“HARLEM DUET” explores racism, past & present Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Djanet Sears’ powerful “rhapsodic blues tragedy, “ Harlem Duet, is onstage at the Tarragon again, 21 years after its world premiere there. The play received Dora, Chalmers and Governor-General’s Awards, and was the first script by a black Canadian produced at Stratford Festival (2006); it has also been produced in New York.
I did not see earlier productions, but seeing it now, I find the play relevant for today and (like Shakespeare and Greek tragedy) for all times. The playwright asks the question, “Who would Shakespeare’s character Othello be if he were alive today…in my world?” As in the blues, the play has a musical, linear and non-linear quality.   Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Stephens-Thompson & Borden in HARLEM DUET

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“The Magician’s Nephew” or having to learn stuff Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, assisted by Henry & Jaron – also Wikipedia®
Nobody told me that reading the Narnia Chronicles, especially The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe is a necessity if one is to follow and understand C.S. Lewis’ THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW. Fortunately, I was able to enlist two American visitors; Henry, aged 12 & Jaron who is 17 to decode and explain what SHAW Festival’s head honcho Tim Carrroll seems able to decipher. Seems that the seven Narnia Chronicles are NOT about an AMAZONtm warehouse shipping operation, even though boxes and the cuttings thereof are the major on-stage operations. Michael O’Brien’s adaptation of ‘Nephew’ is being premiered by the Festival.  Photo by Emily Cooper

Matt Nethersole transporting Sears & Seetoo. Wonder if he also cleans out eavesdrops!

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“Hound of the Baskervilles”; drollery, my dear Watson! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Conan Doyle’s eponymous turn-of-the 20th century CSI-type detective Sherlock Holmes leaps off the book pages as a cheerless didactic with highly pedantic mannerisms. In other words, an arrogant and irritating Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon. Perhaps we, and the dictionary should have a new adjective – “Sheldonistic”.
In this year’s SHAW interpretation under the direction of
Craig Hall, liberties are taken but given that Doyle died before Hall (or even I) was born; impropriety surely can’t be litigated. Thus, Hall and his dynamite cast have envisioned an opportunity to substantially lighten an almost science-fiction drama into a comedic possibility. It’s a hoot…also a howl!

Reid & Atkins aka Watson & Holmes —“the game’s afoot”

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‘The Toronto Fringe’ – a most worthwhile festival Reply

EDITORIAL UPDATE  (7/12): A serious situation occurred very late Monday night that caused us to completely curtail attending, and even miss entry closings at some of our chosen Fringe offerings. To GEEK; Kabarrett; Andy Warhol; ‘2018 -a Sex Odyssey; & “Tee Shirt”. Our sincerest apologies. Perhaps some of the above are planning on re-staging their efforts at the Hamilton Fringe. If so, let us know!

The FESTIVAL is over; so this is our recap! The Hamilton/Toronto train rides are onerous; schlepping around downtown Toronto -tiring; taking our notes and then publishing same means 14-16-hour days. However, the efforts & thespian results make it all more than worthwhile…its a privilege!    HINT: – Watch for a major change in our ARTS REVIEW’s Top Ten in December.

 

High School Symphony -cast

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“THE TEMPEST” Brings many Sea-changes, woven by Martha Henry Reply

by Ellen S. Jaffe

The Tempest, probably Shakespeare’s final sole-authored play, is about magic – its power and its limitations – and about finding forgiveness, healing, and freedom through the breaking of spells and illusions. It is also about the magic and the power of theatre. Stratford’s current production of the play, beautifully directed by Antoni Cimolino (the Festival’s Artistic Director) and starring Martha Henry as Prospero, is one of the most magical and moving theatrical experiences I have had. Certainly a Tempest with a soul.  Martha Henry as Prospero, you say? Isn’t Prospero a “male” role? Well, yes – and no.

Martha Henry (Prospero) & Michael Blake (Calaban)   Photo by David Hou

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It’s a sin “To Kill a Mocking Bird” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
One of my last dates before moving to Toronto in 1962 was to see Gregory Peck (& a young Mary Badham) in Universal’s ‘Hat Trick’ Oscar® winner – To kill a Mocking Bird. The movie had a narrator, but director Nigel Williams has opted to have a grown up Jean Louise Finch (aka ‘Scout’) on stage and even recite some of the more poignant dialogue with her younger self. The synchronizing between Irene Poole and Clara Poppy Kushnir dovetails with perfection and total effectiveness. Kushnir IS ‘Scout’ and with her brother ‘Jem’ ( Jacob Skiba) and Hunter Smalley as their friend ‘Dill’, are a powerhouse triumvirate.

Jonathan Goad & his adoring ‘Scout’

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