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…

Advertisements

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…

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…