Après Moi and The List

by Richard Wolak on January 30, 2015



Three beds set the stage, in three bedrooms in a motel set in the Caribou region of British Columbia. This sets the stage of Après Moi by Christian Begin for six versions of the same story, six ways of experiencing the same moment with increasing intimacy. In a motel off Route 117, three rooms are in use. In the first, a man and woman will commit adultery for the first time. In the second, a couple will make love for the last time. In the third, a lonely man wants to die. In each room, a singular, extraordinary event will occur. And when one door opens, will it make any difference to anyone’s destiny?

This was a well-acted play of thoughts with the different scenarios and my wondering how each was going to play out, both tragedy and life come into play, then connections and how these guests in each of these rooms are connected in one way or another. Fascinating production by Ruby Slippers Theatre taking the audience on a very human journey through love, loss, compassion and memory.

Après Moi is the English language premiere production (commissioned by Ruby Slippers), is directed by Diane Brown and stars Vancouver theatre veterans Scott Bellis, David Bloom, Jennifer Lines, Chirag Naik and Dawn Petten. The List is directed by Jack Paterson and stars France Perras. With Set and Lights by John Webber, Costumes by Drew Facey and Sound Design by Mishelle Cuttler, the double bill runs through February 1, 2015 at Studio 16.


The 2nd play in this double bill, is another production from Ruby Slippers Theatre that sees a woman tell the story from her kitchen, about her neighbor that died. In The List by Jennifer Tremblay, the woman, who prides herself on never letting anything slip by, has overlooked an item on her list. This play is a riveting tale that challenges the audience to see that the essential and the ordinary are inextricably entwined.

The List is written by Jennifer Tremblay and translated by Shelley Tepperman.| Venue: Studio 16 1555 W 7th Avenue | Tickets: $23/$18.5 | Runs through February 1, 2015-8pm, with a $15 Preview on January 27 with 2 2pm matinees on January 31 and February 1. Purchase tickets here.

Photos by: Tim Matheson


One Man, Two Guvnors

by Richard Wolak on January 30, 2015

One of latest productions to grace the Stanley Theatre stage is the hilarious, One Man, Two Guvnors, a side-splitting English update of the Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters. Set in 1963 Brighton, this marvelously crafted show abounds with a unique blend of satire, songs, slapstick, and sparkling wit that will make you feel splendidly silly. Meet a parade of colourful characters and see our hapless hero, Francis Henshall (Andrew McNee), juggle two jobs and two bosses when he has only one thing on the brain: fish and chips!

Francis Henshall (Andrew McNee) was a standout in this production that reminded me of Kramer from the Seinfeld show with his slapstick sort of comedy that drew laugh after laugh from the audience. Allan Dangle (Ryan Beil) presents himself on stage in a character that is dry yet so funny, that it just ads to more. A band graced the stage 15 minutes prior to the show start, I had thought it was an opening band, yet this group was part of the show, got the audience going and in the mood, then these fine musicians as you will discover are also part of the cast of actors, led by the immensely talented Anton Lipovetsky.

Richard Bean is an award-winning English playwright. Bean has written 20 plays, including Honeymoon Suite (2002), Under the Whaleback (2003), Harvest (2005), The Heretic (2011), and One Man, Two Guvnors (2011), his most celebrated work to date. With One Man, Two Guvnors, Bean won the admiration of popular audiences as well as critics. The play was named 2011’s Best New Play at both the Evening Standard Awards and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards in London.

Starring Mathew Baker, Ryan Beil, Lauren Bowler, Andrew Cownden, Martin Happer, Anton Lipovetsky, Gerry Mackay, Andrew McNee, Scott Perrie, Tom Pickett, Spencer Schoening, Cailin Stadnyk, Celine Stubel, Andrew Wheeler Director David Mackay Musical Director Anton Lipovetsky Costume Designer Nancy Bryant Set Designer Amir Ofek Lighting Designer Robert Sondergaard Sound Designer Murray Price Stage Manager Angela Beaulieu Assistant Stage Manager Peter Jotkus Apprentice Stage Manager Sandra Drag Assistant to the Director Cory Haas.

An Arts Club Theatre Company production: One Man, Two Guvnors at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St., at 12thAve) plays until February 22, 2015 . Tuesday at 7:30 pm, Wednesday–Saturday at 8 pm, and Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets from $29, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644 or visit www.artsclub.com.

Photos by: Emily Cooper


For the first time in the company’s history, Ballet BC presents Miami City Ballet in a program of George Balanchine’s revolutionary choreography at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Performed by Miami City Ballet, one of America’s finest Balanchine interpreters, Balanchine is a triple bill of acclaimed George Balanchine works: Serenade, Symphony in Three Movements, and Ballo della Regina.

In an evening that displays Balanchine’s inspiring marriage of ground-breaking ballet with classical music, each piece is choreographed in dynamic relation to some of the world’s most celebrated scores.

Serenade, first performed by New York City Ballet in 1935, is a milestone in the history of dance, planting the seeds for his reshaping of classical ballet into an American art form. Set to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, Serenade is revered as Balanchine’s masterpiece and even he referred to it as his “favorite child.” Symphony in Three Movements is a large ensemble work that is bold and breathtaking – a tour-de-force that is striking for its simplicity and power. Balanchine’s choreography mirrors the propulsive rhythm of Stravinsky’s titular score with angular, athletic choreography. The virtuosic and exhilarating variations in Ballo della Regina are set to Verdi’s music edited from the original score from Don Carlos. The work is a beautiful and intricate set of variations for the ballerina, her partner, and the corps de ballet that offers many unique challenges with its vibrantly fast-paced and elaborate choreography.

