A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


A Christmas Carol - Hunks - Dogs & A Serious Camyar Chai
Friday, December 15, 2006

Yesterday morning, before Rosemary and I went to last night's performance of the Playhouse Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol, author and Georgia Straight film reviewer John Lekich told me that I was into a rare treat of being able to see a great actor who had not forgotten the theater despite ample success in the film world. "You are going to like Alex Diakun ( Scrooge)."

With that out of the way I must say it is impossible for me to be objective about this play, or is it a musical?

As a Latin American born before globalization, eBay and Thai burritos, I like my sweet on one side of the plate, and my sour on the other. I love opera and I love film. I absolutely hate those things that Americans (and Canadians) call musicals were perfectly sane people on film or stage suddenly begin to sing for no reason at all.

With that out of the way I have to say that both Rosemary and I loved A Christmas Carol even though the man on our right laughed even in the serious parts and the young lady in front of us (who works for Bell Telephone) was text messaging with one finger, on a screen that glowed far brighter than anything lighting designer Itai Erdal (upper, left) could shine on stage.

For us (and Rosemary never seems to like anything) it was about as perfect as a play can get. But then Rosemary has never seen a play with Dean Paul Gibson that she hasn't liked a lot. I am glad that Dean Paul Gibson is past his young hunk stage (as seen here, upper right) and was so perfect last night as both a dog and, dressed in drag, as Mrs Dilbert. If not I just might get jealous.

Joelysa Pankanea's music and her performance of the xylophone was perfect and almost Weillian in its gentle dissonance. We liked the stereo effect of having the base and xylophone on one side of the stage and Scott Hughes' manly (it's about time that men push out all those women and make this instrument their own) harp on the other. Mark Haney was just right on base but I was distracted by his fantastic face (Rosemary brought binoculars). He looked like an officer in the Army of the Confederate States of America.

Mara Gottier's design of Patti Allan's costume of the Ghost of Christmas Past was perfectly over the top and would have delighted my granddaugher Lauren (4) who would have seen her, as I did, as the Teletubbies' long lost mother.

After so many years in Vancouver, part of the fun of going to a play is to see so many on stage that I have photographed in the past. It was curious to see Camyar Chai (bottom, right) play it straight and serious.

I seriously think I like him more as funny. But then how can anybody compete (even Alex Diakun) with Dean Paul Gibson? I cannot wait for next year's new Playhouse Theatre Company production of Mother Goose with Gibson and Christopher Gaze, directed by Morris Panych.

Maiko Bae Yamamoto (below, left) as the Chost of Christmas Future, managed to walk on those huge stilts without flubbing her lines.

A Christmas Carol is on until December 23. I regret not having taken my Rebecca (9) as she would have enjoyed it.


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