“Its’ a Wonderful Life”; not a wonderful play Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Disclaimer- I’ve never been a fan of Capra’s 1946 movie starring Jimmy Stewart. Actually, same can be said about The Greatest Gift’, the story on which the movie was based. That said, staging it at this particular time of year is [almost] engraved in the U.S. Constitution (34th Amendment). The story about an average guy and how much effect he’s had on others seems syrupy treacle. Like the metaphysical butterfly causing tornadoes, or the aphorism about even the smallest pebble making a ripple; – my opinion – “Bah, Humbug!”
That said, W.E.S.T.’s talented cast and production team have made the best they can of the situation.

The Bailey family having a ‘Happy Ending’

More…

Advertisements

McLuhan’s message revived in a powerful medium Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
THE MESSAGE” a bold new play by Jason Sherman, now in its world premiere at the Tarragon Mainspace, is a must-see theatrical experience – whether or not you are familiar with Marshall McLuhan’s work. R. H Thomson is outstanding in a tour-de-force piece of acting showing great depth, power, and beauty. Walking away from the theatre on opening night, I felt I had seen McLuhan himself. Amazing, as he died in 1980.
McLuhan, born in Edmonton in 1911 and raised in Winnipeg, taught at the University of Toronto for most of his career, at the Centre for Culture and Technology.  Photo by Cylla von Tidemann

Orenstein, Lancaster & Thomson in a dramatic on-stage moment

More…

“Helen’s Necklace”, checking the ‘lost & found’ Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin

Carole Freshette’s allegorical play about searching – a lost piece of jewellery but symbolizing something far deeper and philosophical, has become an iconic Canadian standard. Often performed with one or two actors, the Cdn Rep Theatre and director Ken Gass utilizes three superb ladies all of whom interchange the lead or support roles. Akoua Amo-Adem; Zorana Sadiq & Helen Taylor take turns as a middle Eastern cab driver; bereft mother; disillusioned construction worker and the eponymous ‘Helen’. Their ability to transition between portrayals is seamless and Gass’s direction makes it easy for the audience to follow the flow and progress on stage.   Photo by Michael Cooper

Amo-Adem; Sadiq & Taylor in HELEN’S NECKLACE

More…

“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

More…

“Mother Jones” – Empowering Explosive Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

As Donald Trump and many politicians worldwide strive to strip workers’ of their rights,
Subversive Theatre in Buffalo has picked the perfect time to produce a musical celebrating
labour organizer Mother Jones. Playwright/composer Si Kahn’s Mother Jones In Heaven (and
Hell) is a rollicking exposé of economic exploitation and an example of what can be achieved
through perseverance, dynamism and inner strength.
Kahn is no stranger to labour organizing. The award-winning North Carolina native has been
training community activists, writing songs and performing concerts, alongside well-known
figures such as Pete Seeger, for more than 50 years. Kahn’s play centres around a compelling scenario

Ms. Jones and her friendly barrista

 

More…

“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

More…