“CHESS, The Musical”, a creation of 2/4ths of ‘ABBA 1

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”


“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”


“COTTAGERS AND INDIANS”; Using humour to ask serious questions Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Most of you who are reading this review, and will see Drew Hayden Taylor’s new play, Cottagers and Indians, at the Tarragon Extraspace, are probably closer to “cottagers” (or “settlers”) than to “Indians,” although I hope Indigenous people also see this play, inspired by actual people and events. Taylor, an Anishnaabe, was born, grew up, and lives on Curve Lake Reserve, near Peterborough. He writes in a variety of genres – novels and short stories, plays, television scripts. His work is comedic – but comedy used to spotlight the truth about difficult situations, usually about Indigenous characters and their dealings with “the rest of Canada,” to borrow a phrase.    photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Barnes & Hoyt in a dramatic on-stage moment


A “REALLY REALLY” tough play to perform & observe 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Paul Downs Colaizzo’s 2012 script about the so-called ‘Generation ME’ exposes all the warts and angst of collegiate years by highlighting relationship stereotypes… male/female; male/male; female/female, and the sisterhood/brotherhood bonds. A septet of actors cover all of these via an ingenious coherence of associations. These are exacerbated by each individual’s personalities as well as insecurities. All these ingredients make for a potent dynamic. Difficult to direct; problematical to perform; and certainly arduous and embarrassing for an audience to observe. The plethora of scatological adjectival outbursts aside, observers can’t help but identify with certain characters portrayed on stage. This scribe definitely saw a personal refection in ‘Cooper‘.
Photo by Joseph Taylor

McDonald & Morgan in a dramatic moment on stage


Harry – Hope of the British Monarchy Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

Perhaps it is time that Prince Charles gets his shot at becoming king. And he almost gets his chance in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III. But David Shurmann’s pompous and pedantic, mock Shakespearian speeches, in the Mirvish/Theatre 180 production in Toronto, are enough to drive the commoners to riot. Schurmann’s Charles makes the monarchy seem moldy and moth-eaten, and ripe for overthrowing.
Although many of the lines are funny and witty, most of Bartlett’s characters seem one dimensional. Even with the breadth of experience and fine acting ability of the twelve actors in the cast, it’s hard to bring something out of a script that isn’t there.
Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann                                                                 l-r Galligan; Schumann & Powell in CHARLES III

“The Cradle Will Rock”, a thespian challenge Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Marc Blitzstein’s 1937 dramatic musical THE CRADLE WILL ROCK is a Brechtian attempt to shine a spotlight on the socio/political manipulations of the Great Depression by the industrial barons of the time. Their stooges were the bribable courts; churches and Governments. Obviously nothing like today! We’re all familiar with the term ‘Cradle’; but in the title’s context it refers to ‘support’ or a ‘framework’, and that’s what the playwright sought to weaken. The original performance was directed by Orson Welles and starred both the writer and Will Geer; a famous socialist of his time, best remembered as TV’s Grandpa Walton.

the cast of Sheridan’s THE CRADLE WILL ROCK