Lovers of theatre, musicals, and storytelling are in for a rare treat on July 6 at Prince Charles Theatre.
Ellie Reynolds, emerging performing artist and Creston Valley local, along with Bessie Wapp, a seasoned professional performer from Nelson – have teamed up to present a double-bill of two remarkable solo performances titled On the Other Hand: two true musical tales of choice.
The first performance of the evening is the brand new, full-length show Matchmaker on the Roof written and performed by Ellie Reynolds. It’s a true tale of bold love, border-crossing and the rediscovery of tradition. Many scenes in the show take place right in Creston and the Rykerts/Bonners Ferry area. Adding a musical backbone to the show, Reynolds has used the themes and music from the well-loved Broadway Show Fiddler on the Roof to help tell her story of leaving home, finding love and creating a family as well as the challenges – both poignant and hilarious – that accompany this journey. Also on stage, Creston’s own Joanna Wilson will be providing live piano accompaniment.
Bessie Wapp’s true (shorter) tale ‘Jesus Christ Superstore’ recounts a surreal weekend where birth control, a cinematic cult classic and the big-box phenomenon converge. This piece has been performed previously at the Oxygen Centre Cabaret, the Kootenay Storytelling Festival and at the Vallican Whole in the Slocan Valley. Bessie Wapp has been working as a theatre-maker and musician professionally for over 30 years, both in the Kootenays, Vancouver and internationally.
Interestingly, Ellie saw Bessie perform Jesus Christ Superstore back in 2017, and it was this experience that inspired her to want to write her own piece combining memoir with musical theatre. “I was fascinated to learn that a performance of mine was the catalyst for Ellie to write a piece of her own. I’m honoured she then asked me to support her to develop and mount that piece, and am very excited to be presenting both our pieces together in one evening,” said Bessie.
‘I believe that when we tell our stories, and excavate for the deeper truths contained within our lived experiences – we open up doors for others to do the same’ says Reynolds. Although deeply personal and particular, both women’s stories speak to our universal longing to find love, family and community; along with the often painful choices we have to make along the way. We hope that audiences will leave drenched in wonder, possibly dabbing at tears, and humming brilliant show tunes for the rest of the weekend.
Creston will be the first stop on the show’s East/West Kootenay Tour. Funded by generous support from the Colombia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Colombia Basin Trust and the RDCK, Reynolds and Wapp are taking this show on the road this summer and fall.
Tickets are priced at a sliding scale $15-20 in advance or $20 at the door. Available at Black Bear Books, Fly in the Fibre, or online from Eventbrite (on-the-other-hand.eventbrite.ca).