; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!

Monday, 12 August 2019

The Queen

On now at the Vancity Theatre is an excellent documentary on drag queens filmed back in 1967, predating Stonewall! Extraordinary that this exists and is accessible to us today. It follows a weekend where a drag beauty pageant takes place in New York City.



It was just so amazing to witness and see these gay men from the 60s, before gay rights was even a thing. Their attitudes, their fashion, their unapologetic abandon as to who they were. Truly an inspiring film that everyone should rush out to see.

You have one last chance this week to see The Queen, on Tuesday at 5pm!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Matilda The Musical

I was reluctant to go see Matilda the Musical because I don't normally enjoy children singing in shows. However, the current production at the Stanley Theatre is just ridiculous and fun! Based on the Roald Dahl novel, the show centers around a strong willed little girl named Matilda who is out battling terrible parents and an evil headmistress at her school.


The actors and the production value are splendid here. Standouts for me included Alison MacDonald as Miss Honey, bringing a warmth and wisdom to the role, and John Ullyatt as Miss Trunchbull, wowing the crowd with his brilliant comedic performance.

I would say that the show is definitely geared towards kids, but adults who are young at heart will enjoy this show as well.

Matilda is on at the Stanley until July 14th!

Monday, 1 July 2019

Bernadette Peters and Len Cariou

For Broadway buffs like myself, it was a magical musical weekend here in Vancouver!

It began on Thursday night when Bernadette Peters was the featured guest at a Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert. She was downright magical. The concert was a good 90 mins but it simply flew by. She did a lot of Sondheim and some surprises too, including Peggy Lee's Fever. At 71 years of age, Ms. Peters was superb and sublime.


She was also performing again on Saturday night at Deer Lake Park in a FREE concert! She stepped in for Queen Latifah at the last minute when Latifah came down with strep throat. Her show isn't really designed for a free concert in the park in Burnaby. There were families there, dogs running around, picnics taking place. If everyone there were Broadway babies, then sure it would've been perfect. But it was a mishmash of an audience that may or may not have appreciated the legendary Bernadette performing for them.

Also doing a show this past weekend was Len Cariou, the actor who originated the role of Sweeney Todd! He was performing in the Annex theatre which is a cute hidden little spot on Seymour street. Len's show, combined Shakespeare soliloquies with show tunes. For Len, it was the perfect marriage, and the space was so intimate, it was a great way to witness his talents.


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Bare the Musical

I barely was able to make it through Bare.



Spoiler alert:

This angst-ridden tale of two gay Catholic school boys who are in love ends in tragedy. Perhaps it's because the show was written back in the 90s when all the gay community got to see of themselves were stories with tragic endings. But in 2019, I'm not sure if this is the show that we need right now. I definitely give thanks to the Eternal Theatre Collective for reviving this, as it's a show I had been wanting to see for a long time now and am glad I finally had the chance to do so.

The production itself had some snafus on the night I was there, mainly to do with sound. Set in the Unitarian Church on 49th and Oak, the space itself is a neat venue to go see a show. I don't know much about acoustics but I do know that I was lost most of the time because I couldn't quite hear what the actors were saying or singing.

Plus, the direction of the show had the actors all over the space, which sometimes made it difficult to follow who was saying what and where should our focus be? Should it be on the soloist singing about something important, or should we be watching the two people having sex on the bench beside us? Or do we look out the window at the teens who are partying? I didn't find that having those extra tidbits really added much to the show, and rather, found it all quite distracting.

Performance wise, there are definite gems here worthy of mention. Caleb Lagayan as Peter shows off his powerhouse potential. He brings it all to his performance even when his microphone slips off and dangles from his ear for a good 20 minutes. He remains dedicated to his character and his voice is likely the best out of the entire group. Katrina Teitz and Ashlyn Tegos also bring depth and devotion to their roles as Ivy and Nadia, respectively.

Bare is on now until Saturday June 8th. Tickets available here.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Come From Away

Dear Evan Who? It is beyond me why that show won the Tony for Best New Musical over Canada's very own Come From Away. This musical is full of heart and is probably more poignant for our times than a show about a boy who lies and that also celebrates toxic masculinity. (I saw Dear Evan Hansen earlier this year down in Seattle and was quite unimpressed and in fact, disturbed.)



Come From Away however, was heartwarming and provides a piece of Canadian history to the world. It celebrates kindness and helping out your fellow human. There's charm and wit, humour and sadness. It's a portrait of the day that the world changed for the darker, but manages to capture the light that helps illuminate the goodness that still exists.

Come From Away is on for one more showing, today at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Cabaret at Studio 58


Beautiful, haunting, and hell of a lot of fun. That's what Langara's theatre school Studio 58 has created with their stellar production of the musical Cabaret.

In these troubled times that we live in, this show is exactly what the world needs. A reminder of our dark history that we are on the verge of repeating. In the show, the Kit Kat Club is where people go to forget their troubles and leave their worries behind. Cabaret is the show you can escape to for an evening of stunning choreography, seamless set changes, and an eerie poignancy.

From the moment you step into the theatre, you are immersed into the world of pre-WW2 Berlin with performers roaming around the audience, offering candies and drinks. The fun doesn't end as the show begins with its iconic Wilkommen number and into Don't Tell Mama.

Led by a gender-bending emcee, the show barrels headfirst towards a heart-plummeting intermission and all the way to its beautifully tragic end scene.

Cabaret is on now at Studio 58 at Langara until Feb 24.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

V6A

This is going to be an unpopular opinion perhaps, but I just have to say that the film V6A is a mess. It has heart and its intention is good, but as a documentary, I wanted more of a narrative to it. Instead, we get clips of people from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver that seems to be all shot in one day. Yes, they are characters and they deserve the on screen time, but I just wanted some more substance and direction to what the filmmaker was aiming to do. Showcase the folks in the Downtown Eastside? Make a statement about poverty in Vancouver? Or was he putting mental illness on display? Or did he exploit these people just so he could make a film? I don't know the answers to this because it isn't really clear. The filmmaker is not even from Vancouver, so is that also something to take into consideration?


With all that being said however, it's just my opinion and judging from the sold-out showings of the film, V6A is doing just fine and my humble review here won't really make much impact. It's just my thoughts and maybe the film wasn't for me, but could be for you. (Though the friend who went with me had similar thoughts on the film.)

One storyline I really wished the filmmaker had explored more was the homeless gay man that gets interviewed for a mere 5 minutes. I wanted to know his story, how he got to where he was, etc.

If you want to catch V6A, there are several more times scheduled at the Vancity Theatre with tickets going fast.