“Bedtime Stories”, giggles interspersed with drama Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Prolific (52 & counting) Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s “BEDTIME STORIES” is a challenge not only for a director, but for audiences as well, given that format and plot lines are so contrived and web-like in coherency that concentration is highly mandated.
The six vignettes are totally diverse yet intermingled via a radio broadcast and by familial relationships. Personas that we meet prove to be someone mentioned, referred to or a character seen in a previous sketch. Foster does not telegraph these contrivances; thus the needed engrossment in order for the viewer to stay cognizant.

The BLT cast of “BEDTIME STORIES”

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“Little shop of (Hilarious) Horrors”; by Burloak. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The ridiculous concept behind the 1960 B-movie and subsequent off-Broadway presentations led to a big-budget film 25 years later directed by Frank Oz of Muppet & Sesame Street fame. A voracious Venus Flytrap; an amateur botanist; a failing flower retailer located in the slums; and a terrific trio of back-up singers provide all the ingredients for an evening of mirthfulness and entertainment…but only if done as professionally as possible. BurlOak Theatre group and director Mike Ranieri have staged something faultless. Attending a final dress rehearsal meant that this scribe was accorded the opportunity to observe the stage manager’s (Greg Stanton) last chance for his ‘technical tweaking’.

The cast of BurlOak’s “Little Shop of Horrors”

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“The Ghost in the Meadow”, – spooky fun Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

A creepy old house in upper New York State; a constant storm with power outages; church bells ringing the witching hour; and naturally – doors that open & close by themselves…all the ingredients for a scary couple of onstage hours. The Peninsula Players present this Joe Simonelli ‘dramady’ (sic) with the obvious goal of eliciting fright & comedic moments in equal parts. Directed by Ray Hunt, the four characters represent stereotypes and their responses to the supernatural. There is a cynic, one cast-member is the logician, another is gullible, and for tension relief – one is incredulous.    Note: read my final paragraph .

l-r   Munroe; Ingram; Blain & Pleydon. The apparition is Briana Claus

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“Anything Goes”, (and keeps on going) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
During the recent Olympics, there was a kerfuffle over judging. Seems a skater received less points than a competitor that actually fell on the ice. The refs explained that marking was done on the basis of undertaken difficulty; same thing happens with theatrical critiquing.
McMaster’s Musical Theatre decided to stage the Cole Porter durable creation
ANYTHING GOES deserves an unsharpened pencil; because putting on a demanding big cast; big crew, Broadway musical is daunting enough without having to face a tough reviewer.  The 1934 play is based on a Wodehouse & Bolton story with Porter writing both the music and the lyrics.

The passengers & crew of USS America, for whom “Anything Goes”

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“A theatrical ‘Double, Double’” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Baseball has it’s ‘double header’; opera ‘s “Pagliacci” & “Cavalleria Rusticana” are always performed as a duo; and theatre has the two one-act efforts – Shaffer’s BLACK COMEDY and Stoppard’s THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND performed sequentially. Oakville’s Drama Series has both entries directed by Jeff Morrison; so he must work under two distinct mindsets and two different cast teams. A challenge, but one that is well met.
Black Comedy is unusual in that it is a ‘reversed lighting’ process, i.e. the stage is lit for the major period of a blackout, but is in almost total darkness when the power comes on.

Activity in the (supposed to be) Dark!

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Drury Lane’s “Music Hall”; ver. 38.1 Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Wikipedia defines the term ‘Music Hall’ as a British format circa 1850 that paralleled the American Vaudeville genus. The UK.’s vaudeville sector was lower class and thus more in keeping with the burlesque shows on this side of the pond. The style(s) remained popular for a century. Why the history lesson? Just to introduce the oddity that is Drury Lane Theatre Productions who can continually fill a house for just short of four decades!
Directed & choreographed by Caroline Clarke & Shelley Rennick, audiences are the recipients of the requisite telegraphed one-liners; skits; chorus numbers and are essential participants in commentary and sing-alongs.

                                                                    A difficult photo-op situation, on stage

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