Richelle Thoreson as the Faerie Queen. dbphotographics.ca
Edmonton Journal Review, Liz Nichols: Edmonton première of Burning Bluebeard a poignant mix of comedy and horror “this will undoubtedly be the only entertainment of the Yule season that opens with the characters emerging from body bags, all smudgy and charred.” “You won’t have seen anything quite like this mixture of horror, comedy and poignance, with its lively affection for the art of theatre and the magic of theatrical illusions and their diligent perpetrators” “sweet and crazy magic” we’re welcomed to the scorched and shadowy “Eery-Coy Theatre,” “rendered with poetic aptness by designer Scott Peters, whose lighting effects are inspired.” “Sweet and crazy and weird” “a crack production from Edmonton Actors Theatre this swirl of hype and hopefulness, macabre black humour and bona fide tragedy makes for a highly unusual tone.”, Jay Torrence’s post-panto panto gets a crack production from Edmonton Actors Theatre, directed by Dave Horak.
Edmonton Sun Review, Colin Maclean:Burning Bluebeard innovative and energetic 4 1/2 Suns “beauty still slumbers under the ashes”, Dave Horak's gung-ho, give-'er-all, unendingly innovative production is constantly jolted with theatrical energy from a company of much-talented performers: Braydon Dowler- Coltman, Vincent Forcier, Amber Lewis, Richelle Thoreson, John Ullyatt and Stephanie Wolfe. They all have their moments and they all shine. Despite the irreverent wit and rolling laughter that often convulses the audience”, “macabre cabaret is an elaborate bouquet of show business styles and tropes”
VueWeekly Review:“Burning Bluebeard balances delightful impishness with disquieting revelations”, “fuses elements of clowning and vaudeville, movement and dance. captivating and charming, the performers balance delightful impishness with disquieting revelations.”, “The tone veers from irreverence to reverential within the span of a song." "Perhaps most remarkable about this production is its ability to maintain an air of intrigue and mystery despite us all knowing exactly what happened heightened by the fire-ravaged remnants of the Roxy’s old sign in the theatre lobby, or maybe it’s just a testament to the intrigue of the production. Either way, it’s a wonderfully alternative take on the usual Christmastime drama.”
Edmonton actors take on absurdist theatre BY COLIN MACLEAN, EDMONTON SUN "The latest (version of Ubu Roi) is Fatboya 2006 rewrite by American playwright John Clancy. His version is part white-faced commedia dell'arte and part circus - all served up with lashings of cynicism. " There may not be much in the way of gracious beauty in this remount of the Edmonton Actors Theatre earlier hit, but there is considerable art. It's truck is truth but dispatched at a breakneck pace and lathered with slapstick." "This is a cast (under director Dave Horak's knockabout guidance) that gets it, knows where the laughs are and keeps a vehicle that could wear out its welcome fairly fast, bubbling away for an hour and twenty minutes. "Clancy's adaptation is gloriously and baroquely foulmouthed, using profanity as punctuation until the weirdly theatrical use of the familiar words begins to sound almost like poetry." "This is not a place to look for subtlety but it is great fun and fiercely funny."
Fatboy at the Roxy so funny it’s exhausting BY LIZ NICHOLLS, EDMONTON JOURNAL "For a newly vivid and graphic definition of chewing the scenery, repair at once to Fatboy, currently opening the Roxy Performance Series at Theatre Network with nary a half-measure in sight. There you will see a murderous, ranting, megalomaniacal, endlessly vicious, insatiably rapacious despot — “I am Fatboy and I an titular!” — actually eat part of his own chair and tuck into his crown." "Dave Horak’s crack production, returning in enhanced, fully-staged form with the original cast of its 2012 Fringe incarnation, embraces the spirit of relentless offensiveness with a buzz-saw scatalogical zest that will make it fun, in fleeting moments of introspection, to review the list of people you can’t possibly take to the show. Start with die-hard disciples of political correctness or, indeed, moderation of any kind, and include people who say “shoot!” and “my land!” at moments of maximum stress." "Director Horak stages his more-is-more Edmonton Actors Theatre production as a sort of vaudeville of clown grotesques, on a wonky old-fashioned stage (designer: Scott Peters) with a red-velvet curtain that’s seen better days. It’s a veritable human Punch and Judy puppet theatre, with highly amusing costumes (by Melissa Cuerrier) and precisely choreographed violence (by Leah Paterson) to match." "Fatboy may be a raging homicidal maniac, but he has grievances, poor lad; he never quite gets his due, despite the sweet reasonableness of his requests — whether he’s roaring for pancakes, or insisting on better lighting at his trial, or ordering his lackey to “go out and kill everything and then kill yourself when you’re done.” "Thingelstad is riotous as the tigerish, grossly venal Fudgie," “Mathew Hulshof, as the randy gentleman boarder who “kills people for money,” is very funny, too, posing seductively by doorways and whipping off his pants at the earliest convenience". "As the randy prosecutor and Fatboy’s glum slave, Tim Cooper rises to the occasion, too." Fatboy takes an even bigger chance by having an overt denouement, with a kind of nail-pounding overt explanation. What happens when our hero has actually consumed everything in the world? Is Fatboy eternal? What if he walks among us?" "It’s all a bit much; it’s all a bit tiring. And it’s hilarious."
Photo by Lucas Boutilier
VUE WEEKLY - ALISTAIR HENNING "Sarah Ruhl’s nuanced reinvention of this much meditated-upon story is such a treat." "Moving without being sad, Ruhl modernizes the myth not through an overabundance of contemporary references – the play is staged in modern dress but could be set anytime in the post-industrial (or at least, the post- Cole Porter) world – but by opening up the core duo’s personas. Crucially, Ruhl also adds a third dimension for exploring love and loss in the figure of Eurydice’s father. "And in Studio Theatre’s hands, Ruhl’s masterpiece truly shines. Designer Jennifer Goodman’s production is undoubtedly technically complex and certainly aesthetically engaging, but working in concert with Dave Horak’s skilled direction it enhances without overwhelming the ensemble’s resonantly lyrical performances. "Beth Graham carries the title role with a fleet pathos that seems to suit her, and Michael Peng, through both words and gestures, expresses so much of the feeling at the core of the myth’s retelling here. Horak and Goodman’s Eurydice at Studio Theatre is a masterful rendition of what is already shaping up to be a modern classic. If you believe at all in the power of theatre to tackle the most relevant and personal of issues in a compelling yet accessible way – or, for that matter, you are looking for proof – look no farther than this production."