The Village Voice has just called Vancouver's Winners and Losers show a "sly, utterly successful production".
This won't come as news to anyone here who caught the staged debating game between Marcus Youssef and James Long, developed by Theatre Replacement and Neworld Theatre. What's so great is that the provocative show, in which the pair ruthlessly square off from the far ends of a long table, competing on topics from Tom Cruise to Ping Pong to political figures and masturbation, continues to draw praise. When it played here, at the Gateway Theatre in 2012, our reviewer said, it's "one of the most exciting, intelligent—and entertaining—shows you’ll see this season".
The Voice review, besides tagging East Van (where both actors reside) and giving colourful descriptions of each guy, had these insights: "The play makes us question how we form judgments based on nationality, education, and other backgrounds — demonstrating how thoroughly they divide us. What starts as a sly and often funny game of differences ends up as a nuanced and unsettling show," adding it's easy for audiences to forget they're watching a staged production instead of a spontaneous dialogue.
Winners and Losers has travelled across the country and as far away as Iceland, Ireland, and Italy. The accolades now are timely with the upcoming opening of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, because that's where the show had its big "push" onto the global stage. As playwright, performer, and Neworld Theatre artistic director Youssef told the Straight last year for the 10th anniversary of PuSh: “I spent last year touring around the world. That would not have been possible without PuSh."