The Cultch presents world premiere of Children of God

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In Corey Payette’s powerful new musical, the children of an Oji-Cree family are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. This is a story of redemption: for a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating the resilience and power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s moving score also includes echoes of Broadway masterpieces. Continue reading

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Fight Night questions the democratic system through audience participation

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fight-night-roman-sarah-eechautFive performers. Five rounds. Your vote. One survivor. But does your vote really matter?

Fight Night tested audiences on what they most want in a candidate: someone honest but erratic, a hero of a hostage situation, or maybe attractive but manipulative. We were given all these options through many polls and votes, but in the end I was left feeling a bit out of the loop. This wasn’t improv, so how much did our votes matter? Were they even counted at all? Continue reading

Bard On The Beach and MEI Group Form Strategic Partnership

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Starting November 8, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival and MEI Events International Inc. will present Shakespeare fans in British Columbia with a unique, all year round opportunity to see ten incredible Shakespeare productions. During fall and winter, fans will get to enjoy the drama, laughter and magic of six wildly popular Shakespeare productions from London’s legendary Globe Theatre. In the spring and summer seasons, Shakespeare enthusiasts will experience live plays in the magnificent setting of Vancouver’s waterfront Vanier Park, with four enthralling new Bard theatre productions.

The Globe On Screen Canadian series highlight will include a special appearance and Q&A with Bard’s Artistic Director, Christopher Gaze, at Landmark Esplanade’s screening of The Taming of the Shrew on December 20. This will be the British Columbia screen premiere of the production, which stars double Olivier Award-winner Samantha Spiro.

Other Globe screenings in British Columbia will include all-time Shakespeare classics from its hugely successful 2013 and 2014 seasons. Beginning November 8, 2014, screenings will include Henry V, starring the incredible Jamie Parker; the Broadway hit Twelfth Night, highlighted by Mark Rylance’s stunning Tony Award-winning performance – the best performing Globe On Screen production to date. Following The Taming of the Shrewthe series is rounded out with The Tempest, starring double Olivier-winner Roger Allam; Macbeth,featuring Joseph Millson; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring Olivier Award-winner Michelle Terry.

The Bard 2015 season, which runs from June 4 – September 26, 2015, will open on the BMO Mainstage with the hilarious audience favourite The Comedy of Errors, alternating with the towering tragedy King Lear, a co-production with Theatre Calgary. In the intimate Douglas Campbell tent, audiences will be treated to the world premiere of a new play based on best-selling author C.C. Humphrey’s historical novel Shakespeare’s Rebeland directed by Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze, along with a music-filled, Jazz Age setting of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

This unique and exciting partnership brings together two like-minded companies intent on sharing the best Shakespeare performances with Canadian audiences. Shakespeare fans will get to experience the highest quality sound and visual productions at some of Canada’s most unique venues, including over 25 Landmark Cinemas across the country – Canada’s second largest theatre chain – along with independent cinemas, performing arts centres and colleges and universities. Audiences will delight in the magic of Shakespeare from the world’s most famous stage as if they were at the Globe in person. Patrons at Bard on the Beach will be treated to exceptional creativity from some of the finest acting and production talents in the country, and can also enjoy an array of complementary programming including Bard-B-Q & Fireworks events and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Opera & Arias concerts in a unique performance space surrounded by mountains, sea and sky.

Thomas Miller, CEO of MEI says, “It is an absolute privilege for MEI to bring these incredible Globe On Screen productions to enthusiastic audiences in BC and across Canada. No longer will fans always have to fly to London to see Shakespeare at the Globe – they can now share the experience in the comfort of their local cinemas.”

Throughout the year, Canadian Shakespeare fans will also have the chance to win some fantastic prizes, including tickets to see the Globe screenings and Bard productions.

Watch the Globe On Screen trailer here. Find out more about Globe On Screen and purchase tickets atwww.globeonscreen.com

The Best of Belfry’s SPARK Fest

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The Belfry’s sixth annual SPARK Festival returned this March for some fun, inventive theatre performances with over 40 free events and 5 big shows.

12960202914_5fb0b82ba5_m1. Terminus: From Toronto’s Outside the March Theatre, this has been called “Tarantino set to poetry” and we have to say, that’s a perfect description of it. A mother with a heavy conscience races to save a near-stranger from a vicious situation. A young woman finds comfort, sex and even love in the arms of a disembodied soul. And a dangerous loner prowls the pubs, longing to belt out Bette Midler for all to hear. Terminus explores the darkness that insecurity drives us to, and the light which comes from shedding who we’ve been and accepting who we are. Dark, emotional, wildly imaginative… This is one of our top picks of everything we’ve seen at the Belfry to date. With only the words and the emotion in the actor’s voice to go on for over 90 minutes this was a surprisingly captivating ride through three very interesting lives.

2. When It Rains: What looks like a graphic novel, makes you laugh, and breaks your heart? One of the best parts of this show from Halifax’s 2b theatre is the use of light projection to create the setting. The way they used the light to tell the story was so interesting, especially to see it choreographed so perfectly. A black comedy with heartbreaking dramatic scenes, this show kept the audience on their emotional toes, never knowing what to expect next.

‘Dracula – The Blood is the Life’ is Funnier than it is Scary

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Dracula2-300x287Dracula – The Blood is the Life was Craigdarroch Castle’s Halloween play for 2013. A touring play where playgoers are doctors, come to witness Mina Murray, Dr Seward, and Professor Van Helsing put things right eight years after Count Dracula’s initial trip to London.

The lavish interior of Craigdarroch Castle features beautifully in this play, immediately bringing guests back in time to witness the terrifying happenings. Except, it isn’t terrifying.

There were so many good things about this play. They stuck close to Bram Stoker’s original while also making their own story, which is difficult to do but delightful to watch. The audience inclusion was done very well, leading everyone through the castle without breaking character. Space never seemed to be an issue, and apart from the first two scenes everyone was able to see easily. It was very enjoyable to watch, but it would have been made that much better if it had given a few frights, rather than laughs. In the occasional scenes where a scare was bound to come, such as in the tomb, the lighting and screaming woman made many laugh which kept everyone a bit giggly until the end.

Ramifications of a Particular Crash – Play Review

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Last week I saw Ramifications of a Particular Crash at GO Studios in Vancouver. Ramifications is written by Kris Elgstrand and it was really enjoyable. A suburban family is thrown into turmoil when a young Hollywood star, Aimee Scott, pays a surprise visit to their home three years after killing their daughter in a car crash.

I loved the way we gained bits of information throughout the family spats, and the easy progression of events made sense without being too predictable. The way this family had fallen apart since the crash was shocking but plausible and I enjoyed being able to get each of their points of view without requiring to be told directly. The standout performance was Lori Triolo as the crazed mother Joyce. As a woman who lost her daughter and then finds the woman she calls the murderer in her house, she’s allowed a little crazy and Lori pulls it off wonderfully. It can be difficult to be a jittery, outrageously angry, and insanely calm character all at once but Lori never faltered in her portrayal of Joyce. I would come back to see the play again just for her.

Unfortunately, there were a few moments where the scenes dragged along as they argued. Although people do repeat things when they’re angry, when that happens five or six times in a two minute scene it can become a little dull. Luckily, that didn’t happen too often. My main concern was with the amount of swearing. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with that type of language, but when most sentences contain swearing of some sort it takes away from when they are really angry. 

Although the play is now finished it’s run, follow the writer on Twitter @leg_stand and check out my interview with him tomorrow!

Don’t forget to follow @TheReviewWeekly and me, @reviewsbylauren, for more information!