Openers and finales: an exciting weekend to be thankful for theatre

Andrew Chown and Bahareh Yaraghi in Shakespeare in Love, Citadel Theatre. Photo by David Cooper.

By Liz Nicholls,

It’s Thanksgiving, and the perfect moment to consider — in person — the bounty of Edmonton theatre. C’mon, you can’t eat turkey ALL weekend.

In the Citadel’s splendidly entertaining, beautifully staged season-opener, we get to go backstage in a theatre town where rival companies are trolling for new scripts, and a young up-and-comer playwright with a bad case of writer’s block is having a hell of a time making a bunch of conflicting deadlines.

The town in London in the 1590s. The playwright is one William Shakespeare, whose creative fire is ignited when he falls in love, and writes Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare In Love, a fine launch for the artistic directorship of Daryl Cloran, is a play-with-a-play that’s a love letter to theatre itself. The last performances are this weekend, before the Citadel/Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre production leaves town and graces Winnipeg with its jokes and romantic chemistry. And a dog. Give yourself a big, lush, funny treat! (here’s my review of Shakespeare in Love).

Melanie Piatocha and Richard Lee Hsi in Shocker’s Delight! Photo by Mat Busby.

At Teatro La Quindicina, the finale of the company’s summer season at the Varscona (through Octd. 14) is the captivating Shocker’s Delight!, a strange and wonderful ode to friendship, loyalty, and what it means to grow up and launch yourself into the big wide world. Stewart Lemoine’s 1993 comedy is here revived with a terrific young cast — Melanie Piatocha, Ben Stevens an Richard Lee Hsi — who capture unerringly the combination of breezy and anxious that animates this  funny, heartbreaking coming-of-age piece. Have a look at my review of Shocker’s Delight.

Other possibilities:

Cory Christensen, Christine Lesiak, Fortuitous Endings…. Photo of 2015 production by Marc J. Chalifoux.


Toy Guns Dance Theatre, specialists in playful, highly theatrical mergers of dance and theatre, launches a full season of shows with a revival of  Fortuitous Endings: What To Do When You Wake Up Drunk Wrapped In A Barbecue Cover In Your Neighbour’s Backyard. You have to admit, it’s a title that conjures (and redefines relationship angst). 12thnight. ca talked to creator/ choreographer/ director/ company artistic director Jake Hastey. The show runs through Saturday at the Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns.

Soul Sistas, Mayfield Dinner Theatre. Photo by Ed Ellis.

I haven’t seen it yet. But I hear that Tara Jackson and Tiffany Deriveau really rock it as Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner in Soul Sistas at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre (through Oct. 29).

Rapid Fire Walk With Me. Photo by Andrew Paul.

And here’s an idea that will invade the edge of your consciousness, and possibly haunt your dreams. Rapid Fire Theatre launches a series of David Lynch-style improvs Saturday nights in October at Zeidler Hall. Idyllic small town, dark secrets, future that’s really the past…. I talked to Paul Blinov about Rapid Fire Walk With Me.




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