The best of Vancouver theatre in 2010

By my calculations, my partner (and the occasional stand-in) and I attended a total of  87 theatre productions in 2010 – almost two per week and 37 more than we saw in 2009- once again proving that Vancouver’s theatre scene is thriving. As we look back on the year I wanted to acknowledge the best that 2010 had to offer and to also thank the local theatre companies who have invited us to see their shows.  And, as always, go out and experience live theatre – you will be glad you did!

The best of Vancouver theatre in 2010As in 2009, the task in compiling this list was not easy as there were so many great shows in 2010.  Here is my list of the Ten Best Theatre Productions for 2010:

10Best bloody good show I saw in a long time – Sweeney Todd (Fighting Chance Productions)

Sexy, bizarre, quirky and loaded with two powerhouses, no wonder I wanted to marry Alex McMorran and Cathy Wilmot and have their babies.  Okay, maybe not the baby part.

09Best way to spend nine months – Tiny Replicas (Zee Zee Theatre)

Okay, so it was really more like 90 minutes.  This personal story about a couple gay guys looking to have a baby was both touching and funny.

08Most fun I’ve had with a bedtime story since I was five – The Secret in the Wings (Studio 58)

Dark, fun and wildly inventive, this was a delightful antithesis to the shows traditionally seen during the holiday season (or any other time for that matter).

07Best use of a small theatre space – 12 Angry Men (Hardline Productions)

Take a small indie theatre space, cram as many people as you can into it and then give the performances of your life.  Hardline Productions was a force to be reckoned with in 2010, anchored by this classic piece.

06Best show to make you want to go back to your high school reunion – Prodigals (Twenty Something Theatre)

Tara J Pratt led the way in this wonderful show from local playwright Sean Minogue. With a re-mount coming in 2011, you’ll have no excuse for missing it!

05Best three hours in tent that has nothing to do with the circus – Falstaff (Bard on the Beach)

The first of my Shakespeare picks this year.  With such a solid year for Bard on the Beach it was difficult to choose.  I found myself so addicted to the Kings that I’m still blaming the occasional sweaty palm on withdrawal.

04Best use of white sheets in a theatre production – Hamlet (The Honest Fishmongers Equity Co-op)

The second Shakespeare entry in my best of 2010, Kevin Bennett directs an amazing cast and creates an immersive audience experience that made me forget I was sitting on theatre seats from hell for three hours.

03Best show to blow away your senses   – Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe (Arts Club Theatre Company)

With shades of Tim Burton, Daniel Handler, Edward Gorey and a little Cirque and Seuss thrown in for good measure, this dazzling production almost sent me into convulsions (the good kind).

02Most fun I’ve ever had in a church basement – The Busy World is Hushed (Pacific Theatre)

I swear there is something in the water at Holy Trinity Church (or maybe it is divine intervention) as Pacific Theatre narrowly misses the first place position they held in my list last year.  This story of love and loss was second only to one other show this year.

01The one show that has stayed with me most almost twelve months later – Beyond Eden (Vancouver Playhouse)

Beyond Eden had it all – a great local story, great theatrics, great music and great actors. I was touched to my very core with this astounding production and theatre didn’t get much better than this as my number one pick for 2010.

Of course, there were a few other shows that almost made our list as well:

  1. Glass Menagerie (Glass Productions)
  2. Refuge of Lies (Pacific Theatre)
  3. Racoonery! (Independent)
  4. Glengarry Glen Ross (Arts Club)
  5. Wanderlust (Independent)

If 2010 is any indication of the calibre of theatre that can be produced in Vancouver, 2011 will be another stellar year. I can hardly wait!

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