Harry – Hope of the British Monarchy Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

Perhaps it is time that Prince Charles gets his shot at becoming king. And he almost gets his chance in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III. But David Shurmann’s pompous and pedantic, mock Shakespearian speeches, in the Mirvish/Theatre 180 production in Toronto, are enough to drive the commoners to riot. Schurmann’s Charles makes the monarchy seem moldy and moth-eaten, and ripe for overthrowing.
Although many of the lines are funny and witty, most of Bartlett’s characters seem one dimensional. Even with the breadth of experience and fine acting ability of the twelve actors in the cast, it’s hard to bring something out of a script that isn’t there.
Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann                                                                 l-r Galligan; Schumann & Powell in CHARLES III


“The Cradle Will Rock”, a thespian challenge Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Marc Blitzstein’s 1937 dramatic musical THE CRADLE WILL ROCK is a Brechtian attempt to shine a spotlight on the socio/political manipulations of the Great Depression by the industrial barons of the time. Their stooges were the bribable courts; churches and Governments. Obviously nothing like today! We’re all familiar with the term ‘Cradle’; but in the title’s context it refers to ‘support’ or a ‘framework’, and that’s what the playwright sought to weaken. The original performance was directed by Orson Welles and starred both the writer and Will Geer; a famous socialist of his time, best remembered as TV’s Grandpa Walton.

the cast of Sheridan’s THE CRADLE WILL ROCK


“Kiss Me Kate”; Sheridan aces this Cole Porter standard Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
A year or so ago, while critiquing a Stratford presentation directed & choreographed by Donna Feore; we created our own descriptive adjective. The term we came up with was “Dancical “and it is the perfect qualifier to exposit our opinion of Theatre Sheridan’s take on the Cole Porter blockbuster – “KISS ME KATE“. Direction is faultless; costumes are impeccably detailed; the entire cast meet every professional standard. Lastly, choreography is superlative, creatively and performance.
This concept of a musical version of a Shakespeare play is not unique; ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona”;
The Boys From Syracuse and of course ‘West Side Story’ are all familiar.

Cast, crew, musicians & production team of “KISS ME KATE”


“A theatrical ‘Double, Double’” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Baseball has it’s ‘double header’; opera ‘s “Pagliacci” & “Cavalleria Rusticana” are always performed as a duo; and theatre has the two one-act efforts – Shaffer’s BLACK COMEDY and Stoppard’s THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND performed sequentially. Oakville’s Drama Series has both entries directed by Jeff Morrison; so he must work under two distinct mindsets and two different cast teams. A challenge, but one that is well met.
Black Comedy is unusual in that it is a ‘reversed lighting’ process, i.e. the stage is lit for the major period of a blackout, but is in almost total darkness when the power comes on.

Activity in the (supposed to be) Dark!


Get Thee to HAMLET, with music * Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

“You will never see another Hamlet like this one,” says Richard. Rose, Artistic Director of the Tarragon and director of the current new production of Shakespeare’s play.   I agree, and urge you to “get thee to the Tarragon” to see a Hamlet that is both theatrical and intimate, bold and expressively nuanced. The music is billed as rock and roll, but ranges from heavy metal-like to jazz to plaintive, suspenseful leitmotifs. Not just an “addition,” the music is an expressionist subtext in sound and brought home the emotional and intellectual impact of the play. I was completely captivated emotionally, from the opening scene where the ghost appears…    Photo by Cylla Von Tydemann

Cast members of ‘Hamlet’


“Clybourne Park”; You could HEAR the ‘cringe’! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
As a collegiate freshman in 1960; I drove to NYC to see ‘A Raisin in the Sun’. It starred unknowns Ruby Dee; Lou Gossett; and Ossie Davis – who had just taken over from another novice Sydney Poitier! The story dealt with a black family in Chicago and dealt with desired upward mobility. Playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s family had actually been involved with the legalities of Blacks wanting to live in an all-white neighbourhood, fought under the U.S. Constitution’s famous 14th Amendment.
Eight years ago, playwright Bruce Norris wrote a follow-up to ‘
Raisin‘ titled CLYBOURNE PARK and this two-Act comedy/drama is a powerhouse tour-de-force. *   Photo (& stage  design) by Jim Smagata

L-R    Ruhs; Watt-Bowers; Martin; Grant; Clarke & Francis – in a tense moment