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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“Clybourne Park”; You could HEAR the ‘cringe’! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
As a collegiate freshman in 1960; I drove to NYC to see ‘A Raisin in the Sun’. It starred unknowns Ruby Dee; Lou Gossett; and Ossie Davis – who had just taken over from another novice Sydney Poitier! The story dealt with a black family in Chicago and dealt with desired upward mobility. Playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s family had actually been involved with the legalities of Blacks wanting to live in an all-white neighbourhood, fought under the U.S. Constitution’s famous 14th Amendment.
Eight years ago, playwright Bruce Norris wrote a follow-up to ‘
Raisin‘ titled CLYBOURNE PARK and this two-Act comedy/drama is a powerhouse tour-de-force. *   Photo (& stage  design) by Jim Smagata

L-R    Ruhs; Watt-Bowers; Martin; Grant; Clarke & Francis – in a tense moment

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“A Long Time Ago…”, ridiculous & funny B.L.T. effort Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Theatrical or musical replications can be covers; tributes; paraphrases; or parodies. BINBROOK LITTLE THEATRE’s newest effort is the Barron/Dyson caricature/spoof A Long Time Ago which is a hilariously funny take-off of Star Wars; “Star Trek”; Harry Potter; Elvis & ‘Big Bang Theory’. From the pre-curtain themes by Alex Courage (Star Trek) and the classic John Williams Star Wars melody, the audience knows we’re about to travel (fortunately) where ‘No man has gone before’! The intersecting plots deal are plagiarized from all those Royalty/Commoner tales (Princess Diaries; A Prince for Christmas; The Prince & Me, ‘Cinderella’ etc.) but with a galactic venue.

The Inter-Stellar cast members of “A LONG TIME AGO…”

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“The DINING ROOM”; a histrionic exercise Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Back in 1981 New York; Albert Gurney created a short multi-character play for that year’s N.Y. Fringe. It missed the selection cut; was expanded, and was then re-staged off-Broadway. The 6-actor play is comprised of eighteen vignette sketches centered around an upscale fin-de-siecle dining table in a fancy home. The thespian sextet portray – in just over an hour and a half; myriad scenarios that run the gamut of a potential real estate transfer to a final formal dinner party. In between, the audience witnesses a very posh white Protestant evolution of social mores. There’s a kid’s birthday party; an authoritative father figure;

the closing banquet in THE DINING ROOM…cheers!

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“Into the Woods”; think about what you wish for! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Given my own biases, I’m ambivalent about critiquing any play by Sondheim. He may have an iconic status, but this scrivener finds him notoriously repetitious and thus – boring. However, one cannot deny that he undertakes subjective challenges and doesn’t balk at taboos. “INTO The WOODS” has, and is – both.
With the 5-week teachers strike from October 15th until mid-November;
Sheridan’s Theatre Arts Faculty started rehearsals under self-managed production & direction. The result is both professional and polished… four years of tutelage has certainly paid off.
The plots consolidate familiar fairy tales and is divided into two distinct acts. The first is the requisite story lines and interaction. 

the cast of thespians out of,  & “INTO THE WOODS”

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“MARINE LIFE” plumbs climate change & human relationships Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Marine Life, written and directed by Rosa Laborde in collaboration with Aluna Theatre and now playing at Tarragon Extraspace, is a fable for our times. Through witty and perceptive dialogue, excellent acting, and an amazing set featuring both factual projections and touches of magic realism, this one-act piece shows us the interplay between the planet’s damaged oceans and the characters’ damaged lives. Despite these themes, the play is (as the playwright notes) a comedy in the true sense of the word – it provides some hope for redemption (at least partial). Not traditional theatre, but exciting, provocative, and well worth seeing.   Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Matthew; Justin & Nicola in MARINE LIFE

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