Sheridan’s Oklahoma; Way more than just OK! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

I’ve probably viewed the Rogers & Hammerstein blockbuster “OKLAHOMA” thirty times since originally seeing it at Montreal’s His Majesty’s Theatre back in 1953. Even enjoyed it in both French and Hebrew! Theatre Sheridan’s rendering is about as terrific a version as it gets! Of course there is the requisite hoedown, but audiences will be toe-tapping throughout the entire performance.

The musical’s plot deals with the early 1907 year when the okla humma (Choctaw name) Territory was about to become the 46th State. The ‘Sooner’ residents were farmers and ranchers and both groups were mutually distaining.  The relationship between cowboy Curly and agrarian Laurey is sort of a Romeo & Juliet tale…albeit with a happy ending. More…

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Blood Brothers; impacting & visceral Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, assisted by J.J. Gerber*

My original emphasis as a newspaper writer reflected an interest in classical music. Within that particular genus, the conductor is where the buck stops. Naturally, when analyzing theatre presentations I instinctively look at the corollary – the director. Terry Tweed’s staging of BLOOD BROTHERS shoots for impact and she succeeds. Like “Oklahoma” upstairs, this effort has – by word-of-mouth alone, become a no-seats-availablehit. The only blemish; the Mrs. Lyons character somehow fails to demonstrate any real maternal interest or feeling. Surprising, because the basis of the Russell story is her supposed desire for progeny, hence her insistent pressuring to split up her maid’s upcoming twins. More…

H.P.O., a Valentine preamble Reply

Review by Kim Wessel

The Hamilton Philharmonic’s Masterworks Series continued tonight with Jamie Sommerville at the helm.  We were given quite an evening of music, inspiration & were excited to hear “Berlioz: Queen Mab Scherzo from Roméo et Juliette”.  One wonders if anyone hasn’t heard this before: – the dream sequence… a light whimsical start to tonight’s performance, musically carrying the audience to another time and place where magic and fairies abounded.  The horns showed the darker side of the Queen; her mischief if you will, while the strings helped to keep us on the edge of our seats.  This was truly an amazing start to the evening. We were also given the opportunity to hear Debussy’s (orch. Caplet): Clair de Lune.  Of course it is classic Debussy no matter who you are.  Originally a piano piece, it has been re-scored for orchestra, and tonight was played to perfection.  It quite simply took my breath away. More…

Our Country’s Good; title needs some ‘splaining, Luci Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin

Nope, the ‘good’ is not a Stephen Harper descriptive article- for clarity the title would be more meaningful if written “…for our Country’s good (or benefit!)”.  Wertenbaker’s play based on the Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List) novel retells an incident in the early days of the down under British development as a penal colony to be peopled by England’s undesirables. As a premature psychological experiment, the gaolers permit the inmates to learn; then perform, a contemporary comedic play. Thus, a play within a play and Theatre Erindale has scored a triumph with both.

Director Patrick Young presents the story as connected scene vignettes that look at the experience from three different aspects…George IV’s Royal marines; the harshly treated draconically sentenced criminals; and the aboriginal community. Most of the cast perform in two or more of these diverse categories; and perform they do – superlatively. Photo courtesy of Jim Smagata; Erindale More…

K-W.S. & guests – tribute those Beatles Reply

Review by Amy McBride

Tonight was my first night back reviewing the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony since last season, and the concert was electric. The Classical Magical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles had the audience fully participating and calling for an encore- which turned out to be 4 more songs. The evening started off with an orchestral mash-up of some memorable Beatles tunes, including ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’;For the Benefit of Mr. Kite”, and ‘Let It Be’, …as usual the orchestra performed amazingly. The opening number was probably the only time that the orchestra performed as a unit; the four-man “Beatles” band took over for the rest of the evening.

John Lennon (Jim Owen), Paul McCartney (Tony Kishman), George Harrison (John Brosnan), and Ringo Star (Chris Camilleri) not only look like the Beatles but also sounded much like them vocally. They obviously have fun with their show and the audience was wrapped up in the excitement of the night. More…

West’s The Crucible; Miller would ‘kvell*’ Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Chaplin; Copland; Brecht; Garfield; Gilford; Hammett; Hellmann; ‘Gypsy’; Meredith; Robinson; Shaw; Seeger; & Miller…just some of the single-named celebrities screwed by HUAC during the 50’s Red Scare. The U.S. Senate’s House Un-American Activities Committee couldn’t jail many of its quarries so McCarthy, Roy Cohn & Richard Nixon resorted to ‘the blacklist’; a circuitous way of ruining those who had the gall to not name names.  Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman; “All my Sons” et.al secure his place in the top echelon of writers, but it was his CRUCIBLE that affected my family the most…it touched us as close as next door.Director Yo Mustafa is way too young to have known the fifties but like some of his other directorial exploits, he manages to capture the essence of the time. Miller’s play is thinly allegorical and reiterates, or rather – updates, the early Massachusetts witch hunts. More…