Wonderfully Irrelevant

“Live From Kelowna - It’s The Irrelevant Show”

On March 18, New Vintage Theatre was fortunate to present the nationally renowned series, The Irrelevant Show. 

The live show for over 750 happy fans was taped, and will air on CBC radio this weekend and on the May long weekend to the over 350,000 regular listeners of the show.

It is with great anticipation that I await this broadcast. The audience loved the show, and found it fascinating to see the troupe perform live after years of listening to them on the radio.  

Neil Grahn, Jana O’Connor, Mark Meer, and Donovan Workun are some of the best performers we have in Canada, and under the helm of writer/director extraordinaire Peter Brown they make a killer cool combination. 

Audiences were equally enamoured by the production of the broadcast, complete with live sound effects by Dave Clarke and original music by Jan Randall and guest performer Cathy Derkach.    

But what happened behind the scenes during this event? And what are The Irrelevants really like? 

First and foremost, they are incredibly talented and generous people. The members of the group come from Edmonton, and many of them gained their notoriety as artists from The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, and as performers in long running weekly improv shows and comedic productions based out of The Varscona Theatre. 

They are determined, hard-working, and have been at this for a long time. Writer/performer Neil Grahn was a member of the popular 90s comedy group, Three Dead Trolls in A Baggie, and Peter Brown was a beloved host of CBC Edmonton’s local radio RadioActive show.  

So, you might think that these seasoned performers, who have the opportunity to travel all over the world, would be pretty distant and cool to our little theatre company and small city. After all, Donovan and Mark were featured performers in London at The London Jam and Improvathon

Nothing could be further from the truth. They were excited to hang out with us after the show, and they stayed on to perform a full day of panels. They did shows the following day, helping us with Star Wars vs. Star Trek, the live script readings, and performed the hilarious Dr. Whom.  

The Irrelevants may be cheeky on the air, but in person they are incredibly generous. Oh, and they ask only a few things in return. Perhaps a hearty sandwich and a cold beverage. 

Director Peter Brown and I had several great planning phone conversations, the most hilarious being the ones about where they could find Kelowna’s most “hearty sandwich”. We did give them the many delicious options K-Town has to offer, and they were satiated with all the food we proffered. 

When we invited them to stay after their shows to hang out with us, we discovered that the funny and genius is not reserved just for the stage. They are a charming and endearing lot that my co-producer described as, “a group I just fell in love with.” If she did not have a handsome husband and two children at home, I think she might have run away with The Irrelevant Show that night.

As for cold beverages, I think it speaks volumes that I got a message from one cast member the next day offering to mail me the amount of money for a beer he forgot to pay for. Needless to say, it was on the house.

What did The Irrelevant Show think of us? I think they were pleased. If you were in the audience on March 18, you know that it was a lively event. The cast said that they received the best “clap” they have ever heard. It was perfectly in unison, and that was something that Peter Brown had never heard in all his years of radio. 

The gang remarked how responsive the audience was, and that there were a couple of times when the audience was so into it they wondered, “Will we get this back on track?”

I also received this huge compliment from Peter Brown a couple of weeks back about our Kelowna Community Theatre, “Our editor, Ray, says he's never had such clean tracks to work with -- you tuned the PA perfectly for the room, so the audience is warm and present, but doesn't step on our other mics at all. He says he's never had better tracks to work with, and he wanted me to pass along his compliments and thanks.”

Last, but not least, they mentioned our charismatic Mayor Colin Basran, and how great he was in the show.  Donovan said, “Your Mayor is the coolest, and we can say that because we have a cool Mayor in Edmonton, too.” Peter remarked that the mayor was so good they were worried he might steal the show, but I can assure all of The Irrelevant Show cast and crew that they really entertained the crowd that night. It was a fantastic performance by all. 

So what’s next? Listen to the CBC broadcast, and share, tweet, and chat all about it. That way, we can get a buzz going about Kelowna - the best place in Canada to perform . . . and to get a hearty sandwich and delicious cold beverage.

The Irrelevant Show airs this weekend (May 7 & 8), and May 21 & 22 at 1:30 pm on Saturdays and 6:30 pm on Sundays.

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About the Author

Bonnie Gratz is an actor, director, and playwright. She is the Artistic Director of Kelowna's New Vintage Theatre, and a member of the Playwright's Guild of Canada and The Literary and Dramaturges of North America. 

For more on Bonnie, check out www.bonnie-gratz.com or check out www.newvintage.ca

Contact Bonnie at:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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