Review by Judith Caldwell
Five @ the First again held their annual fundraising Cello Extravaganza in aid of Blooms for Africa and the Ann Vallentyne Scholarship for string players. This year 26 cellists performed in solos, duets, sextets and as a combined cello choir. The Extravaganza is in its fourth year and the choice of music and arrangements seems to get better each year. This year there was one piece written especially for the duo who performed it and several pieces arranged specifically for groups of cellos, including a quiet, thoughtful and rather romantic Requiem written as a cello sextet by David Popper. The cellists …
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
It is great to have the presentation of a modern classic in a bold new version. Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet and playwright, had an “abiding insistence on the interdependence of love and death,” according to one critic. This is clear in the current production of Blood Weddings/Bodas de Sangre , at Buddies in Bad Times. The show is a remounting of the 2015 collaboration between Modern Times Stage Company, led by Iranian-Canadian director Soheil Parsa (director choreographer of this play) and Aluna Theatre, a Latin-Canadian theatre company whose Artistic Director is Beatriz Pizano.
Kwan; Pizano; Lauzon; Yaraghi & Bush in BLOOD WEDDINGS
Review by Judith Robinson
Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience is a stunning masterpiece – a speeding train that never stops until Soulpepper’s production of this one act, full length comedy concludes ninety minutes later. The conductor, who keeps the train moving, is Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who has played the role of convenience store owner, Appa, in every production since the play’s origins at the fringe festival, in Toronto, in 2011. He has now given over 400 performances in 10 Canadian cities – and starred in the successful spin off last fall, on CBC TV. The show has already been renewed for next season. Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann
Choi; Lee; Yoon; Kung & Sills, of KIM’S CONVENIENCE
Review by Sylvie Di Leonardo
While many musicians may find themselves rehearsing The Nutcracker this season, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra found themselves performing other works by Tchaikovsky earlier this week at Roy Thompson Hall. While only one of the pieces performed was intended to debut in the theatre, this evening’s program was as drama-filled as the Russian composer’s life.
There exists no formal record of the chronology of the piece, the Overture for Hamlet conjures images of love and loss. One cannot help but recall the sweet melancholy of Ophelia when listening to oboist Keith Atkinson.
The T.S.O. members in a formal photograph
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
What starts out as a typical – though especially fraught and edgy – high school garage party on a suburban Friday night ends in a starkly unexpected way, in Geoffrey Simon Brown’s play The Circle, at the Tarragon Extraspace. The 26-year-old playwright, close in age to his characters, says the play is about growing up, about family, about friends, about violence and the points where people are stretched so far that they break, and “ultimately, beyond anything else, this is a play about love, about understanding, and hopefully, about forgiveness.” He has produced a script that is both daring and beautifully-crafted. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Duval; Ehman; Endicott-Douglas & Ellis…part of “The Circle”