Vancouver Theatre Guide

Our blog offers articles written by our team of resident bloggers as well as various members of the theatre community. It provides reflections on local productions, as well as thoughts on other events and issues affecting our local theatre scene.

Are you a member with a show you'd like to invite one of our blogger to? Email us at with details of the production, including which date(s) you’d like to offer a blogger two tickets, and we’ll do our best to get someone out to cover your show. Details about our blogging program are on the Resident bloggers page.

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  • Sunday, September 11, 2016 11:00 AM | GVPTA (Administrator) by Kara Nolte

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Kaylin Metchie

    A typical Vancouver Fringe setting: a multipurpose room retro-fitted with black curtains on the windows to block out light, a handful of occupied folding chairs arranged in rows, and an air of expectation of what’s to come. I had no idea what to expect from, preferring these days to go into a theatrical experience blind and without influence. is like a first date. Strange and beautiful, welcoming and yet odd all at the same time. It begins with Kara Nolte facing away from the audience, bathed in a low blue light and swaying to music only heard by Kara herself. Like the beginning of a first date, where you present just a dash of who you are, still unsure of the person sitting across from you. When Kara finally does turn to the audience, she tells us that her mission for this piece is to turn the solo into a duet, to get someone from the audience up out of their seats to dance with her. The piece moves towards an unknown, “Will someone in the audience join her on stage or will she be left up there all alone?” Much like the unknown of a first date, neither party knowing whether by the end of those drinks they will be parting their separate ways or joining each other in a duet of life.

    As the performance progresses, Kara opens herself to the audience, allowing us a glimpse, albeit brief, into who this twinkling voiced dancer is. Like how her love of karaoke, especially Sunday night karaoke at a specific Main and Hastings dive bar, allows her to continue to connect with a destructive moment in her life that she has moved away from.

    Kara’s sojourns of exposition gave this contemporary dance piece roots in the real world. At times, contemporary theatre or art can get trapped in a cycle self-aggrandizing, moving so far away from the tangible world that it pushes the audience away as second class. feels real, feels grounded.

    This is the epitome of what the Fringe should be: non-mainstream artists sharing their passions and talents with a captivated audience. It makes you feel safe and still question the surrounding world.

    Kara as a performer is incredibly engaging. The piece is deceptively simple, a solo dancer on an empty stage. But writhing just beneath, a story about connecting to those around us. runs during the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and plays for two more shows at False Creek Gym September 11 (4:30pm) and 13 (9:30pm).


    Tickets and information at

  • Friday, July 29, 2016 12:00 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Betrayal by Harold Pinter

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Keara Barnes

    Betrayal. It is the central theme in Pinter’s play, present in a multitude of ways: betrayal to one’s partner, one’s lover, one’s family, one’s self. I believe it is also subjective. Is it considered betrayal if the betrayer feels no guilt? If you, yourself, while betraying someone, are in turn being betrayed by said person? What about betraying someone with their full knowledge and awareness? Perhaps ultimately, judgement lies in the eyes of the individual, the circumstance, the relationship. Whatever the case may be, Ensemble Theatre Company’s production shines a spotlight on the subject, on a closely intertwined threesome, hell bent on being united in their unfaithfulness.

    Emma, married to Robert, is having a seven year long affair with Jerry, who is married to Judith. Robert and Jerry are best friends. Robert has known about the affair for four years. Robert is also having various affairs. The act of betrayal is prevalent in every relationship presented. It is transfixing to watch each character battle their own morality and disregard their conscience. The present of guilt enters into the equation at times, yet is strangely absent at others.

    Time is a beautifully utilized concept in ETC’s production, initially seen in the script’s structure of going from present to past, journeying back in time to the beginning of Emma and Jerry’s affair. Moreover, the set is configured like a clock, a theatre in the round set up whereby audiences observe scenes at evenly spaced out marks in a circle. Centre stage, a steady stream of sand pours into a glass beaker.  The production design is evoking, dark and intimate, much like the play itself, and the 70 uninterrupted minutes sneak by quickly like lovers in the night.


    Betrayal plays at the Jericho Arts Centre until August 19 as part of Ensemble Theatre Company’s 4th annual Repertory Festival. Tickets and information through

  • Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:00 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Pericles by William Shakespeare

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Andrew Wade

    As a play, the original Pericles is a house built on sand. Not so with this production.

    Most historians believe that the first two acts of Pericles, The Prince of Tyre were penned by someone other than Shakespeare, and that someone was, to put it simply, not a phenomenal playwright. As such, though the final three acts were most likely written by the The Bard himself, the actual words of the play are not ranked along the best or most memorable in Shakespeare's canon.

