Lunchbox Theatre’s current offering — a new musical by Joe Slabe called If I Weren’t With You — explores what is likely familiar territory for many married couples: the temptation to break up.
Pam (Katherine Fadum) and Allan (JP Thibodeau) have been married for several years. Their gay friend Steve (Joe Slabe) thinks they have a perfect relationship. In fact, he looks to their marriage as a source of hope and inspiration.
However, not all is as rosy as it seems in the couple’s home. Pam wants some space and Allan feels Pam cramps his style. They temporarily split, much to Steve’s dismay and disappointment — his ideal of coupledom is, essentially, shattered.
While this sounds dramatic, the show has a very light, comic touch. In fact, the audience … Read More
THE REAL MCCOY – WORKSHOP PERFORMANCE
SEPTEMBER 24 AT 7:00 p.m.
FREE OF CHARGE
Taylor Family Digital Library, University of Calgary
Slang phrases are taken for granted in the everyday lexicon. What people fail to remember, however, is that many of these phrases have a place in history
The “the real McCoy” is one example.
Now, Calgary’s Ellipsis Tree Collective (ETC) is shedding light on that phrase — and the man that inspired it — with its upcoming play reading, The Real McCoy.
The Collective’s mandate is to provide opportunities for artists from visible minorities, particularly from the black community. The last main production the Collective staged was Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, an absolutely fabulous piece of theatre.
Since that show in … Read More
The Hideout, by Calgary playwright Andrew Torry, turned out to be an unexpected highlight of my Fringe experience this year. I say "unexpected," because the word "zombies" appeared in the play's description, and if there is one thing I am not into, it is the whole zombie thing. As it turns out, however, I loved this show, because the zombies are more metaphorical devices than anything else, representing the torture a teenage Lee (Brett Dahl) has to undergo courtesy of his abusive mother and callous friend.
Dahl gives a very committed and believable performance that kept me engaged for the entire 60 minutes of the show. I cared about Lee — thanks to the acting and the well-written script — and I felt his pain. The … Read More
Lantern Church Gym
Based on the title alone, Aerial Allusions sounds promising. According to the promotional literature, the show is “a journey looking into the perspective of humanity through feminine / masculine viewpoints.”
I hate to say it, but if that’s what Aerial Allusions is supposed to be about, it sure doesn’t deliver.
The show opens with an attempt at a deep, philosophical monologue that asks the question, “What is humanity?” but, frankly, it comes across as amateurish. The young face of the male actor delivering it further makes it hard to buy into the jaded viewpoint he offers.
To begin with, the “humanity” the show explores is merely a romantic relationship. The so-called “masculine viewpoint” is one of … Read More
BURNT AT THE STEAK
I cannot say enough good things about Carolann Valentino’s one-woman comedy, Burnt at the Steak. Sure, this show isn’t a piece of deep, probing theatre, but it is a ton of fun.
Valentino recounts her days as manager of a multi-million-dollar steakhouse in New York City in a very entertaining fashion. (She moves to New York from Texas to pursue her ambition of being a performer, but the security of the steakhouse paycheque distracts her – temporarily – from following her dream.)
She assumes a number of humourous characters throughout the show, all whom she met – or worked with – at the steakhouse. There’s the bimbo hostess, the amorous, drunk patron, the European woman who is dining sans “knickers,” and the … Read More
Martha Cohen Theatre
When an actor gets on stage and, without the aid of props, set, special effects or, even, other actors, delivers a one-man version of Hamlet, is there any other word to describe the feat than “outstanding”?
Garbed in a simple black outfit that looks like standard issue for a stage hand, Toronto-based Raoul Bhaneja acts out the Shakespearean masterpiece at breakneck pace, pausing only for a 15-minute intermission. It’s almost tiring to keep up with him and his energy.
His transitions from character to character are seamless, and he manages to delineate most of them quite successfully with changes of voice, cadence or body positioning. (I find his portrayal of Polonius and the Gravedigger … Read More
ONE / UN
What struck me first about One/Un is creator and performer Mani Soleymanlou’s irreverent take on his Iranian heritage and his inherited — if not practiced — Muslim faith.
Yes, I realize I’m buying into the stereotype that Muslims never say anything slighting about their religion, but I admit to being taken aback when Soleymanlou imitates the Muslim way of touching one’s head to the ground in prayer while muttering “nonsense, nonsense,” or when he puts the Qur’an and cancer in the same sentence. For that refreshing lack of reverence, One/Un is a very unique show.
Soleymanlou admits to knowing nothing about the glories of Persian poetry and culture — food defines Persian culture for him — and one of his dreams for … Read More
VERTIGO STUDIO THEATRE
Blue Box is not so much a theatrical tour-de-force as a storytelling tour-de-force. Save for a brief salsa dance interlude, Vancouver’s Carmen Aguirre spends a full 90 minutes on stage, talking to the audience, sharing her story.
And what a story it is. As a young woman, Aguirre was a resistance fighter in Chile against the Pinochet regime. She talks about her experiences living under constant terror, being followed, anticipating imminent torture and death, but she also spends much of the play recounting her passion for a drop-dead gorgeous, “Chicano” television star she calls “Vision Man.”
The moniker comes her grandmother’s ghost, who sent Aguirre a vision of this guy when she was in the process of … Read More
Wow! What a fabulous show!
Ubuntu — the result of a theatrical collaboration between Canadian and South African actors — is poetic, haunting, lyrical, yet has a really solid story at its core.
The play follows a young South African man on a quest to Canada to find the father who immigrated here him some 20 years previously.
Right away, he encounters obstacles in his search. People he thought might be able to help track down his kin suspiciously claim they don’t recognize his father. And, so, the mystery of his father’s time in Canada begins...
The play flows seamlessly into the past, and the audience meets the father, a young biology student in Canada who sends money home every month to his young son. We meet the shy, white woman with whom he … Read More
The Highest Step in the World
Ghost River Theatre
Until October 29 in the
That Ghost River Theatre’s The Highest Step in the World is an ambitious project is without question. Creating a one-man stage show with flying at its core is no easy task, particularly within the confines of a theatre.
The production first premiered in 2010 at Alberta Theatre Projects’ playRites Festival. Given all the hype surrounding it at the time, I went in with very high expectations for this show. As it turns out, perhaps they were a bit too high. While The Highest Step in the World is, generally, enjoyable and interesting, I think it falls a bit short of the build-up.
The show interweaves three stories that all deal with the … Read More
Neo on Beady Eye - BE1
Neo on The sexiest man in Calgary1
Clairvoyant on Alberta should seize the opportunity for policy change6