Review by Judith Caldwell
A World War I Centenary concert was presented by the Bach Elgar Choir on with soloists Cassandra Warner, mezzo-soprano, and baritone Alexander Dobson. The concert was inspired by McMaster University’s archive of Canadian material from the era including letters written by soldiers and replies , plus a selection of Canadian music published during the war. The first half of the concert featured sheet music from the McMaster collection.
In 1914, before the advent of radio or television in homes, ordinary people would buy the sheet music of popular songs to take home and play on the piano (in nearly every home) and sing along with the family.
the Bach Elgar voices
Review by Judith Robinson
As Donald Trump and many politicians worldwide strive to strip workers’ of their rights,
Subversive Theatre in Buffalo has picked the perfect time to produce a musical celebrating
labour organizer Mother Jones. Playwright/composer Si Kahn’s Mother Jones In Heaven (and
Hell) is a rollicking exposé of economic exploitation and an example of what can be achieved
through perseverance, dynamism and inner strength.
Kahn is no stranger to labour organizing. The award-winning North Carolina native has been
training community activists, writing songs and performing concerts, alongside well-known
figures such as Pete Seeger, for more than 50 years. Kahn’s play centres around a compelling scenario
Ms. Jones and her friendly barrista
Review by Danny Gaisin
A bane for theatre critics is the problem of having to see the same plays numerous times. Norm Foster’s “the Long Weekend” may have been previously observed but it still has a special connotation for this particular writer. My parents could never afford a summer cottage, so for the few times we were invited as guests, we were the equivalent of the ‘Nash’s in the play. NO matter how warm or hospitable our hosts were, there was always an underlining sense of superiority or patronization that we felt. It was like accepting charity. Foster’s play shows this overtly and thus personally touches home.
Cook, Flis, Jonasson & Byrne, the cast of LONG WEEKEND
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Norman Yeung’s play “Theory,” now at the Tarragon’s Extra-Space, is relevant for our times, asking questions about the limits of both free speech and political correctness, and how these “theories” affect human lives and historical context. Skillfully and tautly directed by Esther Jun, the play centers around Isabelle, a young white professor of film theory, who encourages her diverse students to express themselves freely (as adults), including posting anonymously on a elf-moderated discussion board that – all too soon – leads to comments that veer toward racism and sexism, leading some students to feeling unsafe.
Sascha Cole and her students learning “THEORY”
Review by Danny Gaisin
“The Midas touch”; A Bacchanal ; In the arms of Morpheus’; Oedipus complex; Narcissistic; and all the variation of “Psycho… These, and many more are phrases derived from the names or acts of Ovid’s 15-AD poems describing the Greek mythologies popular two millennia ago. American director/ playwright Mary Zimmerman re-wrote episodal aspects of the original epic into visual, musical, and dramatic narratives that interpret some of the more familiar subjects. Theatre Erindale’s staging of Metamorphoses is predominantly her imagery, and director David Matheson’s creativity, and the result is magical as well as informative. Photo courtesy of Michael Slater
The ‘laundresses’ performing in the pool
Review by Danny GaisinThe musicians and concertmaster were in costume; the dancers of Freedom Studio – costumed; the audience – totally dressed up. And yours truly was fully attired for ‘Trick of Treating’. The somewhat abbreviated afternoon performance was aimed at a definitely younger audience, hence the selections and duration. Our seatmates were a 4-year old Alice and her slightly older brother. Observing their attentiveness and physical participation spoke well for the endeavour as well as the future of classical interest. Their mimicking of the conductor and fascination with the on-stage dancers defined total engrossment. The concert focal point was conclusively the conductor.
The HPO musicians awaiting Bartholomew-Poyser (aka Grim Reaper)