Dreamgirls: Karen Holness, Aurianna Angelique, and Starr Domingue. Photo by David Cooper.
When shows appear at Montreal's Mainline Theatre you know there is going to be a bit of funkiness about them - the venue, a second-floor walkup hidden away on the notorious Main (St-Laurent Blvd.) - practically insists on shows being somewhat of a wild ride. Ben Kalman's Vicious Circles fits the bill - it's Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols manager Malcolm Maclaren. The whole is directed by Stéfane Cédilot who - Montreal Fringe devotees know - has a penchant and a peculiar knack for this kind of material. (Montreal) (Read also our review for the original production) (Read also a first-person article by Stéfane Cédilot)
When it opened, and well into its run on Broadway, Dreamgirls had a showpiece song: "And I Am Telling You". Before American Idol or the Voice - this one song was the origin of the now-tradition of audiences losing their minds in the MIDDLE of a song. (Surf around YouTube to see the many, many versions of the piece.) But what people forget is that Dreamgirls is one smashing show all the way through. Ostensibly it tells two tales; how Black song-writers were robbed of their rights; how one girl-group (oh! so resembling The Supremes) started, brokeup and how one went onto superstardom leaving a broken heart behind. You will want the cast-recording. You will want to see it again. You will want to marry it. (Vancouver)
Mark Leiren-Young has been around for a bit. He's done journalism, activism, novelism, theatre, journalism again (with a stop here at CharPo) and now theatre again. His Leacock-winning novel, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen takes his story back to the beginning - when he was a young journalist sent into the heart of darkness: Williams Lake. The town had the worst crime rate in BC and its people fueled MLY's best-seller. Fringe/solo veteran TJ Dawe approached MLY to adapt and direct the piece and off it went. (Vancouver) (Read also TJ Dawe's first-person piece about the show) (Read also an excerpt from Mark Leiren-Young's new novel)