Review by Judith Robinson
Father Comes Home from The Wars (Parts I, II, III) – three short plays in a three-hour production – explores betrayal, bigotry and the fight for freedom during the American Civil War. Soulpepper’s production of Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ work is gutsy, moving and risk-taking. The energy peaks in the second section entitled “A Battle in the Wilderness” when Dion Johnstone, as Hero, the central character on a journey, loosely fashioned after Homer’s Odyssey, becomes lost in the wilderness in the midst of a Civil War dispute. Hero has chosen to follow his master; Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann
cast members of “Father Came Home” in a dramatic moment
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
August Strindberg’s “Dance of Death,” at the Shaw Festival, was written in 1900 but it is relevant today, especially in Conor McPherson’s modern adaptation. It is a complex play, well worth seeing. The title comes from the medieval image of the danse macabre, in which Death leads a whirling procession of humans to their end.
Masterfully directed by Martha Henry, the play depicts a verbal dance – or war of words between a couple on the brink of their 25th anniversary. It’s always good to see theatre in which Henry has a role. Photo courtesy of David Cooper
Reid; Galligan & Mezon in “Dance of Death”
Opinion by Daniel Gaisin
There are many ways to enjoy a sunny summer Saturday in Toronto, especially with such a multi-cultural city and the start of the Rio Olympics. Yesterday WAS Saturday; the sky WAS blue with just a few cumulus clouds; and we WITH a delightful soft-spoken lady named Ann SUMMERS… what could be perfecter (sic). The woman is the founder/creator/manager of IRCPA; the International Resource Centre for Performing Arts and it’s declared credo succinctly sets out its mandate –
“The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is a dedicated service organization for Musical Artists.
Ann Summers Dossena & OAR editor -Terry Gaisin @ SUMACH EXPRESSO
Review by E. Lisa Moses
Based on a true story, fit for the finest crime novels, the Blyth Festival’s world premiere of The Last Donnelly Standing resurrects a sinister slice of 19th-century Ontario history. Written by Paul Thompson and Gil Garratt – well known Canadian playwrights, actors and artistic directors, the one-person show challenges the audience to ride along with a tortured soul trying to make sense of his tragic life. Beth Kates’s clever set evokes the spirit of raw and rustic rural Ontario, whether it’s the family homestead, the local watering hole or the big horse-drawn wagon that hauls commercial loads.
Gil Garratt as Robert Donnelly, ( Photo by Terry Manzo)
Review by Judith Robinson
For those of us who cut our teeth at the 1970’s folk festivals, the Skylight Festival in Paris, Ontario, during the Civic holiday long weekend, was a trip down memory lane. Although the musicians were younger, and most of the venues indoors, the spirit of protest, freedom and fun hasn’t changed at all. There were so many great concerts it’s hard to mention only a few musicians. Minnesota singer/songwriter Heatherlyn’s energy was so much like Melanie’s that the audience could close their eyes and swear it was the 1960’s flower child guru.
Heatherlyn performing on stage
Review by Judith Caldwell
Thursday, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (NAO) offered an evening of fantastic music which began with four much-loved John Williams’ compositions: “The Theme from Superman”; Highlights from Jurassic Park; the “Theme from Schindler’s List” and the flying theme from E.T. Each had their own instantly recognizable leitmotif which then expanded into a grand symphonic film score. Superman was masterful and heroic; Jurassic Park curious and probing and Schindler’s List heartbreakingly haunting (the audience barely breathed during the violin solo played by Concertmaster Mark Skazinetsky). E.T. was light, airy and so hopeful… the music intricate and difficult – written by a true master.
Conductor Brott & a certain ‘Star Wars’ character