The Stratford Festival’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank begins with the actors introducing themselves one by one to the audience, and providing glimpses into their most embarrassing, or revealing, moments. When Sara Farb says that her mother and grandmother both survived the holocaust, it makes her portrayal of Anne Frank, more powerful and authentic. And it sets the tone for an intimate and compelling drama. In spite of the tragic events upon which this play is based, it is not depressing. Photo by David Hou
Like most enthusiasts of Shakespeare’s works, (as with opera aficionados) one rarely demonstrates the ‘been there, seen that’ aphorism… every performance is unique. These eyes (and memory) have relished seeing, even studying HAMLET; the epitome of classical tragedy. I’ve seen the protagonist as despondent; as depressed; even as suicidal, but director Antoni Cimolino’s current vision has Jonathan Goad displaying hesitancy and undecidedness, then a metamorphosed self-sanctioning of his course of action. This certainly IS a Hamlet with whom that this scribe can identify.
Review by Judith Robinson
John Caird’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, at the Stratford Festival, is filled with wonder, mischief and magic. Forget the plot. There isn’t much to speak of—and not a whole lot of character development either. The play, at its best, is a celebration of love and a satire on the fragility of the human spirit. In an atmosphere reminiscent of the sacred forest in Midsummer Night’s Dream, the clown-like antics of scholars, huntresses and wandering pilgrims collide in a kaleidoscope of mistaken identities, mismatched love letters, feigned vows of chastity and bumbling romantic adventures.
Photo of Sarah Afful; Ruby Joy & John Kirkpatrick in Shakespeare’s “L-3″, by David Hou
Review by Danny Gaisin
Goldsmith’s 18th Century comedy She Stoops To Conquer utilized the restrictions of societal strata and a psychological quirk to fashion an almost farcical tale of three romances and the machinations needed for a happily ever after final curtain. Director Martha Henry is one of Stratford’s interpretative genius’s with an innate instinct about how much directorial creativity audiences will accept. The lady has no need for gratuitous ‘envelope pushing’ or superfluity. Her results are consistently effective. ‘She Stoops’ is no exception; titillating and amusing from the moment the curtain rises. Savage; Farb & Hodder- “Stooping to Conquer”; Photo by David Hou
Review by Judith Caldwell
The final concert in the 2015 Brott Summer Music Festival featured choral works by two Twentieth Century musical titans – Leonard Bernstein and Carl Orff. The opening half of the concert belonged to Bernstein, his ‘Chichester Psalms’. This is a work for boy soprano or counter tenor, chorus and orchestra which was written around the pivotal roles of two harps, Bernstein composed their music first and then wrapped the remainder of the music around them. Instead of the traditional, tonight had soprano Leslie Fagan singing as the youthful King David. More…
Review by Judith Caldwell
One has to hand it to Boris Brott; he certainly knows how to put a concert together. This reviewer was not at all sure about a concert with aerialists – would they add to the program or distract? Initially, in Felix Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night Dream Suite they did distract, but later added so much to Tales of the Netsilik that they even seemed necessary to the storytelling. The evening opened with Janna Sailor conducting the N.A.O. in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Overture to Hansel & Gretel,