The Vancouver Event, October 1, with the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, in the St. Andrews-Wesley United Church: the Pirate Version!
Why? For its swing-from-the-rigging, risk-taking, high-notes-up-aloft, one-earring jauntiness – just look at the pictures! The first one, taken backstage in the “green room,” a.k.a the Sunday kiddie playroom – that may look like a Noah’s Ark in the background, but squint a little: it’s definitely a pirate ship, with the raffish crew assembled in front. In the back row, Martin Kinch, the director, is inscrutably contemplating his next dire move, disguised in corduroy; stage manager Sharon Thompson has the deceptively innocent smile of one about to seriously rearrange the furniture, which she did; Eduardo Ottino stands ready for anything, which he was; and check out that desperado Donald Adams in an Arrr! outfit, ready to play Adam One with some hippie/Captain Blood ripples, which he did. Don’t expect docility from those other folks, either!
And look at Linda Quibell’s Toby – that snarl is not due to her broken foot (she fell down the steps carrying laundry, beware), but to the tigerish energy she brought to the part; while Adrienne Wong’s Ren managed to convey a barely suppressed terror that might turn to cornered-rat ferocity at any moment.
And the singers and musicians – what a surprise! Vancouver used, not a group, but three wonderful singers – Rebecca Jenkins, Linda Kidder, and Jane Mortifee – who delivered their own adaptations of the Gardener Hymns in pop/country close harmonies, with soaring backups and extra flourishes – an undernote of McGarrigle, with a wave to distant-ancestor Andrews Sisters, perhaps? Every word clear, every note precise ! Joel Bakan on guitar and Lorna Fortin on cello, with singer Rebecca Jenkins adding some percussion, accompanied them perfectly. Whatever they were doing, it was just glorious.
The audience rose to their feet as one at the end. The only sadness is that, due to union rules, none of this was recorded. Oh well. Think of it as a Tibetan sand painting –no sooner completed than gone. But what a stupendous finish to this part of the Canadian tour, and what a fine send-off for the beginning of the grueling sweep down the west coast of the USA. Thank you, Vancouver. Arrr!
(Now run up the skull & crossbones & go get Captain Shrivelheart Gordon Campbell for those Cut-your-throat, Walk-the-plank-foul-artist Arts & Culture slashes.)