Productions in association with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre
Dates and Venue 16 - 25 August 2013. 8pm (2pm matinees on Saturdays & Sundays) | Studio 1398, Granville Island
Director Rick Tae Musical Director Yawen Wang Costume Design Jeannine Sheares Choreography Lisa Goebel Props & Set Design Jan Floor Lighting Design Darren Hales Stage Manager Anthony Liam Kearns
Reviewer John Jane
Joan Micklin Silver and Julianne Boyd’s charming musical revue is about women, by women, for women – as well as just about anyone else who enjoys seeing what women do well. Like handling the personal traumas of failed relationships, career frustrations and family deaths with grace and generosity and everyday activities such as a girl’s night out or learning to dance with zest and zeal.
Director Rick Tae brings five talented gals in Michelle T. Bayton, Rebecca Friesen, Danielle Lemon, Rosie Simon and Hannah Unterschultz to play a myriad of roles and wisely allows them to perform with complete interpretative freedom. It’s perhaps unfair to single out one performer from an ensemble cast, but Capilano University graduate Rosie Simon, who arguably has the best voice in the group, takes advantage of the revue format to showcase her boundless talents.
The show offers up around twenty vignettes, most of which served with songs that range from poignant to puerile. For the most part, the intimate songs work much better than the novelty songs. Hannah Unterschultz left the audience with a collective lump in the throat with her moving solo rendition of “The Portrait” about a mother who is no longer around to guide her daughter through life’s many adversities.
Less emotional, but more fun is Rosie Simon delightfully camp as a German fräulein attempting to be a French torch singer (Rosie is Asian). “The French song” plays around with aimlessly throwing together random French phrases – undoubtedly more amusing to non-Francophones.
Some scenes rely only on clever dialogue to be simultaneously relevant and amusing. In the Hot Lunch skit, Rebecca Friesen manages to turn the tables on a salacious construction worker after (he) makes a lewd remark about her "gazumbas.” A couple of scenes later, Ms Friesen once again has the mostly female audience in hysterics with a bluesy rendition of "Honeypot" where she uses obtuse euphemisms to express her sexual desires.
Not all the scenes work so well. "Emily the MBA" is a bizarre parody of “Leader of the Pack.” The song’s lyrics relate to Emily’s rise up the corporate ladder, but like the Shangri-Las original, it all ends badly.
Yawen Wang deserves special mention for her inspiring musical direction and stellar accompaniment on the Roland keyboard. Lisa Goebel’s simple, yet slick choreography makes the most of a small stage.
If you want to see a show packed with so much musical and comedic talent on the same stage, go see A ... My Name Is Alice at Granville Island’s Studio 1398.
© 2013 John Jane