Press

Hullaboo and The End of Everything

 

“4.5 stars out of five. It’s not often that an actor can make something imaginary seem real, but that’s what Andrew Wade was able to accomplish in Hullaboo… Smart, funny and poignant — Fringe theatre at its finest… written and acted with expert precision… Wade was impressive, switching gears from the zany highs to dark lows effortlessly… this is a show that I can recommend enthusiastically. It’s smart, it’s fun, it tugs at the heartstrings — if you ever wanted to see a Pixar movie at the Fringe, this is it.” – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

***

“This show is a wonderfully innocent experience. Katie Purych is just perfect as Mikaila. She plays her with so much energy and draws you into her world of imagination. I loved that her character was strong and didn’t need rescuing but was the heroine in her stories and led the adventures.

Andrew Wade plays Hullaboo with a tenderness that is so endearing to watch… The show makes you reflect on your own life and wonder when the moment was where you stood on the precipice of adulthood and made the jump, letting go of your childhood and ability to disappear fully into your imagination.

This show is for all ages and kids would love it… then go home afterwards and play a made up game with them.” – Theatreaddicts.com print review

***

“What I really loved was the exploration of imagination… I had goosebumps, it was wonderful… wonderfully portrayed, wonderfully acted, the whole show… I actually think it is a perfect choice for kids, showing them how important it is to keep holding onto their imagination, don’t let adulthood take hold of them too quickly… It hits you right in the feels.” Theatreaddicts.com video review

 

*****

 

TITUS! The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus

 

“For any Shakespeare fan, this show is truly a delight. Shakespeare (Kazz Leskard) has decided that Titus Andronicus is too bloody and tragic for audiences, which is why it’s rarely staged; he decides to reinvent the play as a musical comedy. It doesn’t go quite as planned, however, and almost all of the characters still end up being violated or brutally murdered before the show is over.

This play is as self-aware as you can get. From Titus himself repeatedly coming onstage too early and being scolded by the Bard to characters repeatedly mentioning the token black character and his lack of lines, the jabs just keep coming. Lavinia, the main female in the play, is raped and has her tongue and hands brutally removed. In this new musical version, she still goes through this, but her subservience is questioned and somehow the events are turned into song and dance.

It doesn’t really sound like a good time, and perhaps it wouldn’t be if you’ve never seen Titus or don’t understand the references, but I thoroughly enjoyed this clever spin-off of one of Shakespeare’s much-maligned plays.” – The Peak

***

5 stars!
“There’s not a note, line or dance step out of place in this, yes, delightful re-imagining (from Vancouver company Awkward Stage Productions) of what is often called Shakespeare’s bloodiest play. Half of the fun is the meta-commentary as Shakespeare himself (Kazz Leskard) joins the (super-talented) cast onstage, encouraging them to “find the funny,” even — or perhaps, especially — if it means just putting on a clown nose amid the carnage.” – The Vancouver Sun

***

“Buy tickets now. Awkward Stage Productions has a history of sold out performances and for good reason. They do fantastically entertaining, hilarious, fully realized productions with incredibly talented performers and creators. They are one of Vancouver’s very best theatre companies. I’ve seen enough international and national productions to also state, without exaggeration, that they are also one of the world’s best producers of theatre. They’ve topped themselves by also committing to the creation and development of new musicals from local playwrights and composers. Their productions will appeal to everyone, even those that never attend theatre.

Titus is one of the best and most hilarious productions that I’ve ever seen (of thousands of productions from all over the world). There are only two performances left (Aug. 24 and 27 at 8pm). I hope that representatives of Bard on the Beach and the Stratford Festival have seen this show and include it in future seasons. This musical will no doubt end up on Broadway and has a bright, bright future ahead of it as do its performers and creators. Andrew Wade is a wonderfully witty writer and is a revelation. Jenny Anderson’s music is beautiful, varied, and catchy. I’m hoping that there will be a cast recording and DVD released as this is an extraordinary show and troupe.

