Edmonton downstage | 05.04.2015

  • Opening this week:
    • The Nextfest 20th Anniversary Showcase – at the Mercury Theatre May 5 – 17.
    • Blarney Productions’ Mote by José Teodoro at La Cité Francophone May 8 – 17.
  • Closing this week:
    • Northern Light Theatre’s Christina~Philippe on May 9.
        • Check out my review and the Sun’s review, Kristen’s thoughts, the Journal’s review, and Northern Light Theatre’s promo video!

  • John had some interesting thoughts on Taming of the Shrew.
  • At the end of this month, the Playwright’s Guild of Canada is hosting their AGM in conjunction with a playwrighting conference at the Timm’s Centre. The events take place May 29 – 31 and cost is $50 non-members/$35 members. More details on their website.
  • Continuing this week are the Citadel’s Avenue Q, Shadow Theatre’s Becoming Sharp, and Punctuate! Theatre’s Suburban Motel Series.
  • I had a few free hours on Saturday, so I headed over to C103 to take in Criminal Genius, one of the lighter plays in the Suburban Motel Series. Saturday was one of Punctuate!’s marathon days and it seemed as though most of the people in the audience were partaking in the entire marathon and were having a great time binge-watching the shows. When I spoke with Punctuate!’s Liz Hobbs and Andréa Jorawsky, they told me Criminal Genius was almost farcical – it’s about a father-son pair of minor criminals (Mark Stubbings and Oscar Derkx) whose adherence to their non-violence clause has caused their current job to go off the rails. Shirley (Annette Loiselle), who is slightly higher in the pecking order and hired them in the first place, comes in and tries to take control of the situation, but this too is taken off the rails by Amanda (Andréa Jorawsky), the kidnapping victim turned criminal mastermind. Somewhere along the way, the hotel’s manager, Phillie (Elliot James) gets dragged in to the mess as well. It’s a hilarious application of Murphy’s law to a criminal situation, but each of the characters is a lot deeper than the typical inept criminal stereotype would have you believe. The father-son duo is concerned with morals, ethics, sentimental value, and the idea of “caring” the father has seemingly picked up from an Oprah magazine. Shirley is the tough one of the bunch, but she’s also the most desperate – swindled out of her money and with a painful ulcer that she should probably have someone look at (but likely can’t afford to). Amanda has had one too many of her lovers killed by a father who has a weird way of looking after his little girl. And Phillie – perhaps the most sympathetic character of them all – is admittedly too deep in his alcoholic haze to comprehend the situation and resist being pulled in, which just adds to the string of bad luck he insists has been his entire life.
    • The Suburban Motel Series runs until May 11. Check out the schedule on Punctuate!’s website. May 4, 5, and 6 are pay-what-you-can nights, with talk-backs at 10:00 p.m. each night.
  • One final not-exactly-theatre thing: the Yeggies are happening this weekend! Thanks again to John for nominating me in the Arts & Culture category.

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