Sex, Spine, and Cipher – what’s happening in Vancouver theatre this month

Noises Off, at the Stanley until Feb. 23, has been called one of the funniest plays of the 20th century.

It’s a good month for fans of puppets, musicals, and plays about female friendship. There’s also an innovative mystery thriller, the ongoing hilarity of Noises Off, and lots more. Scroll down for more on what’s happening in theatre this month in Vancouver.

Ongoing:

PuSh Festival (on until Feb. 9, various venues)—Vancouver’s international performing arts festival. Find out more here or by visiting pushfestival.ca.

Noises Off (until Feb. 23, Stanley, 2750 Granville St.)—A new production of the British farce some have dubbed one of the funniest plays of the 20th century. (Tickets: from $29 at artsclub.com)

New:

Spine (Jan 29-Feb 8, Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Dr.)—A one-woman play by British playwright Clara Brennan, Spine features Kate Besworth (Bard on the Beach). The play charts what the media release calls “ the explosive friendship” between Amy, a wise-cracking teenager, and activist pensioner Glenda, who is “hell-bent on saving Amy from the Tory scrapheap.” (Tickets: $20 at showpass.com)

Kate Besworth stars in the one-woman play Spine. Charlie Gallant photo.

Shrek the Musical (Jan 31-Feb 15, Michael J. Fox Theatre, 5455 Rumble St., Burnaby)—Local production of the musical adaptation of the animated film about a giant green ogre and Princess Fiona. (Tickets: vtixoline.com)

Forget Me Not (Feb. 4-March 20, secret location)—One hundred people, 100 puppets, a secret location. This is the Vancouver premiere of Forget Me Not, the fourteenth production from Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes. ($94 at tickets.thecultch.com and 604-251-1363)

Feb Fest (Feb. 5-8, Pacific Theatre, 1440 W. 12th Ave)—A one-act play festival from local company Stone’s Throw Productions. The three plays include Third and Oak: The Laundromat by Marsha Norman, Nosegate by Chantal Gallant, and Here We Are by Dorothy Parker. The media release describes the plays: “A cagy, retired teacher and a reckless young woman find themselves doing laundry at a laundromat in the middle of the night; Santa’s reindeer are questioned after Rudolph files a harassment complaint; and an awkward young couple head to New York for their honeymoon. (Tickets: $15 at pacifictheatre.org and 604-731-5518)

Ariel Slack stars in Third and Oak. Sarah Prigge photo.

God’s Lake (Feb. 5-8 at the Shadbolt Centre, 6450 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby, and Feb. 18-23 at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver)—An original work of verbatim, documentary theatre, God’s Lake explores how a remote First Nations reserve was impacted by the violent death of a 15-year-old girl in their community. The play uses northern imagery, an original live score by Ziibiwan and Melody McKiver and “heightened physicality.” (Tickets: shadboltcentre.com and tickets.phtheatre.org)

Erica Wilson stars in God’s Lake.

Gruesome Playground Injuries (Feb. 5-15 at the Cultch, 1895 Venables St.)—”Doug and Kayleen find each other again at pivotal moments of injury, over the course of 30 years. But each time they meet with new wounds, they are overwhelmed by the gravity of their relationship, and the societal pressures that threaten their capacity to stay together.”
This production of the 2009 play is third from local company Untold Wants Theatre. (Tickets: thecultch.com)

Straight White Men (Feb 6-15, Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond)—In American writer Jean Young Lee’s play, Ed and his three adult sons have come together to celebrate Christmas. GQ described Straight White Men as “a look into what happens when we view straight white masculinity not as a default, but as a specific condition of these characters’ lives,” while The New York Times called it “undeniably powerful” and a “smart and thorny Broadway anomaly.” (Tickets: from $29 online at tickets.gatewaytheatre.com and 604-270-1812)

Peter Anderson and Kim Villagante feature in Straight White Men. Matt Reznek image.

Cipher (Feb. 6-March 7, Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston St, Granville Island)—This new Canadian mystery “unearths the mystery of the Beacon Hill Body, a fictional, 63-year-old Vancouver Island cold case. The story follows forensic toxicologist Grace Godard (Ellen Close), who thinks her scientific expertise is leading her close to an answer—closer than anyone has come before.” This co-production with Calgary’s Vertigo Theatre was the winner of the 2018 Alberta Playwriting Competition. (Tickets: $29 at artsclub.com or the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644)

Steel Magnolias (Feb 14–March 8 at The Nest, 1398 Cartwright St., Granville Island)—The first work presented by the new artist collective Boone Dog Productions, Steel Magnolias brings together six local female actors in a story of camaraderie and loyalty set in the American South. Based on true events, Steel Magnolias is widely known for the hit film adaptation starring Julia Roberts. (Tickets: $28 at steelmagnoliasvancouver.com)

The cast of Steel Magnolias. Rochelle Elise Photography.

Talking Sex on Sundays (Feb 14—March 8, Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E. Cordova St)—”On the first Sunday of every month, Margot and her lady pals always host a theme party. What happens when Margot decides to kick it up a notch by having a Sex Toy Party?” In this world premiere of a new musical comedy, the characters share fears, reveal dirty secrets, explore new possibilities, and find the power of female friendship. (Tickets: From $25 at firehallartscentre.ca and 604-689-0926)

Beep (Feb. 15-23, Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St. on Granville Island)—This is the BC Premiere of Australia’s Windmill Theatre’s all-ages show, with puppets. The media release describes it as “a story about unexpected friendship, finding where you fit, and learning how to mix things up.” Beep is recommended for ages 2 to 7 “and adults too!” (Tickets: $35-$18 at tickets.carouseltheatre.ca or 604-685-6217)

Sound of the Beast (Feb 19-23 at Progress Lab 1422, 1422 William St.)—Toronto emcee Belladonna the Blest (Dora Award-winning playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard) shares stories of coming up in Toronto’s budding hip-hop scene. (Tickets: visit rumble.org)

BIG Sister (Feb 19-29, Vancity Culture Lab, 1895 Venables St.)—BIG Sister is a one-woman comedy about the relationship between two sisters and what happens when one of them changes. The 2018 Cultchivating the Fringe winner is based on the experience of sister/actor Naomi’s 70-pound weight loss and younger sibling/writer Deborah. (Tickets: $35 at tickets.thecultch.com and 604-251-1363)

Dear Evan Hansen (Feb. 25-March 1, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St.)—The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen is one of the biggest Broadway hits of the decade. Find out more here.

Le NoShow (Feb 26-March 1, Performance Works on Granville Island)—Théâtre la Seizième presents this interactive experience which asks (among other things): “How much are spectators willing to pay for their ticket to Le NoShow Vancouver?” The audience gets to decide. And that’s only the first of many decisions to be made throughout the evening as they receive text messages throughout the NoShow and seven young, Vancouver-based actors engage the audience. (Tickets: from $0 at seizieme.ca and 604.736.2616)

Théâtre la Seizième’s Le NoShow. Gaëtan Nerincx photo.

The House at Pooh Corner (Feb 29-March 29, Waterfront Theatre)—Winnie the Pooh and his friends embark on a string of adventures in this stage adaptation of A.A. Milne’s book. Puppetry, music included. Recommended for ages 3 to 8. (Tickets: $18-35 at tickets.carouseltheatre.ca or 604-685-6217)

Tom Pickett, Advah Soudack, Victor Mariano star in The House on Pooh Corner. Tim Matheson photo.

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