The best of Vancouver theatre in 2013

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Just shy of last year’s record-breaking number of shows seen and reviewed, my list of the best shows of 2013 is another eclectic mix.

The best of Vancouver theatre in 2013.As always I remain grateful to the theatre companies who invite me to see their shows and I once again encourage everyone to make a new year’s resolution to experience some live theatre in 2014.

#10- “Glee-fully” blurring the lines – Speech & Debate (Twenty Something Theatre)

While at times laugh-out-loud funny, it was Claire Hesselgrave’s performance as the quirky Diwata that made this show so memorable.

#9 – All hail the Fringe ensemble – 5 Lesbians Eating Quiche (Black Rook Theatre)

Not the first time a Vancouver Fringe production has made my list over the years, but it is the first time it hasn’t been a one-person show.  It totally got overlooked as one of the best of the Fringe.

#8 – Buckle up for this hilarious ride – Boeing-Boeing (Arts Club Theatre Company)

Never mind the new Dreamliner, the trio of McNee, Wheeler and Lipman were the new Dreamteam in an absolutely hilarious production that rarely flew below 30,000 feet.

#7 – Just what the doctor ordered – Hotel Bethlehem (Ruby Slipper Theatre) 

It’s no wonder this one is now into its third year.  Irreverent, funny and not a trace of sugary sweetness found in the shows normally found during the Christmas season.

6 – A cacophony worth experiencing – Balm in Gilead (Studio 58)

What makes Langara’s Studio 58 standout as one of the best theatre training grounds in the country is its willingness to take risks.  Gritty, provocative and real, this one pushed both actor and audience.

#5 – The summer of women – Elizabeth Rex (Bard on the Beach)

Ironically this was not one of the Bard’s plays, but Colleen Wheeler’s gripping performance as the Queen made it impossible to ignore.

#4 – The internet really is for porn – Avenue Q (Arts Club Theatre Company)

The summer’s must-see show, the puppet sex was worth the admission alone.  I will not be surprised if Bill Millerd re-mounts the show in the coming years.

#3 – Up the creek without a paddle – Kayak (Alley Theatre)

It is a testament to Susan Hogan’s abilities as an actor, Rachel Peake’s abilities as a director and Jordan Hall’s script that a woman sitting in a kayak for an hour and half could be so damn compelling.

#2 – I want my MTV – Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Ghost Light Projects)

Ryan Alexander McDonald slipped so easily into this iconic role that it simply transports you. The gut-wrenching image he left at the end is still etched in my memory.

#1 – Tending rabbits has never been so transcendent – Of Mice and Men (Hardline Productions)

The only show this year that I paid to see a second time.  This is the reason I go to the theatre.

And then there were 15… here are a five more shows in 2013 that also deserve mention:

  1. Stationary: a recession-era musical (Delinquent Theatre) – this one deserved its promotion
  2. The Troll & Three Lesbians Gruff (Leaping Thespians) – quintessential Fringe show was hard to resist
  3. Cool Beans (Solo Collective Theatre) – Anton Lipovetsky remains one to watch
  4. Rocky Horror Show (Fighting Chance Productions) – it wasn’t perfect but it sure was fun
  5. Grimm Girls (Concrete Vertigo) – once upon a time in Sexyland

Mark Robins on Google+

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