BILLY ELLIOT, the Musical, “Very Fokken Special” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
For over a decade, I’ve had a love/like relationship with director Donna Feore. The lady’s background is classical dance and occasionally she allows her dedication to the art get the best of her. It happened with her work on ‘Oklahoma’, (OAR July ’07) and it’s the only flaw in Stratford’s amazing Billy Elliot, the Musical. Feore utilizes every inch of the Festival’s thrust stage with chorus numbers that are outstanding and definitively bear her imprimatur.
The play has two plots, the first deals with a pre-teen male who decides that he’d like to learn ballet; the other deals with the tragic U.K.’s miners’ strike.     Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Nolen Dubuc (Billy) leading the miners; cops & ballerinas in a big chorus number

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“Ravel & Stravinsky; + Bartok, Prokofiev, & ballet” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, Apr. 28, ‘19

Under the vision of maestra Gemma New , executive director Diana Weir and the HPO Board, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has evolved into something far more eclectic and audience attractive than we saw under previous administrations. This is obvious from the increase of ‘sold out’ concert situations and also from the noticeable atmosphere emanating from the musicians themselves. Last evening’s event under guest conductor Nathan Brock featured the HPO’s concertmaster Stephen Sitarski performing the violin concerto No. 2 by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece is far less known than the composer’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’ or his opera ‘Alexander Nevsky.

Sitarski under guest HPO conductor Nathan Brocki

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“HPO’s Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ afternoon concert Reply

Review by Danny GaisinThe musicians and concertmaster were in costume; the dancers of Freedom Studio – costumed; the audience – totally dressed up. And yours truly was fully attired for ‘Trick of Treating’. The somewhat abbreviated afternoon performance was aimed at a definitely younger audience, hence the selections and duration. Our seatmates were a 4-year old Alice and her slightly older brother. Observing their attentiveness and physical participation spoke well for the endeavour as well as the future of classical interest. Their mimicking of the conductor and fascination with the on-stage dancers defined total engrossment. The concert focal point was conclusively the conductor.

The HPO musicians awaiting Bartholomew-Poyser (aka Grim Reaper)

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“Crystal” – a Cirque du Soleil tour du force Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Canada is recognized internationally for inventing basketball; the ‘Canadarm’; snowmobiles; beating the U.S. In the War of 1812; and then punishing them further by exporting Shatner & Celine! We Canucks can also take pride in the World famous Cirque du Soleil – a worldwide phenomenon. Last night, a special media presentation of this iconic ensemble’s latest show highlighted something dear to us Leaf & Hab fans – ice & hockey, but with a plot & super effects.
Disclaimer: – like many of my press counterparts, an overabundance of visual events can jade one’s taste, and I admit to studiously avoiding figure skating competitions – live or on TV.

‘Crystal’ at school

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“Critiquing (unbiasly); one’s own ‘kiddlies’ in performance” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
            Every experienced critical columnist will admit that writing about kids is anathematic. Even being objective is rife with danger. An unbiased review in keeping with the writer’s credibility reports on flaws; the editor can expect poisoned-pen letters saying “The kid was amazing… even the obvious flaws were cute…and besides, his or her parents were divorcing or separating or the child wasn’t feeling well! So, like all my counterparts, when a request for a child-oriented column is offered, the closet; bathroom; under the desk or a storage area is immediately sought out. Unless it includes one’s own grandkids or great-grandkids.

One of the younger classes interpreting ” “He’s So Fine”

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a BIG (& important) thing for “little people” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
This past weekend, WEST END STUDIO THEATRE co-opted Christine & Lisa Brkich’s TWO SISTERS DANCE PROJECT to present a seasonally oriented short recital geared towards the three to 10-year old category. Both WEST and our ARTS REVIEW fervently believe that instilling an appreciation for live performances can never begin too early. We brought our own ‘kiddlies’ (ages 6 & 5) for their first exposure to the genre. To say they were fascinated and enthralled would be understatement. They sat mesmerized!

The "LEGWARMERS" percussion team!

The “LEGWARMERS” percussion team!

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