Titus features amazing performances and an incredibly strong ensemble. Everyone plays their roles to perfection and it’s breathtaking to witness this much talent on one stage. The relationships, repartee, and characterizations were inspired and hysterical. Every character was memorable. There were too many wonderful moments to list. This is why I see theatre. The writing and performances were so strong that it seemed like the entire cast of fifteen had leading roles. Titus won Pick of the Fringe last year and is destined for many more awards for its writer, composer, director, performers, and producer. This production is an incredible achievement. See it while you can.” – Jim Macdonald, reviewvancouver.org

***

“How does a cast of fifteen manage to each stand out without upstaging each other?

The Awkward Stage production of Titus: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus, as part of he Vancouver Fringe Festival, managed to pull this off, utilizing every talent, every space on stage, and giving life to Andrew Wade’s Book and Lyrics and Jenny Andersen’s Music, possibly making William Shakespeare roll in his grave… with laughter, that is.

Titus is Shakespeare’s popular tragedy but this one with a twist – actually lots of it – where the Bard attempts to lighten up his work and what ensues is a series of successful mishaps and surprises enough to keep the audience rolling the aisles.

It’s truly amazing how this show, for such a small stage, is able to come up with something top calibre that you’d really hope and expect this to go further. The pieces by Wade and Andersen are comparable, if not possibly surpassing the likes of Monty Python’s Spamalot or the currently running Something Rotten! accompanied by Erika Babin’s simple but effective choreography, truly brought out the best in the cast, and you can really see how they are enjoying themselves on stage.

You don’t have to understand Shakespeare to truly enjoy this show. Just go along with the ride and enjoy everything the show has to offer – blood, meat pie, deers, and… a clown…” – The Real /Darryl

***

“Titus is a funny and twisted commentary on Shakespeare’s goriest play Titus Andronicus. The Bard appears and tells us in song that that one of his earliest plays is not given due respect and he thinks it is because it is too upsetting so he is going to re-make it as a light and delightful comedy.

Mr. Wade has found a lot of clever stuff to exploit, calling out dialogue that is expository and poking fun at the extreme violence and sexism in the original tome. The lyrics to the songs carry whimsy and occasionally poignancy and although the tone of the show shifts dramatically into awkward seriousness in a couple of occasions it mostly lives in the absurd.

There is a perfectly wonderful Waiting for Guffman like quality to the production and there is integrity within the silliness that speaks to a big future for this script. My theatre companion declared “That should be on Broadway!” – OutTV

***

“Is this a parody or an adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most gruesome plays? Well it is both I think. Shakespeare himself (Kazz Leskard) makes many flavoured directorial appearances throughout the show, trying his best to keep the vision of the play on a “happy” path. That’s a tall order, for this story has more abominations per act than any other of Shakespeare’s works. Not much love and joy to draw from. Director Andy Toth and the amazing cast knock this side-splitting musical out of the park. The singing, lyrics, dance choreography, and musical accompaniments are second to none. Very impressed with the production. The Firehall Theatre is the perfect venue for Titus.

Titus Andronicus, Roman general, returns from ten years of war with only four out of twenty-five sons left. He has captured Tamora, Queen of the Goths, her three sons, and Aaron the Moor. In Roman rituals, he sacrifices her eldest son to his own dead sons, which earns him Tamora’s unending hatred and her promise of revenge. Death, rape, and dismemberment ensue while the characters axe their way through their loyalties. They keep true to the tale but with a completely hilarious, high charged laughfest.

Awkward Stage Productions should be very proud of themselves. This is my pick of The Fringe!” – Plank Magazine

 

*****

 

William vs The World

“When your mentor is Yoda and your friends are Sam and Frodo, you need nothing more than the script in your head to live the life you want. Especially when you have the Wolverine three pronged plan and your cactus at your side.

William vs. the World is a stream of pop culture references mostly for boys of the 90s with song and real stories from the geek front lines interweaved throughout. We watch William recount the pain of childhood, construct a carefully planned sanctuary underground, and then navigate through the early stages of adulthood determined to protect himself from unnecessary human interaction and connection.

