“TRUMAN”—the perfect antidote for Trump Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
Actor, David Lundy, gives a stellar performance as the outspoken 33rd U.S. President, Harry S Truman (the “S” stand for nothing), in Buffalo’s New Phoenix Theatre-on-the-Park’s production of “Give ‘em Hell, Harry”. Samuel Gallu’s one man play, first mounted in 1975, is the perfect pre-election show.
Perhaps Harry Truman was the president who had the most to say about protecting regular citizens from corporate greed. Although he came from a business background in the early part of the twentieth century, Truman didn’t pussy foot around in condemning the powerful who attempted to crush the weak. It as if Truman foresaw the degeneration of the Middle Classes.

An amazing  Truman lookalike by his portrayer

An amazingly lifelike Truman by his portrayer- David Lundy


RUTAS Panamericas Festival- classic plays made relevant Reply

Reviews by Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.
Oct. 13th, ‘16

The biannual RUTAS Panamericanas Festival, now in its third season, is an international performing arts festival featuring work from various countries in the Americas, often with indigenous and experimental themes. This year’s festival, sponsored by Aluna Theatre in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, also features a Maori production from New Zealand.  Toronto is fortunate to host this event, which features dance and film as well as theatre.  RUTAS Panamericanas Festival, including plays, dance, and film, runs to October 16 at the Daniels Spectrum, 565 Dundas St. East, Toronto.  Following are reviews of two of the productions.  More…

“CONCORD FLORAL” gives teens a voice in the midst of Plague Reply

Review by Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.
, the title of Jordan Tannahill’s play currently at Canadian Stage, is the name of a vast, abandoned greenhouse in the suburbs of Toronto.  Once the source of roses for births, weddings, and funerals, because “life without beauty is unbearable,” it is now derelict, a night-time hang-out for local teenagers – and for a resident fox; bobolink, an old couch. Soon it will be sold to become a shopping mall. The play, conceived by Tannahill and developed with multi-media artists Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner, was created as part of Can Stage’s 2012 Festival of Ideas.

the cast dramatically photographed by Erin Brubacher

     the CONCORD FLORAL cast dramatically photographed by Erin Brubacher


Aeneid’s new staging hits home Reply

Review by Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.
      Montreal playwright Olivier Kemeid’s adaptation of Virgil’s The Aeneid (L’Éneide), at the Stratford Festival, is a powerful theatrical experience.  Beautifully directed by Keira Loughran, the production uses ensemble movement and speaking, creative set and lighting design, and spare, poetic language to make Virgil’s epic relevant to today. First produced in French in 2009, in Maureen Labonté s translation, the play lets the audience empathize with the plight of seeing one’s home and city destroyed and risking a journey into the unknown to find a new, safe place.
Virgil’s epic poem (comparable to the Iliad and the Odyssey), written between 29-19 B.C.E.,    Photo by David Hou

Some of the AENEID cast

Some of the AENEID cast seeing on-stage refuge


“BUNNY”; caught in the headlights Reply

Review by E. Lisa Moses

The world première of Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s one-act play, Bunny, at the Stratford Festival, crams a lifetime onto the Studio Theatre’s tiny stage – all in 90 minutes. Under director Sarah Garton Stanley’s firm hand, Maev Beaty’s memorable performance as Sorrel takes us on a roller-coaster ride along two decades of her quirky life through both narration and acting.
Nicknamed “Bunny” by her best friend for the frightened looks she gets in social situations, Sorrel begins frolicking and fornicating through life at age 17. In this watershed year, she morphs from an “ugly dork” into a “hot dork” with the cheekbones and body of a supermodel.
Photo by David Hou

Campbell; Pellerin & Beaty in "BUNNY"

Campbell; Pellerin & Beaty in “BUNNY”


“John Gabriel Borkman”: The big chill Reply

Review by E. Lisa MosesReviewer E. Lisa
The Stratford Festival’s production of Henrik Ibsen’sJohn Gabriel Borkman” reminds us that winter in Norway gets pretty frosty. In Ibsen’s penultimate play, translated into English by Paul Walsh and directed by Carey Perloff, we can easily believe that it’s colder inside the family manor than outdoors.  In the winter of his life, former bank manager Borkman, played by Scott Wentworth, obsesses about the trial that sentenced him to an eight-year prison term for embezzling his clients’ life savings to invest in a failed mining scheme. Since his release eight years ago, Borkman has been living in a self-imposed prison — the upstairs floor of his home.
Photo by David Hou

Borkman in a penitential moment

Borkman (Scott Wentworth) in an on-stage penitential moment