London Theatre: Once

In 2007 I fell in love with a little Irish film called


starring Glen Hansard as a heartbroken musician-cum-vacuum repairman, who meets a young Czech immigrant, played by Marketa Irglova, and strikes up an intense romance, mostly unspoken and unfulfilled, except for the music they create together (which was written by the two lead actors themselves).  The song "Falling Slowly" won the Oscar for best song, but a number of tunes from the film have been in regular rotation on my playlists for years.  When


 was adapted for the stage, I was skeptical, despite the 8 Tony awards it eventually won.   I'm weary of the trend that turns hit movies into musicals.  The latest: The Bodyguard? (???)

The other night I had a hankering to see a show and I found a cheap ticket to


playing at the Phoenix Theatre, so I swallowed my fears and bought the ticket.  It was a great deal - I paid 19.50 but was upgraded to the 37.50 ticket - and when I got to the theatre was upgraded once again to the Dress Circle - so I ended up paying about 1/3 of the face price of my ticket.  Yay!  I figured I could suck up even a horrible show for that price.

I actually loved it.  When I entered the theatre the entire cast was on stage (which is a pub that doubles as a number of locales) jamming, playing Irish and Czech folk songs (all of the cast play instruments throughout the show - guitars, violins and even a cello), while they were surrounded by some of the audience.  The set had become a working bar.  They played a few numbers, and then as the audience was shown off the set, the music trailed off, until eventually only one actor, the unnamed male lead, credited only as "Guy" (played by David Hunter), was onstage.  He launched into the heartbreaking "Leave" as the lights dimmed, and the actual show began.   The conscious acknowledgement of the audience, and of the deliberate artifice of the performance, made the theatre nerd in me smile, but soon I was engrossed in the characters enough that I forgot it was a performance - and was caught up in the love story all over again.

There are significant differences in the book for


by Enda Walsh, that make it a completely different work than the film.  Supporting characters are fleshed out and given story lines - in particular Billy, the music store owner who lends "Girl" his piano - becomes an outrageous rocker and the comic relief of the show, with an unrequited crush on "Girl," and a hilarious one-night stand with "Girl"'s sexpot roommate, Reza.  We met "Girl"'s mother and Czech roommates, whose immigrant stories give a sense of what modern, post-EU life in Dublin must be like.  The romance between "Guy" and "Girl," ever-so-understated in the film, is definitive here, developed to a point that makes it clear to the audience what each is feeling, even if their circumstances mean they cannot act on the emotions.  

The music is woven into the story in a clever and interesting way - unlike a traditional musical where characters simply burst into song, and we the audience are expected to understand that they aren't necessarily aware they are singing - the characters in Once are all musicians.  They sing because they love the songs, and the music.  It's not a storytelling tool here - it's part of the characters' expression of themselves, something they consciously engage in.   

There are a few parts of the musical that I didn't think quite hit the mark.  The story is always very clear that "Guy" is talented - "Guy" is going to be a big hit - "Guy" needs to go to New York (London in the movie), not just to win back his ex-girlfriend but to be a successful musician.  He needs to be "un-stuck," as "Girl" puts it.  And all of this, is achieved.  The show ends when Guy makes it to New York.  But what about "Girl"?  Her relationship with her estranged husband, her own musical ambitions, her love for "Guy" - nothing is resolved for "Girl."  I found that to be a weakness in this story - "Girl" seemed to exist merely to admire, help and pine after "Guy."  I didn't feel that the imbalance between "Guy" and "Girl"'s story lines was so marked in the film.  In fact, there is a moment in the first jam session in the movie, where Irglova harmonizes with Hansard for the first time, where his eyes light up in recognition of a fellow artist.  It might be too subtle a moment to capture in theatre, but I felt the absence of that artistic kinship in the musical.  Yes, "Guy" is attracted to "Girl" - her sheer force of will and her drive to push him forward seem to be the attraction, though, not a musical connection.

