SHAW’s “Dance of Death” explores the dark side of love Reply

Review by Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.
            August Strindberg’sDance of Death,” at the Shaw Festival, was written in 1900 but it is relevant today, especially in Conor McPherson’s modern adaptation.  It is a complex play, well worth seeing. The title comes from the medieval image of the danse macabre, in which Death leads a whirling procession of humans to their end.
Masterfully directed by Martha Henry, the play depicts a verbal dance – or war of words between a couple on the brink of their 25th anniversary. It’s always good to see theatre in which Henry has a role.   Photo courtesy of David Cooper

Reid; Galligan & Mezon in "Dance of Death"

Reid; Galligan & Mezon in “Dance of Death”



The SKYLIGHT FESTIVAL (Paris, ON) rocked! Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
            For those of us who cut our teeth at the 1970’s folk festivals, the Skylight Festival in Paris, Ontario, during the Civic holiday long weekend, was a trip down memory lane. Although the musicians were younger, and most of the venues indoors, the spirit of protest, freedom and fun hasn’t changed at all. There were so many great concerts it’s hard to mention only a few musicians. Minnesota singer/songwriter Heatherlyn’s energy was so much like Melanie’s that the audience could close their eyes and swear it was the 1960’s flower child guru.

Heatherlyn performing on stage

Heatherlyn performing on stage


NAO concert, ‘out of this world’ Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell reviewerJudith
Thursday, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (NAO) offered an evening of fantastic music which began with four much-loved John Williams’ compositions: “The Theme from Superman”; Highlights from Jurassic Park; the “Theme from Schindler’s List” and the flying theme from E.T. Each had their own instantly recognizable leitmotif which then expanded into a grand symphonic film score. Superman was masterful and heroic; Jurassic Park curious and probing and Schindler’s List heartbreakingly haunting (the audience barely breathed during the violin solo played by Concertmaster Mark Skazinetsky). E.T. was light, airy and so hopeful…  the music intricate and difficult – written by a true master.

Conductor Brott & a certain 'Star Wars' character

Conductor Brott & a certain ‘Star Wars’ character


Stratford gives Shakespeare a makeover Reply

Review by Judith Robinson  Reviewer Judith Robinson
The Stratford Festival’s production of Shakespeare in Love presents a William Shakespeare who is rollicking, funny and playful. For those who find the playwright boring, stuffy and out of date, this is the play for you. This Shakespeare is not the stuffy genius taught in schools, who spoke in perfect rhyming couplets, adored by queen and country.
Tom Stoppard’s Shakespeare, as seen in the 1998 movie, and Lee Hall’s adaptation of Stoppard’s screenplay seen here, is funny, down to earth and human. He’s often lost for words and writes bad material. He betrays his friends. He cheats on his wife.  He’s lazy and doesn’t seem very bright. Photo by David Hou

Cast members of "SHAKESPEARE in LOVE"

Cast members of “SHAKESPEARE in LOVE”


Who wouldn’t want to live in ‘OUR TOWN’? Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

The characters and situations in Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town, are a true to life depiction of a tightly-woven North American community, at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Shaw Festival’s production of the 1930’s drama is authentic, heart-wrenching and honest. The play was written to be delivered as an ensemble piece whereby the cast functions like a choir—singing a song in which everyone plays an essential role. Individual characters seldom stand out… Wilder is celebrating life itself – the trajectory of individuals is of secondary importance. Director, Molly Smith, does a fine job of conducting the choir in the manner the playwright intended.  Photo courtesy of David Cooper

Wright; McGregor & Flett; residents of "OUR TOWN"

Wright; McGregor & Flett; residents of “OUR TOWN”


Shaw’s “BLACK GIRL…” searches for meaning 2

By Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson

             The Adventures of The Black Girl in Her Search for God – Lisa Codrington’s adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1932 short story – is an over-the-top satire on western civilization’s attempts to convert Africans to the Judeo-Christian model. And the Shaw Festival’s lunch hour production is zany, outrageous and through provoking. Director, Ravi Jain, kept the energy high. Characters moved in and off the stage, through trap doors, across the balcony and through the audience. The tone and pitch was intense and the actions at times frenetic. The third wall was frequently smashed.  Photo by David Cooper

the cast of 'BLACK GIRL..."

the cast of ‘BLACK GIRL…”