AVENUE Q; “fun-est street in Manhattan” Reply

Review by Mark Andrew Lawrence

 

reviewer_Mark_AndrewPhilosophical question…”what is the sound of two puppets f**king? NOISY!”

“Avenue Q” is an off-beat musical, created by Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx who all won Tony awards for this clever, tuneful show. The musical is geared for young adults raised on Sesame Street to help them deal with the frustrations of adult responsibilities. The story begins with ‘Princeton’ played with touching sincerity by Adam Proulx. He is a recent graduate with a B.A. in English that he finds isn’t opening many doors for him. Arriving on Avenue Q, he rents an apartment from landlord Gary Coleman (a hilarious Jazz Testolini sending up the former TV star), and meets up with other disillusioned denizen. More…

Orchestra London weaves a ‘tapestry’ on its musical loom Reply

Review by Brian Hay

This concert, on stage at Centennial Hall, was already hopping before the guest soloist Denzal Sinclaire took the stage. Conductor David Martin’s arrangement of ‘Three Preludes’ sparkled with life and brought out the best in the musicians of Orchestra London. There was more to come during this afternoon of highlights. Sinclaire’s voice soared on performances of ‘For You, For Me, Forevermore’ and ‘You Must Believe in Spring’. He gave the rhythm section their first real showcase of the day with his performance of ‘I’ve Got the World on a String’. Drummer Rob Inch displayed an acrobatic side that’s not often seen in a concert with a symphony orchestra. Sinclaire lulled the crowd beautifully with ‘I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling’. He lifted them quietly with lovely renditions of ‘I Want to Be Happy’ and ‘Too Young’. His performance of ‘Amazing Grace’ was accompanied only by some beautifully restrained playing by Orchestra London’s Principle cellist, Christine Newland. His delightful reading of ‘Love is Here to Stay’ paved the way for the instrumental piece, ‘A Touch of Bacharach’, which the conductor accompanied on the Tuba. The vocalist’s performance of ‘Nature Boy’ reminded the audience that musicians are fans as well. Most of them could be seen smiling while Newland accompanied Sinclaire’s extraordinary singing. There was a moment when Denzal was singing ‘The Look of Love’ when Martin just stopped conducting and stood straight to absorb the music. Why not? The orchestra had the passage that led to the break, well in hand. When they stopped; the rhythm section took over the while pianist Dean Harrison played lines filled with gentle melodic beauty. Karen Pincombe injected some delectable percussion work while bassist Joseph Phillips with percussion accompaniment created a platform that gave the relaxed sounding performance an unmistakable surge of energy. When he came back in, Sinclaire’s sublime vocal work just soared above it all. It was an extraordinary moment and certainly a highlight. More…

Popera plus; Opera Hamilton’s annual event Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

reviewer_DannyThis writer isn’t sure what the designation ‘plus’ refers to in the programme’s title; but methinks it may be recognition for the orchestral interludes that are the agenda’s intrinsic offerings. During last evening’s performance at Theatre Aquarius, some of those musical interpretations were as professional as the arias that highlighted the vocal selections. The Opera Hamilton Orchestral interpretation of the Die Fledermaus overture was as faultless a reading as I’ve heard, with dramatically arranged pauses that emphasized the composer’s mood and intent.

The four soloists displayed diverse presentational styles as well as stance and interpretation. This dissimilarity added so much to the enjoyment of hearing arias in a concert format, that the absence of costumes and settings was hardly noticeable. More…

You don’t have to be Italian, Jewish, or in therapy to enjoy this one-man show! Reply

Review by Glenda MacDonald

Sunday’s matinee performance of Steve Solomon’s “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!” starring Tony Award® winner Paul Kreppel was a source of belly-laughs as well as some cringes and angst. Kreppel did an admirable job portraying comedian and dialectician Steve Solomon’s character & material. His comedic timing was impeccable, his talent for mimicking accents was compounded by doing sound effects plus- the stereotypical physical humour was spot-on. This production is Kreppel’s Toronto acting debut following his successful long run playing the same role in New York City. He clearly engaged the audience with his ad-libbing; including doing a poll of who was Italian; Jewish; and who (to laughs but no hands-up) was in therapy. The audience relished his heckling of some late-comers. More…

A Tiny Piece of Land; been there, done that! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

As a usually fair-minded critic, I leave any biases at the theatre door. A play about making aliyah & kibbutz settlement in Israel certainly has to have a sympathetic ear from someone who experienced all of that as a nineteen-to 21-year old. Yup, this O.F. was once a Kibbutznik in Galilee, and a grunt with the Israeli Haganah on a West Bank military post!
ATPOL is a dramatic metaphor of the political impasse between both sides of the Middle East conflict paralleled as opinions between two American brothers; one who settled in Judaism’s Promised Land, the other who stayed home & became a successful dentist in Washington State. Their reunion recaps certain attitudinal stalemates and writers Joni Browne-Walders and Mel Weiser bring out the mindsets that are somehow endemic between siblings, and mirrored in related religious philosophies. More…

The O.A.R.’s TOP TEN for 2011 Reply

For the 11th time; the seventh as our own publishers, we acknowledge those events of 2011 that – to our minds were paramount. Readers recalling previous year-end analyticals know that our selection process is based on impact- whether amusing, educational or thought-provoking to the audience. The selection process is demanding & occasionally stressful; but it’s always challenging. While Fringe offerings are by definition, under one hour, our coverage of the Toronto shows gave us some efforts that we decided deserved special (albeit special) inclusion Herewith our editorial team’s selections in calendar orderMore…