    All this makes Lois Anderson's direction and sculpting of Pericles even more impressive. Using welcome textual edits and scenic devices, Bard on the Beach's production takes the this metaphorical house and rebuilds it on firmer foundations. The original play's words may not spark the same connection with the depths of humanity that an audience might find in other works at Vanier Park,  but thanks to expert dramaturgical and artistic decisions, with this production we have a construction well worth exploring.

    For our prologuing character, we get an old magician (David Warburton) setting the tale and pulling us through it. He summons shadows of people, sets sparks into the air and concocts potions as he shares the story. Bedsheets become boats and horses, characters' lives become fairy tales, and the stage flows smoothly and subtly from scene to scene. Amir Ofek's impressive scenic design allows for kingdoms to rise up from sand and pottery, then later to collapse into dust once more.

    Photo credit - David Blue

    This is not a show that is all production puffery or historical meandering but without substance. While Pericles admittedly often felt like a family reunion in need of an antagonist, whenever Kayla Deorksen took to the stage (as the Bawd) she picked up the show with an antagonistic, lively vivacity that kept the audience gripped to the present moment plights of these characters. Luisa Jojic, as Marina, also holds the audience's hearts close to her once the script allows her to take a larger part in the plot. And Kayvon Kelly helps the us not be too put off by the ever so Shakespearean doling out of marriages among near-strangers.

    Despite all the original script's misgivings, Bard on the Beach's production of Pericles is a theatrical marvel sturdily built, and well worth your evening.


    Pericles is on stage as part of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival through September 18. Tickets and information are through

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2016 12:00 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Heather Evens

    When I told a friend that I had seen Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and that it was set in 1968 in Windsor, Ontario, she burst out laughing. “The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ontario! That’s hilarious!” she howled.

    “It was great!” I said. “It just worked!”

    Amber Lewis & Katey Wright - Photo credit - David BlueBut I can see shy she would be skeptical. Shakespeare’s work is classic – how can you modernize it? But maybe it’s precisely because the plays are classic that they can be modernized. The themes that Shakespeare wrote about still apply today. (Okay, maybe an exception is all the shipwrecks – we don’t hear about that happening so much these days.) The women (i.e, the wives) in this particular story were dealing with a rather misogynistic newcomer in town, their sometimes jealous/sometimes clueless/sometimes stubborn husbands, a defiant teenager, a nosy neighbour, and various characters from around the town. Their language may have been Elizabethan, but their problems and predicaments as women are definitely relatable to Canadian women in the 1960s, and one would argue, today.

    Modernizing Shakespeare’s work is one of the great things Bard on the Beach sometimes does – modernizing and otherwise adding pop culture references to their shows lets them make his work more accessible to people who would otherwise might be anxious about seeing Elizabethan theatre.

    And because William Shakespeare died 400 years ago, the theatre company doesn’t have to ask for the playwright’s permission (or beg forgiveness?) to shake things up. (Under copyright law, theatre companies must request permission to make changes to original scripts if the playwright is alive or if it’s within 50 years of the playwright’s death. Because Shakespeare passed away 400 years ago, his work can, in theory, be played with, mixed up, and turned on its head without permission or repercussions.) This allows Bard on the Beach to get very creative very easily, which they always do. And this season, they’ve brought two of their four shows into the 19th and 20th centuries – The Merry Wives of Windsor is set in Canada in 1968, and Othello is set in the U.S. in 1864, during the Civil War.

    Are you afraid to see a Shakespeare play? Not sure you’ll understand it? First of all, most people would agree that Shakespeare’s work is meant to be seen on the stage, not read in a book. Even seasoned thespians can get tripped up by trying to decipher every word on the page. And you certainly don’t have to know every word being said to understand what’s going on in front of you on the stage. Trust me, if you go see The Merry Wives of Windsor this season, you’ll get what’s going on. Elizabethan language or not, you’ll understand the action, you’ll understand the characters, and you’ll definitely understand the culture. And the high energy mixed with the 1960s live music pretty much guarantees a very merry evening of Shakespearean theatre!

    I’m glad Bard on the Beach brought back this version of The Merry Wives from their 2012 season. It’s so worth it. I think they’ll have lots of new audience members hooked on the Bard after this season!

