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One Man News & Reviews; Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things Charles Ross

7 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

One Man virtuoso Charles Ross has more than one show up his sleeve. He’s best known for One Man Star Wars, and since its debut back in 2001, garnering attention worldwide, he’s expanded his repertoire to include Lord of the Rings, Batman and now Stranger Things. Of the latter two, they are not as often performed. As demand grows for specific shows, he will tour. Netflix’s season three of Stranger Things is the most anticipated television programme to come sometime in 2019 and this act will certainly develop as the series plot thickens.

His energy has never waned throughout the years I have seen him perform. One Man Star Wars is part of the local May the 4th celebrations at Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria in 2019 and One Man Pride and Prejudice is set to go live (dates TBA). When considering his roots with the Fringe Festival, local or otherwise, where he tests new material, I will be in line to see his take of this Jane Austen classic. It was performed at the last Edinburgh and Winnipeg Fringe Festival. I believe my English Lit profs would want me to attend.

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Supernatural Sounds to Rock Out To for Halloween

29 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Music and All Hallow’s Eve—throughout the years, many bands have offered hits like the Monster Mash or solo acts, featuring Thriller. They are goofy fun. With rock musicals, they go the extra mile and tell a story. I made a list years ago of productions that one can see theatrically, but I got to wondering: what about those albums that do not have a stage show attached to it?

Listeners can listen to one track or hear the entire album to understand each song in a  greater context. This list I offer is certainly worth cranking up the All Hallow’s Eve season, especially for those in the mood for something slightly different from the mainstream. In no particular order:

Iced Earth
Night of the Stormrider (1991)

Heavy Metal dominates this list for good reason. It’s the perfect musical genre to tell recount tales of the occult, especially with the type of sonic melodies heard. It’s not to say other genres or the music of Mozart can not do the same; the composition of how the notes are organized, the way the lyrics are presented and how it works in harmony (or disharmony) says everything.

When the story focuses in on a man feeling betrayed, that is the making for a decent plot. He’s turned his back on Faith, and the elemental forces of hate use him to destroy the world. In the case of Amadeus (the movie deserving honourable mention in this list), Antonio Salieri did everything he could to torment his foe but ended up haunted by his deeds instead.
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Celebrating 200 Years of Frankenstein with Theatre Inconnu

26 Sep

41410648_2348320888527877_1610334705587060736_oTheatre Inconnu
1923 Fernwood Rd
Victoria, BC

Sept 25 – Oct 13

Ticket Prices:
$14 Regular,
$10 Seniors and Students

Many variations of Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein have graced the media over the years. The original tale was published in 1818, and some years after, the first adaptation appeared on stage five years after. Love for this work was immediate, and to know the author saw Richard Brinsley Peake‘s adaptation, Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein (1823) and gave her seal of approval says something.

When this year marks the 200th anniversary, many celebrations are taking place all over the world as Halloween approaches. I am sure she would appreciate the show happening in the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia. Writer/auteur David Elendune‘s version plays up the Gothic and director Ian Case makes the story about Victor Frankenstein far more intense. Together, they have more than twenty years of experience in how to craft tales of terror for a live audience. Both are well-respected names in this town and produced shows for the Victoria Fringe Festival or at Craigdarroch Castle.

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Where forth art thou, Cornelius & Titania? A Fringe Theatre Review

15 Sep

  • Played at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival

If William Shakespeare and Ricky Gervais were to meet, I am sure the play they would create together would be like Pamela Bethel‘s Cornelius & Titania or A Tragedy of the Commons (A Comedy). The bureaucracy found in many an office, middle-management, higher management—whatever the case may be, is handled by Cornelius (Tallas Munro). He’s accepted the fact he will never appear in Hamlet, whenever it is performed. The words he set on paper created real people. That is, they have souls. Existence is fleeting. Without reciting the words from the bard’s own hand, the performer is not channelling the spirit of those characters he created.

When Titania (Christina Patterson) gets replaced by hologram technology, this Faerie Queene is at a loss. I can only imagine how the stage play she is from would look with laser projections and robots taking over. This gentle breeze tries to adjust to “office” life, waiting for the chance to return. Magic no longer works because it’s not in the pages of this show I was watching. Other characters like Hecate get a mention, which leads me to believe the “real world” is set in the future, where computer programs have replaced many human performers. Shades of The Congress can be felt here.

This show offers a few satirical moments, not only with what Shakespeare’s work represents but also with whom controls life. The fax machine is the only interface to the real world. For a moment, I thought the Moirai are at work. They handle the threads of destiny which bind many a person, even those who are fictionalized.

Perhaps I’m reading more into this work than in what Brethel intended. Her characterizations of these titular characters are not without a few moments of pop culture familiarity. From the 70s sitcom, Bewitched, I felt Patterson’s portrayal of Titania had a touch of Samantha Stephens spunky attitude. Munro’s steadfastness has nothing to compare to. His gift for character voices in the play’s start had me wondering if he’ll be auditioning for Jim Henson Company. In all seriousness, this emerging talent is worth following.

In this void where they exist, The Bureau, they simply keep busy with mundane tasks. I’m sure a mythos exists, but that would require a follow-up tale. This one-off is sadly that, and I feel it should at least tour the Pacific Northwest Fringe Theatre circuit. With this experimental project, I can see the potential for it to grow or evolve into a web series. Bethel is an accomplished playwright and most of her shows have played at select festivals around the world. Should this sleeper hit find a following, I’m sure she will fashion a follow-up. My curiousity is peaked.

4 Stars out of 5