der Wink

At the Russian Hall until August 4, 2013
Critics don’t always agree – and that’s a good thing – but there’s one thing the committee that decides the Critics’ Choice Award for Innovation does agree on: innovation isn’t enough if the piece doesn’t ‘work’.

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The Farnsworth Invention

At Jericho Arts Centre until August 9, 2013
Presented by Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC), this is a brainy play about brainy people and it crackles with nastiness and intrigue.

Michael Smith in The Farnsworth Invention. Credit. J. Chan Photography

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At Performance Works Outdoor Stage until August 10, 2013
I don’t imagine many young women in theatre school dream of playing Hamlet. Lady Macbeth, Hedda Gabler and Martha (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf) would likely be on their list but not the melancholy Dane.

Sofia Bunting Newman in Hamlet. Credit: Kazandra Pangilinan

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Legally Blonde

At Theatre Under the Stars until August 17, 2013
“Omigod You Guys”, this show is fun. That’s the opening song in this hilarious hoot in hot pink directed and choreographed by Valerie Easton.

Cathy Wilmot and Breanne Arrigo in Legally Blonde. Credit: Tim Matheson

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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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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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