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Aliya Kanani: Where You From From (A-)

Trying to describe Aliya Kanani to a perspective audience member is a fun challenge. The first word that springs to mind is chaotic (in the best way). Once she takes over the stage, she grabs the audience’s attention and doesn’t let go for 60 minutes. Kanani is always right there with the audience: checking in, gauging how far she can push a joke, backing off and, when the audience has relaxed, hitting the joke again for laugh out loud results. Where You From From is first and foremost a conversation, full of joy, wonder, hilarity and sadness. Kanani steers the audience towards and through uncomfortable topics not shying away from challenging them either. She offers a space for contemplation, hilarity and even a bit of learning using her vulnerability, her story. A story that is worth a listen.


Levels: The Play (B+)

Levels: The Play is beautiful in the way it simply and honestly presents the life of teenagers going through high school. It doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable subject matter rather takes its time to unpack issues, which gives the audience a great deal to think about by the time the lights go to black. The cast is full of bright, young artists, who can sing, dance and act. It is the ensemble’s chemistry that hooks the audience into the story and makes them care about the journey of these characters. Levels: The Play makes the audience laugh, gasp, swoon, and maybe even shed a tear or two – in short, it’s like being in high school all over again.


The Inevitable Frankie Green (B)

In The Inevitable Frankie Green the audience is brought into a world of despair and is dragged through it, as we follow Frankie Green and his family. Robert Leitner (Frankie Green), Cali Schlosser (Eva Green) and Matthew Cava-Ferraro (William Beaumont) all attack their performances from the get-go, which is necessary because the production starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. The Inevitable Frankie Green is full of sound, fury, and a considerable amount of heart. Sometimes the intensity of the show leads the actors to get stuck in just yelling rather than finding nuance in the heightened moments but ultimately, the heart of the show and the commitment of the actors shines through making for an engaging show.


You Think You’re Better Than Me (B)

With You Think You’re Better Than Me, Becky Ablack and Zoe Marin have made a show that brings the fun. Becky and Zoe, along with their co-stars, David Čivčić, Rayhan Jabbar and Stephanie Perri, entertain through song, witty word play and topical sketches. There is a myriad of subjects that are tackled by the group, which helps to keep things fresh and the audience eager for each new sketch or catchy song that is presented. In general, the transitions between sketches are fluid and help to keep the energy high for 60 minutes. You Think You’re Better Than Me has some great moments and a couple of ear worm songs that you won’t want to get rid of anytime soon.


All Our Parents Are Asian (B-)

Shaun Hunter and Alfred Chow announce at the start of their All Our Parents Are Asian performance that all the sketches they do, are happening for the first time at this show. In fact, every show will be different because the inspiration for the 2 acts of the show depends on the special guest they bring in for Act 1 (TallBoyz‘s Franco Nguyen on opening night), and the secrets the audience shares with them in Act 2. Hunter and Chow both bring talent and creativity to their skits. There are a couple of occasions they held onto an idea for a bit too long and it caused the energy in the room to falter but when all is said and done, All Our Parents Are Asian is a fun improv show that will definitely give you some laughs.