In “YAGA,” Slavic Legend meets 21st century Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Yaga, written and directed by Canadian playwright Kat Sandler, brings the old Slavic story of Baba Yaga to new, modern life in a combination of fairy-tale, comedy, mystery, and a commentary on gender and aging. The play opens the Tarragon’s 2019-220 season. With impeccable, often brilliant acting by the well-known Seana McKenna and by Claire Armstrong and Will Greenblatt, the play is fast-paced and funny as well as thought-provoking.  For those who do not know the legend, Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of the mythic witch — seen as old, ugly, cruel (rumoured to eat children).                                                                                                                         Seanna McKenna In YAGA
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O.C.O. honors ‘friends’ L.V. Beethoven & company Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It behooves a classical music writer to have a sliding scale of criticism; the big (size & $$$) outfits should be held to a higher standard than community organizations. Hearing the Oakville Chamber Orchestra’s three dozen musicians and their director, Charles Demuynck, in performance, they deserve as sharp a pencil point as any group…they’re that good! Unfortunately, last evening’s concert was held in St. Simon’s Anglican Church and acoustically; the closest simile I can recall is hearing a band play inside a Quonset Hut construction shed!
The opening work was Beethoven’s ‘Coriolan’ overture. The tale behind the work is about the semi-legendary Roman ‘Coriolanus’.

Soprano Charlene Pauls interpreting “Zerlina” From Don Giovanni

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“Radiant Ravel”; and other stuff by H.P.O. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

  It’s autumn. School’s back and so are the musicians & conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic. The opening concert was eclectic in selections… brief old standards, a premiere composition and an orchestral interpretation of a dramatic ballet. Interestingly, the connection between two pieces is esoteric and somewhat convoluted, unless one is familiar with ancient Greek fables.
The opening work was Dvo
řák’s ‘Carnival Overture’. One of a triptych, this work is well-known and two seems the only one of the three to be performed. Maestra Gemma New gave the piece a forceful yet touching rendering that offered the clarinets and violins the opportunity to demonstrate the familiar syncopation that is a hallmark of the work.  It was an exuberant welcome back.

Dunlop; New & Fedyshyn and an abbreviated HPO performing a new composition

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“MOONGLOW” a gut-wrenching portrayal of Alzheimer’s Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

       ISimcoe Little Theatre’s staging of Kim Carney’s “MOONGLOW” is a dramatic interpretation of two older people committed to a care facility due to the onslaught of dementia.
It is a basic tenet of writer’s )& supposedly politicians) to declare any biases or partiality before putting pen to paper. Hence, the following: – Both my muse and I, on advice from our doctors, underwent cognitive analysis and learned that there has been some
rational deterioration. The prognosis is pessimistic. So, a play about the symptoms and manifestations of the disease will obviously prejudice any critique by yours truly.
One of the symptoms of dementia is regression.

Williams & Carvalho in a dramatic & unsettling moment

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“Hamilton’s annual Street Art Crawl” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Hamilton Ontario used to be known as strictly a lunch bucket community with two major steel factories, the escarpment and a number of waterfalls. Today we have a competitive CFL team, a modern stadium; a renowned symphony orchestra and a vibrant cultural assemblage. And those 100+ waterfalls!. We also have something called an Art Crawl which is three days of terrific. The artisans, performers; food trucks and restaurants; patio bars and resident’s temperaments attracts visitors for not only the ‘Golden Horseshoe’ but other neighborhoods as far as the U.S . border. Unfortunately, most media reports about the event only mention statistics.

       ART CRAWL Visitors milling along James St. North

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Little Shop of Horrors, fun in a flower shop Reply

Review by Marion Davis

NYC’ers know that there’s a hidden part of Manhattan known only to localites that’s acknowledged as ‘Off – Off Broadway’. It’s either basements or lofts or parking garages. Such was the origins of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s 1982 rock musical ‘LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS’. The story is about a ‘Venus Flytrap’ plant that develops a taste for humans.
Audrey 2 (the plant), who was raised at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, has unexpectedly, in a twisted and funny way, planned to take over the Earth. This light musical horror comedy from the 1960’s, is filled with catchy songs throughout the developing horror story while nurturing a love story.

Steve Ross (Mr. Mushnik) and his store clerk played by Andre Morin    Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

 

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