Tag Archives: Review

Tiva Quinn Reviews My Name Is Sumiko Part Of This Year’s Fringe Festival

9 Sep

Sumiko-11x17 poster-VanFringeIn case you haven’t heard, the The Vancouver Fringe Festival kicked off another year on September 5th.  There’s a great line of experimental local theatre happening around town.  Our contributing writer, Tiva Quinn, went to check our My Name is Sumiko on now at What Lab, 1814 Pandora Street. Here’s what she had to say about this production:

“I came away from My Name is Sumiko feeling that I almost liked it more than I should have. Long story short, this is a promising performer whose best work is yet to come, but see her now anyway, that’s just the sort of thing the Fringe is for.

June Fukumura starts out doing a riff on Marie Kondo, with her clown character, Sumiko, calls her “role model.” Joking about whether or not things spark joy is kind of played out, and each of her bits within the riff gets repeated to the point where it’s not funny anymore. And yet, Fukumura brings so much charm, energy and over the top silliness to her performance as Sumiko that it kind of works. The memory of laughing when she tried to decide if a dildo sparks joy the first time kind of carries you through with good enough humour when she does it the 7th time.

All in all, Fukumura riffs on 3 topics, and the finale, a mashup of Indiana Jones, Titanic, Austin Powers and online dating woes was by far the best.

The promo material that talks about “dicing up stereotypes” might make you think this is going to be a woke, intellectual sort of clowning, but it’s mostly just silly and there’s nothing wrong with that. Turn off your brain, go and enjoy.”

For tickets to this, or any other Fringe show, visit Vancouver Fringe Festival.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

Tiva Quinn Reviews Children Of God On Now At The York Until March 10th

26 Feb

ChildrenOfGodI didn’t make it when Children of God was in Vancouver last year partly because the idea of making a musical about child abuse and cultural genocide seemed a bit implausible, I wasn’t sure it could really work. In fact, it works brilliantly. The script does a fantastic job of including some humour and even some redemption amidst the pain without shying away from the worst things that happened at residential schools.

If you haven’t seen Children of God yet, you should go. Yes, partly because every Canadian needs to understand the legacy of residential schools, but also because it’s an excellent script performed by top-notch double-threat actor/singers and, even when the subject matter gets dark, it’s a real treat to see them perform.

For anyone who has a personal relationship or strong reaction to this material, emotional support workers are available in the lobby throughout the show.

There’s a Q and A period with the performers after the show that’s worth sticking around for. The Q and A I attended had a lot of interesting questions and commentary from both indigenous and settler audience members, and the cast themselves were just as impressive speaking off the cuff as they were during the show. Children Of God is on now at The York Theatre until March 10, 2019.  Tickets available through The Cultch.

Note – during the Q&A I attended someone suggested that people refrain from drinking or at least from bringing alcohol into the theater, as many people in the audience have intergenerational trauma related to the smell of alcohol.

By Contributing Writer: Tiva Quinn

Nicole Alivojvodic Reviews Much Ado About Nothing On Now At The Cultch Until February 16th

11 Feb

muchadoaboutnothingThe Cultch’s Femme Series is currently featuring Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. You might be thinking, as I was, that it’s unlike The Cultch to put on this type of production; but this is not the classic show you know and love: it’s classic chic. Brought to the stage by Classic Chic Productions, Much Ado About Nothing is a bold and playful romp through the extremes of desire and ambition, loyalty and redemption.

Based in Vancouver, the not-for-profit theatre company is known for their all female cast and crew, believing that there are great male and female roles in theatre that appeal to all human beings. By casting women in male parts they are creating a forum for women to explore these possibilities as well as develop their acting, designing and directing skills. It has been the experience of Director Rebecca Patterson “that gender-blind casting speaks to a diverse audience—straight and queer, men and women—and is a true reflection of our complex contemporary community”.

In Much Ado About Nothing, we see female and male roles that are firmly rooted in tradition. However, whether intentionally or not, performing Shakespeare with an all female cast is a delightful play on these gender roles that Shakespeare himself seemed to enjoy, as evident in plays like The Twelfth Night and Macbeth. What’s more, as his plays were originally performed by an all male cast – since women were not allowed in the public sphere – this provides another subtle layer of fun in Classic Chic’s production.

Don’t miss this classic tale with a twist, on now until February 16th. For tickets, visit The Cultch.

By Contributing Writer:  Nicole Alivojvodic

Nicole Alivojvodic Reviews Power Ballad on Now Until January 26th At The Cultch

24 Jan

powerballadPerformed for the first time in Canada, Power Ballad is a shocking and explosive work that explores gendered narratives and the hidden ideologies in the language we use. Created and performed by Julia Croft, this one woman show all the way from New Zealand is loud and disturbing. But that’s the whole point – it’s a live art exhibit of feminist rage that seeks to deconstruct sexist linguistics and find a new articulation of femaleness.

