A Musical Review: Cadence Performance Pure Magic Worthy of an Encore

By Deena Kinarthy

Pure Musical Magic are three words I would use to describe the talented and highly entertaining a Capella group Cadence’s performance at St. Aidan’s Church this past Sunday in Victoria. Four men, dressed in classy suits approached the stage with nothing but four microphones, and their voluminous chorus of harmonious voices. As the group members burst out with a harmonious choral intro, we are shortly after introduced by name and by hometown to each group member (all Canadian), and charmed with a bit of audience participation and lighthearted jokes. Right away, Bass singer Kurt Sampson lightheartedly engages the audience, with a bit of call and response and gets audience members waving their arms in the air. Baritone singer David Lane took the lead with the first few songs, demonstrating an incredible quality in his vocals, and swoon-worthy tones. Lucas Marchand (tenor), a local islander, and a crowd favorite, sang lead for Baby I Love Your Way, among other crowd-pleasing tunes, showing incredible range. Ross Lynde (tenor) made an impression with the many instruments his and his fellow singers’ voices produced, among them an epic air saxophone and harmonica. And if you closed your eyes for a moment, and just listened to the group, you could imagine there was a full band onstage, with a half dozen instruments playing together. Using only their vocals, each member mimicked the sounds of violins, trumpets, guitars, saxophones, harmonicas, and more, and they kept a groovy rhythm pulsing underneath with percussion vocals, and beat boxing. But each member of the ensemble complimented and supported each other, and they sounded really amazing together. The group’s live energy and pizazz was infectious. Mixing classic songs from various eras with modern hits throughout the show, my personal favourite moment, was when they jazzed up and choralized Justin Beiber’s Baby, while at the same time imitating the infamous popstar. Sadly, this was their only concert in Victoria this year to-date, but it would be of great benefit to our city to invite them back again soon!

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Our Spring 2016 Health & Wellness Issue is here!

Spring–the season of renewal–this issue dedicates its pages to health and wellness in all aspects of living and loving. How do we turn fitness and health obligations into opportunities for further self-care and appreciation. Within this issue, we endeavor to support your individual wellness journey and the health of our communities at large.

Featuring our Winning the Wellness Lottery Contest with fabulous prizes to be won, a yoga map directory and feature article on Mysore Ashtanga yoga, articles delving deep into the health benefits and history of spices, wine vinegar, natural beauty products, maintaining the health of your vehicle, and much more! Also features various health-themed columns on fitness, money cents, wellness, arts and entertainment, and short stories from our regular contributing writers, just to name a few. Plus, new restaurants in our Favourite Eats section. We hope you enjoy all the rich and wonderful stories about local businesses, and this inspires you to continue on your own health and wellness journey.

Also keep an eye out for the Spring 2016 issue copies of the magazine coming to stores near you soon!

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ROBINSON &CRUSOE: CULTURAL BARRIERS MEET WITH HUMANITY AND HUMOUR

A REVIEW
By Deena Kinarthy

Kaleidoscope Theatre’s latest production, Robinson and Crusoe, is just the kind of show that people of all ages can enjoy.  Set up at the Metro Studio’s black box theatre, it opened last Friday night to an audience full of families with young children and their parents, mixed among young couples, and single adults.  Right away, we see a top of a roof positioned in the middle of the stage floor, and a large projection screen for a backdrop with video of planes crashing.  All the subsequent action takes place onstage in the clearly defined, small surface area.

The first half of the play is largely communicated through non-verbal action and telling facial expressions.  The American soldier (Gary Garneau) is quite adept at the physicality of the role, and communicates effectively through his body language and physical actions in the first half.  When he finally does speak, it is with great delivery.  It is never explicitly stated, but we can infer that the play takes place during WWII, and the two soldiers that find themselves both stranded on the same rooftop are American and Japanese, from opposing sides of the war.  The second solider (John Han), does an amazing job in a non-English speaking role, as he speaks Japanese throughout the play.  Starting off full of rage and aggression as enemies, the two soldiers eventually realize they must work together to survive. While they start out as enemies, in the end they become good friends.  Robinson & Crusoe not only shows us a very interesting cultural exchange between two languages and customs, but they show us hope for humanity. Only the American character speaks English, while they have to deal with the sometimes humorous language barriers.  Surprisingly, the show is full of great humor.  I found several lovely moments such as when they drink a bottle of wine together in order to put a message in the bottle, but get drunk in the process.  Or when they find matching Hawaiian t-shirts and pretend they are on a tropical island.  There are also some touching moments that reveal a bit of humanity, as when in the search for food, they find a small mouse, and neither solider can find it in them to kill the creature.

