“Journey’s End”; still meaningful 90 years later 1

Review by Danny Gaisin
Beside the famous Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, there is a War museum the has a replica trench and dugout. Even those with no claustrophobic tendencies feel somewhat anxious or uncomfortable experiencing that part of the exhibit. Binbrook Little Theatre’s presentation of R.C. Sherriff’s 1928 blockbuster about 3½ days in a trench dugout is so well staged and performed that one may identify with the closeness imposed on the cast members. Under the realism directed by Aubrey Boothman who also has a cameo role, all the portrayed characters display the virtues; strengths, weaknesses and psyches of men under the duress of war. This is a pure gem of theatre.

A dramatic on-stage interrogation moment in JOURNEY’S END

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“GARAGE SALE” hits home Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Good theatre should always evoke some kind of reaction from an audience. David King’s 1980 play GARAGE SALE has a premise that became personal a decade later. With the advent of NAFTA I was unceremoniously unemployed and considered moving aboard our sailing vessel and becoming seafaring Nomads. When Terry (the muse) heard the words “We’ll sell everything we don’t need…” she had a fit. End Of Plan. In Garage Sale, ‘Phil Grady’ has the same idea except for heading to the desert for his family’s nomaderie – same response. The Canadian Rep Theatre staged ‘Sale’ in a concert format.

The cast of GARAGE SALE performing on stage

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“A funny Thing happened on the way to the Forum” by EMP 6

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!

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“The FOURSOME” by W.E.S.T. Reply

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

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“HARLEM DUET” explores racism, past & present Reply

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

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“The Magician’s Nephew” or having to learn stuff Reply

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!

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