Let's Talk About Your Death
Venue 11 - Nordic Studio Theatre
A show that's both silly and serious, Let's Talk About Your Death, is set in a world where a machine exists that can tell you how you will die. Capitalizing on that is a Dr. Phil-like TV personality who interviews those from the audience who have just found out 'how they will die'. Complete with thematic advertisements and spontaneous moments that neither the actor nor the audience know where they will go, this show turned out to be both hilarious and touching. Knowing about your death turns out to be much more about how you choose to live.
Don't Frown at the Gown (by Darrin Hagen and Trevor Schmidt)
Guys in Disguise
Venue 12 - Varscona Theatre
Another terrific play from the Guys in Disguise, this time tackling the shifting values of the 1960s with regards to the feminist movement as young bride-to-be Susan (Trevor Schmidt) goes to the bridal shop with her domineering mother (Darrin Hagen) and her best friend maid-of-honour Frankie (Jason Hardwick). There they meet the bridal shop owner, Lady Laura Lee (Jake Tkaczyk) who seems to have a few secrets of her own. Filled with laugh-out-loud moments fueled by excellent writing and fine acting, this play serves to be much more as it touches on the restrictions of both following what's prescribed and breaking free from the expectations of society. What works especially well is that it could easily be played by actors of either gender and it would still be funny and moving. In fact, there's a monologue or two in this that I personally want to get my hands on.
Atlas Theatre Company
Venue 12 - Varscona Theatre
Billed as a story about a myth-life crisis, this show had a lot of potential - fun premise and strong cast - however, the script itself was not quite up to the challenge. There are funny bits, primarily coming from Louise Lambert in a variety of roles (from solitaire-obsessed Siren, to perky travel agent, to acerbic waitress) and Mat Busby in a small but memorable role. As a couple celebrating their 25th anniversary, Adele and Sam, Stephanie Wolfe and Julien Arnold work hard to push the piece, but the writing just doesn't feel worth it. It's an interesting premise, but relies a bit too much on cliches and generalizations to make you care.
Venue 13 - Strathcona Library
Just how much does your employer get to say about your life? That's the question this show seems to ask. In more and more ridiculous ways, the Manager (April Banigan) demands information and action from her employee Emma (Kristi Hansen). It's sharp and funny and many people will relate to Emma's need to stay compliant and positive despite unreasonable demands from the Manager. Hopefully no-one relates too much, as some of the demands are truly horrific. A solid piece where office politics have severe consequences.
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