Transitions between scenes is also expertly designed, as they move from day to night and back to day again.  The lighting by Lighting Designer Ben Burrow, works well with the projection design (Pat Rundell) at making the scenes appear like early dawn, or a starry night sky with shooting stars.  I enjoyed the use of the projection screen as the backdrop of sky.  It helped to create a sense of place onstage.

Overall, this is a quality production, and no matter what the age, it’s a show everyone will enjoy!

What: Robinson & Crusoe
Where: Metro Studio
When: Saturday March 5 2pm, Sunday March 6 2pm
For ticket information: http://www.kaleidoscope.bc.ca

Robinson& Crusoe cheers

AM I A BAD JEW? – Review of Theatre Inconnu’s Bad Jews

By Deena Kinarthy

Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon is a dark comedy that deals with family, loss, and keeping culture in tact that everyone can relate to.  As director Matt McLaren writes, it is a play that “contains truths that cross cultural divides.” Yet the characters still explore specifically what it means to be a Jew in the modern world.

So Theatre Inconnu’s opening night production of the popular off-Broadway play got me thinking: What is a BAD JEW? What is a GOOD JEW?

As a third generation young Jewish woman myself, I could relate to the struggle each of the characters face between practicing the traditions and honoring your roots and living in a modern world.  Including the topic of tattoos on the body, wearing religious symbols, and honoring your loved ones.

Appearing at times to be veiled biting social commentary, this play comes at Judaism from all sides.

Both Daphne and Liam in their own ways are zealots and extremists.  Kat Taddei’s performance as Daphne, the observant cousin is played convincingly and naturally. Her character is at times extreme about her religious and cultural views and vicious towards others at times.   On the opposite side of the coin is Liam (played brilliantly by Simon Basch), an extreme liberal and also vicious in his own humorous way.  However, both characters deserve a degree of sympathy, as they both have valid points of view.  Melody, the outside observer aka Shiksa, seems to have taken on the role of the peacekeeper in this situation, the go-between two opposing sides of an argument. Casey Austin approaches her role with grace and simplicity.

It seems as if Joshua Harmon, the playwright, is having an argument with different sides of himself through the three Jewish characters onstage- Liam is a zealot liberal, Daphne is an extreme observant Jew, and Jona ( Michael Bell) is practically silent throughout and doesn’t want to get involved.

Throughout the play, deeper metaphors of life and death course through the each of the character’s behavior, speech and the action—much of the drama is centered about the chai necklace left behind by their Poppy- a symbol of life in the Jewish faith. This symbol of life is contrasted with the occasion for their meeting and discussing the object—the funeral, or death of their beloved grandfather and Holocaust survivor.

Melody, the “outsider”, is pleasant and sweet, up until the very end of the play, where perhaps she shows a veiled nastiness, when Daphne rips the chai necklace off of Melody’s neck, and Melody screams to take her to the hospital because “it was in his mouth, it could be infected!”  This insensitivity to the memory of their Poppy is surprising, since up until that moment she seemed to be the most reasonable one in the bunch.

However, that is how our loyalties shift during the play.  Sympathies ebb and flow from one character to another. I found myself sympathetic to one, and dismayed at the other, only to have my sympathies switch mid- argument.  Perhaps, the only constant character in the whole group is the taciturn Jona (played stoically by Michael Bell).

Overall, this was an incredibly well-executed production.  One of the few criticisms, if any, is around the staging set-up on the floor. Being set so low on the ground, made it difficult for audiences in the back rows to see the stage and what was happening.  Perhaps by putting a raised platform in the middle of the audience, such as was done for Theatre Inconnu’s last play Spit Delaney’s Island, one might solve the limited sightlines.

