Theatre: Sex in Vancouver “Doin' It Again, More please….

Sex in Vancouver: Doin' it Again,  More please….



Waterfront Theatre
Granville Island, Vancouver BC
Feb 24th to March 5th
For tickets go to
www.vact.ca

“Fun,” is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the latest
incarnation of Vancouver Canadian Theatre’s running theatrical soap
opera, Sex in Vancouver.  Based on “Sex in Seattle” created by
Kathy Hsieh and Serin Ngai, VACT president Joyce Lam wanted to create
opportunities for Asian Canadian actors beyond small walk on parts in
stereotyped characters.  

After seeing the first 2 productions, I have to say that “Doin’It
Again” is the best edition yet.  VACT has now moved from The
Roundhouse into Waterfront Theatre, Mainstream media is finally taking
notice by running a preview.  There is a new level of maturity
both in the production and the acting.

Shari, Jenna, Tess and Elizabeth, are the four female characters around
which all the action revolves.  Elizabth is the old flame and
ex-fiance of Kenneth, who is now married to Shari, but they are now
going through a separation.  Jenna is Kenneth’s younger sister who
once had a crush on Tess, who is Elizabeth’s best friend.  George
is Kenneth’s college buddy who has a crush on Elizabeth, and Adam is
dating both Jenna and Tess, until he found out Tess is married to Zane
who is gay.

This all makes for lively action on stage and lots of theatrical sight
and verbal laughs.  Enhancing the production are video flashbacks
that share past history and help bring the audience up to date. The
action is fast paced, with many inventive scene changes as furniture is
seamlessly moved on and off stage.  The lines are well delivered
and there are no lag times… which are deadly in a comedy.

It was great to see Grace Kim back in the role of Elizabeth.  She
is a great girl-next-door innocent foil to the conniving self-serving
bitchy Shari Song Sheng, played viviviously by Janet Ip, who has been
in all five Sex in Vancouver productions.  These are the central
two roles playing tug of war with their love interest Kenneth Sheng
played for the first time by Jonathan Lee, who had previously played
the role of Colin.  Both Kim and Ip show maturity in their roles
and clearly love them and the production.

Candice Macalino does a great job as Jenna Sheng, love-puzzled but with
the most  relationship action happening, having dated her
brother’s childhood friend Nathan, lived with Colin, and now dating
Adam.  Jenna is like the impressionable sex kitten to the fiery
dragon lady of Andrea Yu’s Tess Matsudaira, if they are to be linked to
archetypal figures.  But what makes Andrea’s performance riveting
is that Tess plays against all the stereotypes of Asian women. 
She is tough talking, assertive and marries the gay guy.

There is much much more to the latest incarnation of “Sex in Vancouver”
than meets the eye.  Despite all the relationship soap opera
shenanigans and missteps, the characters find the reflective time to
comment on what it means to be Asian Canadian.  This is done
subtlety as the characters find themselves in situations dating white
males, or dealing with family expectations.

Much credit goes to director Peter Leung who has adapted this
production from the original Sex in Seattle scripts, with additional
video and dancing creations.  I talked with Leung after last
Friday’s opening night, and he was very pleased with “Doin’ it Again.”
 

This is to be VACT’s final performance of the Sex in Vancouver series,
even though Sex in Seattle has gone on for a total of 13
episodes.  VACT wants to concentrate on more original work. 
VACT has done wonderful work in creating a community that really
supports their work.  The 20 to 40 something demographic is unique
and hard to find in the live theatre audience.   Wonderful
kudos to president Joyce Lam, director Peter Leung and producer Betty
So, for making the Sex in Vancouver series happen.  Go see this
production, tell your friends, and ask VACT to keep on doin’ it again!

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