Little Shop of Horrors, fun in a flower shop Reply

Review by Marion Davis

NYC’ers know that there’s a hidden part of Manhattan known only to localites that’s acknowledged as ‘Off – Off Broadway’. It’s either basements or lofts or parking garages. Such was the origins of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s 1982 rock musical ‘LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS’. The story is about a ‘Venus Flytrap’ plant that develops a taste for humans.
Audrey 2 (the plant), who was raised at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, has unexpectedly, in a twisted and funny way, planned to take over the Earth. This light musical horror comedy from the 1960’s, is filled with catchy songs throughout the developing horror story while nurturing a love story.

Steve Ross (Mr. Mushnik) and his store clerk played by Andre Morin    Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

 

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“The Merry Wives of Windsor”; NOT Camilla; Sarah; Catherine or Meghan! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Old William Shakespeare had a thing about women getting the best of their men. Think of Beatrice; Rosalind; Titania and Portia. Having a controlling or out- maneuvering wife is something this scribe can certainly identify with (forgive the prepositional ending). Seems things haven’t changed much over the past four centuries. Some other ‘plus de change. Plus de meme-chose’ idioms; wanting to marry for money rather than love; and especially- social manipulations. All these delicious things appear in Merry Wives and artistic director Antoni Cimolino is able to bring out all humor, intricacies, convolutions  that make this comedy such an eternal favorite.  Say ‘Falstaffian’ and everyone knows what is meant.

Hughson, Davies & Ghajar plotting    Photo by David Hou

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“PRIVATE LIVES” a less–than-usual Stratford interpret. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
From a set that looks like the entry to a fancy restaurant’s Ladies Room, to faulty blocking, to poor vocal projection, to some hammy acting, Noel Coward’s Private Lives deserves better. The plot deals with two newly-wed couples at the start of their respective honeymoons. Couple ‘A’s groom and couple ‘B’s bride were once couple ‘C’ but have been divorced for five years. They all reunite at the same Cote D’azure resort and the old sparks fly. Being a Coward play the dialogue is clever and memorable and especially re-quotable. I still include ‘don’t quibble, Sybil’ in conversations.    Photo courtesy of David Hou

Davies, Shara, Walker & Peacock discussing their ‘Private Lives’

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BILLY ELLIOT, the Musical, “Very Fokken Special” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
For over a decade, I’ve had a love/like relationship with director Donna Feore. The lady’s background is classical dance and occasionally she allows her dedication to the art get the best of her. It happened with her work on ‘Oklahoma’, (OAR July ’07) and it’s the only flaw in Stratford’s amazing Billy Elliot, the Musical. Feore utilizes every inch of the Festival’s thrust stage with chorus numbers that are outstanding and definitively bear her imprimatur.
The play has two plots, the first deals with a pre-teen male who decides that he’d like to learn ballet; the other deals with the tragic U.K.’s miners’ strike.     Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Nolen Dubuc (Billy) leading the miners; cops & ballerinas in a big chorus number

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“ROPE” dark & foreboding plus “The RUSSIAN PLAY” Reply

Reviews by Terry Gaisin

Patrick Hamilton’s drama “ROPE” either refers to ‘”Give em’ enough rope…etc” or perhaps to the fact that Leopold & Loeb both held on to ends of the cord used to throttle Bobby Franks in the so-called ‘crime of the Century’ thrill murder; the true-life case on which Hamilton’s plot is based. Like the infamous L & L, his protagonists (antagonists?) are highly intelligent; considered themselves Nietzschean ‘Ubermenschen’ (supermen) and thus sociologically non-responsible, and too bright to ever be caught.
Director
Jani Lauzon utilizes stage lighting as a dramatic vehicle actually have an opening scene in almost total darkness. So, both mood and plot are sinister.   Photo courtesy of Emily Cooper (Shaw)

Therriault facing off against Seetoo & Wong in “ROPE”

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“Brigadoon” an old favourite, renewed & improved Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
July. 9th,’19

First off; let’s deal with the elephant in the room. This scribe has read Gerstacker’s Germelhausen and it’s the antithesis of Lerner & Lowe’s terrific musical – BRIGADOON! One is a depressing tale of a curse; negativism and a depressing ending; the other is about hopes and miracles! I’ve seen Brigadoon numerous since 1957’s road company performances and loved every version. From the exciting opening number to the quotable last line (“ye must love her very much…Ye WOKE ME UP” and then the line about anything being possible if one believes in miracles). This scribe actually applauds WHEN Peter Pan needs support to revive Tinker Bell. Imagine how I respond to such an affirmative ending! Yup –teary-eyed.  Photo courtesy of ShawFest

Matt Nethersole telling his townsfolk about his feelings for ‘Bonnie Jean’

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