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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Theatre Cup Runneth Over... February...

As most of the theatre people in Edmonton know, February is the densest month for shows.  It is impossible to get to everything! A few weeks ago I saw 6 shows in one week.  So many I didn't have time to blog.  So here's a recap with some highlights!

The Threepenny Opera - Studio Theatre, Timm's Centre
I really enjoyed this production. Having played Mrs. Peachum a few years ago, I was very interested in seeing another production.  I quite liked the choices made.  It was a raunchier version than what we did but I felt captured the necessary roughness of the world.  Highlights were Kabriel Lilly as Polly Peachum.  Her voice was wonderful and she played the two sides of Polly perfectly.

Jeffrey - Walterdale Theatre
I wasn't sure what to expect with this show, but I enjoyed it and connected more than I thought I would ("a witty, romp about HIV+"). I felt that director Sarah Van Tassel did a good job with this slightly dated script and the world that set designer Leland Stelck designed for it was fabulous.  Highlights for me were the outrageous Catherine Wenschlag who played all the women's roles.  She made so many fabulous choices and I looked foward to seeing her in every new incarnation. Gerald Mason also had some of the most moving moments as Sterling, who loses his young partner to AIDs. I also very much liked the interaction between him and his partner Darius (played by Simon Müller).

The Laws of Thermodynamics - Workshop West/Theatre Yes
In a bleak February this new work by Cat Walsh about the end of the world was challenging.  It was well-acted and the premise was interesting but I left with more questions than answers. The highlight for me was the fascinating set designed by Nick Blais. I also was intrigued by the physics of this world where things and people disappeared into sand.

Famous Puppet Death Scenes - Theatre Network
The ladies of SHOUT! had a terrific night out at this feast for the eyes.  A terrific little piece from The Old Trout Puppet Workshop.  I liked this so much that I sent my husband and 2 kids to it the next night! It's got that macabre humour that you can deliver more easily with puppets. Hard to pick a highlight because I liked the whole thing, but I think the scene "Why I Hate My Little Brothers" and "Le papillon est mort" were my favorites.  It was also a great evening out with the ladies of SHOUT! We have puppets in our show too, but nobody dies...

Playing With Fire - Citadel Theatre
I had to take my husband to see this show and was totally up for seeing it again.  Was surprised to find myself crying at the end (just a little bit), but it was even better this time.

Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program Showcase - Citadel Theatre
At the end of the Program portion of their work, the participants give a little concert to show what they have been working on.  This was quite lovely.  It was terrific to see the personalities of the actors come out through their singing and I was told afterwards that many of them do not consider themselves singers, but I couldn't really tell. My personal favorite was Justin Goodhand singing Buddy's Lament from Follies, but I was also delighted to hear Jacklyn Francis sing and play guitar. I can't remember the name of the song, but it was funny.

And one more I just saw this weekend... 

Drat the Cat! - Plain Janes, Varscona
This show is actually still running, so you can check it out if you like.  I wasn't too sure about the script as it felt a little dated and hokey.  The cast does a fully committed enthusiastic attack of it and they are a pretty powerhouse group. Highlights of me were definitely Melanie Piatocha as the Cat and Chris Cook as the bumbling acting-police detective who is trying to catch the Cat while simultaneously being in love with her.  Kendra O'Connor is also pretty outstanding as Piatocha's mother. There is some great music and fun musical numbers and this show would be fine for audiences of all ages as it hearkens back to a musical theatre tradition of years gone by.

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