Drama, theatre, film

#778 On the road with Sir Kenneth

MEMOIR: On the road with Sir Kenneth by Grahame Ware * Recently we published Grahame Ware’s review of Horn Swoggled: A Play by Armstrong playwright Ken Smedley: see The Ormsby Review no. 762 (March 5, 2020). In a follow-up email, Grahame described his intense and productive artistic friendship with Smedley in the mid-1990s, when the…
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#762 Bard Smedley of Armstrong

Horn Swoggled: A Play by Ken Smedley Vernon: Rich Fog Micro Publishing, 2019 $25.00 / 9781988707211 This book is available via Canada Post from Ken Smedley, PO Box 323, Armstrong, BC, V0E 1B0 for $25, which includes postage and handling Reviewed by Grahame Ware * First, a word or two about the playwright. Born in…
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#706 Hitting life’s reset button

Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson with Kristine Gasbarre San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2019; Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2019 $24.99 (Canada); $27.95 (U.S.)  / 9781797202396 Reviewed by Nathaniel G. Moore * When I was in my undergrad, I took a course on new religious…
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#673 Catalyst of creative fantasy

Susan Benson: Art, Design and Craft on Stage by Patricia Flood Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2019 $35.00 / 9780228101772 Reviewed by Celia Duthie * Susan Benson has had a charmed career. For over forty years, as a theatre designer and costumer for stage productions in England and North America, she has been a mistress…
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#670 Novelty at Langham Court

The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected by Edwin Wong Victoria: FriesenPress Publishers, 2019 $19.79 / 9781525537561 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * The most interesting observation in this book on tragedy by local author Edwin Wong concerns Hamlet. Hamlet’s problem, says Wong, is that he is obsessed with certainty and can’t…
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#659 Move over Bridget Jones

A One-Handed Novel by Kim Clark Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin, 2018 $24.00 / 9781987915624 Reviewed by Margot Fedoruk * What is the difference between desirability and disability? Author Kim Clark explores these ideas and more in her fast-paced and farcical work of fiction, A One-Handed Novel. The book’s main character, Melanie Farrell, is a forty-something, face-planting,…
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#618 The deeper language of women

Women’s Writing in Canada by Patricia Demers Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019 $34.95 / 9780802095015 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * They used to throw women artists in mental institutions, our radical behaviour disruptive to the norm. Across the street from my house, there is a half way home for mentally challenged adults, the victims…
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#610 Secwépemc playwright honoured

Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel (author) and Michelle Coupal, Deanna Reder, Joanne Arnott, Emalene A. Manuel (editors) Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2019 $24.95 / 9780887558368 Reviewed by Diana French * Vera Manuel (1949-2010), actor, playwright, poet, drama therapist, and healer has been honoured with an anthology of…
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#490 Applauding a forgotten play

The God of Gods: A Canadian Play by Carroll Aikins, edited and with an introduction by Kailin Wright University of Ottawa Press, 2016 $29.95 / 9780776623276 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published Feb. 19, 2019 * Although a remarkable piece of British Columbia’s theatre history played out not far from where I write and was…
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#444 Carpenters and vagabonds

A Carpenter’s Tale: Ian Ridgway, A Life by Ian Ridgway with Jim Brown and Pat Ridgway Elphinstone: Gypsy Deluxe Books, 2017 $30.00  /  9781775008309 Orders: patridg201@gmail.com * Mudflat Dreaming: Waterfront Battles in 1970s Vancouver and the Squatters who Fought Them by Jean Walton Vancouver: New Star Books, 2018 $24.00 / 9781554201495 Both books reviewed by…
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#408 Grizzly twins & latter-day saints

Gracie by Joan MacLeod Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $16.95 / 9781772012026 * Thanks for Giving by Kevin Loring Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $19.95 / 9781772012187 Both books reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published October 26, 2018 * Editor’s note: Ginny Ratsoy reviews the latest work of two of B.C.’s top playwrights, Joan MacLeod (born 1954) and Kevin…
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#344 Three curative plays of B.C.

First published Aug. 15, 2018. The Cure for Death by Lightning: A Play Adapted from the Novel by Gail Anderson-Dargatz by Daryl Cloran Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $18.95  /  9781772012057 * Talker’s Town and The Girl who Swam Forever: Two Plays by Nelson Gray and Marie Clements Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $18.95  /  9781772012019 Reviewed by Ginny…
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#310 The Third Solitude

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2018 $21.95  /  9781771621908 Reviewed by Eldon Yellowhorn First published May 28, 2018 * First published by Douglas & McIntyre in 2012, this special edition of Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse has been released to coincide with the appearance of the motion picture Indian Horse…
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#277 The new turf of Indigenous Lit

From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980-2010 by Tomson Highway Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2017 $29.95  /  9781772011166 Reviewed by Deanna Reder First published March 30, 2018 * Eminent Cree author Tomson Highway’s From Oral to Written, released by Talonbooks in 2017, is beautifully flawed, inspiring the reader with tremendous lists of…
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#174 Lights, camera, action, debate

Tar Wars: Oil, Environment and Alberta’s Image by Geo Takach Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press, 2017 $34.95  /  9781772121407 Reviewed by Nichole Dusyk First published Sept. 29, 2017 * In the first pages of Tar Wars, Geo Takach of Royal Roads University repudiates his own title and coins the term “bit-sands” to refer to the…
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#157 From stage to page

First published Aug. 16, 2017 REVIEW: All the World’s a Stage: The Story of Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach By Jayne Seagrave Victoria: Heritage House, 2017. $29.95  /  9781772031768 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * In All the World’s a Stage, Jayne Seagrave has provided a history of Bard on the Beach, Vancouver’s well-known outdoor Shakespeare…
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#148 Pacific Theatre almost homeless

ESSAY: Theatre in Vancouver Today: A Paradox by Carol Volkart First published July 8, 2017 * Everything about the Pacific Theatre is modest — from the low-ceilinged lobby with its island of couches around a coffee table, to its urns of self-serve coffee (regular or decaf), to its 128-seat alley-style theatre where a spectator who…
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#45 The bootlegger and the maid

The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello by Adriana A. Davies Fernie: Oolichan Books, 2016 $19.95 / 9780889823181 Reviewed by Lynne Bowen First published Nov. 16, 2016 * When authorities charged Emilio Picariello and Filumena Lassandro with the murder of Alberta Provincial Police Constable Stephen Lawson on 21 September 1922 in the Crowsnest Pass town…
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#35 Canada’s forgotten superstar

Aloha Wanderwell: The Border-Smashing, Record-Setting Life of the World’s Youngest Explorer Fredericton, New Brunswick: Goose Lane Editions, 2016 by Christian Fink-Jensen and Randolph Eustace-Walden $24.95  /  9780864928955 Reviewed by Bonnie Reilly Schmidt First published October 31, 2016 * Recently BC’s remarkable Aloha Wanderwell (born Idris Hall, 1906-1996) was recognized by the Guinness Book of World…
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