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Tomorrow is the last chance to see our very own Matthew Bissett’s charming and idiosyncratic production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Burnaby Lyric Opera. Once again teamed up with David Boothroyd, together he and Bissett have created a rich world, with a minimal set and only piano accompaniment. The strong and beautiful voices of the fantastic cast round out the fullness of performance.

The main set piece is an enlarged scroll, telling the story of Don Giovanni from his servant’s point of view. Incorporating “found” objects such as map fragments, this set piece serves both to offer information to the audience about setting and backstory, but also to engage us more directly with the experiences of the characters.

This production features Willy Miles-Grenzberg as Don Giovanni, supported by Arianna Sovernigo, Michael MacKinnon (who you should remember from last year), Melanie Krueger, Jeremy Griffin, Chloe Hurst Soprano, Jason Cook and Andrzej Jeziorski (both NSLOS alums). Cast bios are available here.

Playing at the Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby, closing night is March 5th and is well worth the $30 (adult) or $25 (student/senior) ticket.

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Norm Foster’s Opening Night, directed by Marc Carter, is a delight to watch. The cast has great energy together, the set is a gorgeously appointed minimalist dream, and the jokes just won’t quit. Running a very lean 2 hours (including the “interval” – see this show, get that joke), nearly every moment will have your sides splitting. You’ll finally manage to calm yourself, and another one-liner will fall from one of the character’s lips with perfect timing, or a moment of sublime physical comedy will catch your eye and you’ll be off again.

It is rare that the audience looks forward to the intermission when seeing a truly great show, but this play is so consistently funny that it is the exception to the rule. When the intermission comes, your face will hurt from smiling and you’ll need those moments to catch your breath before Act 2.

If you’re interested in seeing a keen, thoughtful and kind exploration of relationships that is paired with incisive wit, this is the show for you. With a strong lead performance from Helen Volkow, this play is sure to be both affecting and memorable.

Starring Helen Volkow, Pat McDermott, Tim Vant, Caitlin Clugston, Patrick Maloughney, David Wallace, Kari-Ann Wood and Martin Hallat, this comedey is playing at the Metro Theatre until May 1st.

Tickets can be reserved by calling (604) 266-7091. Regular adult tickets are $18 and student/senior tickets are $15. Metro Theatre is located at 1370 SW Marine Dr.

See Metro’s website for photos and a plot synopsis. [eta 2012/01: metro changed domains and so far old content such as this has not been ported over]

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Memoirs of a Single Gay White Male, written and directed by David Blue, is a comic and poignant exploration of life, love and relationships, told through the perspective of the so-called SGWM.

Employing effective staging and a strong lead in Jamie Foster, this production is able to speak intimately and candidly to the audience. With a casual Scrubs-like dismissal of the fourth-wall, the conceit of a story built almost wholey from flashbacks peopled with the same actors as the present day counterparts isn’t jarring – it comes across as natural and affecting. The skillful teasing out of a character’s inner life and experience within the confines of the stage and without benefit of a musical number is extremely impressive.

The meta-structure also gives rise to many of the particularly dramatic and comedic moments. With the remnants of the fourth-wall at the audiences’ feet, the lead character can demand the entrance onto, and exit from, the stage of another character without endagering the reality of the narrative. The dramatic structure, built around the six aspects the show explores, is shaped by what amounts to a Greek chorus speaking to the audience.

With a beautiful hyper-minimal set that integrates representations of those aspects, strong performances from the entire cast (many of whom are called upon to fill multiple roles) and an incisive but gentle commentary of the changing times and the aging that goes with them, Memoirs of a SGWM is not to be missed.

Starring Jamie Foster, Bryan Kelly, Kathleen Driscoll, Scott McGrath, Bill Houston, Matthew Fedorowicz, Larry Colcy and Tara Webster, Memoirs is a Raving Theatre production playing at Performance Works on Granville Island.

To get tickets call (604) 684-2787, go to or visit Little Sisters Book Store. Runs April 7-10 @ 8pm with a 5pm showing on April 11th.

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Matthew Bissett, director of NSLOS’s currently in rehearsal Ruddigore, has another show that has already gone to stage. Together with musical director David Boothroyd, Bissett has brought to life an updated version of Mozart & Da Ponte’s Cosi fan tutte (Women are like that) for Burnaby Lyric Opera.

The setting for this production has been radically transformed – it is the present, Fiordiligi and Dorabella are sorority sisters, Guglielmo and Ferrando are hockey players hoping to turn professional, Despina is the house-mother for the sorority and Don Alfonso, an old philosopher in the original, is a hockey coach. Incorporating texting and camera phones through the presence of a larger than life cell phone as the main set piece, this production is refreshingly modern.

Even passing familiarity with the original plot (some dude thinks women aren’t faithful, decides to prove it by sending the boyfriends away, and then bringing them back in disguise to seduce the abandoned girlfriends) shows how plainly misogynist and ridiculous it is. This production takes care to highlight the ridiculous aspects, to play the irony of the situations that were earnestly presented in the original, and to make a point beyond illustrating humanity’s intrinsic flaws, reaching for the more resonant message – summed up when Don Alfonso says, “Women are like … us?”

The production features an English translation of the lyrics, and stars Robyn Driedger-Klassen, Megan Morrison, Teresa Connors and Michael MacKinnon.

Playing at the Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby at 2:00 pm on March 3rd, and at 8:00 pm on March 4th & 6th, tickets can be purchased through the Shadbolt’s website.

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November 2013

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