Vancouver Sun

Jerry Wasserman

Vancouver Sun

SOUL SAMURAI BY QUI NGUYEN

Vancouver International Fringe Festival 2017

Talk about hot. This is a spectacular queer mash-up of martial arts and blaxploitation theatre and film with vampires thrown in for good measure. Nathania Bernabe stars and directs a cast whose movement and combat skills are right off the wow! scale. And these kids can act.

The show features a dozen major fights, each sensationally choreographed, with Jarelle Hepburn, Eryka Alanna and Jordan Svenkeson playing various baddies. They fight with swords, sticks, hands and feet. It’s breathtaking to watch them up close, and amazing that no one gets hurt.

Bernabe is fabulous, riveting in both her physical work and Dewdrop’s journey from weak girl to Samurai superwoman. Ticzon’s Cert is a riot.

The filmed flashbacks are as impressive as the stage work, and the hip hop soundtrack is mesmerizing.

A smart, crazy, engaging script with remarkable production values, superbly performed and directed, this must-see show deserves a regular season run at the Cultch.

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Edmonton Journal

Janet French

Edmonton Journal

HEROINE BY KAREN BASSET

Edmonton Internartional Fringe Festival 2018

4.5 stars out of 5 BY JANET FRENCH

Vancouver-based Affair of Honor describes itself as a “fight and movement-based theatre and performance company,” and these actors have serious skills — fencing, sparring and wrestling around the stage convincingly during their numerous conflicts. Bernabe and Hanlin must be wickedly fit to keep the intensity up for the 90-minute show.

As smooth as the fight choreography is, the production is equally committed to strong

acting, along with a bold message about society’s expectations of women.

“Look at us,” Bonny says to her frienemy, Read. “We don’t fit the mould, no matter how hard you squeeze.”

Come for the action, then imbibe the delicious feminism.

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The Gateway

Nina Legesse

The Gateway

HEROINE BY KAREN BASSET

Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2018

Affair of Honour’s production of Karen Bassett’s drama Heroine opens in a desolate atmosphere in the aftermath of a pirate battle, which left me feeling trapped and terrified from the start. Suffice it to say that I was — if you’ll pardon the pirate pun — hooked.

Vancouver-based actors Jackie T. Hanlin and Nathania Bernabe captured my attention with phenomenal performances, playing foils so vivid they could both sustain a one-woman show. Yet put together, it’s their chemistry that brings life to the static prison setting.

A dozen finely choreographed sword combat sequences elevate both the drama and comedy in Heroine. Each act is broken up by action sequences that showcase innovative lighting and sound design. Still, director Mayumi Yoshida chooses to strip away these elements at times to let raw trauma emerge from the characters.

Between hilarity and tragedy, every moment of Heroine is electrifying. Even without its masterful orchestration of design, choreography, and acting, the words that craft this story are enough to convey the battle of being human — and woman — with painful honesty.

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The Georgia Straight

Kathleen Oliver

The Georgia Straight

SOUL SAMURAI BY QUI NGUYEN

The Nest 2018

The combat scenes are expertly choreographed by Nathania Bernabe, who also plays Dewdrop, and Jackie T. Hanlin, who plays Sally. As actors, they both create nuanced, sympathetic characterizations, and their resources as fight directors seem limitless. One of the most arresting movement sequences is a fan dance reinvented as a display of gang aggression; it’s fantastic. The company repeatedly displays a jaw-dropping level of physical skill. 

Under Bernabe and Mayumi Yoshida’s direction, there are other standout performances in this solid ensemble. Lou Ticzon provides comic relief as wannabe samurai Cert, with his hip-hop pretensions and impeccable timing. Playing Dewdrop’s martial-arts instructor, Master Leroy, Maxwell Yip has a magnetic stillness. And Romuald Hivert displays his versatility, playing both the fanged and feral Boss 2K and his mild-mannered pre-vampire counterpart, Marcus Moon.

We meet Marcus mostly in Nach Dudsdeemaytha’s film sequences, some of the highest-quality film work I’ve seen in a theatre production, which are often integrated with the live action. Chad Cuthbertson’s animation sequence late in the play is also exceptional.

The scope of ambition—and achievement—in this production is off the charts. 

Nomination

Jessie Richardson Theatre Award

Nomination 

JESSIE RICHARDSON THEATRE AWARDS

Significant Artistic Achievement - Small Theatre


Achievement: Outstanding fusion of kinetic dance and martial arts fight choreography


Production: Soul Samurai 2018

Fight Choreography: Jackie T. Hanlin and Nathania Bernabe

Movement Choreography: Nathania Bernabe
 

Beer Tent Reviews

Fawnda Mithrush

Beer Tent Reviews

PLAYTHINGS BY NATHANIA BERNABE AND JACKIE T. HANLIN

Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2019

Few things are more over-the-top than a war between gods, and when those gods use humans as action figures to vent their insecurities you get a fun, fast, and furious show like Playthings.

 

The balancing act here is between the comic jabs of Ares and Athena (Cole and Elizabeth Young) and the high energy, dramatically scored fight scenes of their mortal warriors, performed with verve by Nathania Bernabe and Jackie T. Hanlin (who also double as the show's producers and fight choreographers).

Frankly, it was refreshing to see so much slaughter and spitting from a 75% female cast.  With pretty impressive death throes, too. These physical performers let the action do the talking.

A treat for fans of D&D. swords. and convincing stage kills.

© 2019 by Affair of Honor

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