The Cultch and Zee Zee Theatre
Holiday at the Elbow Room Café by Dave Deveau

Dates and Venue December 10 – 29, 2019 at 7.30pm; Matinees on Dec 15, 21,22, 28 & 29 at 2pm | The Cultch Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables St.

Director Cameron Mackenzie Musical Director Christina Cuglietta Choreography Nathan Kay Set & Costume Design Marina Szijarto Lighting Design Taylor Janzen Original Songs Dave Deveau & Anton Lipovetsky Stage Manager Susan Miyagishima

Reviewer John Jane

Holiday at the Elbow Room Café is not a direct sequel to Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical, but rather a seasonal special with the infamous restaurant as a backdrop. David Adams returns as the cynical curmudgeon Bryan, while Joey Lesperance takes over the role of Patrice, who is every bit as simultaneously ornery and altruistic as his predecessor to Allan Zinyk. Full review




Literary Larceny Collective
The Tragic Comedy of Macbeth by Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (and William Shakespeare)

Date and Venue December 4 - December 15, 2019; 7:30 pm Wed through Sat with 2pm shows on Sun | Jericho Arts Centre

Director Bernard Cuffling & Gary Jones Set Designer Todd Parker Costume Designer Fergie Ferguson Lighting Designer Chengyan Boon Sound Design Samuel T. Wilson Stage Manager Blake Kimber

Reviewer John Jane

The Tragic Comedy of Macbeth written by Brent Hirose and David C. Jones of Literary Larceny Collective, with more than just a little help from William Shakespeare, is precisely what its title suggests – a spoof on Macbeth – the king who reigned over Scotland roughly a thousand years ago. Full review



Vancouver TheatreSports
Merry Kissmas: A Royal Romance

Dates and Venue November 20 – December 24, 2019, Wed-Sat @ 7:30pm, matinees Dec 15, 21 & 22 @ 11:30am, Dec 24 @ 2pm | The Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau St., Granville Island

Artistic Director Jay Ono Directors Margret Nyfors & Nathan Clark Concept Creation Margret Nyfors & Sarah Peretto Lighting Design Su Scarfe Sound Design Brendan Kelly Set Design Mo Sherwood

Reviewer Darren Cordeiro

Lights, action, laughter! At the Improv Centre, anything goes and can happen live. And with this holiday themed show, it most certainly did… including a surprise audience marriage proposal on stage. Full review


Pacific Theatre
adapted by Ron Reed from Charles Dickens' novel

Dates and Venue November 29 - December 21, Wed - Sat at 8pm, 2pm matinees Saturdays | Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Ave.

Director Morris Ertman Choreography Laura Ross Set Designer Drew Facey Costume Designer Julie White Lighting Designer Michael K. Hewitt Sound Design & Original Composition Ben Elliott Stage Manager Victoria Snashall

Reviewer John Jane

This adaptation by Ron Reed offers a nuanced solo performance by Reed himself in story theatre mode, delivered in a mid-nineteenth century interlocution. He doesn’t even play Scrooge as an individual role, but as the narrator, who, by his dress and demeanour might have lived at a time of the story’s setting. Full review



The Cultch
East Van Panto: Pinocchio by Marcus Youssef, music & lyrics Veda Hille

Dates and Venue November 20, 2019 – January 5, 2020 at 7pm (weekend matinees at 2pm) | York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive

Director Stephen Drover Choreography Amanda Testini Costume Designer Barbara Clayden Set & Props Designer Yvan Morissette Props Mastery Heidi Wilkinson Lighting Designer Adrian Muir Scenic Illustration Cindy Mochizuki Stage Manager Jan Hodgson Musicians Veda Hille & Barry Mirochnick

Reviewer John Jane

Audiences obviously like how the Cultch does pantomime, because they keep coming back every year. This year, they’ve chosen Pinocchio and once again Marcus Youssef has stepped up to write the script, maintaining the winning format of setting the show in current time with interwoven references to local businesses on Commercial Drive..... Full review



Arts Club Theatre Company
The Sound of Music music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Dates and Venue November 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020; Tue–Thu at 7:30pm, Fri & Sat at 8pm, Wed at 1:30pm, and Sat & Sun at 2pm; Holiday:Tues, Dec 24, at 1pm & 6pm; and Sun, Dec 29, at 1pm & 7pm | Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Director Ashlie Corcoran Music Director Ken Cormier Choreography Shelley Stewart Hunt Set & Costume Design Drew Facey Lighting Design Itai Erdal Sound Design Chris Daniels Stage Manager Allison Spearin

Reviewer John Jane

As we might expect in a theatrical production, it does take liberties with the true story. However, Arts Club Theatre’s The Sound of Music maintains Baroness von Trapp’s core themes of family values and steadfast integrity in the face of adversity. Full review



Waitress Music & Lyrics Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson
Based on the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly

Dates and Venue November 12 - 17, 2019, at 8pm, (except Sunday at 7.30pm) Sat & Sun matinees at 2pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton Street

Set Design Scott Pask | Costume Design Suttirat Anne Larlarb | Lighting Design Ken Billington | Sound Design Jonathan Deans | Tour Choreography Abby O'Brien | Music Coordinator John Mezzio | Music Director Alyssa Kay Thompson | Production Stage Manager Mary Dennis

