Bree Greig, Veda Hille, J. Cameron-Barnett, Selina Martin, Barry Mirochnick, Dmitry Chepovetsky

As you enter the Arts Club’s Revue Stage, you’ll arrive to find a brick wall set, with lamps of every size and shape suspended from the ceiling. The golden hues of the lamps on stage produces an effect similar to that of a nightclub. There’s a drum kit to one side, a piano on the other.

This sets the scene for an 80-minute musical romp through a series of songs and spoken word culled from Craigslist ads. Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata is back by popular demand from its humble 2009 PuSh Festival beginnings. A collaboration of singer/composer Veda Hille and writer/broadcaster Bill Richardson, this piece is an ode to both Vancouverites and everyday objects.

300 Stuffed Penguins,” “Chilli Eating Buddy,” “Decapitated Dolls,” and “Metal Head Looking for a Metal House” are only a few of the hilarious tunes brought to life by four strong talents: J. Cameron Barnett, Josh Epstein, Selina Martin, Bree Greig, plus musical accompaniments by Barry Mirochnick and Marguerite Witvoet.

They’re all tightly integrated into the musical and all give strong performances. In fact, they look like they’re having a blast up on stage. Josh Epstein is the new player on the team; the only production photos available at the time of this writing include last year’s cast with Dmitry Chepovetsky.

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

Think about it: Craigslist exists in 70 countries and has over 20 billion page views with 50 million new ads posted each month. This is prime fodder for song creation! If you’ve not yet seen or heard Veda Hille’s song cycles, this is a perfect opportunity for induction. Her songs are remarkably original, heartfelt, and intimate.

We tried to find a negative aspect of the production, but the only thing we could agree upon was that some of the words are hard to decipher in the songs; several are fast-paced and unfortunately, a few were lost on us. In the end though, we left with smiles on our faces. This is a treat of a show, one that I hope will be back for many more renditions. After all, 50 million new ads per month, right Veda and Bill?

Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata is directed by Amiel Gladstone and continues through May 18 at the Arts Club Theatre’s Revue Stage.

All photos by David Cooper.

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