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L.A. Beat

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.

Another musical  highlight was Dust In The Wind which allowed  Greg Paskuski  and co-musical director Scott Mezei to trade acoustic licks on the guitar while Kyle Gruninger sang. Kathy Zaborsky, the other musical director showed she is just as talented  as she  is a beautiful singer, as she showed on  the grand piano.


It was great to see Jessica Ens return to the New West Stage after four years. She shone in a beautiful version of “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.” Rylan Kunkel sang the bradley cooper parts.It is also a lot of fun to see Ashley Thomson back for another show.

Jessica Ens in New West Theatre’s Hit Parade. Photo by Richard Amery
 Erica Hunt’s voice was overpowering in a lot of her numbers. As usual, she was hilarious in her many comedy bits and combined both in a few numbers like an exceptional and sexy  version of “You Can Leave your hat On,” with Scott Carpenter.

The excitement of live theatre is that anything can happen and usually does and seeing how the cast  copes with it when it does. So when Kyle Gruninger split his pants in a comedy sketch google pants,  both he and Erica Hunt barely managed to to keep it together, but managed to finish the sketch.

The crowd applauded in appreciation anyway.
The second set was solid, beginning with the cast performing “Radar Love” and ending with “Gimmie Good Loving,”
Hit Parade continues at the Yates Centre until Jan. 5.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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