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A Hand of Talons

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Regular followers of our site will know that we are huge fans of Seattle playwright Maggie Lee. Her latest series of plays, including “The Clockwork Professor” and “The Tumbleweed Zephyr,” take place in the steampunk world of New Providence. Last week, we caught her latest, “A Hand of Talons,” and we are happy to report, it is her best one yet.

Although third in the series, “Talons” actually takes place years before the two previous instalments and tells the origin story of a character, Wilhemina Yao, who was alluded to but never actually seen in “The Tumbleweed Zephyr.” Unlike the previous plays, which were rollicking capers involving dimensional hopping and train robbery respectively, “Talons” is a smaller-scale character study that takes place entirely in one room (granted, a room with multiple entrances, both secret and not so secret). This is easily the most focussed and tonally dark of any of the New Providence plays with several characters meeting horrible fates (some of which may include death) but there is still plenty of humour and fun. The cast is uniformly strong top to bottom, but special mention must be given to Stephanie Kim-Bryan as Wilhemina who navigates the most complicated character arc of the series so far with great aplomb and to Jen Ruzumna who provides most of the comic relief as the cynical Bernadette. The direction is tight and the set and costumes instantly conjure up the alternate reality of New Providence, part-western, part-Victorian, yet strangely familiar.

“A Hand of Talons” runs for one more weekend at the Theatre Off Jackson in Seattle’s International District. For showtimes and tickets click here.

 

 

Delinquent Love

First, congratulations to Assaulted Fish’s own Marlene Dong, who just joined the board of one of Vancouver’s best up-and-coming theatre troupes, Delinquent Theatre.

Second, here’s a shameless plug for Delinquent Theatre’s latest production in the upcoming rEvolver Theatre Festival.

NEVER THE LAST

Created by Molly MacKinnon and Christine Quintana
Featuring Nadeem Phillip

Directed by Laura McLean
Choreographed by Kayla Dunbar
Design by Jenn Stewart, Jill White, and Laura Fukumoto
Stage Management by Danielle Bourgon

Produced by Delinquent Theatre (Vancouver, British Columbia) in association with Electric Company Theatre.

From the company that created the Jessie-Award winning Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical…

Berlin 1919: Violin prodigy and composer Sophie Carmen Friedman meets expressionist painter and war veteran Walter Gramatté. She is passionate, rude, and gifted; He is witty, emotional and compassionate. Their love affair spans 10 years, 4 cities, artistic successes and failures, and tragedy.  Nearly 100 years later, the most essential record of their time together lives in her 10 violin compositions. Never The Last fuses classical music performance, movement and text to tell the story of two people in love and the space between them. How do you say what is impossible to say? And what if you run out of time?

The Cultch, 1895 Venables St, Vancouver

Venue: The Historic Theatre

75 Minutes

Showtimes:
Wed May 11: 9.15pm
Fri May 13: 9.15pm
Sat May 14: 3.15pm  – TALKBACK
Sat May 14: 7pm
Sun May 15: 8.30pm

An Important Message from the Totally Wicked, Super-Secret Ninja Party of Canada

Anyone who thinks you should be treated differently because of something you wear on your face is a butthole! (And don’t forget to vote, okay?)

Fringe Reviews, Part 2

The following reviews are the completely subjective (and possibly ill-informed) opinions of the specific writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the other members of Assaulted Fish. Once again, today’s reviewer is Kuan Foo.

tumblr_noxr8tqBfc1uwdr7co1_1280“In space, no one can see you stink-eye…”

Mars – A few years ago, I walked into a show called Giant Invisible Robot not knowing anything about it and experienced one of those fantastic Fringe moments where you immediately want to tell everyone you know to go see the show. Since then I have seen two other shows by Jayson McDonald and been equally blown away by both the easy virtuosity of his performances and his literate, thought-provoking but accessible writing. So I was very curious to see what a Jayson McDonald play would be like without Jayson MacDonald actually in it. Well, the answer is: “pretty darn good!” Like much of McDonald’s other work, what seems at first like a series of high concept comedy sketches (“Temperamentally mismatched Astronauts are trapped together in space” “Chipper father and irritated daughter go on a loooong road trip”), gradually knits together into a coherent narrative of surprising poignancy and power. This, of course, would not work without the deft and truthful performances of Valerie Cotic and Mark Nocent to navigate the tonal twists and turns and to ground this space mission in down-to-earth human emotion. So please, everyone, go and see this show! 4.5/5

Edgar Allan – 11-year-old Edgar Allan (Katie Hartman) is so extravagantly, over-the-top, diabolical that if he could grow a moustache he would likely spend most of his time twirling it. His ambition to be the most outstanding boy at his boarding school appears to be proceeding without a hitch until he runs into his nemesis, also called Edgar Allan (Nick Ryan), a shy classmate who cannot speak above a whisper. (You know how when you have a really flamboyant character and a really deadpan character, how the deadpan character often ends up stealing the show? Well it sort of happens here.) What transpires next is part Gothic horror, part absurdist comedy and part ukulele opera (seriously) that draws from several of the stories of that other famous Edgar Allan. A solid, enjoyable production but not surprisingly will likely appeal most to fans of quirky musicals, Edward Gorey cartoons and, of course, Edgar Allan Poe. 3/5

Nashville Hurricane – One day we may discover that Chase Padgett is a lousy plumber or that he doesn’t know how to convert a 7-10 split. Until that day, we can simply stew in the unfairness that so much talent was placed into one person. I mean, it is apparently not enough that he is a gifted actor with a flair for vocal mimicry, that he can sing like an aging blues man, play guitar like a virtuoso in a variety of styles, and has the comedic timing of … well … a comedian; he also creates fantastic shows that feature all of these aforementioned abilities in their best light. In Nashville Hurricane, as in his previous Fringe hit 6 Guitars, he plays multiple characters: Henry, an introverted, synesthetic guitar prodigy; Henry’s foul-mouthed, irresponsible mother; his charismatic, unscrupulous manager; and a disillusioned, elderly musician who takes Henry under his wing. In lesser hands, some of the characters he inhabits could be caricatures, but Padgett has such an obvious affection for his creations that he never condescends and he manages to find the heart in even the most despicable of them. And did I mention he is a kick-ass guitar player? At some point you just have to surrender to the Nashville Hurricane, let the virtuosity of the performance wash over you and let this force of nature propel you up to your feet in rapturous applause. 5/5