Onstage: a weekend theatre update

City of Angels, MacEwan University. Photo supplied.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Your weekend could include a musical. There’s a couple to choose from, and though both are a challenge (for very different reasons) for the form, they’re at opposite ends of the musical spectrum

•One of the funniest musical comedies in the repertoire is onstage in MacEwan University’s new Triffo Theatre. City of Angels, a 1989 collaboration between a couple of real pros, tunesmith Cy Coleman and that wittiest of writers Larry Gelbart (of M*A*S*H fame), takes us into the storied land of ‘40s Hollywood — jaded screenwriters, hard-boiled film noir private eyes and long-legged dames, terrifying studio bosses, a lot of ulterior motives.

“Three million people in the City of Angels in the last census, easily half of them up to something they don’t want the other half to know.”

The double-optic story is a private-eye thriller framed as a Hollywood story. Our beleaguered hero Stine is labouring to fashion his detective novel as a screenplay for a megalomaniac producer. Meanwhile he’s harried by his ex-wife, the Hollywood machine (where “the envy is so thick you can cut it with a knife lodged in every other back”)— and fictional characters from his work-in-progress, including his Philip Marlowe-esque alter-ego, detective Stone. The jazzy, tuneful 40s-vintage score by expert stylist Coleman includes a great duet for Stine and Stone, You’re Nothing Without Me.

Leigh Rivenbark’s MacEwan production runs through March 31.

Children of God, by Corey Payette, Urban Ink Productions at the Citadel. Photo by David Cooper

• Corey Payette’s Children of God tells the epic tragedy of Canada’s shameful residential school program by focussing on one forcibly-fractured family: a mother and two siblings. In an unusual choice, it pairs this saddest of stories with a pop score. Payette wrote Children of God, composed the music and lyrics, and directed the Urban Ink production — the first Indigenous production ever on the Citadel mainstage, an historic event — running through March 24. Have a look at the 12thnight.ca Children of God review. 

Your last chance this weekend for …

Poison, a much-awarded Dutch drama (by Lot Vekemans) about the long-terra effects of grief, Jim Guedo directs two of Edmonton theatre’s finest actors Nathan Cuckow and Amber Borotsik in this Wild Side production, part of Theatre Network’s Roxy Performance Series. See the 12thnight.ca Poison review. 

Garett Ross and Jenny McKillop in Outside Mullingar, Shadow Theatre. Photo by Marc J Chalifoux.

Outside Mullingar, a charming rom-com compendium of Oy-rishness by Patrick Shanley at Shadow Theatre, directed by John Hudson. Check out the 12thnight.ca Outside Mullingar review

Do This In Memory Of Me/ En mémoire de moi, a collaboration between Northern Light Theatre and L’UniThéâtre and available either in English or français in alternative performances. Attention: God. In 1963 Montreal, 12-year-old Geneviève prays for an exception to the inexplicable rule that girls can’t be altar servers. Watch a Catholic mind free-associating wildly in Cat Walsh’s new dark comedy, premiering in a Trevor Schmidt production at La Cité francophone.  Here’s the 12night. ca review.  

Continuing through April 1 at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre is The Ladies Foursome, an 18-hole bonding comedy set on the links. It’s by Norm Foster, this country’s most-produced playwright. Jim Guedo directs. 12thnight.ca review.   

   

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