The Laramie project, a dramatic reality recap Reply

Review by Mark Andrew Lawrence

Three items to note about Encore Entertainment’s production of The Laramie Project:
1.      Arrive early – evening performances begin a 7:30 and matinees at 1:30
2.      Plan to stay after the show for the talk-back with cast members
3.      Bring lots of Kleenex… you will need it!

Theatre is a collective experience. Bringing an audience together to observe a story being acted out can sometimes provoke wildly divergent responses.  If the script is good and the performers are committed, that shared communal experience can be overwhelmingly exciting. That kind of excitement permeates this staging of The Laramie Project, a fascinating piece of theatre that essentially chronicles its own creation. More…

Beauty & the Beast—I loved it! 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Disclaimer:  This scribe grew up in Quebec and vaguely remembered a French fable “Belle et Bête” written by Gabrielle Villeneuve in the 18th century… never made the connection to the play cum cartoon cum stage musical 250 years later. Last night seated at the rear of Meadowvale Theatre next to Ursula & Les who were kind enough to reiterate the modern version, thus prepping me for what THEATRE UNLIMITED was about to offer.

Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice collaborated on a musical adaptation of the Disney interpretation that is rather far removed from my childhood recollection. But, it’s actually a more interesting & imaginative story. Director Richard Henry exhibits an amazing penchant for detail, and has certainly motivated his forty-odd cast members to fully explicate all aspects of their individual roles. The set is intricate and creative, the costumes are first-rate and the 12-piece orchestra led by Jan Stapleton is so talented as to perform faultlessly. More…

Kim’s convenience—from Fringe to mainstream Reply

Review by Mark Andrew Lawrence

Soulpepper Theatre launches its 2012 season with Kim’s Convenience by local author Ins Choi who describes the play as “a love letter to his family and to all 1st generation immigrants who call Canada their home.” It is a play filled with passion, honest sentiment and a good deal of humour. Thanks to remarkably understated direction by Weyni Mengesha, it succeeds because in a very short time the audience starts to care about these people and wants to know what will happen to them.

Kim’s Convenience was first seen last summer at the Fringe Festival where thanks to word-of-mouth it very quickly sold out its entire run, sparking a bidding war amongst Toronto’s commercial theatre producers.  Appropriately, since Choi is an alumnus of the Soulpepper Academy, that company won the rights to produce the play. More…

String Extravaganza – Couples Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
On Sunday afternoon at 1st Unitarian Church in Hamilton we were treated to six very accomplished string players introducing us to some  new music and a lovely older work by Brahms.The concert began with Caitlin Boyle, viola and Rachel Desoer, cello, playing a Duo by Walter Piston, a twentieth century American composer who taught at Harvard.  This work is in three movements ending with a lively playful Molto vivace. Our next Duo were Yehonatan Berick, violin and Rachel Mercer, cello who playedTwo Choros bis (1928) by Heitor Villa-Lobos. These represented a new form of musical composition, synthesizing different types of Brazilian, Indian and popular music’ according to the composer when he first showcased the pieces.


Goodnight Desdemona; good morning Juliet @ UTM Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Jan. 21st, ‘12


“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!” Marty McFly – ‘Back to the Future’.

In the 1988 comedy GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA, GOOD MORNING JULIET, author Ann-Marie MacDonald has her pathetic heroine fall down a rabbit-hole à la ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to confront Othello’s wife and Romeo’s love in hopes of proving that their stories should have been comedies if only…!

THEATRE ERINDALE’S innovative rendering of the story is directed by Daniel Levinson in what is a most creative and re-focused progression. The result is sexy, vulgar, very contemporary and overall –funny. Knowledge of the original Shakespearean tragedies is certainly an asset, but Levinson and his extremely competent cast imbue the presentation with a stand-alone quality that is both entertaining and even has a somewhat Coles Notes™ acquiescence to Eng. Lit. 101. More…

Local luminary receives International accolade Reply

Exclusive to the “Ontario Arts Review”

Hamilton is the host city of the Canada’s acclaimed NATIONAL ACADEMY ORCHESTRA whose artistic director is Boris Brott  O.C., O.Ont. Maestro Brott has generated great respect for our city as a cultural center and Mecca for young music degree graduates.

Brott has recently been the guest conductor for operas staged at Verona, Trieste and Bari on Italy’s southeast coast.  Last season’s “MADAMMA BUTTERFLY  and “LA TRAVIATA” garnered such critical compliments that he was appointed Principal Guest conductor for Bari’s Petruzzelli Theatre where Lorin Mazel is Musical Consultant. His success in Trieste last season with “Samson and Delilah” and Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony was such that he was asked to direct Donizetti’s ANNA BOLENA and Verdi’s BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO. Below, in translation, is the review published by the renowned ‘IL MESSAGERO’ of Venice, and critiqued by our Italian counterpart – Danilio Soli