; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: November 2013

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Daisy Theatre

All hail Ronnie Burkett, who has returned to The Cultch with his latest masterpiece, The Daisy Theatre. I've seen about three of his shows before, and have loved every one of them. This one however, has to be the most different piece he's ever done before. He even gave a little speech at the beginning about how this show contains no apocalypse or tragedy and that it was all about having fun. And this show is indeed fun! I've never seen Mr Burkett more joyous at one of shows before! He looked like he was having a blast!

The Daisy Theatre is Burkett's cabaret of performers that include a twerking librarian, a mad cow, Jim Bunny the muscular gay rabbit, a fat German opera singer, one of Satan's helpers, and a very demanding diva, to name a few. The show is political and current with biting humour that trashes everything in its path, from the Edmonton audiences he just performed for to Rob Ford, the Vancouver Playhouse, the Arts Club, Georgia Straight's renowned theatre critic Colin Thomas, and even himself! Not even Mary Poppins is safe from the wrath! But it's all done in jest and satirical irony, the way only Ronnie Burkett can do it.

The Daisy Theatre is now playing at the Cultch until December 15.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Waiting for Ghostbusters

On now from to November 30th is the meta-filled 80s-reference-dropping ode to Slimer and the boys, Genus Theatre's Waiting For Ghostbusters.

Held at Renegade Studios at 125 East 2nd Avenue, you are led into the bowels of the old Vancouver Playhouse's rehearsal space. If you haven't been in there before, that alone is worth checking out. The show itself makes reference to the downfall of the Vancouver Playhouse, a sad turning point in Vancouver's theatre scene. So it was fitting that this show about ghost hunting was held in a space haunted by memories of productions past.

There are a few musical numbers in this production, but none of  the songs were as memorable as the original Ghostbusters hit single. Some of the jokes fell a bit flat for the audience, as the show jumped back and forth between the actual Ghostbusters musical and the backstage antics and power struggles going on between cast, director, and producer.

Waiting For Ghostbusters plays until November 30th at Renegade Studios.

Friday, 22 November 2013


I was very excited to hear that there was a Neil Labute play going on in Vancouver. His work is usually quite dark with pieces like Fat Pig and In The Company of Men, that tend to focus on the uglier side of humanity. So when I learned that Pacific Theatre was putting on Labute's Autobahn, I was more than intrigued.

Autobahn is a collection of one-act shorts, all taking place in the front seat of a car. The full version has seven vignettes, but has been pared down to only three for this late night event now on at the Pacific Theatre. There's a very off-Broadway feel in the air when you go to the church basement theatre on 12th and Hemlock at 10pm. After the main show lets out, the new group files in to see this selection of shorts and moreover, it's Pay What You Can!

Each of the actors: Ryan Scramstad, Kirsty Provan, Pippa Johnstone, and Kenton Klassen all get their turn in the driver's seat, whether it's a monologue about breaking up, apologizing, or standing up for oneself. This is lighter fare for Labute enthusiasts, but worth checking out nonetheless!

Autobahn is on now until Saturday night at Pacific Theatre.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Can't wait to see this! Anyone else going to this show? The company Cavalia was here a year ago and I didn't get a chance to see it, but I ain't missing out on this one! More information on the Cavalia Odysseo site!

Odysseo rides into town on December 7th until January 5th! 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Cocktails at Pam's

Upon walking into Studio 1398 at Granville Island, I was impressed with the set that was laid out before me - a 60s living room with mid-century furnishings that I gladly would have taken home with me. We have Lauchlin Johnston to thank for this, and he was also responsible for the gorgeous set design at Pacific Theatre's The Foreigner so it's great to see that he is consistent with doing amazing set design!

Cocktails at Pam's is written by Edmonton's Stewart Lemoine, and is in short, amazingly absurd. It centers around a 60s cocktail party gone awry. The cast of actors each bring their own special brand of crazy to the show, which is made even easier with the writing of such strong individual characters. Direction by Stephen Heatley is simply superb, as the space is utilized to the max and there's not one second of the show that didn't capture my attention. Imagine stepping into some perverse 60s sitcom, as you won't believe the shenanigans that go on at this insane cocktail hour. 


Silly and random to the nth degree, this is a wonderful show that will is certain to delight and make you laugh. Dare I say, this might be the freshest show to be playing right now in Vancouver? Kudos to Staircase XI Theatre for mounting this Fun! Fun! production! 


Catch the lunacy and ferver of the stupendously hilarious COCKTAILS AT PAM'S now showing at Studio 1398 (Granville Island) until November 30th!

Friday, 15 November 2013

The God That Comes

If you're a fan of Canadian singer songwriter Hawksley Workman, you definitely need to bring yourself over to the Cultch in Vancouver for his show, The God That Comes. And even if you're not a fan of his, you may just well become one after this. Created by Workman and Christian Barry, the show is a reinterpretation of the classic Greek tragedy, The Bacchae. If you're like me and don't know much about mythology, fear not, as the evening begins with a well-rounded introduction and plot outline for you to follow. Drinking is encouraged as the entire audience raises a glass to the God of Wine to get things started.

It's a crimson cabaret, complete with velvet curtains and candlelit tables, when Workman takes to the stage, inviting us into his demented nightmares. He morphs seamlessly from character to character, all the while singing in his unique cadence and soothing lullaby voice, jarring you with megaphone screams while rocking out as a one-man band on the drums, electric guitar, keyboard, and a hilarious harmonica cameo.

The musical cacophony is the perfect backdrop for his echoing and eerie vocals. As far as rock musicals are concerned, this is no Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but in the same breath it's light years better than Broadway's American Idiot.

Head on down to the Cultch for some libations and legend. The God That Comes is playing now until November 24. (Must be 19 years or older to attend.)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Bread & Salt

The other night I was fortunate enough to attend Bread & Salt - A Tribute to the East End's Historic Ukrainian Community. Presented by Vancouver Moving Theatre, this cultural foray into the history of Vancouver's Ukrainian community is both entertaining and educational. With direction by James Fagan Tait, whose work I have seen at Bard on the Beach, this show is artistically done by mixing scenes of personal stories with traditional Ukraine dance. Throw in a live orchestral band and a full choir, and you end up finding yourself enveloped by the entire production, like a warm giant embrace welcoming you into the Ukrainian community.

The entire weekend has now been sold out, unfortunately for those who didn't manage to snag a ticket. Those attending on Sunday evening will be treated to a traditional Ukrainian dinner in addition to the performance.

There was definitely something festive in the air, and it felt like the perfect way to kick off the holiday season! I learned quite a bit about this community, who went through some turbulent times here in the Lower Mainland, including being dragged off to internment camps during WWI.

Happy 85th Anniverary to the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (AUUC)!  Thank you for having me at your celebration!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Moon Over Buffalo

If you're looking for a light evening of laughter, why not check out Metro Theatre's current production of Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo.

This screwball comedy has everything from physical theatrics and mistaken identities to mis-communications and slapstick. Act One started out a bit slow, but the real pay off is after intermission when things go completely haywire! The story focuses on the backstage antics of a theatre troupe that stars two aging actors trying to stay in the limelight - oh and did I mention they're also married to one another? Throw in an illicit love affair, a daughter torn between two loves, and a cranky old mother-in-law and you have a recipe for hilarity!

Sue Sparlin shines as the grumpy grandma, while Devon Busswood as her bright-eyed granddaughter has a stage presence that demands you pay attention. It's a comedy of errors, but the biggest error of all would be if you missed out on this show.

Moon Over Buffalo plays now until November 30th at the Metro Theatre (1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver).