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Stages near and far bustling with talent

Theatre scene in full swing with plenty of diverse productions to enjoy in coming weeks
Bedfull of Foreigners

It’s a busy time for live theatre locally – and for well known local players performing close to home or further afield.

And fans of the medium – or those who have seldom, if ever, experienced the energy of up-close and personal theatre – are the clear beneficiaries of such a wide offering of amateur and semi-professional productions.

Finishing up this week at Coast Capital Playhouse (1532 Johnston Rd.) is the powerhouse musical Nunsense, by Dan Goggin (8 p.m. performances, 2 p.m. Satuday matinee, closing night July 23), co-presented by Vancouver’s Fighting Chance Productions and the White Rock Players Club.

Directed by Ryan Mooney, the irreverent satire, in which five nuns put on a fundraising show, features outstanding Lower Mainland musical theatre performers Janet Glassford, Celia Reid, Keri Smith, Nicole Stevens (a White Rock resident) and Cathy Wilmot.

For tickets and information, visit or 604-536-7535.

Also closing on July 23 is Surrey Little Theatre’s summer youth show Unusual Suspects, by Samara Siskind (8 p.m. performances, 2 p.m. Saturday matinee) at the theatre, 7027 184 St.

A showcase for 13 “stars of tomorrow” from Surrey and Langley – plus one adult player – the comedy, helmed by frequent SLT player Loryn LeGear, tells the story of a crime and four high school students united by a common hatred of their principal.

Featured are Krista Long, Nicole Cochrane, Nicholas Yee and Kaeman Sustar; with William Valenzuela as Principal Piddles.

For tickets, email or call 604-576-8451.

Stellar South Surrey-raised musician, actor and director Kerry O’ Donovan is the musical director for Pipedream Theatre Project’s The Adding Machine, which runs to July 24 at the Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island.

Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith’s adaptation of Elmer Rice’s famed 1923 Expressionist drama has been described by the New York Times as an “impossibly bleak, improbably brilliant little musical,” tracing the story of worker Mr. Zero, who flies into a murderous rage against his boss when he finds he is to be replaced by an adding machine.

Performances are 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee and a 1 p.m. Sunday matinee.

For tickets and information, visit or

Dynamic White Rock musical theatre talent Emma Leigh Hillier is one of the stars of Fighting Chance’s Bare: A Pop Opera, by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo, which runs Aug. 4-13, also at the Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island.

Raging adolescent hormones and sexual confusion collide in the show, set in a Catholic boarding school.

“It’s steadily building a Rent-esque following,” said director Ryan Mooney about the musical, in which an energetic cast of 19 confront issues like homophobia, drug use and teen suicide through “rousing rock anthems and gut-wrenching ballads.”

For tickets and information, visit or

Back in White Rock, Coast Capital Playhouse is the venue for Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s upcoming summer production A Bedfull of Foreigners, by Dave Freeman (Aug. 4-28).

Company artistic director Ellie King guides the production – a door-slammer involving mistaken identities and intentions at a small hotel on the border between France and Germany – which brings back some favourite players from last year’s popular RCTC comedy/farce, No Sex, Please, We’re British.

Among them are White Rock actress, director and jazz diva Wendy Bollard, Sam Gordon, Nicole Smashnuk and Becky Hachey (recently featured in Bollard’s Waiting For The Parade).

New faces are Gary Peterman, Brett Harrison and Walter Ekins.

The gala opening is Aug. 5 and performances are at 8 p.m.

For tickets, call 604-536-7535, or visit

A different kind of theatre – using a local winery as a laid-back, welcoming venue – will make its debut Aug. 12 and 13 at Langley’s Township 7 Vineyards and Winery (21152 16 Ave., at 212 Street).

An Ideal Husband, by Oscar Wilde, a co-production of the winery and keen young Okanagan-based group Twisted Tree Theatre/Bare Bones Productions, will come to Langley after its current run at Township 7’s Naramata vineyard.

Following up on the partnership’s successful production of The Importance Of Being Earnest last year, the elegant and witty costume comedy revolves around sex, blackmail and political corruption in 1895 London.

Performances are at the early hour of 7 p.m. each evening.

For tickets, call 604-532-1766, email or visit

Popular musical theatre player Arne Larsen – well known to local audiences from past Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society productions in Surrey – plays the leading role of the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (Aug. 16-21) at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

Directed by Jim McGroarty (also well known from the FVGSS) it’s a full-scale co-production of the Chilliwack Opera Troupe and the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra.

Other well-known faces in the cast from FVGSS shows include Reginald Pillay, Tamara Wilhelm, Jacqollyne Keath, Kevin Hrankowski and Sabrielle McCurdy-Foreman.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. (2 p.m. Sunday matinee) at 9201 Courbald St., Chilliwack. For tickets, email or call 604-391-7469.

Meanwhile, Coast Capital Playhouse’s resident company, the White Rock Players Club, has its 67th season waiting in the wings, gearing up for production starting this fall at the theatre.

First show in the new season will be the thriller Accomplice, by Rupert Holmes (Oct. 12-29) followed by the one of the club’s traditional Christmas pantomimes, Mother Goose, by the pseudonymous ‘Brothers Dimm’ (Nov. 30-Dec. 26).

The Norm Foster comedy Drinking Alone (Feb. 8-25) focuses on a nuclear family on the verge of meltdown, while the costume drama The Lion In Winter, by James Goldman (April 11-28) is the story of a medieval royal family in turmoil.Rounding out the season will be one of Ken Ludwig’s popular farces, Lend Me a Tenor (June 13-30) following backstage chaos at an opera company in the 1930s.

The announced program may be subject to change, dependent on availability or production considerations.

For more information about reservations and seasons tickets, visit or call 604-536-7535.

About the Author: Alex Browne

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