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Shakespeare in the Park ’s Romeo and Juliet brings out the humour in tragedy

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Shakespeare in the Park’s performance of Shakespeare’s well known tragedy Romeo and Juliet is a great way to spend a sunny Thursday and Friday evening in Galt Gardens.Romeo ( Garrett Bishoff) discovers Juliet (Emily Klink). Photo by Richard Amery

 While the tragic storRomeo and Tybalt fight. Photo by Richard Ameryy of two star-crossed lovers is very sad, Shakespeare in the park brings out a lot of the humour as well, in part thanks to members of local improv troupe the Drama Nutz.

 Erica Barr almost steals the show as Juliet’s nurse, showing a range of emotions and feeling from knee slapping hilarity to heartfelt tragedy.

 And Brandon Eyck makes an impression as the frenetic Paris who is decreed to marry Juliet by her father played aptly by John Bowers.

 But as expected the star-crossed lovers Romeo played by Garrett Bishoff and enthusiastic newcomer , Chinook High school student Emily Klink who shines as Juliet, are both highlights of the production.


Shakespeare in the Park share stories and songs at Streatside

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Shakespeare in the Park members showed they have many different talents with a special show at Streatside, July 9. They also had  on at the Mocha Cabana the night before, but I couldn’t make it.Monique Prusky sings Fever. Photo by Richard Amery
 But I arrived at Streatside in time to hear DJ Gellatly (who is directing this season’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and Cole Fetting, who plays Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet plus Shakespeare in the Park veteran Tristan Gilmour harmonize beautifully on “ Brush up on Your Shakespeare.”

Chris Peterson sings I Hate Men. Photo by Richard AmeryEmily Klink , who plays Juliet , sang  “Under the Greenwood  tree”  from a few years ago to follow that.

 Megan Wittig, who we recently saw perform in Nunsense, added one of several operatic numbers to the night. She returned to sing “Ave Maria.”
Chris Peterson, who plays Mercutio in this year’s production sang a delightfully nasty version of “ I Hate Men,” which she dedicated to her loving husband. She returned for a beautiful ballad “So in Love.”

The always  wonderful Monique Prusky sang a sultry version of Peggy Lee’s jazzy hit “Fever.”

 And after that Brenton Taylor and Joel Goodfellow performed a long set of operatic numbers inspired by lines from Shakespeare to  wind up the first half of the show.

 Shakespeare In the Park’s production of Romeo And Juliet runs July 21,22,28,29 and Aug 3,4,5,10,11,12 at Galt Gardens at  7 p.m. 

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat EditorCole Fetting, DJ Gellatly and Tristan Gilmour sing Brush Up On Your Shakespeare. Photo by Richard Amery

Auditions this week for Hatrix Theatre’s The Game’s Afoot

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Hatrix Theatre is coming “Holmes For Christmas.”Auditions for The Game's Afoot are this week.
 And even though Christmas is months away, Hatrix is holding auditions this week for their production of Ken Ludwig’s murder mystery/comedy “ The Game’s Afoot: Holmes For the Holidays.”
 Auditions will be 6-8 p.m. in the Save On Foods Community Room, Tuesday, July 19 and Thursday, July 21 from 6-8 p.m.
 The play will take place in the first week of December.

“The play is about  an man named William Gillette, who played  Sherlock Holmes on stage for about 20 years. It takes place in December 1936 in  a mansion in Connecticut,” related director Karolyn Harker.

“ Ken Ludwig, who also wrote Lend Me A Tenor, was a fan of Sherlock Holmes and  and Agatha Christie and plays like  “The Mousetrap,” “Witness for the Prosecution” and “Deathtrap,” so there are references to all of those,” she continued.


Drama Nutz finish in style

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As sad as it is to see them go, local improv troupe the Drama Nutz went out in style with  their last show, June 10 at Club Didi.Erica Barr and David Gabert perform with the Drama Nutz. Photo by Richard Amery

A full house laughed with some of their favourite performers from over the Nutz’s 10 year run as they performed a variety of improv games, some of which were familiar to fans of popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway, but with the Nutz’s own twist.
Long time performer Greg Wilson rushed down from Calgary to be part of the Drama Nutz’s last show as soon as he found out  ShakespearThe Drama Nutz play Slideshow at Club Didi. Photo by Richard Amerye at the Bow’s production of Hamlet (for which he is playing playing Polonius) was rained out. He received a standing ovation as he rushed in, breathless just in time for the show to add extra guitar and a lot of laughter. He shone in the game press conference where the cast asked him questions and he had to determine who he was and what he was announcing (Martha Stewart going back to prison).

 The evening was set up chronologically with some of the troupe’s original members including Jonny Kirsch, Jon MacBurnie, Marty Blank and Hannah Rud plus founder David Gabert reuniting to play some much beloved games.
I caught the last song of the opening set of acoustic folk from guitarist Nick Bohle, who would return to add the soundtrack to some of the musical themed games on keyboards while Wilson added extra guitar.

After a prerecorded intro featuring the big voice of Jon Kirsch, the games began as Gabert related some of the troupe’s history beginning with the gunfights at Fort Whoop-Up, which was interrupted by the pre-record telling Gabert that people were there to hear improv, not Gabert talking.

 Back in the day you could always count on Kirsch to go to the bad place during the games, though that is part of the fun, but Gabert stopped him before his jokes could get too blue especially during one of my favourites “Good, Bad and Ugly,” featuring  Rud, Blank and Kirsch offering good band and downright ugly advice to a variety of audience questions.
 Mark Ogle was a highlight never fearing to get a little racy. As usual “Party Quirks,” was a hoot with Marty Blank as the host trying to guess who was Donald Trump (Jon MacBurnie), Snow White (Hannah Rud) and a guy who had just been circumcised (Jonny Kirsch).The Drama Nutz, past and present. Photo by Richard Amery

 It was amazing to see not only how much they had changed, but how many of them had gone on to bigger and better things.
The next generation featured Erica Barr, Jeff Newman, Greg Wilson, Mark Ogle and Hannah Rud.
 Slideshow was a highlight  of that set featuring Mark Ogle showing slides of his “vacation in a gay club in Raymond” for which he described the poses of  a variety of cast members.

 Erica Barr was a highlight in  a game called “Sounds Like a Song” where Barr and Ogle had to perform  a monologue hosted by Gabert who who choose one of their phrases to make a song out for which Greg Wilson and Nick Bohle would play the music
Hannah Rud and Mark Ogle also played another highlight— “Alphabet,” where they had to tell a story a sentence at a time in order of the alphabet beginning with the letter “Q.”

 They ended the first set with “Irish Drinking Song.”
 The second set mostly featured current members Erinn Watson, Emily Schoen, Allie Price  and Brandon Eyck, supplemented by the talents of the older members.

 They began with pressHannah Rud , John MacBurnie and Marty Blank. Photo by Richard Amery conference,  getting Wilson to guess, using the reporter’s questions, that he was Martha steward announcing she was going back to prison.

Erica Barr and David Gabert had a lot of fun  with a game called “Oscar Moment.”
Camille Pavlenko and the always frenetic Brandon Eyck were highlight throughout.
 A highlight near the end of the show was “Film Noir,” featuring Jonny Kirsch as a private eye trying to decide the identify the perpetrator of a crime.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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