Review by Danny Gaisin
Disclaimer:- I’m not a fan of Sondheim (boring & repetitious) but his 1962 fun musical ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’ is the exception. Roughly based on a 2nd C. BC play ; it tells the convoluted story of a Roman slave who hopes to win his freedom by helping his master’s son get the girl . The original play starred Zero Mostel as the conniving ‘Pseudolus’, who (sort of) reprised the character-type 5 years later abut updated 2200 years, his The Producer-ing ‘Bialystock’ is also a major scammer.
The introductory number is titled ‘Comedy Tonight’ and its certainly descriptive of the Etobicoke Musical Prod’ effort.
the denizens of Rome, circa 250BC, aka – cast of FUNNY THING HAPPENED!
Review by Terry Gaisin
The late comedian W.C. Fields avowed that actors should never perform with kids or pets. Rationale – being upstaged. WEST’s quartet of males involved with Norm Foster’s “THE FOURSOME” had an opening night audience totally distracted by a spider weaving a large web -stage-right. This non-ACTRA performer, a large anthropoid arachnid happened to be weaving its web against a black backdrop and under a non-white Kleiglight – perfect illumination!
The play, once interest returned, is about a golf game as part of a fifteen year college reunion, and like an onion, the strips are peeled away revealing the duffer; the con artist; reticent member and the sensitive one.
l-r: Reid; Morrison; Rahmani & Wilson at the sixth Tee
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Djanet Sears’ powerful “rhapsodic blues tragedy, “ Harlem Duet, is onstage at the Tarragon again, 21 years after its world premiere there. The play received Dora, Chalmers and Governor-General’s Awards, and was the first script by a black Canadian produced at Stratford Festival (2006); it has also been produced in New York.
I did not see earlier productions, but seeing it now, I find the play relevant for today and (like Shakespeare and Greek tragedy) for all times. The playwright asks the question, “Who would Shakespeare’s character Othello be if he were alive today…in my world?” As in the blues, the play has a musical, linear and non-linear quality. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Stephens-Thompson & Borden in HARLEM DUET
Review by Danny Gaisin, assisted by Henry & Jaron – also Wikipedia®
Nobody told me that reading the Narnia Chronicles, especially The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe is a necessity if one is to follow and understand C.S. Lewis’ THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW. Fortunately, I was able to enlist two American visitors; Henry, aged 12 & Jaron who is 17 to decode and explain what SHAW Festival’s head honcho Tim Carrroll seems able to decipher. Seems that the seven Narnia Chronicles are NOT about an AMAZONtm warehouse shipping operation, even though boxes and the cuttings thereof are the major on-stage operations. Michael O’Brien’s adaptation of ‘Nephew’ is being premiered by the Festival. Photo by Emily Cooper
Matt Nethersole transporting Sears & Seetoo. Wonder if he also cleans out eavesdrops!
Review by Danny Gaisin
Conan Doyle’s eponymous turn-of-the 20th century CSI-type detective Sherlock Holmes leaps off the book pages as a cheerless didactic with highly pedantic mannerisms. In other words, an arrogant and irritating Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon. Perhaps we, and the dictionary should have a new adjective – “Sheldonistic”.
In this year’s SHAW interpretation under the direction of Craig Hall, liberties are taken but given that Doyle died before Hall (or even I) was born; impropriety surely can’t be litigated. Thus, Hall and his dynamite cast have envisioned an opportunity to substantially lighten an almost science-fiction drama into a comedic possibility. It’s a hoot…also a howl!
Reid & Atkins aka Watson & Holmes —“the game’s afoot”
Review by Terry Gaisin
Vicky Baum’s 1929 book that utilizes the vehicle of a luxurious Weimar hotel to outline some interacting plots, attracted Robert Wright, George Forrest & Luther Davis to reprise the success of their ‘KISMET’ and retell Baum’s story as a musical. The result is a fascinating piece of theatre that demands acting; singing and terpsichore talents from every cast-member. SHAW’s Eda Holmes direction emphasizes the play’s visual impact but does not sacrifice the intricacies of the various plot lines. She subtly leads her audience to subconsciously anticipate the reversal of status-quo that will befall the world in the next decade. Photo courtesy of David Cooper
Daly & Therriault celebrating a windfall at the GRAND HOTEL