Saturday, January 23, 2010

PuSh 2010: Nevermore

Nevermore is a show you do not want to miss because if you do I guarantee you will regret it.

There I said it, right off the bat, because right now that is all I can think about. Last night the performance ended, the house lights went to black and as soon as they came back on, so the performers could take their bows, I was on my feet. Without a second of hesitation. That is something I have NEVER done here, in this city, before.

I have either lived in or been to a lot of great cities – London, New York, Paris, Prague, Budapest – and in those cities seen a lot of great theatre, opera, ballet, etc but Canada is my home and today that makes me very proud indeed.

Catalyst Theatre, based out of Edmonton, has created an extraordinary piece of theatre. It is “a whimsical and chilling musical fairytale for adults” based on the life of Edgar Allan Poe. Winner of 7 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes awards (Edmonton's professional theatre awards) Nevermore is a visual masterpiece. The costumes, taking their cues from gothic subculture (think Tim Burton), were enough to put me on Cloud 9. The set was minimalist yet imaginative and the lighting & sound all combined to create the perfect mood whether that was a funny child-like story or a garish nightmare. Next you take the actual text and music which is beautiful yet haunting and quite powerful. Add on to that the choreography, which takes it nods from contemporary dance, where significant movements are repeated over and over again and you’ve got a recipe for one of the freshest pieces of contemporary theatre I have ever seen.

The dynamic duo of Jonathan Christenson (Writer/Director/Composer) and Bretta Gerecke (Production Designer) may have just become my own personal hero’s.

In his message in the program, Norman Armour (Executive Director of the PuSh Festival) says that “it seems Edmonton’s theatre community has a penchant for mischievously twisting the musical theatre genre”. That is an understatement. They have completely redefined the musical theatre genre.

Nevermore is playing at the Arts Club, Granville Island Stage, until February 6. On Tuesday, January 26th, there is a post-show talk-back that is being moderated by Michael Scholar Jr who not only directed one of my top-5 (if not #1) show from last year but is also Artistic Producer of that other Edmonton company redefining the musical theatre genre (Seriously, is there something they put in the water there?!). As soon as I finish up this blog post I am buying my tickets to see it again.

Nevermore is everything theatre should be strive to be. My advice: if you want to see this show before it sells out get your tickets now.

(Top Photo: Tim Matheson courtesy of Ellie O'Day, Publicist. Bottom Photo: Sean McLennan courtesy of the PuSh Festival)

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

3 comments:

  1. Your response to Nevermore is strikingly similar to that of my friend Sterling. I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

    http://sterlinglynch.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/nevermore-holy-fuck-it-is-good/

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  2. Hi Jessica -

    Thanks for the link. The headline from Sterling's post "Nevermore: Holy Fuck It Is Good" is pretty much exactly what I thought when I left the theatre. I was just blown away and I didn't even think I could put it into words. I still don't even think the post I wrote does it justice.

    I only wish all my theatre experiences could be that fulfilling.

    Hope you enjoyed the rest of the Push Festival!

    ~Sabrina

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  3. Ah the magic of social media. :) Thanks for making the connection Jessica.

    Yes Sabrina! We are on exactly the same page with respect to this show. It is a fantastic piece of work for all the reasons you mention and all the reasons you rightly don't.

    Like all truly great aesthetic experiences, the experience of the show is almost ineffable. It's probably best for people to experience it directly for themselves. Like you say, words aren't likely do the show justice. :)

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