“CHICAGO, the Musical”; much better than the movie! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
We watched the 2002 movie version of the Kander & Ebb musical for one reason only, it was shot in Toronto using the Distillery District, City Hall; Casa Loma ; Osgoode & Canada Life among others. As for the Gere/Zellweger/Zeta-Jones performances, we thought that they were not only two-dimentional, but it wasn’t just the singing that was dubbed – so was their portrayals. Last night we saw Theatre Ancaster’s version and had decided , even by intermission that this is a surefire O.A.R. ‘Top Ten for this year!
Everything about ‘Chicago’ is first rate…the direction; the stage method; the cutaways; costuming and especially the faultless chorus numbers that are an intrinsic part of the show.

Lapsley prepping Pike for her day in court, while chorus & Press folks look on

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Retelling “The Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Story” Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

In reviewing a play about historical events, we can ask: 1) what is the play’s relationship to historical events: how ‘accurate” is it? (2) what is its point of view? (3) how well does it work as a play onstage? I put “accurate” in quotes because “history” changes depending on who is writing it, and also in the face of changing information . These questions come to mind after seeing The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, produced by Teatron Jewish Theatre and playing at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. I recommend this play as an opportunity to see the human side of a historical and political situation * The events took place in 1950-53 during the fear-laden atmosphere of the Cold War, with the investigation of suspected Communists by the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy. The episode still has repercussions today.

Actual booking photos of the Rosenbergs

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“Mother Jones” – Empowering Explosive Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

As Donald Trump and many politicians worldwide strive to strip workers’ of their rights,
Subversive Theatre in Buffalo has picked the perfect time to produce a musical celebrating
labour organizer Mother Jones. Playwright/composer Si Kahn’s Mother Jones In Heaven (and
Hell) is a rollicking exposé of economic exploitation and an example of what can be achieved
through perseverance, dynamism and inner strength.
Kahn is no stranger to labour organizing. The award-winning North Carolina native has been
training community activists, writing songs and performing concerts, alongside well-known
figures such as Pete Seeger, for more than 50 years. Kahn’s play centres around a compelling scenario

Ms. Jones and her friendly barrista

 

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“The Long Weekend”; re-revisited Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

A bane for theatre critics is the problem of having to see the same plays numerous times. Norm Foster’s “the Long Weekend” may have been previously observed but it still has a special connotation for this particular writer. My parents could never afford a summer cottage, so for the few times we were invited as guests, we were the equivalent of the ‘Nash’s in the play. NO matter how warm or hospitable our hosts were, there was always an underlining sense of superiority or patronization that we felt. It was like accepting charity. Foster’s play shows this overtly and thus personally touches home.

Cook, Flis, Jonasson & Byrne, the cast of LONG WEEKEND

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‘THEORY”, documents interplay of ideas, etc. Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Norman Yeung’s play “Theory,now at the Tarragon’s Extra-Space, is relevant for our times, asking questions about the limits of both free speech and political correctness, and how these “theories” affect human lives and historical context. Skillfully and tautly directed by Esther Jun, the play centers around Isabelle, a young white professor of film theory, who encourages her diverse students to express themselves freely (as adults), including posting anonymously on a  elf-moderated discussion board that – all too soon – leads to comments that veer toward racism and sexism, leading some students to feeling unsafe.

Sascha Cole and her students learning “THEORY”

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“Metamorphoses”; or 90 mins. of Greek mythology 101 Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
“The Midas touch”; A Bacchanal ; In the arms of Morpheus’; Oedipus complex; Narcissistic; and all the variation of “Psycho… These, and many more are phrases derived from the names or acts of Ovid’s 15-AD poems describing the Greek mythologies popular two millennia ago. American director/ playwright Mary Zimmerman re-wrote episodal aspects of the original epic into visual, musical, and dramatic narratives that interpret some of the more familiar subjects. Theatre Erindale’s staging of Metamorphoses is predominantly her imagery, and director David Matheson’s creativity, and the result is magical as well as informative.    Photo courtesy of Michael Slater

The ‘laundresses’ performing in the pool

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