The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, @ S.LT Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

‘APRICOT’, noun; a fruit. Seventy-odd years ago by spelling it APRACOT, this scribe lost out on making history as the only Grade 6 entry on Iona Ave. Public School’s Spelling Bee team. Haven’t eaten one since! So, why bring back old memories by attending a performance of Simcoe Little Theatre’s iteration of the Finn/Sheinkin play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, here-to-for abbreviated “T25APCSB”. Because it’s a cute bit of fluff and especially because the major members of the cast are kids. Talented kids, adorable kids, funny kids- what’s NOT to like?
The directing team of Tony & Michelle Proracki both have teaching and musical backgrounds.   Photo by RoseLe Studio

Jim Donovan & Jada Dawson competing, observed by a dour Rylea O’Toole

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“THIS IS WAR”; as gritty & intense as the real thing Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Hannah Moscovitch is an acclaimed young Canadian writer with a plethora of awards that are not only impressive but especially so given her (almost) tender years. For Theatre Erindale and its director Anita La Selva to decide on staging THIS IS WAR is more than just a challenge, it is a gamble! The play may run only ninety minutes long but for the quartet on stage; and especially for the audience; this is an exceptional demand. The plot-line concerns four Canadian Armed Forces grunts deployed to Afghanistan who have just completed a joint operation with the local militia and it appears that a slaughter may have occurred.

l-r, Ackerman; Boston; Sidlofsky & Cadwell     (Photo by Michael Slater

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“MAMMA MIA”; Theatre Ancaster takes a chance… Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
First saw the Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) silliness ages ago when everybody trooped to Mirvish’s King Street theatre to hear, sing & dance to the mega hit. Thought the movie version (Streep/Brosnan etc.) was a disaster. Last night I again felt the excitement experienced in Toronto during the last century!. It’s toe-tapping; titillating; hummable and certainly encourages muted singing along. Well staged; superbly sung & acted and meticulously directed. Ancaster may be a community theatre, but its efforts are highly professional productions. Their 2018 “CHICAGO” made our O.A.R. Top Ten List and MAMMA MIA is a definite contender for 2019.

Cast & crew of Ancaster’s MAMMA MIA 2019   Photo by John Gillett

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Canadian Brass visits H.P.O. Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin

Two emotional events:- the Hamilton Philharmonic’s musical acknowledgment of Remembrance Day and THE CANADIAN BRASS as guest performers. The former touches both of us as we can remember the days of WWII. Air raids; rationing; slit headlights & blackouts and especially the black sedans that would drive into the neighborhood and disgorge two military types and a priest, minister or Rabbi. That always brought out everyone in sympathy. As for the ‘Brass’ we brought along their 1980 album with Leona Boyd & Erica Goodman. Obviously we’ve been fans for decades. Finally got the album jacket autographed. Traditionally, the concert was opened by the RHLI’s Regimental Band.

“The BRASS” and HPO under maestro Giuseppe Pietraroia’s baton

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“THEFT”; Peninsula Players having fun Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Jimmy Buffett wrote about ‘Changes in attitude; changes in Latitude’; but he was referring to a geographical coordinate rather than a social position. In Eric Chappell’s play – THEFT; two couples who consider each other as best friends, have differing financial positions. Been there, experienced that! The plot describes a weekend at John & Barbara Miles’ country estate. Upon returning to the mansion the quartet realized the place has been burgled and ransacked. All four are unaware that the thief is still concealed inside. When they discover the miscreant, he becomes the catalyst that exposes each of the foursome’s innermost secrets and attitudes within the group.

l-r: Baker; Ingram; Hunt; Nyman & Munroe in “THEFT”

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CZECH TALES; opening concert of 5@1st Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

The opening concert of the 5 at the First season was entitled Czech Tales, featured  the
AYR Trio;  comprised of Angela Park, piano, cellist Rachel Mercer, plus Yehonatan Berick, violin; playing music of Dvorak and Smetana.  The afternoon began with an Hungarian piece, ‘Scenes de la Czarda No.4’ by Jeno Hubay a noted teacher, violinist and composer who taught the teacher of Berick, who then called him his ‘grand teacher’.  This was performed by Julian Kwon, a young violinist from Oakville who is currently the concertmaster of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Berick, Park & Mercer – The AYR TRIO

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