Shaw’s “MASTER HAROLD”- magical! Reply

Review by Judith Robinson
     The Shaw Festival’s production of Master Harold and the Boy kept the viewers on the edges of their seats for a full ninety minutes. Based on an incident in playwright Athol Fugard’s youth, the 1982 drama created an atmosphere of simmering tension, until the pot boiled over, and the audience leapt to its feet in an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Master Harold’s plot centers around the friendship between a white South African teenager, Hally, (Fugard’s childhood nickname), played by James Daly, and his black friend, Sam, played by André Sills—a clerk in his mother’s café and a servant in Hally’s home.   Photo by David Cooper

Andre Sims; James Daly & Allan Lewis in a dramatic on-stage moment

Andre Sims; James Daly & Allan Lewis in a dramatic on-stage moment

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The H.P.O.’s BRASS QUINTET in the park Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor
The Hamilton wind was blowing at about 25 knots with gusts to 40; the Hamilton (HPO) Brass Quintet was blowing up a gale…of classical music! A free concert at the George Robinson band shell in Gage Park entertained a large group of fans including jammied kids, pets; picnickers; plus collapsibleas & blanket sitters. It was a ‘Tanglewood’ lite occasion and even the threat of rain fortunately held off. An early (7-ish) start offered sixteenth century compositions and the evening ran the gamut to as contemporary as today. Trombonist David Pell doubled as M.C. and offered a non-patronizing introduction for each piece being performed.

The H.P.O.'s Brass Quintet performing Hauser's 'scherzo'

The H.P.O.’s Brass Quintet performing Hauser’s ‘scherzo’

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Underhay triumphs in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
All eyes were on Nicole Underhay as she demonstrated the muscle, power and competitive spirit of Olympic sprinter- Usain Bolt. She outran the pack in the Shaw Festival’s production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession with the style and grace of the gold medal runner. While Underhay was clearly capitalizing on playwright George Bernard Shaw’s brilliant speeches, she was taking their impact to a whole new level.
The role of Kitty Warren has its complexities – testing the emotional strength of the most seasoned actor. The brother Madame must be a genius entrepreneur, a cool-headed manipulator, seductive, warm-hearted, maternal and generous.   Photo by David Cooper

cast members of "Mrs. Warren's Profession

      Cast members of “Mrs. Warren’s Profession

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NAO offers glorious classical tribute concert Reply

Review by Judith CaldwellreviewerJudith     The National Academy Orchestra’s (NAO) latest concert entitled ‘From Tchaikovsky to Ravel’ featured some energetic, well-performed pieces interspersed with new work. The concert opened with a composition by Ana Sokolovic commissioned for the NAC Orchestra, entitled Ringelspiel, which means merry-go-round. It is meant to conjure up both the ride-on variety and the toy table-top variety to transport the audience back to childhood simplicity. The piece was unmelodic and the rhythms so fractured that it was difficult to find an access point. The use of an extreme range of strings to create scratchy, screechy sounds made it less than endearing.

Sara Davis Buechner; post-performance

Sara Davis Buechner; post-performance

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“39 Steps”, to laughter! Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
Soulpepper’s production of 39 StepsPatrick Barlow’s 2005 adaptation of John Buchan’s 1915 novel – is fun, frolicking and witty. While the tension, passion and intrigue of Hitchcock’s 1935 film version lurks beneath the surface – this play is closer to Monty Python than a suspense movie. Fresh from his refreshing role in Incident at Vichy, the multi-talented Kawa Ada took the lead role of Richard Hannay – an innocent man plunged into the London underworld – after a mysterious woman was murdered in his flat. Like Alice in Wonderland, or Dorothy in Oz, he was forced into an unfamiliar terrain where he encountered weirdos wherever he went.

Andrew Shaver; Raquel Duffy & Kawa Ada in a scene from "The 39 Steps"

 Shaver; Duffy & Kawa Ada in “39 Steps”,  Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

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Soulpepper’s gut-wrenching ‘Father comes home…’ Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
     Father Comes Home from The Wars (Parts I, II, III) – three short plays in a three-hour production – explores betrayal, bigotry and the fight for freedom during the American Civil War. Soulpepper’s production of Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ work is gutsy, moving and risk-taking.  The energy peaks in the second section entitled “A Battle in the Wilderness” when Dion Johnstone, as Hero, the central character on a journey, loosely fashioned after Homer’s Odyssey, becomes lost in the wilderness in the midst of a Civil War dispute. Hero has chosen to follow his master;    Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann

cast members of "Father Came Home" in a dramatic moment

cast members of “Father Came Home” in a dramatic moment

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