumpet (photo by Tim Matheson)