The Laugh Shop features a fun and ever-changing collection of touring headliners that tumble in and out of town each week. Top-notch, nationally touring funnypersons take to the stage, regaling diverse audiences with side-splitting tales of merriment, matrimony, and mystical visions in the desert. Upcoming acts include master impersonator Kevin McGrath; Andrew Grose, whose credits include specials on The Comedy Network and CTV; and Tim Nutt, whose long locks and beard imbue everything he says with hilarity and a faint almond aftertaste.
A thoroughly contemporary company, Theatre Junction Grand provides a platform for eclectic performers and visionaries to converge and unleash their bold ideas and art forms. With L'Effet de Serge, Vivarium Studio's acclaimed Parisian play imparts the tale of Serge, an eccentric who stages weekly performances for his chums centred on homemade special effects. Lead by Gaetan Vourc'h as Serge, the remainder of the cast is rounded out by uncoached local actors to lend performances a sense of realism. Supported by the Consulate of France in Calgary and Institute Français, the show is further enriched by the whimsical stage design, providing audience members with a pleasurable visual experience. Seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to avoid sitting chained to Jabba the Hut for the duration of the production.
Under the graceful baton of music director and conductor Roberto Minczuk, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra delights audiences of all ages with a broad repertoire of classical and contemporary orchestral works. A series of casual Rush Hour performances hosted by the CBC’s Katherine Duncan helps patrons scrub ears clear of workaday sounds such as clicking keyboards and gossiping water coolers with mellifluous one-hour concerts. Tchaikovsky on the Edge treats cochleae to a hearty slice of the composer’s moving Symphony no. 6 ("Pathétique"); February’s The Red Violin performance drives away winter’s gray atmosphere with a quartet of colourful stringed pieces including Aaron Copland’s "Fanfare for the Common Man" and Leonard Bernstein’s "Three Dance Episodes from On the Town" bolstered by Donovan Seidle’s fleet-fingered fiddling. Ready hips and shoulders for unfettered shimmying during May’s ¡Viva España! concert featuring a trio of animated Iberian melodies including Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, op. 34; Maurice Ravel’s sultry Boléro; and Manuel de Falla’s "Ritual Fire Dance" accompanied by Fred Astaire–shaped flames. To keep audience members in tune with what they’re hearing, the host and the musical director dole a bevy of interesting insights about the evening’s program.