Although most of the references will hit home for young men, everyone can see a piece of themselves in William as he cocoons himself in his attempt to remain safe in the dangerous world of humanity. Sit tight as William navigates through his minimum wage job where odd people buy vacuum-packed action figures they will never open. Everyone is trying to protect something. The stories, from a front line worker in a real geek shop, will leave you laughing and crying for the same reasons.

William is a beautifully emotional young man who narrates the hearts of many young men of his generation. Dealing with the fall out of not being the man his father thought he should be, not having an emotionally capable male role model, and dealing with society’s stereotypes, William is left to either hide from or sift through his emotions for himself.

Will William be able to sustain the carefully constructed version of life he aspires to live? As with all carefully constructed realities, the truth starts to seep through the cracks. Even good friends seem to conspire against him. Will he further retreat underground with his cactus? The wish for the simple becomes complicated and William discovers even his cactus has sharp spines.

Andrew Wade has created an awkwardly charming character who even in his attempt to protect himself is incredibly honest and vulnerable with the audience. From the very beginning the audience is drawn to Andrew’s ability to evoke emotion in us with soliloquy, stories and song. He steps in and out of different characters with ease, never losing his audience along the way.

Many will gawk, see glimpses of themselves, and cringe at the truth of it all.” – Plank Magazine

***

“No one’s going to ruin my life by falling in love with me,” the title character declares partway through William vs the World. A self-admitted twenty something dweeb, William knows what he wants. Instead of experiencing life himself, he prefers to live in a world defined by others. Superheroes, mostly.

Written and performed by Andrew Wade, William vs the World is funny and charming. The 55-minute monologue follows the title character as his carefully constructed life collapses under the weight of terrifying “IRL adventures.” He loses his job, sees his friends break up, shuns love and falls out with his pet cactus. Each catastrophe drives William deeper into his secret lair, a basement suite equipped with all the latest video games and comic books. He is Batman, he just doesn’t realize it yet. The references to games, comics, and films old and new flow in torrents. But while they are sure to draw laughs from the initiated, William vs the World’s reliance on pop culture references threatens to alienate anyone not born in the nineties.

Which is not to say it’s a bad show. Wade, who slouches around in sneakers and a vest, is a delight to watch. He’s amusing and shy and profoundly vulnerable. And William vs the World is ultimately coming to grips with the fact that things fall apart, and that all you can do is embrace it.” – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

***

“Andrew Wade delighted the final audience at last weekends Solstice Festival with his marvelous William v’s the World. An epic adventure of a geek and his cactus who just want to be left alone to play his life affirming games in his carefully structured and arranged basement apartment. Andrew Wade has created and brought to life an all too a memorable character – one which more than a few of us have seen in our children (usually male) or those of our friends.

Andrew has invested the role with great physical comedy and verbal pyrotechnics, his starkly simple three piece set with a small cactus as the only real prop make this an ideal show to tour on the fringe festival circuit. This was real laugh out loud stuff and I only wish that I had been able to catch his Hatter on the Saturday.

The audience left with a noticeable buzz – they knew that had seen a great piece of art.” – AvenueZone

 

*****

 

The Most Honest Man In The World

“4 stars! Honesty is the best policy. We all know that. But is it, really?

Andrew Wade, who had a Fringe hit last year in The Hatter, bares his soul in this romantic tell-all that spans his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

The show feels true. Very true. TMI true. His life experiences are just as banal as 99 per cent of the population’s. What we usually see in non-fiction is the one percent, stories so amazing you can hardly believe them.

And that’s what is intriguing here. You realize at the start how much theatre lies, how phony it is. It simply isn’t natural for someone to memorize and deliver a 60-minute monologue as if they’re having all those thoughts for the very first time. So Wade doesn’t. He uses cue cards to prompt the chapters, but clearly doesn’t have a written script. The presentation, therefore, has rough spots all over. He talks rather than speaks. His elocution is informal and there are many “uh,” “um,” “right?” and “all rights” in his delivery. It’s not artful, therefore. Maybe it’s not even theatre. Such is the price of honesty.

The content itself is cleverly arranged – a story about a girl he liked is followed by a description of how lie detectors work. Wade literally tests his own pulse, blood pressure and skin moisture in the show – early to get a baseline and then at the emotional peak when he agonizes over whether he did the right (honest) thing in love or made a huge mistake.

