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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Outside Mullingar”, or – The Life of Reilly’s Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It’s an awful business…Growing old!” When Vince Carlin makes this statement in John Shanley’s 2014 com/dram (sic) OUTSIDE MULLINGAR, it was way too close to home. Both the muse and I have just undergone a necessitated cognitive analysis. Our concentration veers; our memory has too many gaps; and worse of all – the short trip between brain and mouth often detours.
Interpreting Shanley’s play, the unique production team of ‘
Act of Faith’ have brought back the ‘Painting Churches’ (see O.A.R. 4/28/’18) dynamic team of Caroline Saulez; Vince Carlin & Willard Boudreau. The latter, recovering from major surgery, is still in top directorial form with his minute (‘mine yoot’ not the 60-second noun) style of detailing.

l-r: Saulez; Sheehy; Marchment & Carlin, chez Reilly’s farm kitchen

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Walker play explores middle class madness 1

Review by Judith Robinson    May 12, ‘19

Since the 1970’s, Canadian playwright George F. Walkers plays have had audience members squirming in their seats as pimps, prostitutes, criminals and drug addicts took center stage. In recent years, the master craftsman turned his spotlight on to the Middle Class. His 2010 drama, And So It Goes, currently playing at the Pia Bouman Scotia Bank Theatre in Toronto, not only gives a voice to the voiceless, it exposes what it’s like for those who had a voice to lose it. Latin teacher, Gwen, powerfully enacted by Deborah Drakeford, and her husband investment adviser, Ned, played by Dan Willmott, had a pretty cushy life,

Drakeford * McCulloch on stage

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“Skin Flick” another take on Norm Foster’s hit Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin   Apr. 27th ‘19

There is a character in the puppet musical “Avenue ‘Q’ “(Trekkie Monster) who suffixes every zinger piece of dialogue with “And Porn!”. The rhetorical device never gets boring. Same with Norm Foster’s situation comedy SKIN FLICK which we’ve seen more than a few times. The plot deals with a newly unemployed couple and their just-fired photo journalist deciding to make a ‘blue movie’ (porno) to make some quick cash. A singing (& stripping) greeting card girl, and the cameraman’s meek & ingenuous bookie round out the cast.
The ironic misconceptions and double entendres abound and are sure laughs even if they’re obvious and telegraphed.

SKIN FLICK’s Ashley & Greg, Megan, Swenor, & Fortman at rear

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