Soulpepper’s John Eh? Larger than life Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

Michael Hollingworth’s, play, Confederation & Riel, paints a portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald never before seen on a Canadian stage. While the founding father’s foibles are infamously familiar, actor Richard Clarkin leaves the stereotyped caricature far behind, and guides the Prime Minister into the territory of a brilliant, scheming statesman.
In this VideoCabaret/Soulpepper production, Macdonald’s every gesture, comment, and excess mannerism, becomes infinitely believable. It is not difficult to accept that in Macdonald’s winks and jokes, a confederacy was initiated. Equally skillful is Linda Prystawska’s portrayal of nine characters, male and female, young and old, from Macdonald’s wife, to a revolutionary Fenian, to Sir Alexander Galt.

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“SISTER ACT”; could be ‘habit forming! Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Sister Act
, the current presentation of Hamilton Theatre Inc., is among the increasing number of Broadway musical comedies based on an earlier movie.  The original 1992 movie starred Whoopi Goldberg. The musical play, with music by Alan Menkin, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and book by Cheri and Bill Steinkeller, premiered in Pasadena in 2006, opened in London’s West End in 2009, and on Broadway in 2011. HTI’s production, celebrating its 60th season of producing music comedy in Hamilton, performs the minor miracle of successfully mounting this large-scale musical on the small stage of HTI’s theatrical home on McNab St. North.

A shot from the original ‘Sister Act’; WITHOUT the hammy Whoopi

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“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”; been there – lost! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The William Finn 2005 short musical comedy about a Middle School competition is always a pleasure to witness as the play usually recruits 3 or 4 additional competitors chosen from the audience; and the improvisational ‘please use in a sentence’ bits are always contemporary and hilarious. This scribe participated in just such an event back in 1948. Youngest & smallest contestant; I was the only 6th grader in a Grade Seven Bee. The word ‘Apricot’ screwed me up and I’ve never eaten one since!
Drury Lane’s production under the direction of Gregory Flis is smooth, fast-paced and delightful.

The contestants and moderators of PUTNAM COUNTY

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“TONS of MONEY”: -Tons of Laughs Reply

Review by: Michael Piscitelli
Community theatre oft-times gets looked down upon because it’s “not professional”; and “volunteers don’t work as hard as paid pros”. This is a stigma that I’ve never liked and often have chastised people for being prejudiced and unusually harsh. I’ve acted in community plays; worked in paid gigs and have seen the same level of professionalism from both sides. The Scarborough Village Theatre associates are welcoming and incredibly hospitable; which I’ve found is something that doesn’t get showcased very often in the professional world to the degree a community theatre does.  Tons of Money was professional, hilarious and a great way to spend an evening.

The cast of “TONS OF MONEY”

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“No Tell Motel”; comedy with a soupçon of compassion Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Michael Wilmot’s Hamilton Fringe entry ‘Love Shack’ made its way up to mainstream as “No Tell Motel”. This hilarious story is about a middle-aged couple deciding that an afternoon assignation at a 3rd rate motel might spice up their lives. The seediness of their room; her reticence & his horniness plus the complication of an inquisitive manager and a disruptive spouse make the effort for a little hanky panky seem hardly worth it; but totally hilarious to observe. Wilmot was a monologue writer for Jay Leno and his acerbic’ Tonight Show’ wit is also displayed in the ‘No Tell‘ dialogues.

Jonasson; Mitchell; Fortman & Munroe in the “Bird of Paradise” motel room

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“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Theatre Erindale 1

Review by Terry Gaisin
How fitting that Oscar Wilde’s final satirical farce would be selected by Patrick Young as his final directorial effort with UTM’s Theatre Erindale. Our Arts Review has critiqued about 70 continual Erindale presentations since 2003 and have had the opportunity to witness a dozen productions under Young’s thespian management. All of them were noteworthy and thought provoking. No doubt, this is because the man has the innate capacity to discover the essence and motivation behind each playwright’s rationale. He is a consummate examiner; researcher, and thus his results always succeed.   Photo by Jim Smagata; UTM

Himes; Bennet; Pottinger; Nguyen; Thorne; Wamsley & McDonald

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