Review by Judith Robinson
The characters in Soulpepper’s production of “Innocence Lost; a play about Steven Truscott”, are collectively evil, ignorant and frightening. Director Jackie Maxwell creates a stunning ensemble masterpiece and a community chorus of condemnation reminiscent of the Greek tragedies in her depiction of Beverly Cooper’s docudrama.
While most Canadians might find it hard to believe, that an innocent 14-year-old boy would be wrongly convicted of rape and murder in their neighbourhood, this play reveals that it’s a likely possibility. Nancy Polk’s compelling portrayal of Isabel LeBourdais, the writer who spent many years attempting to acquit Steven Truscott after his 1959 conviction, demonstrates that justice seekers are an unpopular lot.
The Police ‘mugshot’ of a young Steven Truscott
Review by Judith Caldwell
Handel’s Israel in Egypt is rarely performed because it is such a formidable undertaking requiring a double choir of 80 voices at the very least; an accompanying orchestra, six soloists and a very courageous conductor. The Bach Elgar Choir teamed up with The Grand River Chorus to make a double choir of 110 voices which was accompanied by a 25-member orchestra who managed to sound much bigger than their numbers suggested. Originally Handel wrote a 45 minute opening act of lamentation for the death of Joseph, but this was not well received by his first audience.
The combined performers for Handel’s ‘ISRAEL in EGYPT’
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Evan Placey’s play Girls Like That, now at the Tarragon’s Mainspace, is a play of paradoxes – and a powerful, captivating theatrical experience. It is a feminist play written by a man, and rings true both psychologically and socially. It depicts adolescent girls who live by their cell-phones and social media, yet it appeals both to teenagers and to older women — and men. I attended a matinee where most of the audience were high school and university students who said that the play reflected their lives. There were, however, a number of audience members older than the “social media generation,” who said they, too, identified with the characters and action. Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann The ensemble of “GIRLS LIKE THAT” More…
Review by Judith Robinson
Countless obstacles contrive to stop Ma Rainey, the real life mother of soul, played by Alana Bridgewater, from recording her music in Soulpepper’s powerful production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In a 1927 studio in Chicago, Ma is beset with car accidents, racist cabbies, bullying police officers, equipment failures, unfaithful lovers, ambitious underlings, impatient bosses and unfair pay. (While Ma got $200 for her session, Al Jolson would have gotten $10,000.) Though Ma’s spirit is strong, she is on the edge, due to the endless barriers keeping her from getting what she deserves. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Stewart, Griffith & Bridgewater in’ MA RAINEY’
Review by Danny Gaisin
This paper rarely writes about radio; except maybe to complain ( commercials on Non-commercial stations; or those calling themselves NEW after a dozen years etc.) But in order to escape the Harry/Meghan Show, we listened to a CBC program entitled ‘My Music’ that featured Montreal’s Denis Brott. A stalwart of the Orford String Quartet and with a deserved O.C. after his name, this renowned cellist proved to have a genuine sense of humour and an ability to tell stories that showed his own warts and failings. Obviously, in spite of his accolades, the man still has a sense of humility without egotism or excessive vanity.
Denis Brott & his cello (looks like the entrance to McGill’s music centre)
Review by Danny Kert-Gaisin
According to the Gershwin’s ‘Crazy For You‘, the ‘Great American Folk Song is Rag’. I beg to differ- It’s the Western Theme song. Think of ‘The Big Valley’; “Gunsmoke”; ‘Davey Crockett’; High Noon” or ‘Bonanza’ and I’ll bet that the melodies pop immediately to mind. So, opening a Hamilton Philharmonic concert dedicated to USA’s musical icon Leonard Bernstein with Aaron Copland’s Rodeo is a super choice. The friendship between these two admirers lasted from 1932-until their deaths sixty-seven years later. This writer’s admiration for both was, and is, diverse but palpable. Copland taught at Rochester’s Eastman when cousin Barbara studied there;
Porthouse; New; & Iadeluca stage front with the H.P.O.