It’s a pretty brave experiment, in both theater and life. If it’s true.” – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

***

“(A-) When I reviewed Andrew Wade’s production Mad About You two years ago, I was surprised at how much depth and sincerity he brought to the figure of a sad clown. Once again, Wade impressed me. This production is a work in progress. ‘I’m going to be up front with you,” he says, true to the show’s title. “I don’t have a script for this show.” Instead, he has notecards to help him narrate his own life story awkwardly but honestly. This is a story about how to figure out the truth. But this is not the kind of truth that the scientific method can help us discover, or even a lie detector. This is the kind of truth that only art can help us to understand, the kind of deep, hard truth that we have to search within ourselves to figure out. Wade’s story still needs a bit more time and work to come into its own, but it’s a wonderful, heartbreaking journey to go on with him, and maybe we can even help him on his way. Well worth seeing.” – myentertainmentworld.ca

***

Andrew Wade is a graduate of the University of Victoria theatre department, and a prolific emerging and awarded playwright (2011 Vancouver Young Playwrights Competition), as well as regular performer on the Canadian Fringe circuit (William vs the World, The Hatter—which toured CAFF in 2014 as a lottery winner—and now, The Most Honest Man in the World).

Wade has long prided himself on his honesty and now sets out to prove his hypothesis with oh-so-human results. The Most Honest Man in the World provides a glimpse into the life of a young man obsessed with the word love, and its meaning.

Here he is onstage at five, sweetly singing Refiner’s Fire (“my heart’s one desire is to be holy”) at church, which he loved attending. The only problem, to his mind, came when he had to sing the word “love”. Philosophically, he was opposed to giving voice to a concept of which he had no understanding. It’s extremely profound for a five-year-old, and gives insight into the precocious and intelligent nature of the performer. This lack of understanding permeates his young existence.

Wade admits he’s never memorized his monologue, relying instead on a series of cue cards to remind him of episodes he wants to highlight. Breaking the fourth wall almost immediately, he continues in an easy conversational style, alternating between explaining the set-up of the lie detector which will prove his claim, the science behind it, and life stories.

He compels sympathy with his narration of awkward tales—a first kiss, a first date, a first relationship, a first break-up, summers whiled away playing Diablo—and there are plenty of humourous moments too to lighten the tone (a re-worked Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera for a high-school sweetheart was especially notable).

As time runs out, metaphorically and literally, Wade hooks himself up to the machine in a last distraught attempt to validate his proof. It’s heart-wrenching to feel his loss and watch as he comes to grips with the fact that not all in life is measurable.

The Most Honest Man in the World reveals great depth of emotion as it delves into the loves and losses of an awkward, often out-of-place young man.

I remain ever grateful to people who are willing to work themselves out onstage for my personal edification. Their life lessons provide illumination for my own dark spaces and recesses, and are often signposts on the path.” – Janislacouvee.com

***

“The Most Honest Man in the World is a one-man show conceived and performed by Andrew Wade, produced by Spired Theatre, and presented as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. Wade takes the audience through his personal journey of becoming as emotionally honest a person he can be – all while creating a makeshift polygraph device on stage… The Most Honest Man in the World results in a set of characteristics not easily achieved all at once – it is engaging, emotional, and oftentimes very funny. I would encourage you to attend and share in Wade’s story.” – Mooney on Theatre

 

*****

 

The Hatter

“4.5 stars! Fans of Alice in Wonderland will love this show, and fans of great theatre will also be pleased as Andrew Wade takes the audience on a wonderful journey into the mind of The Hatter as he tries to find his way back to Wonderland. The March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the Dormouse, and even some talking flowers all have appearances in the show, as well as the dreaded Jabberwocky played by two willing audience members.

