The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, @ S.LT Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

‘APRICOT’, noun; a fruit. Seventy-odd years ago by spelling it APRACOT, this scribe lost out on making history as the only Grade 6 entry on Iona Ave. Public School’s Spelling Bee team. Haven’t eaten one since! So, why bring back old memories by attending a performance of Simcoe Little Theatre’s iteration of the Finn/Sheinkin play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, here-to-for abbreviated “T25APCSB”. Because it’s a cute bit of fluff and especially because the major members of the cast are kids. Talented kids, adorable kids, funny kids- what’s NOT to like?
The directing team of Tony & Michelle Proracki both have teaching and musical backgrounds.   Photo by RoseLe Studio

Jim Donovan & Jada Dawson competing, observed by a dour Rylea O’Toole

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“MAMMA MIA”; Theatre Ancaster takes a chance… Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
First saw the Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) silliness ages ago when everybody trooped to Mirvish’s King Street theatre to hear, sing & dance to the mega hit. Thought the movie version (Streep/Brosnan etc.) was a disaster. Last night I again felt the excitement experienced in Toronto during the last century!. It’s toe-tapping; titillating; hummable and certainly encourages muted singing along. Well staged; superbly sung & acted and meticulously directed. Ancaster may be a community theatre, but its efforts are highly professional productions. Their 2018 “CHICAGO” made our O.A.R. Top Ten List and MAMMA MIA is a definite contender for 2019.

Cast & crew of Ancaster’s MAMMA MIA 2019   Photo by John Gillett

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Little Shop of Horrors, fun in a flower shop Reply

Review by Marion Davis

NYC’ers know that there’s a hidden part of Manhattan known only to localites that’s acknowledged as ‘Off – Off Broadway’. It’s either basements or lofts or parking garages. Such was the origins of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s 1982 rock musical ‘LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS’. The story is about a ‘Venus Flytrap’ plant that develops a taste for humans.
Audrey 2 (the plant), who was raised at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, has unexpectedly, in a twisted and funny way, planned to take over the Earth. This light musical horror comedy from the 1960’s, is filled with catchy songs throughout the developing horror story while nurturing a love story.

Steve Ross (Mr. Mushnik) and his store clerk played by Andre Morin    Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

 

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BILLY ELLIOT, the Musical, “Very Fokken Special” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
For over a decade, I’ve had a love/like relationship with director Donna Feore. The lady’s background is classical dance and occasionally she allows her dedication to the art get the best of her. It happened with her work on ‘Oklahoma’, (OAR July ’07) and it’s the only flaw in Stratford’s amazing Billy Elliot, the Musical. Feore utilizes every inch of the Festival’s thrust stage with chorus numbers that are outstanding and definitively bear her imprimatur.
The play has two plots, the first deals with a pre-teen male who decides that he’d like to learn ballet; the other deals with the tragic U.K.’s miners’ strike.     Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Nolen Dubuc (Billy) leading the miners; cops & ballerinas in a big chorus number

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“Brigadoon” an old favourite, renewed & improved Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
July. 9th,’19

First off; let’s deal with the elephant in the room. This scribe has read Gerstacker’s Germelhausen and it’s the antithesis of Lerner & Lowe’s terrific musical – BRIGADOON! One is a depressing tale of a curse; negativism and a depressing ending; the other is about hopes and miracles! I’ve seen Brigadoon numerous since 1957’s road company performances and loved every version. From the exciting opening number to the quotable last line (“ye must love her very much…Ye WOKE ME UP” and then the line about anything being possible if one believes in miracles). This scribe actually applauds WHEN Peter Pan needs support to revive Tinker Bell. Imagine how I respond to such an affirmative ending! Yup –teary-eyed.  Photo courtesy of ShawFest

Matt Nethersole telling his townsfolk about his feelings for ‘Bonnie Jean’

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“KIVIUQ” returns, Inuit epic stories come to life in drama dance & music 1

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic, created by the Qaggiq Collective (a non-profit society dedicated to
strengthening Inuit performing arts in Nunavut) and currently playing at the Tarragon, is a wonderful, unique
theatrical experience – performed entirely in the Inuktitut language. If you are interested in theatre, or in Inuit
culture, or simply want to enjoy some unusual entertainment, you should not miss this production!
“I don’t know Inuktitut,” you say. “How can I enjoy it?”
Surprisingly (or maybe not) the play is very accessible. There is a detailed scene by scene guide in English in
the program, also available on line so you can read it before attending.

cast scene – “KIVIUQ

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