This 50-minute show is not for everybody, and I strongly encourage anyone interested in going to read up on it beforehand so as not to be utterly confused. Nevertheless, Croft bravely confronts seemingly immovable patriarchal structures in this rallying production which she states “is about finding the cracks where resistance can begin”.

Power Ballad is on now until January 26th as part of the Cultch’s Femme Series. Tickets are available online at The Cultch.

By Contributing Writer: Nicole Alivojvodic

Review Of A Vancouver Guldasta On Now At The Cultch Until October 21st

10 Oct

VancouverGuldasta-PardeepSingh.jpgThe production of A Vancouver Guldasta touches on a number of themes, but the one that stood out for us was relatable. If you live in Vancouver, there’s a good chance you are an immigrant or children of immigrants. If are not, this production will be an insight to life in the 80s on a number of levels.  You almost forget how archaic the video games were by today’s standards, but they were pretty cool back then and fun. Cordless phones were those big brick things, with long antennas you pushed up and down when you made a call.  Our family home in the 1980s was a sea of gold, orange and browns, the style of the times.  All these things were part of the intimate stage set for A Vancouver Guldasta in the Cultch Lab.  This is a smaller venue which is this perfect setting for this production. You feel like you are a fly on the wall in the living room of the Dhaliwal family in the 1980s. This is also to the credit of the amazing cast that never lost our attention throughout.

A Vancouver Guldasta features the political and religious unrest in India in 1984 during which time the Indian government invaded The Golden Temple, a holy shrine of the Sikhs.  The story has a much further reach though which is at every turn in this production.  That comes in the way of Andy, a Vietnamese student living in the basement. He plays an important part in this family and highlights what many immigrant families left behind to make a better life including war, violence, persecution and hunger.  They have come to a new country to make a new life, but still long for the life they left behind, their family and their friends. In the 1980s, if you wanted to reach to those friends or family, there was no internet. You couldn’t just reach out and touch someone with a text or Facebook message to check in. If phone lines were down, there was no way to check in.

This story speaks to the many immigrants that make up a good portion of Vancouver’s population. No matter what country they are from, they still long for what was left behind.  Many immigrants have ties to violence and war which often are lost in rush to get everywhere in the day to day life of 2018. We encourage you to take time to see A Vancouver Guldasta. It’s important to understand the past to help shape a better future.  Tickets for a Vancouver Guldasta are available online via The Cultch.

Photo Credit: Pardeep Singh

Nicole Alivojvodic Reviews Bears On Now At The Cultch Till May 12th

10 May

BearsFrom Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and Punctuate! Theatre comes this dark comedy about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. Written and directed by Matthew MacKenzie, Bears strives to increase dialogue about the devastating effects economic greed is taking on the lands of our country’s First Nations peoples. Beautifully performed by a group of talented actors and dancers, the audience was brought to their feet in a standing ovation on opening night.

The story follows Floyd, the prime suspect in a workplace accident at an Alberta oil refinery, who, while being pursued by the RCMP, makes an epic westbound trek through the Rocky Mountains along the route of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. While Floyd embarks on this journey, a chorus of contemporary dancers embody his natural surroundings – impressively bringing to life everything from strawberry bushes, to spawning salmon, to an avalanche.

For tickets to this unapologetically political production, on now until May 12 at Historic Theatre, visit The Cultch.

By Contributing Writer: Nicole Alivojvodic

Nicole Alivojvodic Reviews Butcher On Now At The Cultch Till March 31st

22 Mar

TheButcherPhotoByTimMathesonNot for the light of heart, this stage thriller is brought to The Cultch by Prime Cuts Collective, a company formed exclusively for the purpose of producing Butcher in Vancouver. Written by Nicolas Billon, this play is a dark and suspenseful exploration of the nature of justice and revenge, earning a standing ovation on opening night. Starring Peter Anderson, Lindsey Angell, Noel Johansen, and Daryl Shuttleworth, Butcher’s all-star cast keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

While the story is inspired by very real historical atrocities, the play is set in Toronto and centers on the history and politics of the fictional Eastern European country “Lavinia”. Impressively, an entire language, “Lavinian”, was created for the purpose of this play and learned by the cast. The language has Slavic roots and can actually be understood quite well by anyone familiar with a Slavic language.

Butcher brilliantly captures themes relevant to recent and ancient history at the same time. While the main plot draws on real civil conflicts that occurred less than 30 years ago in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda, the themes of penance and blood vengeance point back to the writings of Aeschylus and explicitly draw on the tropes of classical Greek tragedy. Billon takes these seemingly archaic concepts and shows how truly prevalent they are in the modern world. Further, while Butcher speaks to atrocities far from home it maintains a distinctly Canadian voice, alerting us to our place in these global histories.

For tickets to this clever and powerful play, on now until March 31st at Historic Theatre, visit The Cultch. 

By Contributing Writer: Nicole Alivojvodic
Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

%d bloggers like this: