How am I doing? Scoring this fall’s theatre preview

Sarah Jane Pelzer appears (creepily) as Jane Doe in "Ride the Cyclone", which is coming to the Arts Club's Granville Island Stage January 17 to February 16

Sarah Jane Pelzer ) as Jane Doe in “Ride the Cyclone”

Writing spring and fall theatre previews is always risky business. I mean, I’m asked to recommend productions—in most cases, without having seen them. So how well did I do picking winners in this fall’s theatre preview?

Some of the shows were remounts that I didn’t get to see again. A Beautiful View, Chelsea Hotel, and Hotel Bethlehem all fall into this category. They were splendid when I first saw ’em and I’m confident that they were splendid again.

Let’s look at the rest.

Blind Date – Yep. Got this one right. Probably my favourite show of 2012. It helped that I’d interviewed creator and star Rebecca Northan before I wrote the preview.

Initiation Trilogy – Another winner. Great swaths of this evening are terrific and it’s all terrifically original.

Far Side of the Moon – If I had it to do again, I’d dial back my enthusiasm on this one. In the preview, I said that it might be the best show I’ve ever seen, but a second viewing revealed the narrative weaknesses within the spectacle.

Dickens’ Women – Act 2 was stronger than Act 1 but, overall, I called this correctly.

Winners and Losers – I had big expectations of Marcus Youssef and Jamie Long and they came through big time.

Santaland Diaries – NopeI banked on the talent of director John Murphy, solo actor Ryan Biel and writer David Sedaris—and I still respect their gifts—but Mr. Murphy explained every joke in Santaland Diaries, which wrecked it, at least for me. The show is held over, though. I’m glad somebody is enjoying it.

Ride the Cyclone – We’ll see. I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm when I first saw this macabre musical. Writer Jacob Richmond has reworked it to give it a stronger narrative, which is a great idea—at least in theory. Ride the Cyclone is coming up as part of PuSh—and I’m still pushing this show to everybody I know.

So I was a little off on Far Side of the Moon and I fanned on Santaland Diaries. Overall though, I think I did pretty well. It helped to have all of those remounts in there. :0)

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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