Elizabeth Rex

At Bard on the Beach until September 11, 2013
I love this play by the late Canadian writer Timothy Findley. It’s not as great a play as, say, Hedda Gabler or Macbeth but it offers an equally monumental opportunity for a mature actress at the top of her game. Colleen Wheeler is just such an actress.

Colleen Wheeler as Elizabeth Rex. Credit: David Blue

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Measure for Measure

At Bard on the Beach until September 13, 2013
Between them, veteran Lois Anderson and relative newcomer Anton Lipovetsky make this show – a peculiar blend of a comedy and a morality play – immeasurably entertaining.

Lois Anderson in Measure For Measure. Credit: David Blue

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Hamlet

At Bard on the Beach until September 12, 2013
Kim Collier and Jonathon Young – two of the founders of the always-inventive Electric Company Theatre –  crank up the voltage at Vanier Park.

Jonathon Young in Hamlet. Credit: David Blue

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Avenue Q

At the Arts Club Granville Island Stage until August 3, 2013
With Marshal McMahen’s cartoony set of off-kilter, shambled tenement buildings and tipped-over trash can, Avenue Q looks a lot like Sesame Street. And music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx sound a lot like Sesame Street at first but titles like “It Sucks To Be Me”, “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today” and “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” soon let you know you’re not in Jim Henson-land.

Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q. Credit: Emily Cooper

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Twelfth Night

At Bard on the Beach until September 14, 2013
If this review reads like an ode to actor Jonathon Young, that’s what it is. Young plays Feste, the Fool, in director Dennis Garnhum’s early 1900 take on Twelfth Night. Perhaps Young caught me in a vulnerable state of mind but his performance is so beautiful, so layered and comes from so deep inside the character that I was getting misty-eyed from the sheer loveliness of it.

Jonathon Young in Twelfth Night. Credit: David Blue

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You Are Very Star

At H.R. MacMillan Space Centre until June 29, 2013
This eagerly-awaited offering from Electric Company is so far from what I anticipated that the day after opening night I’m still in a state of disbelief.

Michael Rinaldi and Patti Allan in You Are Very Star. Credit: Tim Matheson

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Habeas Corpus

At PAL Studio June 15 (8PM) and June 16 (2PM)
Why would I bother reviewing a three-performance-only, staged reading of a silly play? Because it features such a wonderful collection of professionals all in one show: Adam Henderson, Nicola Lipman, Merrilyn Gann, Mack Gordon, Linda Carson, Russell Roberts, Annabel Kershaw, Anthony F. Ingram, Susan Coodin and Luke Beattie.

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Slowpoke

At the Russian Hall until June 15, 2013
Why did Billy Marchenski go to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone? No, it’s not a question like, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Alison Denham and Billy Marchenski in Slowpoke. Credit: Jonathan Kim

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We Are Three Sisters

At Jericho Arts Centre until June 30, 2013
The Observer theatre critic Claire Brennan wrote on September 17, 2011: “The writer Blake Morrison first described this notion as “bonkers” when Susannah Clapp, this paper’s senior theatre critic, suggested it to him 10 years ago.” This ‘notion’ was to explore the lives of the Brontë sisters through the text of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

Olesia Shewchuk and Victoria Lyons in We Are Three Sisters. Credit: Nancy Caldwell

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Proof

At Vancity Culture Lab (at The Cultch) until June 8, 2013
Proof has one of the best end-of-Act 1 hooks ever written. Playwright David Auburn absolutely guarantees you’ll want to stay for Act 2 with the bombshell his character Catherine (Josette Jorge) drops just before the lights go down.

Josette Jorge in Proof.  Credit: Graham Ockley

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