NAO concert, ‘out of this world’ Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell reviewerJudith
Thursday, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (NAO) offered an evening of fantastic music which began with four much-loved John Williams’ compositions: “The Theme from Superman”; Highlights from Jurassic Park; the “Theme from Schindler’s List” and the flying theme from E.T. Each had their own instantly recognizable leitmotif which then expanded into a grand symphonic film score. Superman was masterful and heroic; Jurassic Park curious and probing and Schindler’s List heartbreakingly haunting (the audience barely breathed during the violin solo played by Concertmaster Mark Skazinetsky). E.T. was light, airy and so hopeful…  the music intricate and difficult – written by a true master.

Conductor Brott & a certain 'Star Wars' character

Conductor Brott & a certain ‘Star Wars’ character

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Soulpepper’s Ibsen version lost in translation Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
Why would a modern woman, from a prominent family, have an emotional fixation on a domineering Trump-style male? While this scenario might fascinate reality TV watchers, Frank McGuinness’ 1996 adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House fails to effectively translate the genius of the classic drama. The original Nora Helmer, circa Ibsen’s 1879 Norway, was a strong woman who had little choice but to stay with her controlling mate because of the societal dictates of her day. But in McGuinness’ 1990’s UK, Soulpepper’s Katherine Gauthier’s ‘Nora’, would have had plenty of options.      Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann

Matamoros; Morris; Gauthier & Oladejo in "A DOLL'S HOUSE"

     Matamoros; Morris; Gauthier & Oladejo in “A DOLL’S HOUSE”

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Stratford gives Shakespeare a makeover Reply

Review by Judith Robinson  Reviewer Judith Robinson
The Stratford Festival’s production of Shakespeare in Love presents a William Shakespeare who is rollicking, funny and playful. For those who find the playwright boring, stuffy and out of date, this is the play for you. This Shakespeare is not the stuffy genius taught in schools, who spoke in perfect rhyming couplets, adored by queen and country.
Tom Stoppard’s Shakespeare, as seen in the 1998 movie, and Lee Hall’s adaptation of Stoppard’s screenplay seen here, is funny, down to earth and human. He’s often lost for words and writes bad material. He betrays his friends. He cheats on his wife.  He’s lazy and doesn’t seem very bright. Photo by David Hou

Cast members of "SHAKESPEARE in LOVE"

Cast members of “SHAKESPEARE in LOVE”

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GEORGE FOX @ Music at Fieldcote Concert Series, Reply

Review by Karen DerryReviewer K Derry
Sunday night I had the pleasure of attending yet another great performance on the grounds of the Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster, a seven-acre property just outside of Hamilton. The quaint band shell, with its amazing backdrop of 100 foot pines, is named after Jim Green; a beloved local historian who also helped build it.
About six hundred people attended on this beautiful July night; many longtime fans of George Fox whose career has spanned decades and tours to many countries. including with artists like Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, George Strait and Willie Nelson, playing to sold out North American crowds.

George Fox in a rehearsing moment

George Fox in a rehearsing moment

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Who wouldn’t want to live in ‘OUR TOWN’? Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

The characters and situations in Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town, are a true to life depiction of a tightly-woven North American community, at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Shaw Festival’s production of the 1930’s drama is authentic, heart-wrenching and honest. The play was written to be delivered as an ensemble piece whereby the cast functions like a choir—singing a song in which everyone plays an essential role. Individual characters seldom stand out… Wilder is celebrating life itself – the trajectory of individuals is of secondary importance. Director, Molly Smith, does a fine job of conducting the choir in the manner the playwright intended.  Photo courtesy of David Cooper

Wright; McGregor & Flett; residents of "OUR TOWN"

Wright; McGregor & Flett; residents of “OUR TOWN”

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Shaw’s “BLACK GIRL…” searches for meaning 2

By Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson

             The Adventures of The Black Girl in Her Search for God – Lisa Codrington’s adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1932 short story – is an over-the-top satire on western civilization’s attempts to convert Africans to the Judeo-Christian model. And the Shaw Festival’s lunch hour production is zany, outrageous and through provoking. Director, Ravi Jain, kept the energy high. Characters moved in and off the stage, through trap doors, across the balcony and through the audience. The tone and pitch was intense and the actions at times frenetic. The third wall was frequently smashed.  Photo by David Cooper

the cast of 'BLACK GIRL..."

the cast of ‘BLACK GIRL…”

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