The Philadelphia Story: A pretty, pretty sight

“The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges.” So says Macaulay Connor, an author slumming it as a tabloid writer in Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story, and while Connor has firmly established himself as an opponent of America’s de facto aristocracy, he seems sincere in that champagne-tinted moment. … Continue reading

Chelsea Hotel: Leonard Cohen inspires stories

Leonard Cohen is an artist who demands to be reinterpreted. Like the hundreds of remountings and reworkings of Shakespeare, new takes on Cohen’s canon emerge with frightening regularity, with everyone from Johnny Cash to the Pixies covering the bard of Montreal. Maybe it was inevitable, then, that his influence would extend to the world of … Continue reading

Same Same but Different review

Written by and starring Anita Majumdar, Same Same But Different aims to be a lot of things, and succeeds at many of them. It’s a tribute to and criticism of Bollywood, with electric choreography and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian film. It is a commentary on societal conceptions of whiteness, and particularly Bollywood’s seeming obsession … Continue reading

The ups and downs of playRites

Premières explore new ground and reveal festival’s strengths and weaknesses For 28 years and 115 plays, the Enbridge playRites Festival has served as an essential breeding ground for new Canadian theatre. Its commitment to fostering brand-new work has given it a distinctive place within Alberta Theatre Projects’ season — the playRites plays are typically ambitious … Continue reading

Rodeo Reviews: Boom

Boom is certainly ambitious. It aims to walk the line between one-man-show, documentary and multimedia experience, all in service of a history lesson for the young and nostalgia trip for the old. Filled to stuffing with archival footage, and anchored by interviews with writer/director/star Rick Miller’s family and friends, it’s intriguing on paper. It’s also … Continue reading

Rodeo Reviews: Heap & Pebble

A ridiculous premise can go a long way, but what separates novelty from something truly moving is when that premise helps get at a more difficult truth. 6.0: How Heap and Pebble Took on the World and Won starts from a place that could just as easily be a sketch comedy premise — two ice … Continue reading

Stuff I like: Relic Radio

Admittedly, this one won’t be for all tastes. There’s a cheesiness to vintage radio plays that will either come across as comforting and well-worn, or impossibly distancing. The scripts pull liberally from the hoariest pulp cliches, but their reliance on family-friendly advertising money means they can’t embrace grit and gallows humour with the gusto of … Continue reading

Best Stuff Day 8: No Exit

Three people enter, no one ever leaves: an existential grudge-match and eternal suffering of the most mundane variety. With their production of No Exit at this year’s High Performance Rodeo, Vancouver’s Electric Company took one of the most beautifully minimalist stage set-ups in theatre — one small room that accounts for an eternity of torment … Continue reading

Alberta Theatre Projects’ playRites in brief — three plays, exactly 100 words each

How Do I Love Thee?, by Florence Gibson MacDonald: Given my near-complete lack of literary training, I only know Elizabeth Barrett Browning for her titular question, and even less of Robert Browning. Maybe an emotional connection to their poetry would’ve made How Do I Love Thee go down easier, but as it stands, the florid … Continue reading

Relative quickies: Extreme Measures, Book of Eli, Pajama Men (theatre)

FILM: Extraordinary Measures (review originally from Extraordinary Measures is a saccharine, heartstring-tugging Hallmark card of a movie, an inspirational tale jury-rigged to provide as much cockle-warming as can be uncomfortably wedged into 105 minutes. If watching wheelchair-bound children delivering life lessons to cantankerous scientists while the soundtrack plays Eric Clapton’s “Change the World” is … Continue reading