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Michael Groberman

Vancouver Theatre Critic

Michael Groberman has worked as a theatre critic for The Ottawa Citizen, The Calgary Sun, The Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Echo and Xtra! West.

He lives in Vancouver where he blogs at Connect with him on Twitter @mgroberman.
'Avenue Q' Vancouver Show Is Hilarious And David Cooper

'Avenue Q' Vancouver Show Is Hilarious And Dirty

You aren't likely to find a more solid, satisfying and well-produced show in Vancouver this holiday season. "Avenue Q" at The Arts Club on Granville Island is hilarious and dirty and sentimental. It's a gentle story about young adults who must find their ways after college. Imagine "Sesame Street" with frank discussions of sex and depression and you get an idea of how the show operates.
12/01/2014 06:43 EST
Vancouver's 'Urinetown: The Musical' Overflows With David Cooper

Vancouver's 'Urinetown: The Musical' Overflows With Talent

The show's musical star is Meghan Gardiner as toilet manager, Pennywise. She adds to the over-abundant exposition with the exuberant "It's a Privilege to Pee." She has the stage personality of a young Patti Lupone and lungs that grab and hold us. Glib and cynical, she's very funny and quickly becomes one of our favourite characters.
11/13/2014 12:08 EST
Vancouver's 'Saint Joan' Is Beige When It Should Lift Off The David Cooper

Vancouver's 'Saint Joan' Is Beige When It Should Lift Off The Page

The director must give them life: make each character an individual, make the scenes sing so that the language comes not from the mouth of Shaw, but from the mouths of unique personalities, and make the arguments reflections of character rather than mere elements of Shaw's argument. That's where this Arts Club production really falls apart.
11/10/2014 06:54 EST
There's Something Wrong With Vancouver's Emily Cooper

There's Something Wrong With Vancouver's 'Rainmaker'

The play itself is interesting enough, and the characters strong enough, to sustain our interest for more than two hours. It premiered in 1954 with Geraldine Page as Lizzie and received a Broadway revival in 1999 with Woody Harrelson as Starbuck. As an exercise for young actors, this production probably works well. As a coherent piece of drama, not so much.
10/16/2014 07:30 EDT
'4000 Miles': Nicola Cavendish Kills But Play's A David Cooper

'4000 Miles': Nicola Cavendish Kills But Play's A Bust

The new Arts Club production "4000 Miles" is inoffensive, irrelevant, and trite. This much-produced American comedy from 2011 provides warm reassurance that familial love is good. Intended to warm the heart with warm humour, it inadvertently challenges us to care about the obnoxious protagonist. But a lack of story is the play's greatest weakness.
09/25/2014 04:21 EDT
Shakespeare's Great Magician Lacklustre In Bard On The Beach's 'The David Blue

Shakespeare's Great Magician Lacklustre In Bard On The Beach's 'The Tempest'

Allan Morgan's portrayal is tentative. His Prospero seems shy. Morgan seems to cower beneath the role, never fully inhabiting it. His voice lacks confidence. This is a meek and gentle magician, a follower. It's all wrong. Morgan hasn't the stature for the role. A good character actor, he fails to command the stage as arguably Shakespeare's most powerful character.
07/13/2014 12:37 EDT
Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' Lowers the AP

Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' Lowers the Bar

A parade of remarkable (but rarely thrilling) acts take the stage, one after the other, with a rhythm closer to "The Ed Sullivan Show" than traditional Cirque. This revue approach is disappointing not only because the show has no flow, but because it does not build to a climax.
06/16/2014 02:52 EDT

"Espresso" Tangles With Love, Sex, Cultural Taboos

The production, directed by Sarah Rodgers, is very good. The show is at its best with the realistic story. Rosa fights with her mother and stepmother (battles that are usually hilarious), and Amante narrates the drama of Rosa's search for answers, her visit to the crash scene, her questions about the accident.
05/25/2014 01:26 EDT
'Kim's Convenience' Not Ready for

'Kim's Convenience' Not Ready for Customers

The bulk of "Kim's Convenience" features Appa's eccentric opinions and the joke of his heavily accented English. It is easy comedy and carries the play nowhere. Appa uses his martial arts training to torture a potential boyfriend into proposing marriage to his daughter, Janet. He forces them to kiss and gets angry when they kiss too much. This is supposed to be hilarious.
05/06/2014 12:24 EDT