Getting ourselves a cup of tea on the way in, we were all part of the tea party and even joined The Hatter in a rousing rendition of “The Unbirthday Song.” As The Hatter tries to find his way back to Wonderland and comes to terms with his past, we learn about this complex character’s many layers; he is endearing and sympathetic in his desire to block out reality and return to a place where he can have an “empty mind and a full cup.” Who knew The Hatter was such a profound character?” – The Peak

***

“The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is a fast-paced, interactive performance loosely based on Alice in Wonderland. Playwright and actor Andrew Wade manages to assemble components of the original story into a cohesive tale of the Mad Hatter, whose personal demons drive him to take refuge in the rabbit hole.

The audience is served tea by the Dormouse, takes part in a lively sing along of God Save the Queen (or something similar), witnesses the Mad Hatter being chased by a spoon-spiked Jabberwock, and celebrates everyone’s unbirthday. We also got to scream, shout, and cheer. It was a lot of fun.

Andrew Wade is a graduate of the University of Victoria and he recently won first prize in the 2011 Vancouver Young Playwrights competition for The Romantics. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and joy that he brought to his performance. You can see him at Studio 1398.” – Plank Magazine

***

“From the start, the appreciation Wade has for the character and the source material is very apparent. Opening with an intentionally unimpressive tea setting strain with plastic forks and knives, as well as stuffed animals, Wade delves right in and delivers lines right out of Victorian England. After that, he begins to speak plainly and lets us in on his character’s plight. You honestly feel for him as his sanity begins reconstructing itself. While the narrative’s direction and end are hardly surprising, it’s a fun journey and Wade’s charm is undeniable. While it didn’t wow me, there’s enough to warrant a recommendation to others…. Fact is, Andrew Wade’s play is quite likable. Oh, and the tea is pretty good too.” – Production Ottawa

***

“4.5 stars out of 5! When we meet The Hatter, he has been exiled from Wonderland. His brush with Alice has left him on the precipice of sanity and the sad memories he had left behind in the real world. The audience plays the part of guests at his tea party, with The Hatter pouring cups of tea for people as they enter the auditorium. Their task is to help The Hatter regain his madness and get back to Wonderland. There’s some fun audience participation here. Be ready for awkward singalongs to The Unbirthday Song and God Shave the Queen. There’s also a great sequence where two audience members get up onstage to play the part of the Jabberwocky. Actor Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression. Madness is hard work, and The Hatter constantly strains to see his very real surroundings as fantastical. He’s also tortured by memories from his past life which demand to be heard. At one point, The Hatter promises to read a fun poem to his guests, but when the lights dim and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata starts playing, he dives into the tragic tale of a mythical creature. “Why can’t we let fantastic things be,” he asks in tears. Perhaps because they weren’t meant to last, is the silent reply. In short, you’d be mad to miss this play.” – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

***

“From the mind of Andrew Wade comes the look at the plague of sanity on the Mad-Hatter as he tries to return to the wonderful oblivion that is Wonderland. Forced to confront his sanity in order to return home, the deep secrets of the Hatter comes out in a dizzyingly hilarious yet heartbreaking story of the toll life can take on a man, what he is driven to in order to cope and what he loses in the process. Wade seamlessly changes from madly crazy to just plain mad until the he cannot escape the pain of reality anymore and takes a different trip down the rabbit hole on a path to accept where his life has lead him. His passion alone is reason enough to go and see The Hatter.” – I’m A Rover

***

“Dear Andrew Wade (Writer, Performer, Tea Sommelier),

I liked The Hatter. Really, I did. Your Fringe tea party, which plays at the Tarragon, hits the right notes: it never takes itself too seriously; it shows a clear mastery of the style and text; and it flatters you as a performer, allowing you to play to your obvious and considerable strengths…. You’ve crafted a fascinating, frantic, engaging character who can draw our attention by simply being in the space, and you should be very, very proud of that… PS: The Jabberwocky alone is worth the price of admission.” – Mooney On Theatre

***

“Inevitably, solo shows live or die on the abilities of their performers, and The Hatter is no exception. In that department, writer and performer Andrew Wade doesn’t disappoint… Wade embodies the character of the Mad Hatter perfectly. He’s high-energy, even with a pretty low-energy audience, he never breaks character, and his impressions of the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland are fantastic. He’s also really wonderful at improvisation. My favourite part of the whole show was when he asked an audience member to name a made up song, and one lady gave him “Doodlebug” and he improv’d an entire song about doodlebugs. His enunciation was superb, giving him wonderful command of the tricky language.” – Apartment 613

