NOW Theatre & Quimera Collective
The School for Scandal of Vancouver By Richard Brinsley Sheridan
and adapted by Matthew Willis

Dates and Venue 28 June - 5 July | CBC Studio 700, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Loosely based on Richard Brinsley Sheridan's Restoration play, The School for Scandal, which was first performed in London at Drury Lane Theatre in 1777, Matthew Willis brings the action to modern-day Vancouver, with cell phones, yoga classes and language that he mixes with English from the original 18th century and today's Vancouver linggo. I chatted with him briefly after the show and I told him l, like most if not the entire jam-packed audience at CBC 700, enjoyed the show.

In an email he sent me earlier, he describes his approach: "My directorial approach for this production is inspired by burlesque and stand-up comedy events frequently seen throughout the city. I believe theatre should be a live event much like a concert where audiences are relaxed, casual, and not worried about bumping elbows with the strangers beside them. Our seating arrangement is one of the most exciting parts of the show--we've set up banquet tables with a bar with action taking place on all sides of the audience. It's an exciting, immersive experience, and I have striven to produce an experience that rediscovers the fun in theatre and hopefully stir up dusty traditions, all within a story specifically about Vancouver society".

His multiple staging approach was effective, as he used the entire studio as acting space, with the actors intermingling with the audience, especially with the use of "asides" common in those days where actors would tell the audience what they thought. It was a well-directed production. Acting talents included Natasha Zacher, Dave Campbell, Steve James, Matthew Beairsto, Nick Rinke, Sachi Lovatt, Luke Johnson, Adam Tatelman, Asher Isbruker, Keenan Johnston, Jenna Newton, Tracy Varju, Tai Grauman and Caitlin Dock-ing, along with a talented production crew featuring Soo Min Park (dramaturge), Jason Deo (Production Manager) Alyssa Kostello (Artistic Director) , Megan Gilron ( Costume Designer), Shelby Bushell ( Set/Props Designer), Ariel John-son ( Lighting Designer) Austin Wang (Graphic Designer)and Danae Millar (Promotions Coordinator).

This production marks the third partnership of director Matthew Willis with Quimera Theatre Collective (The Bald Soprano, which I reviewed last year http://www.reviewvancouver.org/th_bald14.htm, and Tales in Crux).

.© 2015 Ed Farolan