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New West Theatre brings the funny for Blockbuster

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New West Theatre has Blockbuster holiday plans and so should you.

 Laughter is the best present which New West Theatre is happy to give in their latest music/ comedy revue.

 

Devon Brayne in New West’s production of Blockbuster, running until Dec. 31. Photo by Richard Amery

New West Theatre’s annual December production has always made the holidays a happier time.

 

For the most part, “Blockbuster” focusses on songs from popular movies and , as usual, lets the cast  shine individually and as a group. 

Dancing is the theme for the first part of the show. Katie Fellger shone in  a cast rendition of “ Dancing in the Streets.”

 

Jessica Ens shines early on  on an heartfelt interpretation of Lee Ann Womack’s “ I Hope You Dance.” That allowed Madisan Cowan to show off her best ballet moves.

 Ens also shine son “Greased lightning” from “Grease.” 

Devon Brayne stands out all over Blockbuster.

 

He brought back some Johnny Cash memories, performing a medley of Johnny Cash hits ‘Get Rhythm,’ ‘I Walk the Line’ and ‘Ring of Fire,’ from the Million Dollar Quartet which was his last appearance with New West.

He also shines in a variety of comedy bits including his Jack Handey style “Brayne musings,” where he reflects on a variety of his thoughts during Covid.

 

 He returns in the second part of the show as  sports, weather and traffic correspondent during Madisan Cowan and Jessica Ens’ news break, doing a Christopher Walken impression that sounds more like James Stewart than Christopher Walken, reporting from  both sides of the stage.

Another highlight is “ the cast version of Katrina and the Waves’ Walking on Sunshine.”

 It is technically a holiday show, but there isn’t much holiday themed content . 

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Shakespeare Meets Dickens bringing the Christmas spirit to Casa tonight

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The weather outside  is frightful  but inside Casa will be quite delightful with the sixth annual Shakespeare Meets Dickens, happening tonight, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at Casa.

Cole Fetting, Emily Laidlaw and Jesse Thibert rehearse Hamlet for Shakespeare Meet Dickens, Dec. 21 at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

Director  Kate Connolly is excited about the event.

“It}[s always  very enjoyable. It’s a mix of theatre, songs and a Readers Theatre performance of a Christmas Carol, She summarized, adding only 75 tickets have been sold so for for this important fundraiser for the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society.

 

“ In the first half,  we have some communal Christmas songs and  a performance of Charles Dickens’. A Christmas Carol This year we also have four songs from a Muppet Christmas Carol. After a 15 minute  intermission we’ve got some solo songs from some very talented singers including Drew Andreachuk, Stephanie Savage, Chris Peterson and Ashley Thomson,” Connolly said.

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Local actors explore early American theatre in “Cocaine”

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A couple familiar faces reunite for a special Theatre Outré presentation of  Pendleton King’s 1916 play “Cocaine.,” running in Didi’s Playhaus, Dec. 14-17.

Anastasia Siceac and Trevor Loman star in Cocaine at T Didi's Playhaus, Dec. 14-17. Photo by RichardAmery

Trevor Loman and Anastasia Siceac . who started out co-directing the play , aren’t as much trying to spread a message about addiction as they are trying to remind  people that live theatre is still happening. hey hope  the two characters Joe and Nora  will resonate about audiences.

 

“ I discovered the play when I was looking at one act plays,” said Loman, who studied acting at the University of Lethbridge with Siceac and who has acted with her i with groups like the Shakespeare Performance Society.

 

“ Cocaine is by Pendleton King who wrote it in 1916 for  the Provincetown playhouse, which was the first theatre group to focus on just doing American plays rather than European plays,” said Loman, noting he intended to co-direct the play with Siceac, but she decided to just focus on acting.

“ There wasn't[t a lot of directing. It was more free-roaming and following our instincts as actors,” Loman said.

 

“IT’s about two characters Joe and Nora who are both addicted to cocaine in 1916 and who live together in an attic. Joe is a boxer who broke his arm so he can’t work any more.  Nora has just come home saying she hasn't made enough money. They are about to be kicked out  by their landlord because they can’t afford to pay the rent,” he continued.

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New West Theatre excited about “Blockbuster” greatest hits show this month

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New West Theatre has a “Blockbuster” comedy-variety show planned for the holiday season.

 After  a few out of the box experiments in the Fall,  the long standing local theatre company is bringing back some old favourites and a whole lot of humour to the Yates Theatre, Dec. 14-31.

“It’s an uplifting  journey. It’s a fun spirit lifter,” said cast member Scott Carpenter, agreeing  the show , like most of their December shows, is a best of show, featuring fan, cast and director favourites from past shows.

 

“There is lots and lots of comedy, both funny songs and comedy bits,” Carpenter promised.

 

 Though the show is called “Blockbuster,” it isn’t entirely about movies, though there are some  familiar soundtrack songs  including “Old Time Rock n Roll” made famous in the movie ‘Risky Business.’

“We’re performing ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ from ‘Hairspray,” but my favourite is  Erica Hunt singing ‘Goldfinger.’ It’s a comedy bit but she really sings beautifully on it,” Carpenter said.

 They are also performing ‘Rewrite The Stars’ from ‘ The Greatest Showman.”

 

Scott Carpenter welcomes audiences to New West Theatre’s production of Blockbuster, Dec. 14-31. Photo by RichardAmery

 The cast includes a lot of familiar faces who have returned to New West including Devon Brayne, who was last  on the Yates Theatre stage as part of “The Million Dollar Quartet.” 

 

He has been bringing his character of Johnny Cash to life all across the province in the “Million Dollar Quartet.”

 

 Jessica Ens returns and there are a lot of familiar faces from more recent shows including Katie Fellger and Madisan Cowan, who made her New West debut last year.

The show also features the New West Theatre debut of newcomer Ethan Bintu-Watt. 

 

As always they have a top notch band including Kathy Zaborsky, Greg Paskuski, Scott Mezei and Keenan Pezderic. 

 

Carpenter has been performing with New West Theatre for 31 years and is excited to be part of another production.

 

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