Novel concert by “5@First” … Jazz Reply

Review by Judith CaldwellreviewerJudith
            For a total change of pace from their usual classical concerts, Five at the First offered jazz in the form of the Darren Sigesmund Strands Ensemble for the October concert. The ensemble is a Septet consisting of bandleader and composer of the music Darren Sigismund, trombone; vocals by Valeria Matzner; Luis Deniz, alto sax; vibraphonist Michael Davidson; Reg Schwager, guitar; Jim Vivian on bass and percussionist Ethan Ardelli, each of them has an impressive resume and musical credentials and some have worked with such jazz greats as Diana Krall and Peter Appleyard, so the talent on stage was impressive.

the STRANDS ENSEMBLE; post-concert

the STRANDS ENSEMBLE; post-concert

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“The CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE”; challenging! Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG
Whenever a critic has a bias; prejudice or affiliation with a play or performers, it behooves said critic to admit such beforehand. One supposes that an intrusive medical situation affecting one’s objectivity should also merit disclosure.  I have recently developed a gastrointestinal malaise that forced me to watch about 15 minutes of Act I on the lobby monitor. Providentially, 1st year student & FOH Max Ackerman helped me discern the individual characters. My familiarity with Brecht & his play minimized being away from the actual audience.  Photo by Jim Smagata UTM

Minions helping Victoria Dennis prepare to flee the uprising

Minions helping Victoria Dennis prepare to flee the uprising

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STEPPING OUT; “5 – 6 – 7 – 8” (& the 3 “T” s) Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG
Someone searching for a recipe delineating the ingredients needed for a play about learning to dance, the Google® listings would probably list ‘Billy Elliot’; “A Chorus Line” and perhaps ‘The Full Monty” for icing. Richard Harris’ 1984 creation tells, or hints at the rationales behind a diverse group of lower class ladies & one male enrolling in a church basement tap-dance class. The motivations seem more social than terpsichorean.
Under the direction of Alex Bodnar, the ten cast members construe the stimulus or incentives behind their characters as well as portray in interactions that develop between the attendees.

The cast finally & successfully STEPPING OUT

The cast finally (& successfully) STEPPING OUT

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‘Alleluya’-MUSIKAY’s first Hamilton offering Reply

Review by Judith CaldwellreviewerJudith
             Anyone who likes sacred Renaissance music should have been at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Waterdown on Saturday evening when Musikay presented a program titled “Alleluya” for 4 a capella voices.  Unfortunately, a rather sparse audience found their way there which may have been because this was Musikay’s first concert in the Hamilton area or it may have been because there are no obvious external signs that this church is actually St. Thomas’.  Hopefully more people will attend in future.
The voices belonged to Brenda Enns, soprano; alto Catherine McCormack; Nick Gough, tenor; and Terrance Ball, bass with Maestro Stephane Potvin conducting.

Musikay's soloists: -Enns; McCormack; Gough & Ball

Musikay’s soloists: -Enns; McCormack; Gough & Ball

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“TRUMAN”—the perfect antidote for Trump Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
Actor, David Lundy, gives a stellar performance as the outspoken 33rd U.S. President, Harry S Truman (the “S” stand for nothing), in Buffalo’s New Phoenix Theatre-on-the-Park’s production of “Give ‘em Hell, Harry”. Samuel Gallu’s one man play, first mounted in 1975, is the perfect pre-election show.
Perhaps Harry Truman was the president who had the most to say about protecting regular citizens from corporate greed. Although he came from a business background in the early part of the twentieth century, Truman didn’t pussy foot around in condemning the powerful who attempted to crush the weak. It as if Truman foresaw the degeneration of the Middle Classes.

An amazing  Truman lookalike by his portrayer

An amazingly lifelike Truman by his portrayer- David Lundy

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“ANYTHING GOES”; still tuneful and entertaining Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor
“♫   In olden days a glimpse of stocking… ♪ ”. The period Cole Porter referred to was probably the time leading up to the First World War. Things changed with the Flapper era and the market crash.  By 1934 things hadn’t improved financially, but mores had evolved. Thus ‘anything goes’ became a philosophy. Etobicoke Musical Productions has brought back this tuneful hit that embodies the creative style of pre-Webber Broadway productions – i.e. full measure of memorable songs that were sing-along-able even out of context. EMP has another hit presentation with “ANYTHING GOES”. And if one can’t grasp some of the similes quoted in ‘You’re the Top, write us!

the cast departing the U.S. on their musical ocean voyage

the cast departing the U.S. on their musical ocean voyage

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