The musicianship of the entire cast made me envious (unless my violin vastly improves, I ain't getting cast in this show).  David Hunter as "Guy" was a talented guitarist and had a fantastic pop voice, bringing his own energy and interpretation to Glen Hansard's songs.  It didn't hurt that he was kind of dreamy and had a great Irish accent.  Jill Winternitz as "Girl" played the piano beautifully (although I must admit I found her Czech accent to be a bit heavy - and she never lost it, even when singing), and brought a humour and spark to the character of "Girl" that was entirely new to the character that Marketa Irglova played in the film.  The rest of the cast doubled as band and chorus, singing and playing on chairs (a la productions I've seen in recent years of

Sweeney Todd, Company

, and

Sunset Boulevard

- this especially seems to be a thing in the West End), and were uniformly strong as singers and actors.  The set design of the "pub" - which through lighting cues became various other settings, including a seaside cliff outside Dublin - was fantastic, with strategic mirrors placed so that even when a character was facing upstage, their reactions could be seen.  I wasn't surprised at all to read in the program that the original workshop of


 had been scene-specific - in a pub - and they've managed to retain that sense of a site-specific piece nicely, even in a conventional theatre setting.  

Even though I knew what would happen, I found myself sobbing my heart out at the finale, and was so glad I had seen what really was a unique piece of theatre, that is still, like the film, about the connections we make that change our lives in an instant.

The only thing missing?  My friend Linda saw the same show on Broadway on the same night - and Glen Hansard made a surprise appearance to celebrate the 1000th performance of


on Broadway.    I think she wins.  

Reaching Out for Yoga Outreach

I was always a bit of a yoga dabbler, until I went on an amazing retreat last October and realized how much I needed daily yoga practice in my life.   I can't speak highly enough of the ways in which regular yoga has contributed to my well being, physically and emotionally.  It's been a busy and stressful year, with amazing highs and devastating lows, and regular yoga has really helped me to even it all out.  

I support an organization called

Yoga Outreach

, with whom I went on another great retreat this past spring.  Yoga Outreach provides free yoga programming to people who might not otherwise have access to yoga - people dealing with homelessness, addiction, mental illness, or incarceration.  YO currently offers 22 weekly free classes across the Lower Mainland that participants describe as their "lifeline."

Starting October 14th, I've committed to practicing yoga daily for 30 days, to raise money for Yoga Outreach's programs.   It's an Asana-thon! So far I've raised $270 in sponsorships - but my goal is $1000.  Please visit my CanadaHelps

donation page

, where you can make a secure donation online.  Depending on the amount of the donation you'll also receive a tax receipt.  

Thanks in advance for your contribution! Namaste!

Good times with yoga friends!

Hopscotch 2012

I've never really been into beer or spirits, and I'm not that much of a drinker, but over the past couple of years or so I've developed a love for scotch and an appreciation (if not love) for craft beers.  So, it was a no-brainer that I'd be attending this year's Hopscotch Festival - a scotch, whisky and beer and spirits extravaganza, which took place this year at the PNE Forum.  Even though it was completely not Dani-diet friendly, there was no way I was missing this.

With your $45 admission ticket to the Grand Tasting Hall, you are given, upon entrance, a large shot glass and 5 tokens.  You are then set loose in an arena of exhibitors offering tastes of their various products.  You can buy more tokens and taste to your heart's content.  After doing two back-to-back hot yoga classes yesterday, I decided I had sweat out enough toxins to merit an evening of semi-debauchery.  I showered then met my friend E. at the PNE Forum, and the Hopscotch madness began. 

We were overwhelmed when we entered the Forum.  First, the place was packed.  This was Hopscotch's first year at this venue, and it was clear they needed a bigger one next year.  Second, the map showed that there were about 70 vendors to be visited, and we had no idea where to begin.  We decided to start with the local brewers and distillers.

Our first stop was Parallel 49 Brewing Company.  They make my favourite Seed Spitter Watermelon Witbier.  The line for their booth was huge.  We ended up talking to the guy in line in front of us, who said he was waiting as his friend was one of the owners and he was sure he'd get a free taste. 

"Oh, we're with you then," I said.

"Of course," he said, immediately playing along, pretending to introduce us to his friend.  "Meet Jessie (me) and Claire (E.)."  We were more than happy to be Jessie and Claire if it meant free beer.  As it happened, we made it into a shorter line at the booth and were happy to fork over one token each for a taste of the Salty Scot, a scotch ale infused with seasalt and caramel.  It was to die for, light and malty.  It smelled great, too.

