Reviewed by Iris Winston
1979 by Michael Healey GCTC/Shaw Festival co-production Directed by Eric Coates
Principles are just part of the equation on the road to success in political life. Also pertinent are viable policies, cunning, surface charm and a willingness to change course, step away from principles, promises and even integrity to stay in power. (The old dictum of the Ins wanting to stay in and the Outs wanting to get in by almost any means has not changed much over the centuries.)
But, to Joe Clark, Canada’s 16th and youngest Prime Minister, principle and integrity were more important than power. Therefore, he remained in the PM’s chair for just nine months. (more…)
April 15, 2017 Saturday at 12:53 am
Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht
photo: Maria Vartanova
Theatre Kraken has never been my favourite Community Theatre but this new production of Little Shop of Horrors just changed all that. The show began with a surge of vocal and musical energy blasting from the five piece stage band under the direction of Chris Lucas. There was also the impeccable precision of director Don Fex and choreographer Brenda Solman whose efforts were right on the mark.
This story of Mr. Mushnik,(with the ever powerful and oh so versatile Lawrence Evenchick ) owner of a flower shop in the skid row district of New York, becomes the site of a strange event that suggests the War of the Worlds except that it is a hillarious drama and love story, peppered with Jewish jokes and Yiddish expressions and an underlying tragic history of the second world war. Something that Mel Brooks himself could have created but this musical was adapted from the film by Alan Menken- music, and Howard Ashman-, book and lyrics. With strong musicians (the keybords were particularly noteworthy), director Don Fex’s captured the underlying seriousness of these campy characters with great style to produce a very strong show.
April 14, 2017 Friday at 10:33 am
Reviewed by Jane Baldwin
Robert O’Hara’s play Barbecue is funny, thought provoking, filled with surprises and at times structurally confusing. It is the surprises, particularly one in the second act that make it difficult to write about since to reveal much is to act as a spoiler, but to remain unforthcoming does not allow the reviewer to do justice to the work. Boston’s Lyric Stage, where Barbecue is currently playing, carries secrecy to an unnecessary extreme refusing the audience programs until the end of the first act.
Barbecue takes place for the most part in a public park somewhere in Middle America. It begins with James T O’Mallery (Bryan T. Donovan) a brutish white man drinking a beer and talking on his cell phone as he waits for three of his sisters to join him. The park is set up with picnic tables and a barbecue that is never lit. Lilly Anne (Adrienne Krstansky), the family’s eldest sister has called her siblings together in order to hold an “intervention” for their youngest sister Barbara, otherwise known as Zippity Boom because of her addictions. When she drinks, she goes zippity; when she uses drugs, she goes boom. As James T. says, “there ain’t nothin’ in between.” Lilly Anne planned the barbecue as a lure to ensure that Barbara, who enjoys them, shows up. (more…)
April 14, 2017 Friday at 12:17 am
News from Capital Critics Circle
Seven: a documentary play
Monday, April 24th, 2017 at 6pm
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health
299 Montreal Road, Vanier, Ottawa
Ottawa-based social justice organization Inter Pares presents a staged reading of Seven: a documentary play for one night only on Monday, April 24, 2017 at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. The play intertwines seven true stories told by women’s rights activists from Russia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Northern Ireland.
Directed by 2017 Femmy Award winner Jessica Ruano, the play will be read by Maha Babeker, Dillon Black, Chelby Daigle, Adrian Harewood, Lesley Parlane, May Telmissany, and Rebecca Wolsak. The reading will be preceded by the presentation of the Peter Gillespie Social Justice Award to a Canadian organization whose work has had a positive and innovative impact on women’s rights, and will be followed by a facilitated discussion with Inter Pares. (more…)
April 12, 2017 Wednesday at 1:29 pm
Reviewed by Iris Winston
Pops Concert, National Arts Centre, Conductor: Jack Everly
In introducing From Paris to Broadway, principal Pops conductor Jack Everly said that the aim of the French-themed concert, which had been two years in the making, was to create the spirit or feeling of Paris.
And this is exactly what happened in a joyous collection of music, song and dance that evoked visions of the Folies Begères — the famous cabaret musical founded in Paris in 1869 — (think rhinestones and feathers, Everly advised) such singers as Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf, and composers closely associated with the glitter of French entertainment, such as the German-born Jacques Offenbach (think Cancan). Music from the musical Gigi and the delicate rendition of the Moulin Rouge Waltz added a further dimension to visions of Paris. (more…)
April 9, 2017 Sunday at 11:20 am
Reviewed by Jamie Portman
Jan Alexandra Smith and the Donnelly brothers
It’s not just that the figures come out of the darkness. It’s rather
that they are marching in deadly and ritualized rhythm from some
hellish void, with a few musicians, mistily visible in the murky
backwaters of the NAC Theatre stage, eerily urging them along.
You’re gripped immediately by the beginning of Vigilante. And this
enthralling production from Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre continues to
hold you like a vice through to its powerful climax. But you soon
realize that there will be no real light at the end of this tunnel.
The 19th Century saga of Southern Ontario’s turbulent Donnelly family
can hold no promise of cathartic release. Indeed, well over a century
later, this bloody tragedy continues to cast a shadow over Biddulph
township and its people, many of whom reportedly refuse to discuss it
even now. (more…)
April 6, 2017 Thursday at 4:44 pm
Reviewed by Jamie Portman
Plan B by Michael Healey, Director and set: André Dimitrijevic
Quebec separatism was still a burning issue when Canadian playwright Michael Healey wrote Plan B some 15 years ago. So the revival on view at the Gladstone does seem something of an irrelevant period piece — with its lack of topicality now making the script’s deficiencies seem more pronounced.
On the positive side, there is the solid quality of Andre Dimitrijavic’s Phoenix Players production — one in which the satirical barbs can still deliver and the great divide that continues to exist between two cultures can still be examined. (more…)
April 2, 2017 Sunday at 2:11 pm