“COTTAGERS AND INDIANS”; Using humour to ask serious questions Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Most of you who are reading this review, and will see Drew Hayden Taylor’s new play, Cottagers and Indians, at the Tarragon Extraspace, are probably closer to “cottagers” (or “settlers”) than to “Indians,” although I hope Indigenous people also see this play, inspired by actual people and events. Taylor, an Anishnaabe, was born, grew up, and lives on Curve Lake Reserve, near Peterborough. He writes in a variety of genres – novels and short stories, plays, television scripts. His work is comedic – but comedy used to spotlight the truth about difficult situations, usually about Indigenous characters and their dealings with “the rest of Canada,” to borrow a phrase.    photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Barnes & Hoyt in a dramatic on-stage moment



O.C.O.; a concert regretfully missed Reply

by Danny & Terry Gaisin
Mar. 4, ’18
Last evening the Oakville Chamber Orchestra presented an evening of vocal and instrumental classics. Works by Tchaikovsky and Schumann were to be highlighted. No doubt, conductor Charles Demuynck would have prefaced the former’s ‘Serenade for Strings’ by explaining the sonatina format, and undoubtedly would have advised the audience to watch for the reiterations within the work. Hopefully, he would have spoken about the unusual term larghetto elegiaco. Assuredly, the guest soloist’s violin played by Tiffany Leung was faultless.

Bernie Altschuller

        Fifty-five years ago, I was introduced to a close friend of my fiancee’s -Elaine Langer, who was going to be one of Terry’s bridesmaids.  Unlike some of my future wife’s family; Elaine took me as an immediate friend. When she and Bernie Altschuller married four years later; a gracious (and hospitable) foursome developed that has lasted for almost six decades. More…

A “REALLY REALLY” tough play to perform & observe 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

Paul Downs Colaizzo’s 2012 script about the so-called ‘Generation ME’ exposes all the warts and angst of collegiate years by highlighting relationship stereotypes… male/female; male/male; female/female, and the sisterhood/brotherhood bonds. A septet of actors cover all of these via an ingenious coherence of associations. These are exacerbated by each individual’s personalities as well as insecurities. All these ingredients make for a potent dynamic. Difficult to direct; problematical to perform; and certainly arduous and embarrassing for an audience to observe. The plethora of scatological adjectival outbursts aside, observers can’t help but identify with certain characters portrayed on stage. This scribe definitely saw a personal refection in ‘Cooper‘.
Photo by Joseph Taylor

McDonald & Morgan in a dramatic moment on stage


Bach Elgar Choir does Gilbert & Sullivan Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The Bach Elgar Choir, plus soloists Julie Ludwig, soprano, mezzo Jennifer Enns-Modolo, Thomas Macleay, tenor and baritone Jesse Clark presented a wonderful, fun evening of Gilbert & Sullivan at the Cotton Factory on Sherman. The evening began with accompanist Krista Rhodes and conductor Alexander Cann playing the Overture from the Mikado as a piano duet. This established the bare bones approach, high lighting accomplished musicianship, which characterized the evening. Rhodes is often overlooked when it comes to accolades because she is frequently not noticed, so it was a real treat to hear her in the duet.

The Bach Elgar choir doing some “G & S” excerpts


“Anything Goes”, (and keeps on going) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
During the recent Olympics, there was a kerfuffle over judging. Seems a skater received less points than a competitor that actually fell on the ice. The refs explained that marking was done on the basis of undertaken difficulty; same thing happens with theatrical critiquing.
McMaster’s Musical Theatre decided to stage the Cole Porter durable creation
ANYTHING GOES deserves an unsharpened pencil; because putting on a demanding big cast; big crew, Broadway musical is daunting enough without having to face a tough reviewer.  The 1934 play is based on a Wodehouse & Bolton story with Porter writing both the music and the lyrics.

The passengers & crew of USS America, for whom “Anything Goes”


Harry – Hope of the British Monarchy Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

Perhaps it is time that Prince Charles gets his shot at becoming king. And he almost gets his chance in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III. But David Shurmann’s pompous and pedantic, mock Shakespearian speeches, in the Mirvish/Theatre 180 production in Toronto, are enough to drive the commoners to riot. Schurmann’s Charles makes the monarchy seem moldy and moth-eaten, and ripe for overthrowing.
Although many of the lines are funny and witty, most of Bartlett’s characters seem one dimensional. Even with the breadth of experience and fine acting ability of the twelve actors in the cast, it’s hard to bring something out of a script that isn’t there.
Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann                                                                 l-r Galligan; Schumann & Powell in CHARLES III