The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur (and became even blurrier as we made our way amongst the booths), but highlights included:

Kucch Nai, a blended scotch whisky finished in a sherry cask, that we were told is marketed primarily to the Indian market;

Lighthouse Brewing Company's Dark Chocolate Porter, which features fair-trade cacao nibs from Guyana;

Spicebox's Canadian Spiced Whisky - and also their amazingly decadent Pumpkin-Spiced Whisky - imagine an alcholic pumpkin spiced latte - without more alcohol and less latte. 
I saved my favourite, favourite scotch for last - Ardbeg, a 10 year old Islay scotch that inspired my interest in whisky  - I've yet to find anything I like better than this scotch.

We avoided a lot of the "big brands" that were represented at the festival - mostly because they had staffed their tables with good looking girls who didn't know anything about the product they were serving.  Given our fellow festival-goers were about 70% dudes, this was probably a wise decision, but we enjoyed speaking to people who were either connected to or knowledgeable about the making of their product. 

There were plenty of food vendors on hand as well as water stations, to make sure people didn't get too drunk, but there were inevitably quite a few happy people staggering around by the time we left the festival.  Two drunk guys approached me and E. as we were going to hail a cab and asked if we wanted to share a limo back downtown with them.  We looked at each other, shrugged, and then said, "Well, why not?"  In the end though, the bus came before the limo, and we ditched our would-be consorts for public transit. 

It's a good time, Hopscotch.  Taste a little, talk a little - I'll definitely be back next year!

Quick Fringe Round-Up

Well, the Danielles have been seeing as many shows as we can at Fringe this year, but in between seeing shows and doing our own show, CAPS LOCK: The Musical, we haven't had tons of time to blog.  Fail.  But, here are a few words on some of the things we've seen so far:

Chlamydia dell'Arte: A Sex-Ed Burlesque (Performance Works):  a combination of standup confessionals, video interviews, dance interludes, and a fantastically terrifying vagina puppet.    A little bit disjointed, a lot outrageous and ribald.  Not for the faint of heart, but you'll laugh, even if it's just out of shock!

Underbelly (Waterfront):  A one-man, trip-hoppy, stream of consciousness meander through the life of beat poet William S. Burroughs.  "Cameos" by Jack Kerouac and Allan Ginsberg.  An impressive, thought-provoking performance by Jayson McDonald. 

Burnt at the Steak (Performance Works):  One-woman show about an "Italian Texas Rose" who moves to New York to pursue a career on Broadway, but ends up managing a downtown steakhouse.  Carolann Valentino plays herself, her psychic mother, and the entire staff and clientele of the steakhouse.  There are a few standard songs that she's re-written the lyrics to, but  the show doesn't need them - it's a success just based on her hilarious impersonations, and frankly she's a much better actor than singer.  This show has won Best of Fringe at just about every festival this summer, and it's fun.  Nothing too deep, just pure comedy and entertainment.

Romance (CBC Studios):  Queer Arts Society's take on David Mamet's courtroom drama is a hit.  It's offensive to just about every religion, race and sexual demographic you can think of, everyone's angry, and everyone says "Fuck you" alot.  In other words, it's awesome.  Brian Hinson as the Judge high on allergy medication steals the show.

Fishbowl (Performance Works): Mark Shyzer plays four seemingly unrelated characters - a geeky schoolgirl, a depressed teenage boy named Raven, an old man nearing death, and a woman who is having difficulty coming to terms with the upcoming marriage of her gay ex-husband.  Hilarious and poignant.  

Zanna, Don't (CBC Studios):  The latest from Awkward Stage Productions, this musical features an all-youth cast - the oldest has just turned 20.  Imagine a world where gay is the norm, and there is on-going debate about whether "heteros" should be allowed in the military and the school board bans a hetero couple from going to prom.  Zanna, Don't is a witty, fluffy piece of pop musical fun and the youth cast sing and dance their hearts out. 

Riverview High (Firehall):  The buzz about this show started in...oh, JANUARY and audiences are loving it.  A modern take on the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle, with sly references to other comic book characters.  Alex has to decide who to take to prom - will it be sexy Erica Snodge or girl-next-door Cathy?  A fantastically talented cast, great voices, and great choreography by Dawn Ewen.

Well, that's it from us for now.  4 more days of Fringe, lots more to see, plus two more performances of CAPS LOCK, which has been selling out every night, which we're thrilled about.  Friday night's show is sold out, but we have a final show on Saturday afternoon at 2:20 and there are still some tickets available.  Visit the Fringe website to book your tickets.

NT Live: Frankenstein

Note: This blog post contains spoilers.  If you have not read Frankenstein, or intend to see this production and do not wish to know what happens, do not read further.

