“Til BETH Do Us Part” comedic fun from the Pen Players Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin      Apr. 6th. ’19

A contemporary American couple; middle-aged and both career-oriented, have run into a snag. She’s over-worked and on-call 24/7 by her London boss; he’s a TV weatherman who procrastinates or just ignores doing his share of the household or stuff in the “Honey Do” jar. Sound familiar?
This old fart found the plot line way too close-to-home for comfort. I have excuses for NOT loading the dishwasher; claim poor eyesight for not seeing a need to dust or vacuum; and rely on dear Terry to make sure there’s always a full roll of T.P. in our bathrooms. I’m not lazy — just tired!

l-r Wouthuis; Miszturak; Nyman; Quirk; Toews & White of  “Til Beth Us Do Part”.

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“A Ghost of a Chance”; #33 advising #39 Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin

Disclaimer: there IS bias here because playwright Judith Robinson is also a respected contributor to our ARTS REVIEW. So; as objectively as I can be – a critique of her political comedy in which a deceased Harry Truman (the haberdasher) advises President Jimmy Carter (the peanut farmer) on how to get reelected in the 1980 presidential campaign.
The format is concert-style with the characters seated while reading their dialogue from scripts. Incidental giggle; #39 is missing some pages until a ‘lines request’ is countered by an audience member running up with her version! The incumbent is recited by John Hewson while Walter Young is his ethereal campaign manager.

Dekar; Woodside; Sheehy; Young & Hewson interpreting U.S. politics

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“O.A.R.’s TOP TEN for 2018 ” Reply

Opinion by O.A.R. administrators
Dec. 22, ‘ 18
Can’t fight progress, so this year there will be a major change… a Toronto Fringe offering is to be included, even though we previously relegated these 1-hour efforts to the ‘Honourable Mention’ category. However, the criteria for overall inclusion remains unchanged- memorable; educational; entertaining and definitely professionally staged!

HAMILTON PHILHARMONIC. This superior orchestra under the direction of Gemma New offered a full series of superlative concerts whose eclectic selections ran the gamut from the seriously classical to fun pops and contemporary compositions. Given the high caliber of the HPO, choosing just one as a standout proved too difficult; so, a 4-way-tie.

A dramatic on-stage interrogation moment in JOURNEY’S END

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“CHICAGO, the Musical”; much better than the movie! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
We watched the 2002 movie version of the Kander & Ebb musical for one reason only, it was shot in Toronto using the Distillery District, City Hall; Casa Loma ; Osgoode & Canada Life among others. As for the Gere/Zellweger/Zeta-Jones performances, we thought that they were not only two-dimentional, but it wasn’t just the singing that was dubbed – so was their portrayals. Last night we saw Theatre Ancaster’s version and had decided , even by intermission that this is a surefire O.A.R. ‘Top Ten for this year!
Everything about ‘Chicago’ is first rate…the direction; the stage method; the cutaways; costuming and especially the faultless chorus numbers that are an intrinsic part of the show.

Lapsley prepping Pike for her day in court, while chorus & Press folks look on

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“The Long Weekend”; re-revisited Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

A bane for theatre critics is the problem of having to see the same plays numerous times. Norm Foster’s “the Long Weekend” may have been previously observed but it still has a special connotation for this particular writer. My parents could never afford a summer cottage, so for the few times we were invited as guests, we were the equivalent of the ‘Nash’s in the play. NO matter how warm or hospitable our hosts were, there was always an underlining sense of superiority or patronization that we felt. It was like accepting charity. Foster’s play shows this overtly and thus personally touches home.

Cook, Flis, Jonasson & Byrne, the cast of LONG WEEKEND

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“A funny Thing happened on the way to the Forum” by EMP 2

Review by Danny Gaisin
Disclaimer:- I’m not a fan of Sondheim (boring & repetitious) but his 1962 fun musical ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’ is the exception. Roughly based on a 2nd C. BC play ; it tells the convoluted story of a Roman slave who hopes to win his freedom by helping his master’s son get the girl . The original play starred Zero Mostel as the conniving ‘Pseudolus’, who (sort of) reprised the character-type 5 years later abut updated 2200 years, his The Producer-ing ‘Bialystock’ is also a major scammer.
The introductory number is titled ‘Comedy Tonight’ and its certainly descriptive of the
Etobicoke Musical Prod’ effort.

the denizens of Rome, circa 250BC, aka – cast of FUNNY THING HAPPENED!

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