Showing posts from April, 2018

Those who self-destruct and those who try to help... Pretty Goblins at Workshop West...

I took in Pretty Goblins by Beth Graham presented by Workshop West Playwrights Theatre last night. It tells the tale of sisters, fraternal twins, Lizzie (Miranda Allen) and Laura (Nadien Chu), and their battle through life. One twin is wilder and self-destructive and an addict who cycles in and out of functional and dysfunctional existence. The other, calmer and more rational, but equally tortured as she is unable to 'save' her sister time and time again. It's told in flashback, and episodes, so we see how these two incredibly close children with the same parentage and opportunity can veer into vastly different adult lives. It's hard to leave the play without a discussion of nature vs. nurture as there are contributing factors from both. It's also hard not to leave the play with an incredible amount of empathy for those who have a self-destructive loved one in their lives. The struggle to support, and try to help after being pushed to the breaking point time and ti

More than tea and scones in Going to St. Ives...

Sometimes you completely have the wrong assumption about a play and you are wonderfully surprised when that is turned on its ear... That was me tonight at Going to St. Ives at the Varscona Theatre presented by Altas Theatre Company. I hadn't read too much going into the show so all I knew was that it was about two women meeting for tea. There was so much more. The two women could not be more different. May N'Kame (Patricia Darbasie), the mother of a despotic African 'emperor', has come to England to receive eye surgery from Dr. Cora Gage (Belinda Cornish). Prior to the surgery Dr. Gage has something to ask of her patient - a favour. There are of course, complications and consequences to this request. The script by Lee Blessing is wonderfully complex, and skillfully directed by Julien Arnold. Each of the women is brilliant and articulate and they each have a very good understanding of their world. They are however both somewhat prejudiced with how they see the oth

Going Undercover with Spontaneous Theatre at the Citadel...

It's really fun watching a murder mystery when even the actors onstage don't know how it will be solved... solving it is almost entirely up to an audience member turned Rookie Detective ( on our night - Jason, a trainer at a tech company ), who is brought into the story and who literally guides the investigation. The first act is primarily the set-up. The cast (six gifted improvisers playing multiple roles) meet for a private art auction (the rookie detective is sent in 'undercover' for police business) in a remote country home. There are obvious tensions between certain characters, conversations to be overheard, snooping to be done, and clues discovered, and then... there's a theft and a murder! The second act is where the rookie detective must lead the investigation - they choose who to question, which rooms to explore, what questions to ask and inevitably reveal 'who done it'. For the rest of the audience, it's like watching a person solve an es

A couple of plays about women getting fed up with what other people want them to be...

You wouldn't think there would be much in common between SLUT at Northern Light Theatre and Blue Stockings at Walterdale Theatre, but at their core they really deal with the same thing - people telling women what they can and can't do and those women pushing back.  SLUT tells the tale of Matilda whose sexual activity has gotten her into some undeserved hot water due to the judgement of her neighbours. Matilda, played by the facile Michelle Todd, is in a situation she's unprepared for. The situation itself is laugh-producing and Todd's retelling of the circumstances that have led up to it is wonderful. In addition to Matilda, she deftly conjures a handful of other characters who help tell the story. Layered under it all is a conversation we likely never have (but should) about differing expectations for women and men in sexual relationships, or rather about presumptions (incorrect ones) about those differing expectations. It's not gratuitous - it's fu