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On stage, and at home, in (New West’s) West End
Vince Metcalfe has acted on the stage in London’s famed West End, but it’s the West End of New Westminster, Connaught Heights to be precise, where he lives.
Metcalfe, 60, grew up in New West and first got involved in theatre at NWSS. He’s gone on to do theatre and film work all over North America and Europe, but about 12 years ago he decided to move back to the Lower Mainland.
“I just love New West, but don’t tell anyone because other people will move here,” laughed the ebullient Metcalfe as he walked his dogs along the SkyTrain path last Thursday morning.
In the afternoon, he hopped the SkyTrain to downtown Vancouver and then the SeaBus to North Vancouver where he’s starring in Old Love, a story that spans three decades about a relationship between a salesman and his boss’s wife, until Dec. 18. Despite the vagabond life of a thespian, Metcalfe has managed to cobble out a career that’s enabled he and his wife of 30 years to raise two daughters, one son, two dogs, a cat and a turtle.
“I’ve had a pretty interesting career for someone that’s not really well known,” said Metcalfe. “I’ve got a wife, dogs, a house, the full catastrophe. I’ve been lucky. I’m poor, but happy.”
Metcalfe said he’s done everything from being a toy soldier at Eaton’s to high-end productions in London. “It’s a lot of fun when you’re doing it. It’s a terrible career when you’re not working,” said Metcalfe.
Much of his overseas work was in film and television so his children have received a good education in what Europe and England are all about.
He’s also done some television work closer to home, including the opening episode of the X-Files.
When director Jay Brazeau, a character actor who frequently appears in film productions made in Vancouver, asked him to do Old Love he didn’t hesitate. “He’s a fantastic actor. He’s one of my faves, and when he called and asked me to do this I said, absolutely,’” said Metcalfe. “It is very funny, and it is very tender. It is a really judicious mix of both. And it really is a very good production. I’ve worked around the world and done lots of plays and I’m telling you [co-star Suzanne Ristic] is one of the best actresses you’re ever going to meet.”
The other thing he likes about the play is even kids can relate to it. His offspring came with some friends and they’re all going back to see it again, said Metcalfe.
One time Brazeau said, “Oh, I love that guy” referring to Metcalfe’s character. A woman who overheard said emphatically, “No, no I love that guy.”
“It’s got that romantic feel to it,” said Metcalfe before he joked, “If that woman had a five-minute conversation with my wife it would all be over.”
• Evening shows begin at 8 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave., North Vancouver. Tickets: 604-990-3474. Info: www.phtheatre.org.