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Critic's picks: Ukraine play; Victoria Symphony; Ensemble Laude

Arts writer Mike Devlin picks his favourite upcoming events, including A Dictionary of Emotions in War Time at Metro Studio, May 3-11.
Anastasiia Konstantynova co-stars in A Dictionary of Emotions in War Time. HELP UKRAINE VANCOUVER ISLAND


Where: Metro Studio, 1411 Quadra St.
When: May 3–11, includes evening shows (7:30 p.m.) and matinees (2 p.m.)
Tickets: $26.25 from

Why: Nine performances of a play about the 2022 invasion of Ukraine are on tap May 3-11, which gives Victoria audiences the opportunity to revisit a moving piece of theatre that had its world premiere in Victoria in January.

A Dictionary of Emotions in Wartime details the reality of war with unflinching clarity, and features the contributions of several Ukrainians who relocated to Victoria after fleeing their war-torn country, including stars Anastasiia Konstantynova and Kseniia Sinelikova.

The story from Ukrainian playwright Olena Astasieva (whose proceeds benefit the Help Ukraine Vancouver Island Society) deserved a second run in this city. Don’t miss it.

Note: A Dictionary of Emotions in Wartime is not deemed suitable for attendees 16 and under, due to its themes.


Where: Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St.
When: Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 5, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $29-$108 from the Royal McPherson box office (250-386-6121) or

Why: With his The Piano Men tribute, Jim Witter has made a career out of interpreting the music of Billy Joel and Elton John. The Hamilton, Ont., singer and pianist clearly knows the catalogue of the Hall of Fame hitmakers inside and out, which makes him an ideal participant in It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me, the latest pops concert from the Victoria Symphony.

Under the guidance of conductor Sean O’Loughlin, the orchestra will follow Witter as he strolls though the 1970s and ’80s and some of the signature John and Joel songs of the era.


Where: St. Mary of the Incarnation, 4125 Metchosin Rd.

When: Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $25 from; $30 at the door

Why: A picturesque Metchosin church seems like the ideal place for a baroque concert blending medieval repertoire and contemporary choral works, especially a Spring-themed one entitled Bloom.

The program highlights contemporary Canadian composers, including Sarah Quartel, Katerina Gimon, Marie-Claire Saindon, Eleanor Daley and Sherryl Sewepagaham, and is presented in tandem with the release of the choir’s similarly-themed new album, Vox Femina, its first in over 10 years.

There’s an added incentive for longtime supporters as Bloom will be the final concert under the direction of artistic director Elizabeth MacIsaac, who is embarking on a year-long sabbatical.

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