“The Changeling”, a challenge to stage & witness Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
            The seventeenth century play THE CHANGELING by Middleton & Rowley is arduous to stage, difficult to perform and grueling to watch. Despite the foregoing and being dated, Changeling is still popular enough for TV repetitions; radio broadcasts and – of course -stage representations. Stratford’s (& always SHAW’s) Jackie Maxwell has re-dated it to the pre-WWII practice-session Guerra civil- the Spanish Civil War. However, neither Franco’s right-wing forces nor the Falangists, anarchists, Fascist or Nazis involved in the struggle would have incorporated ‘thou’s or ‘maiden’ references into their vocabulary, even their Spanish substitute. So, time & lines seem anachronistic.

another on-stage tense dialogue moment in “THE CHANGELING

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“HMS Pinafore” – all the ‘♫Whys & Wherefores ♫’ Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin

The first time we saw Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1881 operetta ‘HMS PINAFORE’, it was presented by a community theatre group that considered the lyrics remedial for folks with some speech challenges, and certainly singing was more fun than reciting tongue-twisters! The play has a strong but subtle message and denigrates ingrained British snobbism and oligarchic political attainment (think today’s White House). Stratford’s Lezlie Wade meticulously underscores the play’s comedic bent with impacting visual images; a creative and functional set, plus acute physical activity. Her choreographic utilization of the set’s two curved staircases will remind older individuals of the Busby Berkeley routines from the late fifties.

Admiral Laurie Murdoch chastising Captain Steve Ross before the crew & all those sisters/cousins/aunts!

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“TWELFTH NIGHT”, a convoluted five-some affair. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
            Shakespeare’s four century-old comedy still manages to interest audiences and undergoes innumerable incarnations…even at Stratford. Folks still remember the musical version with Brian Dennehy as ‘Toby’. The present version also has music and sung dialogue with accentuation via bell-like crystal emphasis which is occasionally aurally hurtful. The major plot deals with separated siblings and a necessitated transsexual disguise. She; as a he, loves her boss – a duke; he adores a countess who falls for the girl thinking she’s a male, and finally, the villain of the piece, aptly named Malvolio. For our viewing, the intricacies were exacerbated by five casting replacements.

E.B. Smith & Sarah Afful arguing before Shannon Taylor & other cast members

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“♫GUYS & DOLLS ♪” an almost perfect Stratford musical Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Frank Loesser’s interpretation of a couple of Damon Runyon short stories has become a Broadway stand. Every song of the show’s twenty is not only memorable but sing-able even out of context. Under Donna Feore’s direction & her choreography; “♫ it’s better than even money ” that folks will remember it fondly for years to come…we certainly will and I’ve lost count of the times we’ve seen it. The two plots deal first with a hustler, his illegal crap game, and his long-suffering showgirl fiancée. The other story is about a gambler and a Salvation Army-type naif. The support characters are just that –  Characters!        All  our published Stratford photos by Cylla von Tiedemann

Steve Ross ‘nicely-nicely’ exhorting the gamblers to “sit down, SIT DOWN, they’re rocking the Boat”

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“Androcles”- Some Aesop, a lot of GBS, & SHAW’s version. 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Theatre attendance for a critic is supposed to be work, i.e. a chore, an obligation and a duty. Watching SHAW’s director Tim Carroll put his own slant on the 1600-year-old fable is such fun that the concept of being ‘work’ never enters the equation. From the pre-opening intercourse between audience and performers this is eponymous farce and except for two moments of serious didactic dialogue, sniggers chortles & full giggles are the Courthouse theatre atmosphere. The action takes place on the thrust stage, but commentary; opinion and interaction are all solicited from the spectators. The action actually goes right up into the aisles.

Jeff Irving restraining Michael Therriault while Patrick Galligan and the others watch

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1837: The Farmer’s Revolt, a SHAW innovation Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Rick Salutin’s 1973 play recounting an Ontario event that took place thirty years before confederation, and when the Province was still Upper Canada colony; is based on fact and a part of history. It was administered under a socio/political arrangement known as the ‘Family Compact’ with the accent on family. In the Quebec (or Lower Canada) there was a parallel paradigm but it was the Catholic Church and the St Jean Baptiste Society oligarchs that were in charge.  Director Philip Akin utilizes the talents of nine company members to interpret not only the divisive Whig/Tory antagonisms & philosophies; but their individual struggles.

Ric Reid as W.L. Mackenzie exhorting the farmers to revolt

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