In “YAGA,” Slavic Legend meets 21st century Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Yaga, written and directed by Canadian playwright Kat Sandler, brings the old Slavic story of Baba Yaga to new, modern life in a combination of fairy-tale, comedy, mystery, and a commentary on gender and aging. The play opens the Tarragon’s 2019-220 season. With impeccable, often brilliant acting by the well-known Seana McKenna and by Claire Armstrong and Will Greenblatt, the play is fast-paced and funny as well as thought-provoking.  For those who do not know the legend, Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of the mythic witch — seen as old, ugly, cruel (rumoured to eat children).                                                                                                                         Seanna McKenna In YAGA
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“MOONGLOW” a gut-wrenching portrayal of Alzheimer’s Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

       ISimcoe Little Theatre’s staging of Kim Carney’s “MOONGLOW” is a dramatic interpretation of two older people committed to a care facility due to the onslaught of dementia.
It is a basic tenet of writer’s )& supposedly politicians) to declare any biases or partiality before putting pen to paper. Hence, the following: – Both my muse and I, on advice from our doctors, underwent cognitive analysis and learned that there has been some
rational deterioration. The prognosis is pessimistic. So, a play about the symptoms and manifestations of the disease will obviously prejudice any critique by yours truly.
One of the symptoms of dementia is regression.

Williams & Carvalho in a dramatic & unsettling moment

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Little Shop of Horrors, fun in a flower shop Reply

Review by Marion Davis

NYC’ers know that there’s a hidden part of Manhattan known only to localites that’s acknowledged as ‘Off – Off Broadway’. It’s either basements or lofts or parking garages. Such was the origins of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s 1982 rock musical ‘LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS’. The story is about a ‘Venus Flytrap’ plant that develops a taste for humans.
Audrey 2 (the plant), who was raised at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, has unexpectedly, in a twisted and funny way, planned to take over the Earth. This light musical horror comedy from the 1960’s, is filled with catchy songs throughout the developing horror story while nurturing a love story.

Steve Ross (Mr. Mushnik) and his store clerk played by Andre Morin    Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

 

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“The Merry Wives of Windsor”; NOT Camilla; Sarah; Catherine or Meghan! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Old William Shakespeare had a thing about women getting the best of their men. Think of Beatrice; Rosalind; Titania and Portia. Having a controlling or out- maneuvering wife is something this scribe can certainly identify with (forgive the prepositional ending). Seems things haven’t changed much over the past four centuries. Some other ‘plus de change. Plus de meme-chose’ idioms; wanting to marry for money rather than love; and especially- social manipulations. All these delicious things appear in Merry Wives and artistic director Antoni Cimolino is able to bring out all humor, intricacies, convolutions  that make this comedy such an eternal favorite.  Say ‘Falstaffian’ and everyone knows what is meant.

Hughson, Davies & Ghajar plotting    Photo by David Hou

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BILLY ELLIOT, the Musical, “Very Fokken Special” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
For over a decade, I’ve had a love/like relationship with director Donna Feore. The lady’s background is classical dance and occasionally she allows her dedication to the art get the best of her. It happened with her work on ‘Oklahoma’, (OAR July ’07) and it’s the only flaw in Stratford’s amazing Billy Elliot, the Musical. Feore utilizes every inch of the Festival’s thrust stage with chorus numbers that are outstanding and definitively bear her imprimatur.
The play has two plots, the first deals with a pre-teen male who decides that he’d like to learn ballet; the other deals with the tragic U.K.’s miners’ strike.     Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Nolen Dubuc (Billy) leading the miners; cops & ballerinas in a big chorus number

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“ROPE” dark & foreboding plus “The RUSSIAN PLAY” Reply

Reviews by Terry Gaisin

Patrick Hamilton’s drama “ROPE” either refers to ‘”Give em’ enough rope…etc” or perhaps to the fact that Leopold & Loeb both held on to ends of the cord used to throttle Bobby Franks in the so-called ‘crime of the Century’ thrill murder; the true-life case on which Hamilton’s plot is based. Like the infamous L & L, his protagonists (antagonists?) are highly intelligent; considered themselves Nietzschean ‘Ubermenschen’ (supermen) and thus sociologically non-responsible, and too bright to ever be caught.
Director
Jani Lauzon utilizes stage lighting as a dramatic vehicle actually have an opening scene in almost total darkness. So, both mood and plot are sinister.   Photo courtesy of Emily Cooper (Shaw)

Therriault facing off against Seetoo & Wong in “ROPE”

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