That being said, Matt McLaren’s production of Bad Jews is a quality production worthy of bringing all your friends and family to see again and again! For ticket information visit http://www.theatreinconnu.com.

Bad Jews

WHAT? WIN Local Getaways & Local Culinary Prizes – YES! …Here’s how!

3rd ANNUAL”Dine Around the World in 80 Days” Contest

FEBRUARY 5 – APRIL 20 2016
DRAW DATE April 21, 2016

CONTEST INSTRUCTIONS & ONLINE MATERIALS TO PARTICIPATE:

  • To WIN the Glorious Culinary Prizes as listed below and enjoy some exceptional local restaurants, find the February/March 2016 issue and see page 2.
  • TO PARTICIPATE without the print issue: print the draw ballot at any of the following restaurants listed below.

List of Participating Restaurants:
-Borella Italian Kitchen, Cow Cafe West Coast Grill, Dutch Bakery & Cafe, Cottage Bakery & Cafe, Pioneer House Restaurant, Spoons Diner, Cherries Breakfast Bistro, Quesada Burritos & Tacos, Restaurante La Tortilla Mexicana, Cowichan Bay Seafood in The Public Market, Caribbean Village, Willows Galley Fish & Chips, Kuku’s, San Remo, Messob Ethiopian Cuisine, 1550’s, Saffron, Ingredients, Jusu Bar, Township Coffee, Bear’s Den, Dagwoods Cafe, Jackson’s Ice Cream, Phoenix Bar

PRIZES:
1ST PRIZE: 2 night stay in a
standard king room at
Moon Water Lodge
plus a $50 gift certificate to
Malahat Chalet & Bakery,
and culinary gift basket
($400 value)

2ND PRIZE: One week of dinner meals
for 2 from Plump Plate Catering
(groceries not included) ($175 value)

3RD PRIZE: Off the Eaten Track Culinary
Walking Tour for 2 ($100 value)

4TH PRIZE: Cooking class at Olive the
Senses for 2 people ($85 value)

5TH PRIZE: A gourmet culinary basket
($75 value)

6TH PRIZE: Dinner for 2 at Borella
Italian Kitchen ($50 value)

Borella Clam Linguine

THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF “THE VALLEY”

By Deena Kinarthy

Joan MacLeod’s latest play “The Valley”, which opened last week at the Belfry Theatre, is a literary triumph of a deeply human and deeply compassionate, yet realistic portrayal of a young man suffering from a mental illness, and his brush with a Vancouver Police officer.

This is a play not only about the boy Conner’s journey through the highs and lows of mental illness, it is also a play about struggling relationships.  Connor (a role played convincingly by Vancouver-based actor Matt Reznek) and his attitude towards his loving mother, Sharon (played with great sensitivity by Colleen Wheeler) starts to decline along with his interest in university, while he fights depression and what is clearly the early stages of psychosis.  We can sympathize with the cop’s ex-drug addict wife (played by Rebecca Auerbach) as she struggles with being a new mother and fighting old habits, while trying to keep her marriage intact. Even the cop, Dan (played by Luc Roderique), although seemingly brutish at times, is also troubled and personally affected by the things he has to deal with in his job.

Joan MacLeod is able to peer inside each character’s head, and tell their side of the story with authenticity and truth.  There are no winners or losers here, but just people dealing with a difficult situation as best as they can, each in their own way.

MacLeod’s language is topical and familiar- there are many references to recognizable street names or places in Vancouver, and her characters each have distinct voices.

The circular set design by Pam Johnson works seamlessly, using grey platforms interchangeably as podiums and tables.  Painted in the dreary color, the design also adds to the sense of place and mood of the piece- after all it is set in dreary, rainy Vancouver. As well, the grey spotted tones reflect the state of the mind of its main character.

The Valley is a meaningful and important piece of theatre.  A difficult subject at times, but still worth seeing.

Playing until February 28, for ticket info visit http://www.Belfry.bc.ca

The Valley

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