Reviews

CRITICAL RESPONSE TO BROKEN SEX DOLL 

“Musically rich, technically innovative and purely fun… Brilliant staging… It already feels like a cult classic.”
~ Elissa Barnard, 
The Chronicle Herald

“This big, bold, Canadian science fiction, futuristic sex comedy musical is highly entertaining… Broken Sex Doll is an exciting piece of Canadian Theatre with an obvious future ahead of it filled with incredibly talented musical theatre actors.”
~ The Way I See It Theatre Blog (Halifax)

Broken Sex Doll redefines what theatre can do… Impossible to categorize and difficult to describe… Your abs will ache from the fun of it. The success of the show relies on its multi-talented cast. Leading man Benjamin Elliott steals every scene with powerful vocals and enviable comedic timing. It is a show that you won’t soon forget.”
~ Chelsea Stuyt, Vancouver Presents

“Thompson takes sci-fi and pop culture references and deftly builds them into a believable and engaging setting for what is, essentially, a love story. The comedy is hard-hitting, impressively sustained for the entire two hours. There’s a reason why The Cultch brought this show back for another run, so go see Broken Sex Doll. It’s fu…in’ awesome.”
~ Sarah Higgins, PRISM international

“Accolades to the actors: they were funny and delightful. Kudos to Director/Writer/Producer Andy Thompson and his production staff for an entertaining show. It’s that kind of a show that gives us a glimpse of what tomorrow might be for us humans.”
~ Ed Farolan, Review Vancouver

“Supported by a tight ensemble cast, The Virtual Stage’s leads form a powerhouse theatrical quartet, each bringing their own unique talents to the York stage. Considering recent innovations like tablet computing and Google Glass, director and playwright Andy Thompson’s script feels remarkably prescient. You can certainly attend Broken Sex Doll for the laughs alone, but you may find yourself considering the premise in a more intellectual way. Broken Sex Doll has enough dramatic meat to have been a more serious play. The fact that Thompson and composer Anton Lipovetsky joined forces to make a musical comedy instead is just the audience’s good luck.”
~ Lauren, niftynotcool

Broken Sex Doll is fantastically sung, acted, and presented…”
~ Ariana Colenbrander, Vancouverscape

“Breakout hit of the season… The Next Big Thing in Canadian theatre… comic brilliance… Thompson’s script is very smart [and he] directs with aplomb, aided by the talented, versatile cast… Bound for New York and bigger things, Broken Sex Doll looks like another west coast Canadian musical sensation.”
~ Jerry Wasserman, The Province

“A stage show that’s fun [with] a lot of profanity [and] simulated sex… It defies categorization, it pushes boundaries, it pushes its performers – and its audience… This is provocative theatre, the kind that makes you want to write a giant cheque to an independent theatre company, to say ‘keep going!’”
~ Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail

“Don’t see this show unless you want to laugh your face off. It’s rude, rude, rude and funny, funny, funny… Get ready to roll in the aisles… Forget about mascara; you’ll be wearing it all over your face when the curtain falls… If you want to laugh all the way back to your condo (or, as they say in Europe, your condom), this one’s right up your old alley.”
~ Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

“Andy Thompson is a passionate creative man who has a great sense of mischief… Broken Sex Doll is so outrageous and funny I hurt my knee… It’s a dirty, naughty wickedly funny revenge tale… [a] rocking dirty good time with a cast that is to die for!”
~ David C. Jones, The Charlebois Post

“Writer Andy Thompson’s premise is built for outrageousness… buzzing away at full capacity to deliver plenty of pleasure… The unabashed energy of Broken Sex Doll puts it on a fantastic roll early on, as members of the public download the video — ‘And now a sparkling thingy?’ — and flop around like orgasmic fish… There’s not a weak link in the 10-member cast.”
~ Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight

“This is the play you wished you could see when you were 13 and would do any­thing to con­vince your par­ents to let you. Com­bin­ing ele­ments of naugh­ti­ness and vul­gar­ity while still main­tain­ing the plot and orig­i­nal musi­cal num­bers, this musi­cal deliv­ers a bit of the ‘can I really be watch­ing this in pub­lic?!’ feel­ing… Will definitely leave you satisfied…”
~ Emily Ross, Sad Mag

Broken Sex Doll writer/director Andy Thompson has created fantastic yet believable future… The dialog is quite hilarious… a campy and really enjoyable love story… Wild stage performance…”
~ Myles Constable, Vancouver Vantage

CRITICAL RESPONSE TO THE ZOMBIE SYNDROME

“Writer and director Andy Thompson effectively puts us on edge early into the show, as we quickly found ourselves constantly looking over our shoulders for the next zombie interaction…  What could be described as The Amazing Zombie Race, the prize at the end of The Zombie Syndrome isn’t a million dollars, but the supposed satisfaction in knowing that you (hopefully) saved mankind.”
~ Mark Robins, Gay Vancouver.net