One of the things I miss most about living in London is the access to wonderful, world-class theatre.  Now, before all of my theatre compatriots in Vancouver get their knickers in a knot, don't get me wrong - I love what we are producing here - but we have to admit we don't have access to the star power or budgets available in a city like London.  Only in London could the National Theatre put on a Danny Boyle-directed version of


and double-cast the show with leads like Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternating the roles of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster each night.  I was pained to have missed this production - not least because I'm not sure how supportive it will look to my future husband, Benedict Cumberbatch if he finds out I


go - and so I was delighted when NT Live made both versions available for broadcast at local cinemas.

Audiences love to compare and contrast actors playing the same role.  Who's your favourite Sherlock Holmes? Who's your favourite Bond?  It's a fun game to play.  It's incredibly rare, however, to get to see two actors play the same parts, with the same cast, in the same production, and then play them

opposite each other.  

Caitlin and I saw


 last week with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Victor.  We had deliberately chosen to see this over the Miller version, as we thought it would be fascinating to see BC, who plays such controlled characters like Sherlock, and Peter in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, play, well, a monster.  

We loved it, although BC's creature went through a painful "birth," finding his legs, literally, in a scene that went on for far too many uncomfortable minutes.  His Creature was never childlike, more like an purely animal being at first, but quickly becoming sharp as a tack, learning the ways of man at monumental speed.  His exploration of himself and his surroundings was mostly internal, cerebral, and BC managed to convey the Creature's astonishing intelligence, confined within the most basic of physical trappings given to him by Frankenstein, his creator, extremely convincingly.  His gradual disenchantment with humanity and descent into cruelty seemed inevitable rather than tragic, like something he expected, while wishing he might have been wrong.  He seemed more of an alien visitor in a hostile world, who grows weary of his surroundings and yearns for home, than a human following the path from innocence to experience.

Benedict Cumberbatch as The Creature.

Jonny Lee Miller's Victor was an intense, mirthless man.  You got a sense that Dr. Frankenstein was a deeply unhappy man, unsatisfied with his existence, way before his "animation" of the Creature made his life a misery.  Miller could barely control his disdain for his own invention.  While you could see moments of grudging admiration for all the Creature learns and accomplishes in his brief existence, the disgust and disdain for his "slave" was palpable.   At no times did Miller's Frankenstein seem unhinged, or the stereotypical "mad scientist" who might shriek "It's alliiiiiiiiiive."

Jonny Lee Miller as Victor, with Naomie Harris as Elizabeth.

Tonight I went back and saw the production in reverse, with Darling Husband as Dr. Frankenstein and Miller as the Creature.  I hadn't intended to see both, but after the first viewing I found I couldn't resist.  I wanted to see the two men play the opposite roles, yes, but I also wanted to see how the other members of the cast's performances changed with the switcher-oo.  Would there be more chemistry between BC and Naomie Harris, for example, than JLM and NH?  Would certain scenes that were funny be un-funny, and vice-versa?  

Miller's Creature was much more of a child being born into the world, rather than some wary interloper.  His Creature stalked about the stage like a toddler learning to walk, and laughed, smiled and drooled with a childlike openness.   In the opening scenes, where the Creature meets Delacey, the kind old blind man that teaches him to speak, and read, Miller seemed full of hope and optimism.  He bowed to Delacey, and to Delacey's children, who reject him, with a courtly elegance and willingness to love and be loved that is touching and endearing.  But in Miller's Creature, as the love is close to the surface, so is the darkness, which makes the Creature's menace all too more chilling.

In the scene where Elizabeth meets and befriends the Creature, who has promised her safety, only to be informed that he "lied," before being raped and murdered by him, you get the sense in Miller's performance that the Creature knows perfectly well that what he is doing is evil.  And that he chooses, and has come to relish, the evil, that the hurt he has suffered in his brief life is so profound that only revenge can soothe the ache.  He cannot rationalize his pain.  In BC's Creature, this same violent scene seems a foregone conclusion - that the Creature is actually amoral and doing only what he knows.  After all, Frankenstein promised him a wife and then took her away; why should not the Creature do the same?  As the Creature himself says, he is expert at "the art of assimilation." These subtle differences in how each actor played this scene, and others, were absolutely fascinating to me.

Miller as the Creature, Cumberbatch as Victor.