Each of these works expertly demonstrates how George Balanchine redefined the classical tradition in progressive ways and how Miami City Ballet has earned its reputation for being one of the finest interpreters of his work.  The New York Times calls Miami City Ballet, “one of the world’s leading exponents of choreography by George Balanchine” and Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Emily Molnar says, “Ever since I became the Artistic Director of Ballet BC, one of my desires has been to bring an evening of works by George Balanchine, a pioneer of contemporary ballet. Miami City Ballet is one of the leading ballet companies interpreting his work today. We are thrilled to share this exciting program of masterworks with Vancouver audiences.”

Miami City Ballet Artistic Director, Lourdes Lopez – former principal dancer with New York City Ballet under Balanchine and Jerome Robbins – echoes Emily Molnar’s enthusiasm by adding, “We are thrilled and grateful to Ballet BC for presenting us in their programming this season, and to have an opportunity to perform at such prestigious venues outside of our home theaters. Mostly, I am looking forward to the company performing stellar ballet of remarkable artistry before our Canadian friends.”

Balanchine runs for four performances, February 19-21, 2015 at 8:00pm plus Saturday, February 21 matinee at 2:00pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tickets range from $40.00 to $98.50 (including service charges) and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-2787 (1-855-985-ARTS) or online at ticketmaster.ca.


Valley Song at the Richmond Gateway February 5-21

by Richard Wolak on January 26, 2015

Photo: David Cooper

In post-apartheid South Africa, in a valley where properties are still owned exclusively by white people, 76-year-old Abraam ‘Buks’ Jonkers (David Adams) continues to till the land he will never own. But while Buks loyally maintains the prized property of his past, his golden-voiced granddaughter, Veronica (Sereana Malani), can’t wait to star on Johannesburg stages. When a potential new property owner arrives, both Buks and Veronica must decide if they will hold tight to their past or take a chance on the future.

Gateway Theatre’s Artistic Director, Jovanni Sy, explains why he chose to direct this show, “I saw Athol Fugard perform in this play twenty years ago in Toronto. It was one of the most memorable theatrical experiences of my life.” Jovanni continues, “Fugard is one of my playwriting heroes – an author with an extraordinary gift for storytelling and a ferocious passion for social justice. His writing helped to change the course of his country. I can’t wait to share this play with audiences in February.”

Written by the prolific South African playwright, Athol Fugard, Valley Song is a theatrical poem told by two actors that brings timeless truths to life through the beautiful South African landscape. Best known for his writing, Fugard is also an esteemed actor and director.  In the 1995 production of Valley Song Fugard played the roles of the Author and the grandfather Buks. “I had ended up sick and tired of the madness and desperate scramble of my life in the make-believe world of the Theatre.” he writes, “I wanted to return to essentials, to the ‘real’ world, and here was my chance to do it.”

David Adams, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, as well as local theatrical veteran and familiar face to Gateway Theatre audiences, was last seen at Gateway in 2012 playing the part of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. David is thrilled to return to play the role Athol Fugard originally brought to life on stage, “I’m so excited and privileged to be doing Valley Song this upcoming season – a rare chance to tackle a beautifully crafted play that profoundly speaks to my own personal background and ancestry.”

Starring alongside David, and making her Gateway Theatre debut, Sereana Malani plays the role of the Buks’s granddaughter Veronica. Local audiences would have last seen Sereana in the last two seasons at Bard on the Beach.

Be sure not to miss these two extremely talented actors, under the direction of Jovanni Sy, in Valley Song that promises to be an unforgettable night at the theatre.

Purchase tickets here 


FUSE on January 30 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak Art

Tweet The Vancouver Art Gallery and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival will co-present the second special edition of FUSE x PuSh on Friday, January 30th, 2015. Pushing boundaries where art and performance collide, FUSE x PuSh is a spectacular and unforgettable evening featuring artists from the PuSh Festival, once again transforming the Vancouver Art […]

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Disney’s Beauty and the Beast February 3-8

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Tweet Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the award-winning worldwide smash hit Broadway musical, returns to Vancouver as part of the Broadway Across Canada 2014 – 2015 season. Produced by NETworks Presentations, this elaborate theatrical production will come to life on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast features the Academy Award®-winning […]

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Crazy For You

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Tweet A fun, toe tapping musical, I was delighted from the beginning to the end, this show is pure family entertainment. 1930s New York swings to life in this high-octane, tap dancing phenomenon! Bachelor Bobby Child begrudgingly works at the family bank while he plugs away at his theatre career, but after he’s forced to […]

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L-E-V HOUSE at DanceHouse on November 14 & 15

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet DanceHouse presents House, the Vancouver debut of Israel’s L-E-V, as its second presentation of the season at the Vancouver Playhouse November 14 & 15, 2014, 8pm. Since 2006, collaborators Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar have been a significant voice in the global artistic community, creating a continuous stream of critically acclaimed original works for […]

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Ballet BC Presents No. 29 November 6-8

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet Ballet BC begins its 2014–15 season with No. 29 – a program marking the company’s 29th season and 29th new creation under the artistic leadership of Emily Molnar. No. 29 features the World Premiere of White Act by Spanish-born choreographerFernando Hernando Magadan, the Ballet BC premiere of An Instant by Vancouver-born choreographer Lesley Telford […]

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ReACT on November 2–9

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Tweet The Arts Club presents a series of free readings in November as part of its ReACT: New Plays in Progress initiative. Now in its 14th year, the program will showcase some of Vancouver’s top playwriting talent from November 2–9 with new works by Dorothy Dittrich, Meghan Gardiner, Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille, Courtenay Ennis […]

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