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Pretty , Witty and Gay begins with Like Orpheus exploring sexual assault

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Theatre Outré begin Pretty, Witty and Gay with a gripping new  original play, “Like Orpheus” at Club Didi, Feb. 25-March 1.Kevin Jesuino and Brett Dahl perform in Like Orpheus at Club Didi, Feb. 25-March 1. Photo by Richard Amery
Like Orpheus is loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, and is the first play written by Calgary based actor and playwright Brett Dahl.

“It’s a dark play about sexual assault,” summarized Theatre Outré artistic director Jay Whitehead , who directs this play.
 It is about a young man who is sexually assaulted at an underground club and how he survives the trauma.

“ But it’s also hopeful,” Whitehead continued, adding “Like Orpheus,” is the second production of the season as theatre Outré sold out a run of “Sapientia” in the fall.

The myth of Orpheus is about the musician and poet Orpheus who journeyed to the underworld to save his wife Eurydice on the condition that he not look back to see she is following him home.

“Brett has been with Theatre Outré for the five out of the past six seasons, so we’re excited to have him back,” Whitehead said.

“ We want to support  Brett’s work. It’s a really great script. And we hope people will come away with a different view of sexual assault. This play is a really visceral experience about how people grapple with these experiences. So maybe it will be easier to talk about,,” Whitehead said.

Dahl is excited to return to Theatre Outré, having performed in Thought in 3 Parts and Tab and Landon, to name just a couple shows.
“It’s my first play,” he enthused.
“ When I was growing up, I was always inspired by Greek mythology and wanted to write  something inspired by them,” Dahl said.


Where’s Oscar? He’s making you laugh at the Sterndale Bennett with Playgoers of Lethbridge

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Where’s Oscar? Playgoers  of Lethbridge  tells you he can be found at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Feb. 20-23. The local theatre company is excited to be the first play in the newly renovated Sterndale Bennett. They have drawn cast members from Couttes, Taber and Lethbridge for this  hilarious comedy which is sure to make you laugh out loud.

Christian (Josh Williams) and Bernard Mallard ( Rob Berezay) have a difference of opinion as Manuel  ( Howard Pearson) tries to mediate during rehearsals for Playgoers of Lethbridge’s production of Where’s Oscar? at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Feb. 20-23. Photo by Richard Amery
Tom Gillespie’s adaptation of the French farce features misunderstandings, mispronunciations, crazy accents, lots of physical comedy and lots of fun as cosmetics magnate Bernard Mallard (not pronounced like the duck) is about to have a really bad day.

“Bernard Mallard is a cosmetics tycoon and his accountant Christian steals $34,000 from him, which he converts into jewelry. And Mr Mallard discovers his daughter is ‘pregnant’ with his chauffeur’s baby and his maid has quit to marry millionaire DeWitt the Zit. There’s false marriage proposals, a bag of jewels that magically and persistently  change into a  bundle of ladies underwear, and a mysterious woman from his past with a big secret. It’s convoluted, tension building, harried journey to a happy ending for all, summarized Rob Berezay, who is excited to tackle the comedy as both director and in the lead role of Mr. Bernard Mallard for the third time.
“It’s very reminiscent of British farce,” he said.

He both directed and starred in the play in Milk River and in Raymond.

“I love the script. It’s hilarious and I get to lose it every night,” he said.
 Berezay brings back Howard Pearson as the butler Manuel, but most of the rest of the 11 member cast are new to the Playgoers of Lethbridge stage as well as some familiar faces like Jeff Graham as the body builder masseur Phillipe, Elaine Jagielski as Mallard’s wife Isabel Mallard, Jocelyn Steinborn as the mystery woman Charlotte and Richard Amery as Vladimir.

 Newcomers included Josh Williams as the smooth criminal, conniving accountant Christian Martin, Teresa Huszar as Trixie the ambitious maid, Halla Wagner as Mallard’s daughter Colette, Meghan Richter as Bernadette and  Tyler Vanden Dool as the ever elusive chauffeur Oscar.
The play has been been a collaborative production including all the cast.


New West rocks the country in new music comedy review

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It is the last week to catch  New West Theatre’ “surprise ” production of Rocker’s Gone Country. It’s a surprise because they usually save their big music -comedy revues for summer.
 Rocker’s Gone Country is as entertaining as   you’d expect. Also true to the  title the show is all about the rock side of country music, particularly ’90s country.Rylan Kunkel returns to New West in Rockers Gone Country. Photo L.A. beat file photo
The show opens with a group performance of Shania Twain’s “ Rock this Country, and continue strong with  Rylan Kunkel’s  excellent performance of Alan Jackson’s “ Gone Country.”

There aren’t as many group numbers in this show, but there are a lot of numbers featuring one or two cast members backed by a couple of others.

 There is also a lot of comedy, some of it pretty inspired, particularly a bit featuring Devon Brayne talking to Erica Hunt about how much has changed since he’s been away. Hunt explains to him how many bars and clubs have either moved for changed ownership.
It is great to see Brayne back with New West. He returned last year as Johnny Cash in  their production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” Brayne brings his Cash back on a show stealing solo acoustic performance of Cash’s cover of “Hurt.” His bartender steals the show for some of the best comedy bits, and one of the few where the cast go full on hillbilly. The rest of the humour is pretty straight forward with no accents. Though Erica Hunt’s old woman goes before a judge. Hunt and Scott Carpenter’s Lethbridge news break was pretty popular with the crowd, Friday, Feb. 15 as well. One of the more surreal comedy bids is  Coalhurst interpretive dance company featuring Devon Brayne and Rylan Kunkel in black tights miming out titles of popular country songs throughout the night.

The band is solid as well with Scott Mezei on guitar, bassist Greg Paskuski playing more guitar than usual, Bente Hansen covering most of the bass on her keyboards and drummer Theo Lysyk.
 Mezei and Paskuski take centre stage with acoustic guitars  to accompany Erica Hunt and Kathy Zaborsky singing  Fleetwood Mac/The Dixie Chcik’s “Landslide.”

Cast member Kathy Zaborsky appears in the background adding extra keyboards. Kyle Gruninger and Devon Brayne add extra guitar on a couple of numbers as well. Gruninger leads the band  on an excellent rendition of Jon Bon Jovi’s  Blaze of Glory.”


U of L students reimagine Alice in Wonderland

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University of Lethbridge students add a little twenty-first century panache to Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s story Alice In Wonderland, with their new production happening in theDan Perryman is in the U of L production of Alice, Feb. 12-16 at the David Spinks Theatre. photo by Richard Amery David Spinks Theatre, Feb. 12-16.

“It isn’t about plot, it’s about experiencing a dream world,” said director Mia Van Leeuwen.

“Alice: A Devised adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland” is described as “an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's fantastical masterpiece that explores the puzzling journey of Alice through performing objects, movement and mask. The work will be created through a devised theatre process that reconsiders all the main characters with a focus on the surrealistic dimensions of Wonderland. ”
Students created the show based on Lewis Carroll’s original story.

“We didn’t have a script,” said Van Leeuwen, noting the roots of the production come from her immersive theatre class, which began back in September. The 22 member cast have been in active production of the show since January.

“It’s the students’ adaptation of the original story and characters,” she said the show is episodic like the book is so the students play multiple roles throughout the show.

“Some are solo roles, others are four people or  group numbers. Some include the who cast,” she said.
“It’s lots of fun,” she said.

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