    The Merry Wives of Windsor is playing as part of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival until September 24, 2016. Tickets and information are available through

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2016 12:00 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Keara Barnes

    It is the eternally prevailing love story. An intensely impetuous romance brought to a tragic, fated end.  This is Romeo and Juliet, a seemingly timeless tale that survives and still thrives in the 21st Century.  But why? Why is this story so beloved? The dramatic circumstances certainly make for an interesting premise: warring families, romantic culture, joyful youth, the ideal of fated love, or “star-cross’d lovers”… But has the concept of sweeping romance not dissipated in this day and age? Maybe. Maybe not.  In a world of online dating do people still desire romance and unyielding passion? Or are these notions considered ‘wistful ideals?’ Too often people are disappointed or even deceived by present day dating – after all, how easy is it to make yourself appear attractive or successful in a profile?  Gone is the grandiose whim of ‘love at first sight.’ People have become disenchanted by their disappointments and failed relationships; divorce has become an accepted social normality. We often settle instead for a less romantic love, but a secure – financially or emotionally – relationship. But perhaps, brooding inside all of us, that overwhelming desire for all engrossing love abounds. Thus the story of Juliet and her Romeo lives on, alive inside each one of us whose furtive desires fuel its continued life.

    Romeo and Juliet, directed by Kim Collier, currently playing at Bard on the Beach, fervidly depicts this powerful love story, entrancingly performed by leads Hailey Gillis and Andrew Chown. The two are exquisite, encompassing whole heartedly the ideal levels of naiveté, youthful vigour, and desire; their scenes together were the absolute highlight of the production and left you wanting more. The productPhoto credit - David Cooper and Emily Cooperion as a whole had a vigorously youthful energy, featured prominently in such characters as Mercutio & Benvolio (in two hilarious performances by Andrew McNee and Ben Elliot), and the Nurse, played by the fantastic Jennifer Lines.  The music (designed by Brian Linds) was breathtaking and poignant, intensely moving and emotionally charged, and brought the tender moments of the production to a new level.

    Perhaps the key to Romeo and Juliet’s eternal life is exactly this youthful energy captured by Bard’s production; the characters’ optimism in the face of hardship, their devotion in the face of adversity. And perhaps these traits are exactly what we need to survive the modern dating world….leaving aside the poison.


    Romeo and Juliet plays on the BMO Mainstage at Vanier Park as part of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, until September 23. Tickets and information at


  • Friday, May 13, 2016 12:00 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)
    Always…Patsy Cline by Ted Swindley

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Trilby Jeeves

    I went to the opening night of “Always…Patsy Cline” because I knew my friend had a good role in the show and I enjoy supporting the company First Impressions Theatre as they’re pretty special people. As the lights dimmed, I leaned over to my friend and whispered, “I hate country music.” He whispered back, “You’re in the wrong place.” I settled in, despite my attitude.

    Well… that attitude was gone in seconds. My friend pointed to my foot that refused to stop moving and he raised his eyebrow at me. Busted. I LOVED this show. I had so much fun.

    Always…Patsy Cline, fabulously directed by Claude A. Giroux, written by Ted Swindley, musically directed by Gordon Roberts and Leigh Richards Stewart, and produced by Eileen and Michael Smith of First Impressions Theatre of Deep Cove, features the skills and talent of actresses Colleen Rae Lornie (Patsy Cline) and Louise Porter (adoring fan, Louise Segar), and the band: Ed Fabian, Shawn Salsiccioli, Steve Taillefer, Barb Dominik and Skip Parker. Of course, behind the scenes is a production team that more than supported the beautiful setting of this colourful piece.

    Like I said, I had fun. I also learned more about an artist who was vaguely in my psyche. In fact, I found myself singing along (quietly) and wondered why I knew so many songs. Colleen Rae filled the role of Patsy Cline with such a lovely sensibility and mesmerized me by her deep commitment to some of the strikingly sad lyrics. Her counterpart generously played by Louise Porter was equally passionate and full of love for Patsy Cline. She was funny as heck but don’t underestimate her comedy; bring tissues, too. 

    When I got home, I researched Patsy Cline and found out that her music managed to cross over the country/pop boundaries. This was rare for that type of music and also rare for a woman. She became a significant inspiration for many women singers and was awarded several times, even after her untimely tragic death.

    Thank you to Ted Swindley for writing this beautiful piece that honours and entertains simultaneously. Thank you to First Impressions for choosing another play that makes me think AND tap my toes. I’m a new fan of Patsy Cline, 60 years later, and I can only imagine that a deep fan of Patsy Cline would drool over this show. I did.

    And…. Vive le Théâtre!


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