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New West’s Hit Parade aptly named

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New West Theatre always provides lots of laughs and good times with their December greatest hits show and their latest Hit Parade is no exception.jessica Ens, Ashley Thomson and Erica Hunt  star in New West’s production of Hit Parade. Photo bY Richard Amery
 As expected, there is lots of “singing and talking” and quite a bit of dancing to some audience favourites from the past years.

 New West veteran Grahame Renyk returned to direct Hit Parade, and his wit was apparent in some of the beloved comedy bits and characters the troupe  brought back.

 Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter’s Scottish film critics made fun of that as they reviewed  some of this year’s movies about music like Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born. Another bit I enjoyed was the cast’s take on the RCMP Musical Ride, with  the cast dressed in red Mountie serge, reenacting some of the moves the musical ride performs on horses.

 “Seven Little Girls,” was a ’50s pop highlight with  all the cast  members dressed as girls in love with Rylan Kunkel’s  “brother, Fred” played by Greg Paskuski.

 Rylan Kunkel was a highlight, performing saxophone with the band for several  numbers, and dressing  as a full flamboyant Elton John at his finest to perform Crocodile Rock on the piano.


WTF variety show features crazy stunts

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 The Dec. 20 WTF variety at the Slice was well named and not badly attended.
 I caught the third set of disturbing wackiness from a  variety of performers including Harley Page, Fatt Matt and Eden Rodriguez, though I missed the Real Green Fairy.

Comedian and contortionist “Fatt” Matt Alaeddine does some impressive contortion at the WTF Variety show at the Slice, Dec. 20. Photo by Richard Amery “Fatt” Matt Alaeddine billed himself as the world’s fattest contortionist.

He shouted jokes as he performed contortion acts from Japan, France, Germany and America and wound up his set by trapping himself in a reinforced hula hoop, contorted himself,  rolled around the stage and possibly dislocated his shoulder to successfully free himself from  it.

 Harley Page returned to seductively move around the stage and into the audience, while pulling a condom through her nose and mouth, then returned to stage to use a staple gun on her bosom and belly.Harley Page staples herself at the WTF Variety show at the Slice, Dec. 20. Photo by Richard Amery

Eden Rodriquez wound up the night by making politically incorrect jokes about Hitler, Jews, his mother and his ex wife.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor

Shakespeare Meets Dickens celebrates a classic Christmas

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Christmas was everywhere on Friday, Dec. 14. So I hit three Christmas bashes beginning with the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society’s annual Shakespeare Meets Dickens fundraiser.

Shelly David and DJ Gellatly enjoying Shakespeare Meets Dickens at Casa, Dec. 14. photo by Richard Amery
 I missed the reader’s theatre version of A Christmas Carol, but was in time for a comedy skit starring  Cole Fettig and DJ Gellatly as well as plenty of beautiful singing from  Stephanie Savage, who sang a sultry version of “Santa Baby.” Stephanie savage singing  at Shakespeare meets Dickens, Dec. 14 at Casa. photo by Richard Amery

Megan Wittig sang more operatic Christmas  songs.

 But most of the laughs came from Monica Baczuk’s version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

New West Theatre breaks out the hits for the holidays in Hit Parade

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New West Theatre is excited to present  their annual  music-revue show  Hit Parade,” at the Yates Theatre, Dec. 19-Jan. 5.Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter perform in New West Theatre’s  production of Hit Parade, Dec. 18- Jan. 5 at the Yates Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
 As expected, the production is a greatest hits collection of some of the audience and cast’s favourite music and comedy from previous year.

 It is also a homecoming and welcome back to some familiar faces like Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt, Kathy Zaborsky, Kyle Gruninger, relatively new newcomers Ashley Thomson and Rylan Kunkel, and other familiar faces who are making a long awaited return to the stage like Jessica Ens.

“Jessica Ens  has been teaching. She was pregnant with her daughter Chloe when she did her last show with New West four years ago. So Chloe was the youngest cast member because she was a fetus at the time,” chuckled Scott Mezei, the new music director for the show, who is  co -music director  with long time cast member and vocal director Kathy Zaborsky. “I’ve been in the last five shows, but I’m still the new guy here, chuckled Rylan Kunkel.
“ And I get to play saxophone in this show again,” Kunkel enthused.

“I’m a musician who acts, so that has been great,” he continued.
“I get to  perform  Elton John’ ‘Crocodile Rock again too. So it’s nice to be able to repeat that again,” he said, adding he is enjoying watching the cast work.
“Erica and Scott are back and they have such powerful voices and  presence,” Kunkel continued.

 Grahame Renyk returns home to Lethbridge  for a break from studying  for his PHD in Ontario to direct this production.
But though there are familiar faces, there are some changes as Mezei is filling the massive shoes of long time music director and drummer Paul Walker who retired this year.
“They are massive shoes to fill,” he said.

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