“The LADY FROM THE SEA” @ Shaw; Spellbinding Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
The Shaw Festival’s production of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea is sheer perfection. The backstage elements, the direction, and the acting combine to create an otherworldly, enchanting experience. This is not typical Ibsen. Although there is the usual strong female protagonist who struggles against the conventions of middle class morality, as in The Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler, this play goes deeper. The added mythological dimensions, the heightened poetic language, and the ever present pulse of nature overpower the domestic storyline.  Photo courtesy of  Shaw’s David Cooper

Moya O'Connell; Kyle Blair & Andrew Bunker in "Lady from the Sea"

Moya O’Connell; Kyle Blair & Andrew Bunker in “Lady from the Sea”


The Hamilton FRINGE, 2015 1


Ham'n Fringe logo       After a three-year hiatus, the editorial staff of ONTARIO ARTS REVIEW has decided to conclude its boycott, citing a positive change in the Fringe’s Directors. Every Festival demands only the highest level of professional attitude. 

NYC- ‘Garner; Ferguson- Brown; LA- Ford; CLEVELAND- Rice; MADISON- Robinson, all recent front-page headlines about Police shootings, even Toronto had one on the TTC. But the follow-ups about what really happened or the effect on the officer usually end up buried in section two – BTF. Writer/producer Bryan Boodhoo and director Luis Arrojo scrutinize and explore the emotional effect on said police officer. More…

The WATERSHED—A visceral wonder Reply

 Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson

Images powerfully portray the message at the heart of Annabel Soutar’s play, The Watershed—that it’s time for Canadians to stand up and protect their water supply. Soutar’s message was most powerfully communicated subliminally through a visceral encounter with the land. A CanStage production, projection designer, Denyse Karn creates a sense of movement, atmosphere and mood through a series of projected images on the walls, floor and ceiling. The Environmental Lakes Area (ELA) near Kenora came alive through the projections of ice particles dancing in the air. More…

“POPERA”; a smorgasbord of standards + divas/divo’s Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG

From the opening notes of Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” opera overture to the closing  (audience-participating)’ Va Pensiero’ from Verdi’s “Nabucco”; POPERA 2015 had three distinct entities showcased, and one lone (musical) arranger who, even out of context, brought out some of the essence of operatic arias. Entity one certainly had to be the polished members of the National Academy orchestra whose faultless technique and instrumental skill shone throughout. Under the batons of conductor Boris Brott and his apprentice Janna Sailor; the ensemble plus the seven vocalists worked as a harmonious unit.

The soloists performing an aria from "Barbiere"

The soloists performing an aria from “Barbiere”


SHAW’s modern Pygmalion – captivating Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson

Director Peter Hinton’s skillful weaving of modern trends among the classical themes in the Shaw Festival’s production of Pygmalion, grabs the audience’s attention right from the start. The atmosphere is foreboding, contemporary, and prophetic. By placing the action in present day London, this production takes the emphasis away from the sexism of Henry Higgins, played by Patrick McManus, to focus on the modern generation of unemployed youth among out of touch elites. The focal point is on the class struggle–even more pronounced than it was in 1912.  Photo by  Emily Cooper

Meadows refereeing Sandhu & McManus' arm wrestling bout

Meadows refereeing Sandhu & McManus’ arm wrestling bout


“TEA TIME”, N.A.O.’s annual musicale/social event Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The Brott Summer Festival’s High Tea with Giampiero was presented at the Royal Botanical Gardens on Sunday. The National Academy Orchestra and clarinetist Giampiero Sobrino offered a very full and satisfying program. It began with a work by Montreal composer Allan Belkin titled ‘Night Passages’ which did carry the listener along fascinating paths, with intriguing surprises- as promised. It was tonal, harmonic and reminiscent of traditional European works and received emphatic applause.
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (one of my personal favourites) is one of those rare works where all three movements are equally well known and loved.

Sobrino & Max Mauricio-Cardilli; post-concert

Sobrino & Max Mauricio-Cardilli; post-concert