“Androcles”- Some Aesop, a lot of GBS, & SHAW’s version. 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Theatre attendance for a critic is supposed to be work, i.e. a chore, an obligation and a duty. Watching SHAW’s director Tim Carroll put his own slant on the 1600-year-old fable is such fun that the concept of being ‘work’ never enters the equation. From the pre-opening intercourse between audience and performers this is eponymous farce and except for two moments of serious didactic dialogue, sniggers chortles & full giggles are the Courthouse Theatre atmosphere. The action takes place on the thrust stage, but commentary; opinion and interaction are all solicited from the spectators. The action actually goes right up into the aisles.

Jeff Irving restraining Michael Therriault while Patrick Galligan and the others watch



1837: The Farmer’s Revolt, a SHAW innovation Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Rick Salutin’s 1973 play recounting an Ontario event that took place thirty years before confederation, and when the Province was still Upper Canada colony; is based on fact and a part of history. It was administered under a socio/political arrangement known as the ‘Family Compact’ with the accent on family. In the Quebec (or Lower Canada) there was a parallel paradigm but it was the Catholic Church and the St Jean Baptiste Society oligarchs that were in charge.  Director Philip Akin utilizes the talents of nine company members to interpret not only the divisive Whig/Tory antagonisms & philosophies; but their individual struggles.

Ric Reid as W.L. Mackenzie exhorting the farmers to revolt


“Toronto FRINGE 2017” – truncated Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin  (7/17/17)

For the past decade, The ARTS REVIEW has endeavored to cover at least ten percent of the ‘TorFringe’ offerings; using our own protocols or selection process to choose presentational offerings. Alas, the caprices that accompany the aging process have made it too onerous for us to undertake such a large task. Standing, waiting and travel distance have become arduous. However, we DID manage a day’s worth of ‘fringing’. God, & nature willing; we’ll do a better job in 2018 for the thirtieth Festival anniversary. Here’s our impressions on 3 closing-day performances.

A idealistic portrayal of Algonquin – NOT by the “Group of Seven”


O.A.R.’s “THE TOP TEN” (plus plus), 2016 Reply

Editorial & Administrative opinions
There have been previous years where due to tie-votes, our ARTS REVIEW’s TOP TEN list has, in actuality contained 12 or even 14 items. This year has seen such a plethora of worthy efforts of entertainment that the final selection process was daunting. So, for the first time, O.A.R.  will also specify an ‘Honourable Mention’ (sort of Silver or Bronze medal) category.

THEATRE UNLIMITED, This successful Miss ‘a community group undertook staging the musical version of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT. The droll puns and one-liners still abound but with the addition of musical numbers, it’s even enhanced. As we wrote in our review “– an awesome giggle from start to finish and we loved it!”

the candidates for work as part of A CHORUS LINE

the candidates for work as part of Stratford’s “A CHORUS LINE”


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…

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