I had desperately wanted Darling Husband to excel in the role of the Creature more than in the role of Dr. Frankenstein.  The role of a brilliant scientist just seemed too close to home, already well-worn ground in


  But while he may have excelled as the Creature, he absolutely shone as Victor, the brilliant scientist.  And  Victor was nothing like our dear Mr. Holmes, despite what could be seen as obvious similarities in temperament.  In this Victor we had a man who is consumed by ego and by intellect, so devoted to his work that he cannot destroy it, even after it has destroyed him and those he loves.  He only lights up when discussing his work, or his hopes for science and medicine.  While he is disgusted at the sight of the Creature, he is also all too willing to admire his own handiwork and to gloat at the complexity of what he has wrought, to his own (and his loved ones') peril. 

My future husband (as Victor).

An interesting dimension that Darling Husband brought more to light in his Victor than Miller was Victor's incapacity to love (or perhaps, this was made more apparent thanks to Miller's all-emotion, all-feeling Creature, I don't know).  There is a scene where, in making a companion for the Creature, Victor quizzes the monster on what it feels to love.  The Creature responds eloquently and sincerely that it feels like he can do anything.   Victori neatly replies that he was just "testing" the Creature, but you can see, just in a flicker across BC's face, that he cannot empathize.  He has never felt this love that the Creature has already felt, in an instant, for his new companion.  In the final scenes, Victor confirms this - saying, "I don't know what it is to love."  And it's true.  Of all of the consequences of Victor's experiments, this is the one that is most soul-destroying to him: that the Creature he has brought into existence through electricity and alchemy has more capacity to love than his own, human creator.  

Miller was an exquisite Creature.  He was at turns hilarious (when his Creature learned to speak and read he also learned sarcasm and humour), heartbreaking in his willingness to love his master unconditionally, and always menacing, ready to turn in an instant on those who betrayed him with unbridled rage and violence.  While I loved the first production, I think this combination, with Miller as the Creature and Darling Husband as Victor, was the most rich and resonant, for me at least. 

I was disappointed in how consistent the rest of the cast's performances were - sadly I have nothing to report on how vastly different the supporting roles were played opposite these two very different actors (damn professionals).  

Boyle's whole experiment in alternate casting is just so interesting.  To have the Creator become the Created, and vice-versa - over and over again - it speaks to humanity's endless struggle to relate to its origins, whatever they may be, and to the world we are forced into, and the endless love-hate cycle of existence.  Just brilliant.

You can still check out NT Live's 


at Cineplex.  Click


for more information.  One final note: While I applaud these initiatives for bringing new audiences to theatre, I'd also like to remind all you readers that we have wonderful artists making excellent theatre right here in Vancouver.  So if you buy a ticket for


 please do also buy a ticket to see something right here in your hometown.  We appreciate your support.

In Which I Once Again Find Myself At the Yoga.

Here's the thing about yoga: Shmeh. I get why it's good for me and stuff, but - it just doesn't really get my exercise mojo going, you know? I always start with good intentions, go to a few classes a week, and then months go by before I get back to the studio.

On Monday I went to Westcoast Hot Yoga in Yaletown because lululemon told me so. No, really. I'm training for the SeaWheeze half marathon and my training app told me I had to do hot yoga that night. So off I went to WCHY, mostly because I'd been there before (pre-renos). I booked myself in for a random class and found...




This man, yoga teacher slash singer slash makeup impressario, in black eyeliner and peacock feathers, made me sweat like I had never sweated before, except in a sweat lodge, but then - well, nevermind. I sweated alot. And he played Leonard Cohen before our class. And didn't whisper. And made us sing "Row Row Row Your Boat" as our mantra as opposed to singing some words in Hindi I don't know. And he talked about Lady Gaga. And made us hug each other. And do yoga in a line, like rockettes. And only do one goddamn downward dog, which I totally hate anyway. And he said so many life-affirming things (like "own it before it owns you" - "it" being that feeling/fear/person/habit bringing you down) that I was literally yelling "Amen" along with him as he preached from his self-styled "yoga church." And then, when he belted out "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph at the end of the class, Broadway Styles?! Well, this musical-theatre-nerd-turned-reluctant-yogi found her Yogi Master.

Is $24 pricey for a drop-in? Oh, probably. The studio's nice, your admission gets you a towel, a mat rental, and tea afterwards, but really? You go for the people. And as long as Will's there, I'll be going to WCHY. Even if he makes me do downward dog.

