“DOGFIGHT”; a visceral picture of war Reply

Review by Terry GaisinreviewerETG
Six years ago, an off-Broadway musical about the Viet Nam War went mainstream. SHERIDAN’s theatre arts faculty brings all the pathos, transformations, and forced maturity that the war effected. The play is emphasized by song and dance; thus, the dialogue is transitory but exacting and severe. The phrase ‘DOGFIGHT’ usually refers to an aerial battle between fighter planes, but is occasionally used as the male counterpart to a struggle between women. It also represents a cruel U.S. Marine game in which ‘jarheads’ on leave pool funds to award whomever brought the ugliest date to a party.

The marines heading for leave, & the girls they want to meet

The marines heading for their ‘Frisco leave; & the girls they want to meet

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Sheridan aces “SHREK, The musical” Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG
One of the challenges facing any professional critic is having to review the same presentation without repeating adjectives or worse – repeating an article. I was introduced to SHREK by a Mississauga community theatre ten months ago and adored the ludicrous story line about the recluse whose swamp is invaded by expelled fairytale characters and so must embark on a quest to obtain permanent property rights. Theatre Sheridan’s take is about as entertaining and professional as anything ‘Downtown’ could stage. The singing/acting is non-pareil; the costuming delightful; and the directing -immaculate. Even the off-color bits aren’t disturbing given our era of overly sensitive political correctness.

SHREK & his stage-mates revolving around his 'swamp'

SHREK & his stage-mates revolving around his ‘swamp’

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“Come From Away”; Mirvish musical has come to stay 1

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
Come From Away
, currently playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, is a musical pulsing with resilience and hope. First produced at Oakville’s Sheridan College in 2013, the musical went on to sell-out crowds in Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C. In February, it will move to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. (Ed. note: -First critiqued here as a workshop, then studio performance, see our O.A.R. archive-‘2/15/13)
This Canadian success story chronicles the hosting of nearly 7,000 stranded airline passengers in Gander, Newfoundland during the 9/11 crisis.

The 'Come From Away' original workshop cast

The ‘Come From Away’ original workshop cast

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“All Shook Up”; like our P.M. – ‘Not quite ready!’ Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor
♫ Well bless my soul what’s wrong with me? My hands are shaking and my knees are weak. I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet Perhaps Elvis & Otis Blackwell were thinking about this writer’s deteriorating old body when they wrote these lyrics to “ALL SHOOK UP”. Clarkson Music Theatre and director Craig Marshall seem to have shortchanged the cast and chorus by about three rehearsals. The delayed cue pickups; missed lighting spots and especially the uncoordinated chorus numbers are not up to the usual CMT standard.

The arrival of 'cool' Chad on his bike

The arrival of ‘cool’ Chad on his bike

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“ANYTHING GOES”; still tuneful and entertaining Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor
“♫   In olden days a glimpse of stocking… ♪ ”. The period Cole Porter referred to was probably the time leading up to the First World War. Things changed with the Flapper era and the market crash.  By 1934 things hadn’t improved financially, but mores had evolved. Thus ‘anything goes’ became a philosophy. Etobicoke Musical Productions has brought back this tuneful hit that embodies the creative style of pre-Webber Broadway productions – i.e. full measure of memorable songs that were sing-along-able even out of context. EMP has another hit presentation with “ANYTHING GOES”. And if one can’t grasp some of the similes quoted in ‘You’re the Top, write us!

the cast departing the U.S. on their musical ocean voyage

the cast departing the U.S. on their musical ocean voyage

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“The TORONTO FRINGE, 2016” Reply

As in previous years our Ontario Arts Review will endeavor to cover as many of the entries as our time and writer-availability will permit. Having received venue and backing support from Honest Ed’s, the Fringe Administration has decided to caricature the store’s famous logo in the late Ed Mirvish’s honour. We’ll be adding and updating our critiques on a daily basis, so be sure and check out the column regularly.  Remember, many Fringe-style offerings (including Toronto’s) have gone on to mainstream performances. ‘The Fantasticks’; ‘Urinetown’; and ‘Drowsy Chaperone’ are just the most renowned.  If you see us and notice our Press accreditation badges – say hello! We’re Terry, Danny, Jordan, Ellen & Michael.

Finge 2016 Bannerhead

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