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…

Advertisements

In the Heights; musical Broadway, upper Manhattan Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The locale is the upper West Side (168th – 190th) but it certainly ain’t the Upper West Side where one would find CCNU; Columbia, the Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. Nope, thees Hites [sic] is the brown ghetto of New York where Latino immigrants have settled. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent off-Broadway success became a mainstream blockbuster and DANCAP once again has grabbed its tour’s starting position. The plot covers three meaningful days in the community, and especially in the lives of its denizens. Failures, inapt decisions; financial difficulties and personal relationships are all brought to the fore and depicted in song and especially dance. Think of “West Side Story”; Avenue ‘Q’; “A Chorus Line”; ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ & any episode of ‘The Millionaire’ and one would have Miranda & story-line writer Quiara Hudes’basic recipe. More…

Creation: N.A.C.’s Theatre Company, Ottawa Reply

Review by Dr. Sharon Letovsky

reviewer_Sharon_LetovskyAn interesting and very unique production, “Creation” gives audiences a perspective on how plays were performed in England from the 10th to 16th century.  It is a step back in time with a contemporary twist and quite a few laughs thrown in for good measure. With the book of Genesis from the Old Testament as inspiration, author Peter Anderson re-investigates the “Mystery Play”, a form that brought biblical stories from the confines of the church to the popular community marketplace through pageantry and song. These plays were an essential part of the evolution of theatre as we know it.

Performed in the round by ten equally highly talented members of the NAC English Theatre Company, “Creation” is interesting and entertaining; a treat for those who enjoy good theatre. This reviewer has only one caveat: do not see this play when you are tired. More…

C.O.C. does Tosca Reply

Review byBrian Hay

Puccini’s opera, TOSCA, which takes place in Rome during Napoleon’s invasion of Italy, has all the good stuff: – love, jealousy, bribery, murder & suicide. Designer Kevin Knight’s sets are fixed units that allow all the movement to come from the performers. The first has cathedral walls ringing the perimeter with smaller panels near the forefront on either side. The panel farthest from where the characters enter is where ‘Cavaradossi’ is creating a portrait of the ‘Madonna’. The other (which has to be passed first) is an altar for worship. The second has lustrous paneling around three windowed doors that divide the back wall. Actual furniture was used for the props. The third has a wall in the middle, a walkway above and bars framing either side. The flooring of black and white diamonds remains a constant.

Lighting Designer David Martin Jacques used a combination of warm and cool hues to create a shadowy atmosphere while subtly brighter spotlights accentuated movements. Action off the stage was hinted at with fiery tones that gave it a sense of immediacy. More…

The Laramie project, a dramatic reality recap Reply

Review by Mark Andrew Lawrence

Three items to note about Encore Entertainment’s production of The Laramie Project:
1.      Arrive early – evening performances begin a 7:30 and matinees at 1:30
2.      Plan to stay after the show for the talk-back with cast members
3.      Bring lots of Kleenex… you will need it!

Theatre is a collective experience. Bringing an audience together to observe a story being acted out can sometimes provoke wildly divergent responses.  If the script is good and the performers are committed, that shared communal experience can be overwhelmingly exciting. That kind of excitement permeates this staging of The Laramie Project, a fascinating piece of theatre that essentially chronicles its own creation. More…

Beauty & the Beast—I loved it! 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Disclaimer:  This scribe grew up in Quebec and vaguely remembered a French fable “Belle et Bête” written by Gabrielle Villeneuve in the 18th century… never made the connection to the play cum cartoon cum stage musical 250 years later. Last night seated at the rear of Meadowvale Theatre next to Ursula & Les who were kind enough to reiterate the modern version, thus prepping me for what THEATRE UNLIMITED was about to offer.

Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice collaborated on a musical adaptation of the Disney interpretation that is rather far removed from my childhood recollection. But, it’s actually a more interesting & imaginative story. Director Richard Henry exhibits an amazing penchant for detail, and has certainly motivated his forty-odd cast members to fully explicate all aspects of their individual roles. The set is intricate and creative, the costumes are first-rate and the 12-piece orchestra led by Jan Stapleton is so talented as to perform faultlessly. More…