“MARINE LIFE” plumbs climate change & human relationships Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Marine Life, written and directed by Rosa Laborde in collaboration with Aluna Theatre and now playing at Tarragon Extraspace, is a fable for our times. Through witty and perceptive dialogue, excellent acting, and an amazing set featuring both factual projections and touches of magic realism, this one-act piece shows us the interplay between the planet’s damaged oceans and the characters’ damaged lives. Despite these themes, the play is (as the playwright notes) a comedy in the true sense of the word – it provides some hope for redemption (at least partial). Not traditional theatre, but exciting, provocative, and well worth seeing.   Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Matthew; Justin & Nicola in MARINE LIFE

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BROKEN GLASS: Miller’s play shows lives shattered by hatred Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Production of a late, little-known play by Arthur Miller (1915-2005), is a cause for curiosity and celebration. The U.S. playwright is best known for plays like Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and All My Sons, which combine personal and political issues. Broken Glass, written in 1994 and now produced by Teatron, Toronto’s Jewish Theatre, also has this dual perspective. Directed and designed by Ari Weisberg, who founded Teatron in 2002 remained Artistic Director until he moved to Israel in 2015, is presented as part of Holocaust Education Week, 2017. The theatre has done excellent productions of contemporary and older Jewish theatre.                                                                                             Berlin –  11/09/’38
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“Skin Flick”, or perhaps ‘Porn Yesterday!’ Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Forty years ago, there was a highly popular movie titled ‘Fun With Dick & Jane’ that starred George Segal and Jane Fonda. The story was about a successful couple, (the Harpers); who when affected by a recession both lost their jobs. To create income, they decided to become bank robbers. Unlike the infamous Willie Sutton, they didn’t have the talent nor much success. Three decades later, Canadian playwright Norm Foster paraphrased the concept in ‘SKIN FLICK’. This incarnation was non-felonious but definitely as funny. No ‘stick-em-ups’, instead along with their single (and also unemployed) neighbour decide to create a porno DVD.

l-r   Wouthuis; Cook; Edwards; Redfearn & Fortman in SKIN FLICK

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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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“A Murder is Announced”; WEST’s take on Agatha ‘C’ Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Trivia question: – what are the three most-published works of all time? The Bible (naturally); Shakespeare’s plays (of course); 3rd – Agatha Christie’s mysteries (surprise!). In spite of the superfluity of people having seen and thus know the answer to ‘who dunnit’, the lady’s plays still get staged before full houses and now it’s West End Studio Theatre’s take on ‘A Murder is Announced’ and another chance to see dear old Miss Marple inimitably solve a puzzle. Director Paul Groulx‘s interpretation explores the passably amicable dialogue between Marple and Craddock, her local police inspector. It’s two sharp minds at work.

     OOPS, somebody’s been killed and (almost) all the above are suspects

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