Soulpepper’s Ibsen version lost in translation Reply

Review by Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson
Why would a modern woman, from a prominent family, have an emotional fixation on a domineering Trump-style male? While this scenario might fascinate reality TV watchers, Frank McGuinness’ 1996 adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House fails to effectively translate the genius of the classic drama. The original Nora Helmer, circa Ibsen’s 1879 Norway, was a strong woman who had little choice but to stay with her controlling mate because of the societal dictates of her day. But in McGuinness’ 1990’s UK, Soulpepper’s Katherine Gauthier’s ‘Nora’, would have had plenty of options.      Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann

Matamoros; Morris; Gauthier & Oladejo in "A DOLL'S HOUSE"

     Matamoros; Morris; Gauthier & Oladejo in “A DOLL’S HOUSE”


Stratford gives Shakespeare a makeover Reply

Review by Judith Robinson  Reviewer Judith Robinson
The Stratford Festival’s production of Shakespeare in Love presents a William Shakespeare who is rollicking, funny and playful. For those who find the playwright boring, stuffy and out of date, this is the play for you. This Shakespeare is not the stuffy genius taught in schools, who spoke in perfect rhyming couplets, adored by queen and country.
Tom Stoppard’s Shakespeare, as seen in the 1998 movie, and Lee Hall’s adaptation of Stoppard’s screenplay seen here, is funny, down to earth and human. He’s often lost for words and writes bad material. He betrays his friends. He cheats on his wife.  He’s lazy and doesn’t seem very bright. Photo by David Hou

Cast members of "SHAKESPEARE in LOVE"

Cast members of “SHAKESPEARE in LOVE”


Who wouldn’t want to live in ‘OUR TOWN’? Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

The characters and situations in Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town, are a true to life depiction of a tightly-woven North American community, at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Shaw Festival’s production of the 1930’s drama is authentic, heart-wrenching and honest. The play was written to be delivered as an ensemble piece whereby the cast functions like a choir—singing a song in which everyone plays an essential role. Individual characters seldom stand out… Wilder is celebrating life itself – the trajectory of individuals is of secondary importance. Director, Molly Smith, does a fine job of conducting the choir in the manner the playwright intended.  Photo courtesy of David Cooper

Wright; McGregor & Flett; residents of "OUR TOWN"

Wright; McGregor & Flett; residents of “OUR TOWN”


Shaw’s “BLACK GIRL…” searches for meaning 2

By Judith RobinsonreviewerJudith Robinson

             The Adventures of The Black Girl in Her Search for God – Lisa Codrington’s adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1932 short story – is an over-the-top satire on western civilization’s attempts to convert Africans to the Judeo-Christian model. And the Shaw Festival’s lunch hour production is zany, outrageous and through provoking. Director, Ravi Jain, kept the energy high. Characters moved in and off the stage, through trap doors, across the balcony and through the audience. The tone and pitch was intense and the actions at times frenetic. The third wall was frequently smashed.  Photo by David Cooper

the cast of 'BLACK GIRL..."

the cast of ‘BLACK GIRL…”


Artword Artbar celebrates Toller Cranston Reply

By Ellen S. JaffeReviewerEllen S.

 TOLLER  (Toller-on-the-run Productions), written and directed by Sky Gilbert, is about figure-skater Toller Cranston as he muses on his life and times. The piece was inspired by Cranston’s 1997 memoir Zero Tollerance: An Intimate Memoir by The Man That Revolutionized Figure Skating. Gilbert premiered the play at the Artword Artbar in November 2015 and remounted it for the Toronto Fringe.  David Benjamin Tomlinson re-creates his brilliant portrayal of Toller, talking about isolation, identity, sexuality, art and beauty, in language that conveys both sparkle and shadow.  More…

“Driving Miss Daisy” fuels nostalgia Reply

Review by E. Lisa MosesReviewer E. Lisa
Alfred Uhry’s 1987 magnum opus, Driving Miss Daisy, never runs out of gas. At the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, actor Michael Learned (famous for playing “Olivia Walton”) alternately grinds the gears and jump-starts the cantankerous widow, Miss Daisy. At age 72, Daisy is forced by her son Boolie, played by Darren Keay, to use a chauffeur after she wipes out her Chrysler in spectacular demolition-derby style.
Directed by David Hogan, this one-act play set in Atlanta, Georgia in the mid-1990s tracks a 20-year friendship between the white Jewish (but “not rich”) Daisy and Neville Edwards’s steadfast black chauffeur Hoke Colburn.  Photo by Diane ODell, of Ms. Learned & Neville EdwardsDriving Ms