Edmonton Downstage | 21.07.2014

I’m taking inspiration from Sharon Yeo’s wonderful blog, Only Here for the Food, and starting a roundup of Edmonton theatre happenings. I’m still going to be reviewing shows, but there’s so many wonderful theatre things happening in Edmonton, there’s no way one person can get to it all… so anything I’m not able to cover more fully will be included in my new series, Edmonton Downstage. Want to be included in the roundup? Email [email protected] and I’ll make it happen.

And now, here we go…

The Freewill Shakespeare Festival is on until July 27 – this year’s production is The Taming of the Shrew. I saw the show last Tuesday and thought they did a fantastic job, especially given that they’re in an indoor venue (the Myer Horowitz at the University of Alberta) this year. They promise to return to the park next year, but for now, we’ll enjoy 100% fewer mosquitoes. I always admire how Freewill Players modernizes Shakespeare’s plays and makes the work accessible to those who don’t have a lot of background in Shakespeare. This year was no different and, in fact, I think they did an even better job than usual. I know there’s been some controversy over the choice of play, and I have to admit that even though I know the play explores themes of redemption and change and is absolutely still relevant, Petruchio’s interactions with Kate did make me feel uncomfortable.

Liz  Nicholls also wrote a very positive review of The Taming of the Shrew. 

Liz also reviewed Barefoot in the Parkwhich plays until July 26.

Northern Light Theatre announced their 2014/2015 season, which is all about gender. I’m super excited for their season closer, Christina/Philippe.

At the beginning of July, Workshop West announced Vern Thiessen as their new Artistic Director and announced their 2014/2015 season, including one of my favourite winter theatre festivals, the Canoe Theatre Festival. Mark your calendars – in 2015 it’s January 28 – February 1.

I’ve already received a few media releases for upcoming Fringe shows:

  • One Flew Over the Cubicle – one woman’s story of trying to support her husband, children, and father who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Kitt & Jane – “two fourteen-year-olds who determine that, according to their calculations, society is going to collapse in the next five years, so they start training themselves to survive the apocalypse… partly based on interviews with real-live-Canadian-teenagers.
  • Fruitcake: Ten Commandments from the Psyche Ward – “Fruitcake charts a night shift on an acute psychiatric ward, seen through the eyes of a jaded nurse who hears the voice of God – a kindly Rastafarian lady – who gives him ten benevolent commandments to help him through the shift; and life.”
  • Maison des Reves –  “based on the true story of Alexe Popova who, in 1909 Samara, Russia, confessed to killing over 300 men, all known for abusing their wives and children.”
  • 2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation – “the all new prequel of the world’s only film noir comedy magical mind reading murder mystery.”
  • there’s a camel on my back – (dance piece) – “Ariole instinctively knew that her role as a ‘dancer’ is like an adult loon to its babies.  Respectfully she picks each person in the audience up and carries them on her ‘back’ through territory of emotional liberation and spiritual inspiration that they are often not easily adept at accessing themselves.”
  • Little Miss Understood – “the play explores the challenges of being and raising a teenager from both sides, approaching real life situations with both humour and compassion.”
  • The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth –  “incredible feats of intelligence, dexterity and sophistication unlike anything you’ve seen from our primate ancestors before… Chinese pole, hoop diving, audience interaction, monkey antics and the breathtaking brilliance of the show’s creator, Mr. Magnificent, permeate into one life-changing hour.”
  • Wolf Trek: Alone in the Woods – “Charged by bison, surrounded by wolves, nose-to-nose with bears…what could drive a man with a broken arm to spend three bug-infested weeks hiking a non-existent trail through subarctic Wood Buffalo National Park? This is the risky true story of his arm-smashed-up buffalo walk in search of wildlife and wisdom.”
  • The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over – “Gemma Wilcox (London, UK), portrays 20 characters in this humorous, poignant, captivating tale of love and letting go.”
  • The Hollywoodland Burlesques – “Welcome to Los Angeles where Louella Parsons, the Gossip Queen of Hollywood serves up the American dream for breakfast. Sure, she might have 20 million worldwide listeners tuning in for the daily dish on film stars and the Hollywood elite but rumor has it the glitz and glamour is wearing thin and Lou is having a rough time covering up the seedier underbelly of the movie studios.”

I’m not able to cover any Fringe shows this year, but I’ll be previewing as many as possible. Have a show you want to plug? Email [email protected].

We all know I have a lot of love for the What It Is PodcastOn this week’s episode, Mary Hulbert talks about her role as Kate in The Taming of the Shrew. Taylor and Chris also talk about their experience at Cavalia’s Odysseo. 

I Don’t Get It podcast also discussed Odysseo during this week’s episode.

I reviewed Same Time Next Year last week, which is dark now, but plays again July 25 – 27.

Finally, I want to give a big shout out to Alan Westen, who designed the feature image for this series. I first met Alan when I was sound operator and he was light operator for Proof last December, but we had the chance to work together on the recent run of Jennie’s Story (both at Walterdale Playhouse). Thanks, Alan!

Tell me what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s