Stage West gets “All shook up” 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Admission; I wasn’t always this handsome, charming and charismatic; truth be told – I was more like the character Dennis in Joe DiPietro’s ALL SHOOK UP. I was a rather geeky kid who tried desperately to be the wingman (sidekick) of my more appealing & attractive buddies!

This plot deals with an Elvis-ish catalyst disrupting a small town’s eccentricities and hang-ups in what might be called a plagiaristic ‘Footloose’, except this version is staged to the music of said Mr. Presley. More…

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Anne of Green Gables; flouncing, dancing, energetic Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Little Women”; “Nancy Drew”; “Anne of Green Gables”; back in my youth all these were something no self-respecting boy would dare to read. So, an invite to see Montgomery’s century-old story about a Nova Scotia orphan and her resettlement in P.E.I. promised to be a rectification of this glaring omission in my life experiences. Meadowvale Music Theatre and its director Renee Belforte are presenting the musical adaptation by Don Harron & Norman Campbell at Mississauga’s Montevideo venue. To this scribe, nothing can ever equal Harron’s creative ‘Rumpleforeskin’ entry at a Toronto Fringe, but Anne with an E is almost as much fun. More…

All Shook Up; a fun non-serious look at ‘the King’ Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

W.C. Fields expressed the theatrical caveat about acting with kids or pets…DON’T! He rightly figured that either would be a distraction.  While watching the dress rehearsal of Hamilton Theatre Inc.’s presentation of ALL SHOOK UP, Fields’ observation kept coming to mind. No youngsters; no puppies, but an amazingly talented musical sextet kept diverting my attention. Conductor & keyboardist Trevor Price and especially his saxophone accompanist, Bill Holinaty, are  such a phenomenal jazz ensemble that the play’s director Richelle Tavernier-Clements should hide them from sight!

“All Shook up” is all schlock. The plot is an amalgam of ‘Footloose’; ‘Grease’; ’Dirty Dancing’; and ‘Picnic’ with a seasoning of ‘American Graffiti’; performed to songs of Elvis Presley à la “Mamma Mia”. More…

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…

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…

M.S.O.; Third audition concert Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The third candidate aspiring to the podium of the Mississauga Symphony is Misha Roháč; a Torontonian conductor whose background is Czechoslovakian. Understandably, the program featured two works by Smetana; three dances from his ‘Bartered Bride’, and the Sarka from Ma Vlast. This latter work translates as My Fatherland and is an excerpt from his Moldau suite. Another excerpt from Moldau is the melody for ‘Hatikvah’; Israel’s National Anthem which means ‘The Hope’. Both works carry a strong emotional yet musical theme.

Roháč’s style is somewhat posturizing; his address to the audience repetitious and non-educational, but his control of the orchestra is obvious. There were some discernible technical blunders in the first two works, but not noticeable for the remainder of the concert. The maestro is focused and almost pedantic in exhorting his version and arrangement from his musicians. More…