“Vancouver seems to have set a standard for site-specific theatre… The Virtual Stage – which specializes in multi-media presentations – has taken things a step further with The Zombie Syndrome… A uniquely fun adventure…”
~ David C. Jones, The Charlebois Post

“A surprising trek… Makes for some kidlike fun… I was so into it and so determined to protect the innocent that I might have derailed the performance if firm hands hadn’t stopped me…  It’s kind of a trip and it’s original.”
~ Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight

“A rollicking good time, and definitely something out of the ordinary. It’s a great concept and I’d love to see more takes on this type of roving audience participation theatre in the future.”
~ Kimberley Davison, vanvantage.com

“It’s a brilliant concept, and wonderfully crafted by The Virtual Stage. I honestly want to spill my guts about this experience, but you really have to see it for yourself!”
~ Dan Culic, Homorazzi

“This unique theatre experience is as close as anyone can get to making ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books a reality…  The factor of surprise is what makes this production so special…”
~ Anja Savcic, Vancouver Weekly

“I had fun and really enjoyed the innovative concept of this show…  Worth checking out…”
~ Tessa Perkins, Press+1

CRITICAL RESPONSE TO 1984

“Stage adaptation of 1984 shows a thorough understanding of Orwell’s warning… So true to the author’s grim intent… audiences can actually feel a frisson of fear… Thompson’s script is a perfectly polished condensation of the story. Every tiny detail of the production has been so thoroughly thought out in service of the story that this co-production by The Virtual Stage and Studio 58 stands as the template for any future version of 1984.”
~ Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun

1984 still resonates… A haunting, powerful production.”
~ Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

1984 remains chillingly relevant… It’s a faithful adaptation given a masterfully creative treatment… Marriages are seldom made in heaven, but putting The Virtual Stage and Studio 58 in bed together is a matchmaker’s dream.
~ Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier

“Terrifying but terrific… [Playwright] Thompson and director Ron Jenkins have made the right choices… The ultimate power of this production is the success it has in creating the suffocating world of totalitarianism, moment by deadly moment… The sum of this production is greater than its parts — and the parts are all excellent…
~ Martin Millerchip, North Shore News

“Nothing short of a visual feast… Impeccably executed sequences… [Director Ron Jenkins] has clear vision, and combined with Andy Thompson’s whip-smart adaptation, the show is sure to resurface in a more substantial run.”
~ Dave Deveau, Sad Mag (Vancouver)

“This adaptation stayed true to the story and presented the world of Big Brother in a very compelling way… The acting and staging were perfect…”
~ Tessa Perkins, pressplus1.com

“Outstanding… powerful production…”
~ Ed Farolan, Review Vancouver

THEATRE REVIEWS: Acting

“Uniformly solid work from the cast, especially Andy Thompson as Tesla…”
~ Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight – on the 1996 Brilliant! by Electric Company Theatre

“Thompson truly carries the show.  His playing of poor Nathan as a likable schlep who grows more crazed with every word he reads about Hebron has a palpable sense of the suffering some Jews feel when forced to confront the excesses of Israel.”
~ Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun – on Reading Hebron (1998) by Firehall Arts Centre

“Andy Thompson makes a wryly comic von Alvensleben.”
~ Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight – on The Wake (1999) by Electric Company Theatre

“Andy Thompson’s performance as Michael is the rock upon which this production is built… The subtlest comic performance of the season…”
~ Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight – on Valparaiso (2001) by The Virtual Stage

“Andy Thompson gives a bravura performance as a man who has misplaced not only his body, but his soul.”
~ Valerie Gregory, The Globe and Mail – on Valparaiso (2001) by The Virtual Stage

“Thompson is so magnificently overwrought that he creates a blizzard of paper in a portable office.  His over-the-top frustration is funny, yet the comedy has an edge.”
~ Leanne Campbell, Westender – on The Fall (2003) by Electric Company Theatre

“Andy Thompson’s Wayne is a great nerd, kind of an evil Eugene Levy.”
~ Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight – on The Fall (2003) by Electric Company Theatre

“Thompson again nails the neuroses of this confused thirtysomthing, who married a shiksa and let her slip away, just like everything else in his life.”
~ Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun – on The League of Nathans (2004) by Touchstone

“A strong sense of physical comedy…”
~ Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun – on Other Freds (2005) by The Only Animal

“The coterie of Freds contains some of Vancouver’s most talented physical comics…  Andy Thompson is a big, bald, angry Fred.”
~ Leanne Campbell, Westender – on Other Freds (2005) by The Only Animal