“The TORONTO FRINGE, 2016” Reply

As in previous years our Ontario Arts Review will endeavor to cover as many of the entries as our time and writer-availability will permit. Having received venue and backing support from Honest Ed’s, the Fringe Administration has decided to caricature the store’s famous logo in the late Ed Mirvish’s honour. We’ll be adding and updating our critiques on a daily basis, so be sure and check out the column regularly.  Remember, many Fringe-style offerings (including Toronto’s) have gone on to mainstream performances. ‘The Fantasticks’; ‘Urinetown’; and ‘Drowsy Chaperone’ are just the most renowned.  If you see us and notice our Press accreditation badges – say hello! We’re Terry, Danny, Jordan, Ellen & Michael.

Finge 2016 Bannerhead

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“Two-fer” at W.E.S.T. Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

The GTA’s ‘Fringe Festival’ season looms just over the horizon; what better time to stage a couple of Fringe-type 1-hour plays than now! Izad Etemadi’s “LAUGH WITH LEILA” and “XOXO: the RELATIONSHIP SHOW” created & starring Meghan Chalmers & Franny McCabe-Bennett, both inform and educate as well as entertain.
The former one-man effort introduces us to a young and single Iranian girl growing up in post-Shah Pahlevi Persia and under the sharia rule of Khomeini. ‘Hijab’; Chador; ‘Niqab’ and Burkas are all humorously defined and visually delineated.

Izad Etemadi's "LEILA"

Izad Etemadi’s “LEILA”

Chalmers & McCabe-Bennett's "XOXO RELATIONSHIPS"

Chalmers & McCabe-Bennett’s “XOXO RELATIONSHIPS”

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“GRAND HOTEL, the musical”; another Sheridan hit! Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG
            “I vant to be alone”: – like ‘play it again, Sam’; ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’; “Go ahead -make my day” and ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’; another one of those movie quotes that have become iconic. ‘Alone’ was Greta Garbo’s most famous line from the 1932 GRAND HOTEL flick she made with Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery & two Barrymores.
The Robert Wright & George Forrest musical version is the latest blockbuster by Theatre Sheridan.  From the almost overwhelming opening number until final curtain, the musical version is a spell-binder.

Staff & residents of Berlin's GRAND HOTEL, circa 1932

Staff & residents of Berlin’s GRAND HOTEL; circa 1932

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“SWEET CHARITY”; Sheridan returns us to the Fandango dancehall Reply

Review by Terry GaisinreviewerETG
            SHERIDAN’s Theatre Arts Faculty staged the musical version of Neil Simon’s take on Fellini back in 2004. The production was so professionally presented as to tie with the Royal Opera’s ‘Aida’ as best of O.A.R.’s TOP TEN.  This year’s effort directed and choreographed by Sheila McCarthy is very enjoyable and certainly does justice to Pollyanna-ish ‘Charity Hope Valentine’; a taxi dancer who seems constantly able to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory! One of those days is her norm.  In the title role, Amanda Trapp manages to capture the audience’s sympathy and understanding.

The 'ladies' of the Fandango & their patrons

The ‘ladies’ of the Fandango & their patrons

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Learie McNicolls Dances outside the Box Reply

Review by Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.
        Learie McNicolls’ newest creation, Once I Lived in the Box, at Artword Artbar in Hamilton, was a powerful, yet intimate, piece of choreography. The dancer and choreographer left Trinidad, in 1974,worked in Vancouver, spent many years dancing with various companies in Toronto but now lives and works in Hamilton.  McNicolls’ powerful dance, combined with music, spoken words, and visuals on a screen, was performed with a trio of women dancers: Angela Del Franco, Sharon Harvey, and Tanis MacArthurEdgardo Moreno’s audio soundscape set the pace with electronic music and recorded blues with electronic modulation.

the dancers, on stage; photo by R. Weihs

the dancers, on stage; photo by R. Weihs

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“Hello Dolly”; ♪ it`s so nice to have you back… ♫ Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

Back in the Nineteenth century there was a popular one-act play about a special day in the lives of some young people. Thornton Wilder pirated the plot for his 1938 ‘Merchant of Yonkers’ tale. Seventeen years later he updated the story as ‘The Matchmaker”. Less than a decade later Merrick turned it into a 2800 performance Broadway musical starring Carol Channing. Since then, “HELLO DOLLY” is almost continually on stage somewhere in America. Now it’s CMT’s turn in the barrel and the result is a ‘gantza megillah’ [big deal!]

The Harmonia Gardens staff welcome DOLLY- back where she belongs

                                       The Harmonia Gardens staff welcome DOLLY- back where she belongs

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