Arts Club Theatre Company 


Director/Choreographer - Dean Regan

The Stanley Theatre, Granville Street, Vancouver

13 July 2000


By June Heywood

Hotel Porter will be this summer’s hit. It’s light, frothy, and fun. You’re guaranteed to leave the theatre humming one of Cole Porter’s 35 best-loved songs from the show.

Dean Regan is writer/director/choreographer of this World Premier musical review. He has brought together six young and talented players who fit their parts perfectly.

Seventeen-year-old schoolgirl, Jayme Armstrong, plays Millie in her first professional role. She has a stunning voice and a statuesque figure. Her big number is a roof-raiser. Jayme pulls out all the stops in “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”.

Neil Minor as Cole also has his big number in the second half of the program. Accompanied on stage by the other five actors, he gives a hilarious rendition of “Don’t Fence Me In” wearing a brown fuzzy hat that is at least a metre high.

The chemistry between Ashley (Jennifer Lyon) and Dan (Ryan Silverman) as the will-they-won’t-they? lovers works splendidly. Both have pleasing, powerful, expressive voices. Ryan has a long-legged athletic body that he uses energetically to interpret his numbers, especially “You Do Something to Me”.

Jennifer has the show stopper. Imagine a purring, naked body beneath a leopard skin upon a chaise longue carried by two stunned, silent admirers. Languidly, the prone figure assures us that it’s not that she “couldn’t”, it’s not that she “wouldn’t”, it’s just that she’s the “Laziest Gal in Towwwwwn”.

Terra C. MacLeod, as Natasha, and Bryant Olender, as Frederick, are the show-within-the-show lounge performers. They are a study in contrasts. Natasha is all nervous energy. At times, her voice rises to a piercing shrillness. While Frederick, at the piano, plays and sings so smoothly it’s as though he hasn’t a care in the world.

From shocking pink burlesque bustiers to a sparkling blue dress and pastel shaded frocks with kick pleats and wigs to match, Phillip Clarkson has brought the age of musicals to life with his costumes.

Ted Roberts’ set reflects the opulence of a New York hotel in the 30’s. Every area of the stage is in full use. The front desk and the guest bedroom above it are on stage right. A lighted, curving staircase that is well-used in many numbers takes centre stage. The eight-piece band sits in full view, stage left, throughout the performance.

Doug Balfour conducts the band. The accompaniment to most of the numbers is inappropriately loud and drowns out the singers’ voices. Tom Colchough plays his violin so sweetly it speaks. And both the saxophonist/clarinettist and the trumpeter/trombonist play, mean, cool jazz.

This summer, leave your intellect at home. Indulge your senses. For some foot-stomping, song-singing fun, go see Hotel Porter.