“INTO THE WOODS”, or be careful what you wish for Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Three decades ago, Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics to an imagined Fairy tale that incorporated Grimm’s “Little Red Riding Hood”; ‘Rapunzel’; Jack & his Beanstalk plus Cinderella (The Disney version, not the opera). Readers may recall that Sondheim is not one of this scribe’s favourite composers. I find his works repetitious and boring, sort of like Gordon Lightfoot. Think Sweeney Todd where not one but two songs are composed of repeating “Johanna” over & over. Then, there’s his West Side Lyrics to ‘Maria, Maria, ad infinitum. His music & prose default carries throughout ‘Into The Woods’… and for a long three & 1/4 hours!

The cast of “INTO THE WOODS”

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“South Pacific ”, a 3-hr R&R opportunity on Bali Ha’i Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
            “We’ve got sunlight on the sand and moonlight on the sea,
We’ve got mangoes & bananas you can pick right off a tree.
We’ve got volleyball & ping pong and a lot of dandy games;

But what don’t we got -we ain’t got Dames!”
Even without a brilliant accompanying composition, such poetry has a musical lilt as well as meter, rhyme, and timbre. Coupled with Richard Rogers’ amazing score, Hammerstein II’s lyrics are a perfect blend.
This dynamic duo paired in 1943 with ‘Oklahoma’ and followed bi-annually with ‘State Fair’; “Carousel” and then in 1949 adapted Michener’s ‘Tales of the South Pacific’ into “SOUTH PACIFIC”.

Some of the inhabitants of an island near”‘BALI HA’I”

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Me and my Girl” a great SHAW date opportunity Reply

Review by Danny  & Terry Gaisin
                        Noel Gay’s “ME AND MY GIRL” may be dated and certainly not the most (With some exceptions) musically memorable. But given its creative re-writing; imaginative directing and extremely talented cast- this is sure-fire entertainment. The SHAW Festival’s rendering, given the somewhat popular premise, has made a unique take on the story seem almost contemporary.  Granted, British snobbery and rigid caste systems are supposedly passé; wealth and prestige still resonates with us unwashed masses. The concept of a lower class individual wanting or having to elevate levels is nothing new. G.B.S. incorporated it in his Pygmalion, and NATURALLY the original Pygmalion utilizes the idea.

Photo by David Cooper

 Therriault & Frank dancing ‘formally’, rather than “Lambeth Walking”

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“HMS Pinafore” – all the ‘♫Whys & Wherefores ♫’ 1

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin

The first time we saw Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1881 operetta ‘HMS PINAFORE’, it was presented by a community theatre group that considered the lyrics remedial for folks with some speech challenges, and certainly singing was more fun than reciting tongue-twisters! The play has a strong but subtle message and denigrates ingrained British snobbism and oligarchic political attainment (think today’s White House). Stratford’s Lezlie Wade meticulously underscores the play’s comedic bent with impacting visual images; a creative and functional set, plus acute physical activity. Her choreographic utilization of the set’s two curved staircases will remind older individuals of the Busby Berkeley routines from the late fifties.

Admiral Laurie Murdoch chastising Captain Steve Ross before the crew & all those sisters/cousins/aunts!

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“♫GUYS & DOLLS ♪” an almost perfect Stratford musical Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Frank Loesser’s interpretation of a couple of Damon Runyon short stories has become a Broadway standard. Every song of the show’s twenty is not only memorable but sing-able even out of context. Under Donna Feore’s direction & her choreography; “♫ it’s better than even money ” that folks will remember it fondly for years to come…we certainly will and I’ve lost count of the times we’ve seen it.
The two plots deal first with a hustler, his illegal crap game, and his long-suffering showgirl fiancée. The other story is about a gambler and a Salvation Army-type naif. The support characters are just that –  Characters!
All  our published Stratford photos by Cylla von Tiedemann

Steve Ross ‘nicely-nicely’ exhorting the gamblers to “sit down, SIT DOWN, they’re rocking the Boat”

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“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

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