Slip some tickets under the tree for me

By Zoe Grams

Comedy dance troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

Comedy dance troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

Standing amidst endless aisles of festive gift choices, you may ask yourself some important questions: Have you already bought your father everything MEC could possibly offer? (No) Will copious amounts of food be an acceptable gift rather than something more personal? (Yes) Is it acceptable to keep 30% of presents you purchase for yourself instead? (Always)

In the face of such abundance of choice, and the skyrocketing consumption of stuff during the holidays, buying experiences can lessen the pressure of choosing the perfect item while giving a memory more long lasting than the latest fad. We present our top picks for upcoming 2017 performances to put some magic under the tree.

There’s nothing quite like the sight of a man in tights – except perhaps in tights, a tutu, rouge lips and extensive glitter. But the exquisite costumes of the comedy dance troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is one of the least remarkable aspects of their performance. Matching world-renowned ballet technique with laugh-out-loud physical comedy, the all-male company don drag and size 12 pointe shoes to pay tribute to classic works of ballet with irreverence and verve. Performing at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on January 20 and 21, they are sure to be one of the more unusual gifts for Vancouverites.

For loved ones who care more for the '90s than 19th century, another internationally recognized production comes to town from January 13-15. When it arrived on Broadway in 1994, STOMP transformed popular entertainment with their gritty choreography and unusual use of brooms, buckets and bins to create wild, unrestrained music. Their visit to Vancouver marks the city’s first opportunity to experience the much-loved classic in nearly a decade.

Theatre La Seiziéme has built a reputation as one of Canada’s most forward thinking and original companies – and the companies they present are no exception. In Les 7 doigts‘Cuisine and Confessions’, showing at the Vancouver Playhouse from January 25-29, nine acrobats share a giant, stage-sized kitchen to make the most unusual of meals. Ingredients are thrown; dishcloths used as aerial props; utensils exchange hands with furor and drama. A true feast of different art forms, this highly original show is not to be missed.

From real circus to that of the imagination: literary aficionados can enjoy hearing from multi-award winning author Heather O’Neill as she explores her anticipated new book, The Lonely Hearts Hotel, at a Vancouver Writers Fest special event on Feb. 15. Featuring charismatic pianists, radicalized chorus girls, brooding clowns and a bright underworld, the book – and the evening of discussion – promises to be magical and illuminating.

No look-ahead to 2017 would be complete without a recommendation to discover PuSh Festival’s diverse lineup of theatre, dance, performance and art showcased across the city from Jan. 16-Feb. 5. PuSh Passes enable the recipient to choose from four or six shows within the festival. Buzzworthy options include ‘Backstage in Biscuitland’ in which comedian Jess Thom shares her experiences of living with Tourettes; a cutting-edge version of Verdi’s opera ‘Macbeth’; and ‘By Heart’, an exploration of the power of words to preserve culture in the face of any opposition.

May your 2017 be cultured and bright.

All tickets available at ticketstonight.ca, except for Heather O’Neill (theatrewire.ca) and PuSh Festival (pushfestival.ca).