***

“One-man-shows are often my theatrical kryptonite. What begins as an engaging window into a character often becomes drawn out and tiring, as you see the payoff coming miles away and start fidgeting with your jacket and looking at your watch. If you still have one of those. But forget all of that. What performer Andrew Wade has created with The Hatter is not a window, it’s a frenetic explosion of a well loved literary character that arrives like a volatile parcel from the postal service.

The preparation for this experience is tea, the Hatter’s favourite drink, of which the audience is invited to partake before the show. You will forget your beverage if you don’t finish it before curtain. When the Hatter arrives, it becomes very clear very quickly that he’s under duress. It comes out that the Hatter is trying to get home to Wonderland, and to help him, we’re going to have a tea party.

That’s where normalcy leaves the building. Wade has created an incredible physicality in the Hatter, wound up and tweaked out on just about everything Lewis Carroll might have kept in his bathroom cabinets. He violently snaps between psychological states and recoils in pain as those snaps peak and taper, as if expecting the audience to lynch him. His lyrical speech and balanced singing voice turn acrid and terrifying. Raoul Duke would call him a bad trip. Amongst the discarded plastic cutlery, stuffed animal guests, and countless cups and saucers wades a tortured soul, a character that parallels the washed-up Vegas act returning for another tour only to discover his familiar surroundings are carved of styrofoam and broken glass.

This was one-man theatre as I’ve never seen it, with enough energy and variance of tone to maintain my attention right through to the literally bitter end. If you’re willing to take a chance on what the Mad Hatter character can be, then you must buy this ticket. You must take this ride.” – The Marble Theatre Review

***

“The Hatter wants his madness back. He wants his world back to where it was before Alice arrived in Wonderland, a world where everything from flowers to mice to cats and butterflies can talk. Mostly, he doesn’t want to remember. It’s just too painful. The Hatter, playing at The Playground on King St. in the 2013 London Fringe, is a clever, one-man show written and performed by Fringe tour newcomer Andrew Wade, who borrows Lewis Carroll’s classic tale to give us the back story on the Hatter. It’s a funny show, one where the audience has roles, once they’ve arrived for a little pre-show tea with the Hatter. But be careful. Those who arrive too late for tea may find themselves sipping one of the Hatter’s mad concoctions of tea, a little ketchup, Italian salad dressing and who-knows-what-else. Oh, and there’s singing and even a ‘pitched’ battle with the Jaberwocky, played by two members of the audience. Wade’s performance as the jaded, lonely Hatter is a delight, convincing and poignant, not quite what one would expect, which is perfect for a Fringe festival. The Playground, at 207 King just west of Clarence St., is a small space and Wade makes good use of his stage with an intriguing set using plastic utensils, tea cups and characters, such as the bouquet of flowers the Hatter imagines can talk. The Hatter is a fun show that children might find entertaining, although their parents are sure to feel a little on edge from the tea party upon their arrival through to the opening scene and the show’s poignant conclusion. It’s the same uneasiness you might feel in the presence of someone with mental health issues and you quickly learn to expect the unexpected, which can only be attributed to Wade’s fine acting skills. To maintain that tension for 50 minutes is no easy feat. Yes, there’s lots to laugh about in this original production, but be prepared to experience a range of emotions. The Hatter is a show well worth catching before the final curtain falls on this year’s festival.” – London Free Press

 

*****

 

Assorted Acting Roles

“Andrew Wade’s Skeets Miller is the best reporter of them all, showing that sometimes the story’s subject is more important than the scoop.” – Barrie Advance, Floyd Collins, Patrick Street Productions

“Andrew Wade was superb as the Archbishop of Canterbury.“ – Victorianna, Henry V, KeepItSimple Theatre Productions

“Andrew Wade’s Malvolio is one for the ages… the most sympathetic prig I have ever seen.” – CBC Radio, Twelfth Night