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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Grabbing a Few Shows in the CCCCCOOOOLLLLDD of January... And looking forward to a warmer February!

It's tough on those theatre artists who present in January in Edmonton. Sometimes we get a mild winter and the weather doesn't affect the house size much, but when it's cold-cold-cold like it was in 2020, it can be tough to get people out of the house and into a theatre. I know it affected me a bit, but I still managed to catch a couple shows...

I took in Cost of Living earlier in January at the Citadel theatre. It closes today, so you won't be able to catch it (sorry...). It was a well-done show, if not what I expected. It told two stories - one about a PhD student with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver, and a woman who has suffered a devastating accident resulting in being confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic and her ex-husband who still loves her and comes to help care for her. The acting was excellent and all four artists gave compelling and complicated performances. It was also very cool to see Venom from The Guild (Teal Sherer) onstage in Edmonton (call me a fangirl!)! I was a little disappointed by the script, however, as it felt unfinished. It also seemed to imply that the story was more about the two able-bodied characters and how they were the more disenfranchised of the four characters, and my impression going in was that it was about all four equally. I know, it's probably just the sales messaging, but it left me going, "huh...?" Still, it was a very thought-provoking piece, and perhaps that 'huh' was what they wanted me to leave with. 

I was delighted to catch Everybody Loves Robbie at Northern Light Theatre this past month. It's closed as well, so I am terribly sorry you missed it. It was Sold Out for much of it's run and it was easy to see why. It was a delightful trip back to the high school drama class/club, told by two engaging actors (Richard Lee Hsi and Jayce MacKenzie) who both charmed the audience and broke our hearts. As a former drama kid AND high school drama teacher, I was so in love with this show. You might say I was in nostalgia overload. Ellen Chorley's script was brilliantly constructed and although it was full of highs and lows, it was truthful and engaging, supported by wonderful direction by Trevor Schmidt, who kept it flowing much in the way that high school tumbles by for a teenager. I actually hope they bring this show back. Every high school drama student (past and present) should see this show. 

Most recently (and you can still catch this one until February 9th) I saw Happy Birthday Baby J at Shadow Theatre. The story centers around a couple who are choosing to raise their child without a gender and they have invited a small group of friends and family to celebrate the child's 2nd birthday. At first it was a little challenging because I really didn't like the characters, but once I gave myself permission to laugh at them, I had a great time and I laughed A LOT. It's an interesting premise and playwright Nick Green has penned a clever script to explore the complicated world of wokeness. Gary and Louise (Chantel Perron and David Ley) feel rejected by their baby group because of their choice to raise the child without a gender, but it's really because they spend all their time Wokesplaining that no one can stand them. I've been thinking a lot about this one, and how much it says about what's wrong with 'people who think they know better than everyone else and also feel they have to tell them'. There's a cautionary tale in there, whatever you choose to do with regards to raising your own children. There's a lot more going on in the show beyond the question of gender, as it also throws in race, social media, relationships, and the complications of family and friendships. 

Anyhow, that was January... I'm looking forward to a warmer February with more shows. I already have 4 lined up for the next two weeks! I'll be back to tell you about those in a few... 

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