Theatre Pick: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

When Charles Dickens died in 1870, he left behind an unfinished novel,

Edwin Drood.

Clearly, the logical way to do justice to the great writer's final work is to make it a musical. With drag performers. And a choose-your-own-adventure ending. The result is the delightfully whimsical

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

, which

Fighting Chance Productions

is presenting at the Metro Theatre until March 3rd.

One of the things that Fighting Chance (and director Ryan Mooney) does so well is to really create a relationship between the show and the audience. Think back to

Sweeney Todd,

where the company (of which I was a part) was encouraged to make as much creepy eye contact with the audience as possible to increase the feeling of tension and discomfort in the crowd. Or

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum,

where Ryan's banter (as Pseudolus) with the audience was a highlight of every review. Or last summer's


where the Little Sisters of South Surrey were personally selling raffle tickets in the lobby during intermission. Fighting Chance shows are not for quiet, reserved theatre-goers who wish to consume theatre, rather than participate in it.

Edwin Drood

is a perfect vehicle to showcase this unique strength of Fighting Chance: a show-within-a-show, set in a bawdy Victorian music hall, I think in


FCP reaches new heights when it comes to creating an all-encompassing audience experience.

On Opening Night, we were greeted in the Metro lobby by the players, in costume, who ushered us into the theatre. The chorus girls were adorable in bloomers and corsets, yet to climb into their bustles and dresses, and ensemble performer Andrew Wade as the "stage manager" was suitably preoccupied and officious, clutching a clipboard. As we found our seats, we were greeted by other players, who toasted us, shouted up to those of us in the balcony, and generally created a sense of anticipation of what was to come when the Chairman (Jack Rigg) finally brought down his gavel and the show began.

Because this was a show-within-a-show, the performances were all completely, delightfully over the top. The lovely Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud, playing London's "foremost male impersonator Alice Nutting", starring in drag as Drood, bowed and threw kisses to her adoring public and played duelling divas with Jennifer Doan, as her romantic interest Rosa. Alex McMorran as actor Clive Paget, who played the villainous John Jasper within the Drood story, mugged and grimaced and over-acted to the point where the audience was laughing if he merely entered a scene. It was questionable who was more drunk, James Walker's actor Nick Cricker, or his Drood character, Durdles. Jennifer Doan, as ingenue Deirdre Peregrine/heroine Rosa Bud, posed prettily like a good dolly should, all the while singing in her beautifully soaring soprano voice. Judging by the cheers and applause, the audience's particular favourite was Linda Leong Sum as Cockney madam and opium den mistress, Princess Puffer. Chris Lam as aspiring leading man Philip Bax, who makes no bones about his desire to play a more important part than butler Bazzard, was absolutely my favourite - his sense of timing and physical comedy (the raising of one eyebrow had me in hysterics) was impeccable.

Alex McMorran. As Clive Paget. As John Jasper.

Particularly in Act 2,


becomes even more reliant on the audience, as we had to choose the murderer of Drood, who goes missing at the end of Act 1, the secret lovers, and the identity of the detective Datchery, who has mysteriously arrived in Act 2 to investigate Drood's disappearance. Our votes were counted through applause, cheering, hooting, hollering, wheedling - all the kinds of things you would expect in a music hall performance. Apparently there are 411 possible endings to this show - and so repeat attendance at performances in encouraged, as the show will be different each time! As a performer, I can't think of anything more nerve-wracking or exhilarating than not knowing whether I was going to have to perform a certain scene that night!

Jennifer Doan. As Deirdre Peregrine. As Rosa Bud.

The ensemble of


was particularly strong. They did a great job with Dawn Ewen's choreography and belting out the numbers under the direction of Vashti Fairbairn. Jessica Nicklin in particular made us all laugh as an over-eager chorus girl who was ready to sing "Off to the Races" at the drop of a hat. Cathy Wilmot did an amazing job with costumes and the sets by Keita Selina were some of the most professional looking of recent FCP productions.

The Line-Up: Who Will Be The Murderer?

Go and see

Edwin Drood

. Tickets are available at

*Full disclosure - I've performed in two previous FCP productions, Sweeney Todd (October 2010) and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum (October 2011) and volunteer regularly for the company. So you may feel I'm a little biased in saying that I loved this show (which I did). If anything, though, my review should be taken with even more weight, because dammit, I wish I was in this show, was prepared to go and hate it because I wasn't in it, and enjoyed it tremendously in spite of myself!