“TRAP DOOR” a new opera; especially for today Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Doing what we do, i.e. critiquing over a hundred concerts and theatre events every year; becoming jaded is par for the course. Then something comes along that knocks us for a loop. Sheridan’s Theatre Arts Faculty is staging a new play by Morris Panych, with music & lyrics by Anika and Britta Johnson. This Michael Rubinoff production that takes place in 1919 is as real and contemporary as this week’s news. The plot deals with a burlesque operation; gangsters; women treated as chattels; a mystery and except for moments of comic relief- operatic tragedy. The twenty-one arias pack visceral messages and impact.
Editor’s Note: At the request of the producer; no cast photos were taken of this play

Our intrepid critic & TRAP DOOR’s creative team!

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“Into the Woods”; think about what you wish for! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Given my own biases, I’m ambivalent about critiquing any play by Sondheim. He may have an iconic status, but this scrivener finds him notoriously repetitious and thus – boring. However, one cannot deny that he undertakes subjective challenges and doesn’t balk at taboos. “INTO The WOODS” has, and is – both.
With the 5-week teachers strike from October 15th until mid-November;
Sheridan’s Theatre Arts Faculty started rehearsals under self-managed production & direction. The result is both professional and polished… four years of tutelage has certainly paid off.
The plots consolidate familiar fairy tales and is divided into two distinct acts. The first is the requisite story lines and interaction. 

the cast of thespians out of,  & “INTO THE WOODS”

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‘BAT OUT of HELL’; a fast start to 2018 Reply

Review by Tina Gaisin

With the weather hitting “highs” of -22 degrees Celsius there was not much to do in Toronto for New Years Eve outdoors. We decided to warm it up and go to Jim Steinman( Associate producer ‘Meatloaf’)’s “Bat Out of Hell”. Growing up with Meatloaf, it was not surprising all the songs had people singing, tapping their feet, dancing and even had a neighbour in the row crying! (What a wuss!) The story line sounds familiar the haves and have nots, with Romeo Juliet and Peter Pan thrown in! The dancing was very modern; well worth the show with singing and a moral to be learned throughout the show.

The iconic image of both the play & “Meatloaf”

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“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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