2013 has seen a wonderful mix of comedy, drama, musicals, and small productions around Vancouver. Again this year, I’ve rounded up our 10 favourites to share with you for 2013.

Wheeler, Lipman
[Colleen Wheeler, Nicola Lipman]

1. Boeing-Boeing

A hilarious evening of mishaps with several favourite Vancouver actors, a beautifully designed set by Amir Ofek, and Jonathon Young enjoying the single life juggling three airline stewardesses while Parisian housekeeper Nicola Lipman helps to keep his chaotic lifestyle afloat.

Andrew McNee, Allan Zinyk, Robert Olguin, Jonathon Young
[Andrew McNee, Allan Zinyk, Robert Olguin, Jonathon Young]

2. Twelfth Night

Bard on the Beach transformed its BMO Mainstage into the What You Will Spa for a merry evening of drinking, music, and mischief. Jessie-Award-winning Lighting Designer Gerald King added many layers of colour and atmosphere to marry with Bard’s open-stage concept.

Princeton, Andy Toth, Trekkie Monster, Shannon Chan-Kent, Kate Monster
[Princeton, Andy Toth, Trekkie Monster, Shannon Chan-Kent, Kate Monster]

3. Avenue Q

Avenue Q tells the story – through puppetry – of a recent college grad (Princeton) who arrives in the Big Apple ready to conquer the world. This is not your average puppet show, however. A brilliant collection of songs talk of racism, porn, homosexuality, confronting everyday societal issues and hang-ups. Bring on some crazy puppets and one 70’s child TV star and you’re in for a riotous adventure on the Avenue, one very far removed from Sesame Street’s.

Mik Byskov
[Mik Byskov in Armstrong’s War]

4. Armstrong’s War

Our writer Larry Ghini was particularly pleased with The Arts Club Theatre’s decision to mount Colleen Murphy’s tender, eye-opening piece with a strong, young duo of actors. The single-act play deals with the trauma of war, as told through both a 21-year-old corporal and a 12-year-old wheelchair-bound Pathfinder.

Baba Brinkman; photo by Katherine Kiernan
[Baba Brinkman]

5. The Rap Guide to Evolution

Vancouver audiences were treated to BC-bred, New York-based Baba Brinkman’s 90-minute rap set at The Cultch, dealing with evolution, human nature, a wealth of stats you didn’t even know existed, and male/female bling. Poetic, witty, and on-cue, Baba’s show was expertly paced and featured DJ Jamie Simmonds on turntable. Science rap at its finest.

It's Snowing on Saltspring cast
[Andrew McNee, Beatrice Zeilinger, Joel Wirkkunen]

6. It’s Snowing on Saltspring

The Arts Club returned with It’s Snowing on Saltspring, bringing a funny and warm vibe to the Granville Stage (the show is currently on through December 28). Lots of wacky moments and a festively designed stage (by Ted Roberts) adds to a whimsical, seasonal production that’s sure to please everyone in your party.

Daniel Arnold, Anthony F. Ingram
[Daniel Arnold, Anthony F. Ingram]

7. How to Write a New Book for The Bible

Anthony F. Ingram starts the play by stating one important fact: “The first rule of writing is to write what you know.” This often humourous piece targets both religious and moral issues, allowing Erla Faye Forsyth to shine through as Mother Mary, a role for which she won a 2013 Jessie award.

Cool Beans cast
[Jay Clift, Josh Epstein, Gili Roskies, Katey Hoffman]

8. Cool Beans

Another well-liked piece by our writer Larry Ghini, Solo Collective’s Cool Beans offered comedy, a tight cast, and enough wit to keep the audience on their toes throughout most of the satisfying 84-minute, quality hipster-clad production.

Bree Greig, Selina Martin, J. Cameron-Barnett, Dmitry Chepovetsky
[Bree Greig, Selina Martin, J. Cameron Barnett, Dmitry Chepovetsky]

9. Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata

With Craigslist now topping 20 billion page views a month, it was only a matter of time before local songwriter Veda Hille got her hands on the ads, turning them into song cycles, allowing the cast to embrace some of the off-beat items they’d love to own via the internet. Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata is original, heartfelt, and intimate. The cast members each come to the stage with a unique background, perfect for this quirky production that had its start at the 2009 PuSh Festival.

The Hollow cast
[Megan Couch, Eric Biskupski]

10. The Hollow

This 2013 remount of Metro Theatre’s 1963 Agatha Christie production made for a fine evening of who dunnit. A cozy stage set with the glow of an open hearth and antique furniture added a warmth during the seasonal shift to chilly October nights. The entire cast and crew are volunteers, and worked hard to make this a successful, entertaining classic to watch down at the South West Marine Drive Metro Theatre.

Photo credits for this post:
1, 4, 6 and 9: David Cooper; 2: David Blue; 3 and 8: Emily Cooper; 5: Katherine Kiernan; 7: Damon Calderwood; 10: Tracy-Lynn Chernaske


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