In Retrospect... What I loved this year onstage...

So I took a little walk through my blog this morning to reflect on what I saw and what really stuck with me.  I saw a lot so it's hard to narrow down, but that's a good thing.  It's a testament to what we have onstage in Edmonton. So, in no particular order but with a little classification, here were some of my favorite moments from the year:

My children's theatre favorites:

The Gooble Portrait  produced at the Fringe by Surreal SoReal Theatre. I wished I had brought my kids to this one but I went on the Me-Day.  The concept, script, acting and direction was outstanding.  No skimping on the elements and a really high quality production.  It also found a way to say something in a subtle and engaging way (not the usual 'hit them over the head with a hammer' way).

Robin Hood  at The Snow Globe Festival.  A real great piece created with low-tech magic and a three stooges approach to story-telling.  It grabbed my kids and was so fun to watch.

Mary Poppins at The Jubilee as part of Broadway Across Canada.  A beautifully done piece of theatre.  I loved the colour-blind casting, the music and the magic of it and so did Gibson.

Personal Involvement favorites:

Directing The Playmates by Bevin Dooley at New Works.  I really enjoyed helping to bring this new piece of theatre to the stage and working with the brilliant cast I had was so rewarding.

Acting as Stage Mom to Gibson in Titanic (Two One-Way Tickets to Broadway) at The Winspear. I was so pleased with how serious he took his 'job'.

Directing Nine at Walterdale Theatre.  Few experiences are so completely rewarding as this one was for me as a director.  A committed and uber-talented cast and team made this such a blessed journey.  The final product was thrilling for me to see. For me it was proof you can do great work without a huge budget if people are talented enough and care enough.

Painting The Weir and Misanthrope at Walterdale.  I learned so much through doing this year and I might even be making some connections to do this work for other theatre companies.  I also made some fabulous friendships on both these projects.  The Misanthrope nightly warm-up routine was one of the best I have ever experienced!

Fringe Favorites:

Hard to narrow down, but in thinking back the two shows that stood out for me were Mojo Mikeybo and Gruesome Playground Injuries

Great Performances:

Nicole English and Corben Kushneryk in Avenue Q (Two One-Way Tickets to Broadway).  You'd think those two had been playing with puppets all their lives. They were amazing!

Cody Porter in The Weir (Walterdale Theatre).  I enjoyed this whole show, but Cody was a stand-out. This is the best I have ever seen him and he's always so good.

Garrett Ross in Jack Goes Boating (Shadow Theatre - The Varscona).  Such a wonderful internal performance.  I was so impressed by the subtlety.

Both James Hamilton and Paul Welch in the side-splitting With Bells On (Guys in Disguise - Roxy Theatre). The script deserves a nod too - so well written!

Robert Markus and Sarah Farb in Next to Normal (The Citadel).  This whole production/show blew me away (I had to go twice I loved it so much) but Markus and Farb were major stand-outs. 

All the other Favorites:

The Mechanicals of A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Citadel. The play within a play that the mechanicals perform at the end of the play was so well done.  Oliver laughed so hard and talked about it for weeks.  If I want to make him laugh I can still reference Chris Bullough's silent scream and it sends him into fits of giggles.

I loved the conceptual design of The Mikado (Edmonton Opera) and Boeing-Boeing (Mayfield).  Both shows upped the ante in design and incorporated it into acting choices in a way that made the shows feel like a complete world. 

I loved Red at the Citadel.  They brought this challenging intellectual script to life. What could have been dry and disconnected was engaging and fascinating.

The duo of Nathan Cuckow and Frank Zotter in In On It (Theatre Network - The Roxy) reconfirmed for me what a brilliant gift we have in Canadian Theatre in Daniel MacIvor. 

There were many other great moments and performances but these are the ones that stuck with me. I hope you all managed to see some great stuff this year. 

I'd be curious to know what your favorites were...


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