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Upintheair Theatre Society

Dates and Venue 6-10 June 2007 @ Performance Works (1218 Cartwright Street, Granville Island)

Reviewer Ed Farolan


Last weekend, Walking Fish Festival 2007 presented ten one-act plays ranging from absurd comedy to drama to physical theatre, at its fifth annual festival. Productions included creative work from graduates from all the Lower Mainland’s major training programs, and some of Vancouver’s most exciting young professionals. The festival has been an opportunity for audiences to witness ‘theatre evolution’ in action.

I was amazed at the variety of it all. I was at the last day of performances 10 June and able to catch Sets C and B.

Set C started with Alan Girling's Whatever Happened to Tom Dudkowski. This was a good one and I'd like to congratulate the playwright, directors Troy Anthony Young and Laurann Brown for a job well done. Kudos also to actors Jennifer Mallet, Diana Squires, Steve Baumber, and Josh Hallem for their fine acting.

The next play, The Zeigarnik Effect by Paulo Ribeiro was a bit enigmatic. Director Cameron Mackenzie should have focused more on communicating what exactly was this effect. Set C dealt mostly with sci-fi themes, and I was trying to understand what the actors were talking about, and I found nothing in the dialogues that could make me see why character M suddenly collapsed at the end of the play. Actors Tristan Newby and Wendy Podgursky did act well, though.

Following this was Jason Patrick Rothery's Do Clones Ejaculate Electric Sperm? Now, this title didn't quite fit the theme of the play, although the play was quite good. The sci-fi plot revolves around Grace (Andrea Yu) who buys a clone, Hank 2-6 (Dave Dimapilis) from Future Shop for sex and to help around the house. However, Grace falls in love with an alien and decides to dump and recycle Hank. Both actors were energetic and really enjoyed playing their parts which makes for good theatre.

The last piece in this set was Simple Machines by Peter Wilson, most probably inspired by the film Back to the Future starring Michael Fox. I found the play a bit too long for this type of Festival. Director Heather Cant should have cut some scenes.. This sci-fi is about the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell (Desmond Hussey),and Stephen Hawking (Michael Cope) who comes back from the year 2010 to subvert theinvention of the telephone as it would cause a global disaster in the future. Interesting theme, but why put Helen Keller (Melanie Desbiens) in the picture?

Set B was quite innovative, and meant for kids of all ages . I enjoyed File This! (a play without words but with a lot of grunts) created and acted by Dani Bryant, Tara Goerzen, Heather Johnston and Inka Hadzismajlovic. The show was extremely funny and the audience loved it.

Erin Mackiem's Greener was also quite innovative. Director Jeff Gladstone did a great job with this play. Actors Christopher Frary (Cow Guy), Samantha Madely (Gander Girl), and Georgina Beaty (Inch Worm) acted really well. I think this play will do well for children's theatre.

Last but not least was Swamp Lake: a stormy puppet ballet. I believe I saw this group in the last Vancouver Fringe Festival, and hailed it for its creativity. Congratulations again to creators and puppeteers Amy Clausen, Alexander Brendan Ferguson, Tara Goerzen, Julia Lockley, Jaimie Robson and Maggie Winston for a wonderful puppet show.

Finally, kudos to Artistic Producers Daniel Martin and David Mott for making this fifth festival a successful event.

© 2007 Ed Farolan