by Dean Regan and Sam Lutfiyya
Theatre 2750 Granville St
by Ed Farolan
This music-packed 30s and 40s hit revue returned with a bang on its summer opening night last June 23rd at the Stanley Theatre du Maurier stage. From the earlier version which was reviewed by us last year, two new tunes, Accentuate the Positive and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, were added frrom the original 28 hits which included Opus One, It Don't Mean A Thing, Begin the Beguine, and In the Mood. A new CD has come out, FOREVER SWING, performed by the 13-piece Jessie Award-nominated band led by Gary Guthman, and performed by the original cast members. This CD is available at the theatre during the run.
Three new singer/actors, Curtis Blayne, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, and Sam Strasfeld, have joined the original cast members Elsie Chow, Rebecca Codling, Dave Lawton, Stephen Lilly, Debbie Timuss, Jason Tabachnicov and Katie Virshilas.
This fabulous musical will go places, I'm certain. It's the kind of musical that can be developed further by adding and taking out songs to improve it. I would, for example, add more of the Cole Porter songs because they're more popular than some of the songs that were sung.
From the mise-en-scene angle, I would prefer not to have the staircases there. I had a feeling, as did many, of a cramped stage with the overhwelming 13-piece band at centerstage. I would also perhaps move the band farther upstage to give more room for the dancers to do their acrobatics. I was telling myself, "I hope these dancers won't get hurt with the little space they have!". But, professionals that they are, they managed pretty well using the little space they had to do their act.
I'm certain, with the tourist season here in Vancouver, that Stanley Theatre will be getting full-house audiences throughout Swing's rerun.