Reviewer Erin Jane

Waitress is a whirlwind of love and drama, coming dangerously close to soap opera territory yet evading over-the-top melodrama that we might ordinarily expect from such plotlines as extramarital affairs, an unwanted baby, and villainous husbands. More tragic elements masquerade as romantic comedy, with an appealing lightness of being that expresses itself in surprisingly carefree love, singing, dancing, friendship, and pies. Full review



Kuroko by Tetsuro Shigematsu

Dates and Venue November 6 – 17, 2019, 7.30pm; matinees: Nov 10 & 17 at 2pm | The Cultch, 1895 Venables St,

Director Amiel Gladstone Dramaturg Heidi Taylor Set Designer Sophie Tang Costume Designer Christine Reimer Lighting Designer Gerald King Sound Designer Sammie Hatch Projection Designer Remy Siu Stage Manager Susan Miyagishima

Reviewer John Jane

Kuroko is a stylish, multi-layered play that would seem to be part black comedy and part a window on present-day Japanese social order. It comes from the creative mind of playwright and performance artist Tetsuro Shigematsu and produced by the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT). Full review



Chutzpah! Festival Co Presented with Howard Blank of Point Blank Productions
The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman

Dates and Venue November 6 - 8, 2019 at 8pm & November 9 at 2pm | Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Director Stan Zimmerman Stage Manager Miranda Richard

Reviewer John Jane

By now, everyone knows the story of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who hid away with her family for two years, while Nazi’s hunted down Jewish citizens of Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II. But what is different about The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX? Full review



Uncle Randy Productions
Green Day’s American Idiot

Dates and Venue November 5 - 10, 2019, 8pm (matinee Sat., Nov. 9 at 2pm) | Centennial Theatre, 2300 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver

Director Richard Berg Music Direction Rob Hamilton Choreography Emily Matchette Costume Design Gina Morel Lighting Design Robert Sundergaard Set Design Richard Berg & Robert Sundergaard Sound Design Richard Berg Stage Manager Collette Berg

Reviewer John Jane

Following a pseudo-political multi-media pre-show, American Idiot explodes on the stage with the entire company in a hyper-kinetic version of the title song in a fusillade of light. The opening sets the scene for an hour and a half of virtually non-stop mesmerizing performance by a young talented cast. The performers throw themselves into Emily Matchette’s free form choreography with audacious abandon. Full review


Touchstone Theatre
Certified by Jan Derbyshire

Date and Venue October 31 – November 16, 2019, 8pm (2 pm matinees on Nov 3, 9, 10, 16) | Vancity Culture Lab, The Cultch

Director Roy Surette Performer Jan Derbyshire

Reviewer Jason Martin

With fragility, courage, heft and tenacity she takes the audience through her personal story navigating the mental health system as a person inflicted with depression, anxiety, alcoholism and mental illness including hearing voices. But “navigating” is too weak a word, too clinical: a euphemism. Full review



Pacific Theatre
Frankenstein: Lost In Darkness adapted by Peter Church

Dates and Venue October 17 – November 2, 2019; 8pm (Sat. matinees at 2pm) | Pacific Theatre, 1440 West 12th Avenue

Director Chris Lam Lighting Designer Jonathan Kim Sound Design and Original Composition Rick Colhoun Stage Manager Shila Amin

Reviewer John Jane

Mary Shelley's mythic story of Dr. Frankenstein and his ungodly creation has always been acknowledged as a cautionary tale. When mankind tries to play God, chaos can, and usually does result. What you get in this Pacific Theatre production of Peter Church’s adaptation is less graphic horror, but more humanity. Full review



Gateway Theatre
China Doll by Marjorie Chan

Dates and Venue October 17-26, 2019; 8pm (except Sunday and Monday); matinees Sat October 19 & Sun October 20 @ 2pm, Tues October 22 @ 1pm | Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond

Director Marjorie Chan Set Design Heipo Leung Costume Design Amy Mcdougall Sound Design Mishelle Cuttler Lighting Design Chengyan Boon Projection Design Sammy Chien, Chien Shanghan, Ivan So & Andie Lloyd Stage Manager Yvonne Yip Intimacy Director Lisa Goebel

Reviewer John Jane

Set in Shanghai against a backdrop of the final years of the Great Qing Dynasty, prior to Republicanism finally achieving overwhelming support in 1911, protagonist Su-Ling (Jennifer Tong) has been abandoned by her father following her mother’s suicide. Full review



Arts Club Theatre Company
The Birds & the Bees by Mark Crawford

Dates and Venue September 26–October 26, 2019; Tue–Thu at 7:30pm, Fri & Sat at 8pm, Wed at 1:30pm, and Sat & Sun at 2pm | Granville Island Stage

Director Lauren Taylor Set Designer Ted Roberts Costume Designer Alaia Hamer Lighting Designer Michael K. Hewitt Sound Designer Sammie Hatch Stage Manager April Starr Land Intimacy Coordinator Michelle Thorne

Reviewer John Jane

The Birds & the Bees, aside from being a simple metaphor for teaching young people about sex before they discover it for themselves in the schoolyard, is a whimsical comedy by Mark Crawford. The play’s characters are an omnifarious foursome consisting of: a turkey breeder, a beekeeper, a tenant farmer and an entomology student. Full review