Drama, theatre, film

#968 Will you help The Ormsby Review?

Will you help The Ormsby Review? by Richard Mackie * A message from publisher Richard Mackie and the Board of the Ormsby Literary Society. Advisory Board: Jean Barman, Wade Davis, Robin Fisher, Cole Harris, Hugh Johnston, Patricia Roy, David Stouck, Graeme Wynn. Board of Directors: Ron Hatch, Eldon Yellowhorn, Imogene Lim, Byron Sheardown, LiLynn Wan, Trevor…
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#809 From Nanaimo to the Royal Ascot

Nanaimo Girl: A Memoir by Prudence Emery Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2020 $24.95 / 9781770865273 Reviewed by Randolph Eustace-Walden Unless noted otherwise, all images reproduced here are from Nanaimo Girl: A Memoir, by Prudence Emery * Prudence Emery is the eponymous “Nanaimo Girl.” Now in her early 80s and living on her native Vancouver Island just…
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#785 A New World Oliver Twist

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan Toronto: HarperCollins, 2018 $33.99 / 9781443423380 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Since its publication in the summer of 2018, Esi Edugyan’s novel Washington Black has made a resounding impact. Reviews abound; awards and award short listings likewise. Stirring most comment and praise are not just the gripping story line, but…
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#778 On the road with Sir Kenneth

MEMOIR: On the road with Sir Kenneth by Grahame Ware * Recently we published Grahame Ware’s review of Horn Swoggled: A Play by Armstrong playwright Ken Smedley: see The Ormsby Review no. 762 (March 5, 2020). In a follow-up email, Grahame described his intense and productive artistic friendship with Smedley in the mid-1990s, when the…
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#762 Bard Smedley of Armstrong

Horn Swoggled: A Play by Ken Smedley Vernon: Rich Fog Micro Publishing, 2019 $25.00 / 9781988707211 This book is available via Canada Post from Ken Smedley, PO Box 323, Armstrong, BC, V0E 1B0 for $25, which includes postage and handling Reviewed by Grahame Ware * First, a word or two about the playwright. Born in…
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#706 Hitting life’s reset button

Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson with Kristine Gasbarre San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2019; Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2019 $24.99 (Canada); $27.95 (U.S.)  / 9781797202396 Reviewed by Nathaniel G. Moore * When I was in my undergrad, I took a course on new religious…
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#673 Catalyst of creative fantasy

Susan Benson: Art, Design and Craft on Stage by Patricia Flood Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2019 $35.00 / 9780228101772 Reviewed by Celia Duthie * Susan Benson has had a charmed career. For over forty years, as a theatre designer and costumer for stage productions in England and North America, she has been a mistress…
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#670 Novelty at Langham Court

The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected by Edwin Wong Victoria: Friesen Press, 2019 $19.79 / 9781525537561 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * The most interesting observation in this book on tragedy by local author Edwin Wong concerns Hamlet. Hamlet’s problem, says Wong, is that he is obsessed with certainty and can’t…
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#659 Move over Bridget Jones

A One-Handed Novel by Kim Clark Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin, 2018 $24.00 / 9781987915624 Reviewed by Margot Fedoruk * What is the difference between desirability and disability? Author Kim Clark explores these ideas and more in her fast-paced and farcical work of fiction, A One-Handed Novel. The book’s main character, Melanie Farrell, is a forty-something, face-planting,…
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#618 The deeper language of women

Women’s Writing in Canada by Patricia Demers University of Toronto Press, 2019 $34.95 / 9780802095015 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * They used to throw women artists in mental institutions, our radical behaviour disruptive to the norm. Across the street from my house, there is a half way home for mentally challenged adults, the victims of…
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#610 Secwépemc playwright honoured

Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories, Poetry by Vera Manuel (author) and Michelle Coupal, Deanna Reder, Joanne Arnott, Emalene A. Manuel (editors) Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2019 $24.95 / 9780887558368 Reviewed by Diana French * Vera Manuel (1949-2010), actor, playwright, poet, drama therapist, and healer has been honoured with an anthology of…
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#490 Applauding a forgotten play

The God of Gods: A Canadian Play by Carroll Aikins, edited and with an introduction by Kailin Wright University of Ottawa Press, 2016 $29.95 / 9780776623276 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published Feb. 19, 2019 * Although a remarkable piece of British Columbia’s theatre history played out not far from where I write and was…
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#444 Carpenters and vagabonds

A Carpenter’s Tale: Ian Ridgway, A Life by Ian Ridgway with Jim Brown and Pat Ridgway Elphinstone: Gypsy Deluxe Books, 2017 $30  /  9781775008309 Orders: patridge201@gmail.com First published December 11, 2018 * Mudflat Dreaming: Waterfront Battles in 1970s Vancouver and the Squatters who Fought Them by Jean Walton Vancouver: New Star Books, 2018 $24 /…
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#408 Grizzly twins & latter-day saints

Gracie by Joan MacLeod Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $16.95 / 9781772012026 * Thanks for Giving by Kevin Loring Vancouver: Talonbooks 2018 $19.95 / 9781772012187 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy First published October 26, 2018 * Editor’s note: Ginny Ratsoy reviews the latest work of two of B.C.’s top playwrights, Joan MacLeod (born 1954) and Kevin Loring (born…
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