Hofesh Shechter Company returned to Dance House, Vancouver, last night with Barbarians, a thrilling, gripping piece in three parts. I first saw the company perform in my native UK several years ago and I was equally enthralled by the experience this time. This is a dynamic, expressive performance, brimming with energy.

tHE bAD – Hofesh Shechter Company

Ballet BC turned 30 this year, one year younger than I am. Attending the first performance of their thirtieth year on the last day of mine felt perversely symmetrical. I can only wish that I had grown as sophisticated, thought provoking and heartfelt with age. 

Twenty Eight Thousand Waves / Choreography / Cayetano Soto Dancers / Gilbert Small, Scott Fowler & Alexis Fletcher
The Damage is Done is a multimedia conversation about trauma, blame and liberation. The run of the production, directed by Ken Cameron and featuring Rita Bozo and Gabor Maté, was sold out before curtain on opening night so I hope you already have your tickets!
Video still by Patrick McLaughlin

Kicking off the Firehall's 2015-16 season is Love Bomb, an original premiere production by shameless hussy productions. Directed by Renee Iaci, this performance aims to meet the company's mandate of "telling provocative stories about women to inspire the hand that rocks the cradle to rock the world." It tells the story of a mysterious connection between a young rocker named Justine and her much older, self-proclaimed superfan Jillian. 

I have a lot of sympathy for the first show of the first day, especially since there are only 3 hours of technical rehearsal for fringe artists, but the performers of Spookeasy on September 10th did not make it easy. Starting a show expecting applause will get you off on the wrong foot with me every time. As will breaking character to apologize/complain about your own show multiple times, insulting the audience and hideously missing your light (as in leaning OUT of the spotlight).

Kitimat – Mostly Exposition

I love staged readings, they're pure. Just the words and the actors and the audience. No distractions or fancy staging, no pomp and circumstance. Staged readings really let you see a play bare, stripped of all pretension. 

I wish I'd had a chance to see this show earlier in the festival so I could have told everyone I know to see it, although I looked them up and it looks like they're touring the show, so check out http://ryanmellors.wix.com/newconformity for future dates.

HUMANbeing is a sweet, poetic piece about a celestial being who decides to make the Earth its home.

Enchanting and great for kids, this simple story lacks pretension, weaving fart jokes, whimsy and wonder together into an innocent tapestry.

The opening images were the strongest. Live music in the dark and great use of practical lighting. I would have like to have seen even more of that creative atmosphere throughout the show.