“PAINTING CHURCHES”, the play – not the job! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
About fifteen years ago, I had the opportunity to see Virginia McEwen & Vince Carlin counterpoint each other in D.L. Coburn’s ‘Gin Game’. Their chemistry, professionalism, and acting skills were obvious. These qualities are even more apparent in Tina Howe’s PAINTING CHURCHES. This 1983 Off-Broadway sit-dram, (sic) presented by ‘Act of Faith’ Productions is an intense yet delicately directed effort that made this scribe recall a succinct observation by an insightful relative who observed that ‘Growing old is not for the faint-of-heart‘. Her husband was experiencing what acclaimed poet ‘Gardner Church‘ was experiencing… the onslaught of early dementia.

Saulez making an on-stage point with Carlin & McEwen

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“Bedtime Stories”, giggles interspersed with drama Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Prolific (52 & counting) Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s “BEDTIME STORIES” is a challenge not only for a director, but for audiences as well, given that format and plot lines are so contrived and web-like in coherency that concentration is highly mandated.
The six vignettes are totally diverse yet intermingled via a radio broadcast and by familial relationships. Personas that we meet prove to be someone mentioned, referred to or a character seen in a previous sketch. Foster does not telegraph these contrivances; thus the needed engrossment in order for the viewer to stay cognizant.

The BLT cast of “BEDTIME STORIES”

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“Little shop of (Hilarious) Horrors”; by Burloak. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The ridiculous concept behind the 1960 B-movie and subsequent off-Broadway presentations led to a big-budget film 25 years later directed by Frank Oz of Muppet & Sesame Street fame. A voracious Venus Flytrap; an amateur botanist; a failing flower retailer located in the slums; and a terrific trio of back-up singers provide all the ingredients for an evening of mirthfulness and entertainment…but only if done as professionally as possible. BurlOak Theatre group and director Mike Ranieri have staged something faultless. Attending a final dress rehearsal meant that this scribe was accorded the opportunity to observe the stage manager’s (Greg Stanton) last chance for his ‘technical tweaking’.

The cast of BurlOak’s “Little Shop of Horrors”

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“The Ghost in the Meadow”, – spooky fun Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

A creepy old house in upper New York State; a constant storm with power outages; church bells ringing the witching hour; and naturally – doors that open & close by themselves…all the ingredients for a scary couple of onstage hours. The Peninsula Players present this Joe Simonelli ‘dramady’ (sic) with the obvious goal of eliciting fright & comedic moments in equal parts. Directed by Ray Hunt, the four characters represent stereotypes and their responses to the supernatural. There is a cynic, one cast-member is the logician, another is gullible, and for tension relief – one is incredulous.    Note: read my final paragraph .

l-r   Munroe; Ingram; Blain & Pleydon. The apparition is Briana Claus

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“CHESS, The Musical”, a creation of 2/4ths of ‘ABBA Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Q B pawn to d4! Not a coded spy message but an opening gambit. The game of chess was created during the sixth century in India or maybe Persia or perhaps China. It still is popular and such tournaments as Levitsky v Marshall in 1912; Byrne v Fischer in ’56; the Kasparov/Topalov match in 1999 was only out-viewed by the former taking on IBM’s “Deep Blue” in 1996.
The winner of the 1974 Worldvision TV talent show was won by a Swedish group. Two males-Benny Andersson & Bj
örn Ulvaeus were joined by singer/dancers Agnetha and Anni-Frid and by incorporating their 1st initials became known as ABBA. Remember them?

the cast of CCMPs “CHESS, the Musical”

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“TOP GIRLS”, an awesome play to undertake Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Margaret Thatcher was England’s Prime minister from 1979 to 1990. As a woman who had broken the so-called ‘Glass Ceiling’, she became an instant icon for feminists everywhere. Alas, she proved an exception rather than a new rule. Playwright Caryl Churchill’s 1982 “TOP GIRLS” is an allegorical study about the struggles women have faced throughout history as seen through the eyes of Marlene, a contemporary employment agency mid-manager who has just acceded to a position of responsibility over her male counterpart. The plot is basically broken into four segments that though totally diverse…interconnect.   ‘Awesome’, despite it’s present connotations, is defined

Photo by Jim Smagata (UTM)

Robinson, Clarke; Wu; White; McPherson & Termaat – the “TOP GIRLS”

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