Blue Surge is over but it’s still been one helluva week trying to get a ton of stuff done before I go on vacation: 1) packing to move out of my condo (long story) 2) getting preliminary designs and such done for my upcoming project and 3) finishing up a grant and getting it in the mail by yesterday afternoon. Phew!
But I did manage to squeak in a couple of Fringe shows yesterday and boy am I glad that I did. Relephant Theatre’s production of Stewart Lemoine’s The Exquisite Hour was the loveliest way I could have spent an afternoon hour of my life. So, even though, it is 9:30am and I should be cleaning and packing to get out of my place by this evening (once again long story) I wanted to take some time to tell you about this charming little show because not only am I impressed by the production but I am very impressed by this new company.
From the start I was impressed with their marketing and publicity materials (see above). The graphics were creative yet simple and clear. I felt from the moment I set eyes on the graphics I knew exactly what this show was about (and I wasn’t wrong which is another important factor). This is very impressive considering this is their first time out as a company (although the Co-Producers [Jessie Van Rijn and Steven Greenfield] who comprise the company have lots of experience working with other more established companies in town, namely Carousel Theatre for which Jessie is the General Manager, which I am sure came in handy). Not many new companies put much effort into their marketing and publicity materials because a) it costs money they don’t have and b) it takes time and resources they may not have. Most of the effort goes into just rehearsing and getting the actors up onstage with little thought to much else which brings me to the other reason I’m so impressed with this company and production.
There was considerable (and well executed) effort that went into the design and look of this production. From the moment I stepped into Carousel Studio I knew that this was going to be something special. They had created a lovely little backyard garden comprised of a small white wood plank path and a little white picket fence with white flower pots and white wooden garden chairs. Actual little yellow flowers were planted in the flower pots and a tree stood behind the small white picket fence. This particular afternoon we were even served lovely little mason jars of lemonade to sip while we watched the humourous and sweet love connection unfold on stage.
The actors (Josue Laboucane & Nevada Yates Robart), were costumed in charming late 1950’s/early 1960’s Mad Men-esque garb – him in grey pants and vest with a black skinny tie and her in a yellow full-skirted dress – that also added to the look and feel of the show which is set in 1962. It seemed to me like every detail was thought of. This doesn’t happen often at any level, new company or not.
So, you take all of this, and then you add into it wonderfully funny and sweet performances (directed by 20-something alumni Julie McIsaac) and yes, it is very impressive, indeed. I won’t tell you what happens but let’s just say that at the end of this exquisite hour there were a lot of “awwww’s” and cooing sounds going on in the audience.
So, take my advice, and get down to Carousel Studio to check out The Exquisite Hour which is part of this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival, not only because it is a great way to spend an hour of your life but also to support this very impressive new company in town but you better get your tickets quick yesterday afternoon’s performance was sold-out.
See you all in 10 days when I’m back from vacation rested and relaxed!