One of Vancouver’s best nights-out moves to the Rio Theatre

Paul Anthony

Host Paul Anthony on the new set for Talent Time. Set design by NotAce Martens, photo by Skinny G-Smith.

For six years, one of the most entertaining shows in Vancouver has been Paul Anthony’s Talent Time. An old-fashioned variety show, the monthly event has brought an array of acts, from jugglers to comedians to animal trainers, to the Biltmore Cabaret.

For its seventh season, Talent Time is going to be bigger, better and in a new venue, the Rio Theatre. And host Paul Anthony is promising even more changes with the new location.

For one thing, Anthony is going to have a professionally designed set to play around in. The set has been purposely modelled after the kind you might see in a ’70s talk show, i.e. the Merv Griffin Show (apparently the set was modelled after the faux Merv Griffin set used in an episode of Seinfeld).

There will also be improvements in the video and lighting components, as well as the audience experience. For instance, waitstaff will now be working the aisles and serving drinks (at the old location, the Biltmore, people would have to line up at the back bar to get a beer). Plus, with the theatre set-up, every seat will have an unobstructed view of the onstage action.

And what action! For the Sept. 4 show, which is the first Talent Time in the new location and the season opener, the guests include Double Ropes Caravan, double dutch rope-skipping champs from Japan; Canadian tap dancer Danny Nielson; winners (two years in a row) of the Surrey Festival of Dance, Pat and Dan; and local comedian Emmett Hall.

In true talk-show fashion, the season opener also features a co-host, Ryan Beil, and a house band. Something Talent Time has that the Merv Griffin Show didn’t is an audience-participation pinata.

The seventh-season premiere of Talent Time begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8) at the Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway). Cover charge is $12 ($10 in advance). This is a licensed (19+) show, but the balcony will be open to minors.

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