Learie McNicolls Dances outside the Box Reply

Review by Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.
        Learie McNicolls’ newest creation, Once I Lived in the Box, at Artword Artbar in Hamilton, was a powerful, yet intimate, piece of choreography. The dancer and choreographer left Trinidad, in 1974, to escape abuse, worked in Vancouver, spent many years dancing with various companies in Toronto but now lives and works in Hamilton.  McNicolls’ powerful dance, combined with music, spoken words, and visuals on a screen, was performed with a trio of women dancers: Angela Del Franco, Sharon Harvey, and Tanis MacArthurEdgardo Moreno’s audio soundscape set the pace with electronic music and recorded blues with electronic modulation.

the dancers, on stage; photo by R. Weihs

the dancers, on stage; photo by R. Weihs

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“Hello Dolly”; ♪ it`s so nice to have you back… ♫ Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

Back in the Nineteenth century there was a popular one-act play about a special day in the lives of some young people. Thornton Wilder pirated the plot for his 1938 ‘Merchant of Yonkers’ tale. Seventeen years later he updated the story as ‘The Matchmaker”. Less than a decade later Merrick turned it into a 2800 performance Broadway musical starring Carol Channing. Since then, “HELLO DOLLY” is almost continually on stage somewhere in America. Now it’s CMT’s turn in the barrel and the result is a ‘gantza megillah’ [big deal!]

The Harmonia Gardens staff welcome DOLLY- back where she belongs

                                       The Harmonia Gardens staff welcome DOLLY- back where she belongs

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“One Hit Wonders”; precious; funky; & groovy Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

reviewerDGcolor              Recollection can be a blissful sensation. Seeing a carefully restored old motorcar stirs ancillary memories of places and people I associate with a 50’s Chevy Belair; Desoto hemi-head; Mercury Montclair; or Ford Fairlane. Songs also bestir memories and THEATRE ANCASTER’s production that tributes those ONE HIT WONDERS) is more than just a romp through six musical decades. No plot-line, but projected video excerpts or TV interviews offer additional mental stimulants. The result is a satisfying evening’s entertainment highlighting forty songs that bestowed the proverbial 15 minutes of fame for their performers.

The contagious energy of Ancaster's "ONE HIT WONDERS"

The contagious energy of Ancaster’s “ONE HIT WONDERS”

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“GREASE”; is the word; is the music; and is the title 1

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG

Dickens wrote about ‘The worst of times; the best of times” but he was referring to the French Revolution – not one’s teenaged years. Obviously he could have been signifying both, for most of us the 15 to 17 year-old era, was an emotional apogee and perigee. For playwrights it was a mother lode: – think “Rebel Without a cause; “American Graffiti”; ‘Saturday Night Fever’, and of course –“GREASE”.

The student body of Rydell High School...the GREASE cast

The student body of Rydell High School…the GREASE cast

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‘YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN’; it’s really Alive Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

Considering the gamut & levels of theatre that critics have the opportunity to witness, most of us 5th Estate types categorize or pigeon-hole the various genera; naturally, leeway is afforded to amateur and community ensembles. Clarkson Music Theatre’s YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN requires no such latitude…it’s as professional as any mainstream company; Shaw, CanStage & Stratford included! This musical (& very much alive) version of Mel Brooks’ 1974 movie hit is even more fun than its film original.

Dr. Freddie Frankenstein & his entourage

Dr. Freddie Frankenstein & his entourage

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“RITE OF SPRING”, et.al. 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Brott Festival ended the season with Stravinsky’s Весна священная» (Vesna svyashchennaya) or – “RITE OF SPRING”. Four years ago, the same organization scored a top of the year’s “TOP TEN” list with a creative & innovative rendering of the composer’s “Firebird”. Legend has it that while composing same, Stravinsky’s mind evoked images of an ancient Russian fable about the season; dancing maidens & sacrifice…the rite of spring. This year’s entry differed, it was a composite evening.

Lavoie & Vanstone acknowledging their WEBER interpretation

Lavoie & Vanstone acknowledging their WEBER interpretation

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