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Chronicling a Love Affair with Canadian Theatre
  • Charlie And The Chocolate Factory At The Grand Theatre – A Review

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory At The Grand Theatre – A Review

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory At The Grand Theatre The continued existence of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a musical based on a 1964 children’s novel by Roald Dahl, bewilders me. When it premiered in London in 2013, discerning critics roundly panned it. It has gone through several iterations since but the book by David…

  • A Huron County Christmas Carol At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    A Huron County Christmas Carol At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    A Huron County Christmas Carol At The Blyth Festival As near as I can tell, Blyth’s 2023 remounting of 2019’s A Huron County Christmas Carol sticks pretty close to the original script, but with a largely new and energetic cast it seems like a completely new show. Artistic Director Gil Garratt’s devilishly clever updating of…

  • Peter Pan The Panto At Drayton – A Review

    Peter Pan The Panto At Drayton – A Review

    Peter Pan: The Panto At Drayton Peter Pan: The Panto, at the comfortable St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in Waterloo is Drayton Entertainment’s second foray into “panto” for the 2023 season. If you are unfamiliar with the term, let me refer you to an explanation of the genre in my review of Peter’s Final Flight, based…

  • The Christmas Tree At The Foster Festival – A Review

    The Christmas Tree At The Foster Festival – A Review

    The Christmas Tree At The Foster Festival At barely 45 minutes, Norm Foster’s The Christmas Tree is something of a theatrical amuse-bouche. You know, those minuscule bits of deliciousness served by fancy restaurants before the meal proper gets under way? But rather than coming at the beginning of anything, The Christmas Tree marks the end…

  • The Master Plan At Crow’s Theatre – A Review

    The Master Plan At Crow’s Theatre – A Review

    The Master Plan At Crow’s Theatre I was familiar with the work of director Chris Abraham mostly through classics like Much Ado About Nothing and Uncle Vanya, so I was eager to see what he would do with The Master Plan, Michael Healey’s new “ripped-from-the-headlines” play at Crow’s Theatre. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s terrific. The…

  • The Amen Corner At The Shaw Festival – A Review

    The Amen Corner At The Shaw Festival – A Review

    The Amen Corner At The Shaw Festival The Shaw Festival’s production of The Amen Corner, James Baldwin’s searing tragedy set in a Pentecostal church in 1950s Harlem, marks the first time a play by a Black author has graced the mainstage of the Festival Theatre. Having seen Kimberley Rampersad’s blockbuster production, it’s hard to image…

  • The Shadow Of A Doubt At The Shaw Festival – A Review

    The Shadow Of A Doubt At The Shaw Festival – A Review

    The Shadow Of A Doubt At The Shaw Festival The Shaw Festival has a history of rediscovering long-forgotten plays. With The Shadow Of A Doubt they’ve done themselves one better by producing the world premiere of a 1901 play by none other than Edith Wharton, the first woman to receive a Pulitzer, not in drama…

  • The Clearing At The Shaw Festival – A Review

    The Clearing At The Shaw Festival – A Review

    The Clearing At The Shaw Festival Shaw Festival artistic director Tim Carroll has a soft spot in his heart for the English Interregnum (1649-1660) and its aftermath. In 2019, he presented (and directed) Victory, a scabrous little play by Howard Barker. This season it’s the far superior The Clearing from 1993 by English playwright Helen…

  • Love’s Labour’s Lost At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Love’s Labour’s Lost At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Love’s Labour’s Lost At The Stratford Festival The Stratford Festival’s production of William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost is giving some younger and newer members of the company a chance to brush up their Shakespeare. The presence of a number of seasoned pros in the cast is no doubt beneficial for the development of their less…

  • Queen Maeve At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    Queen Maeve At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    Queen Maeve At Here For Now Theatre Judith Thompson’s Queen Maeve, now receiving its world premiere at Stratford’s Here For Now Theatre, is a bleak but powerful portrait of a demented nursing home resident, one Mrs. Nurmi. The staff calls her “your Majesty” because she is convinced that in addition to being an 88-year-old “ordinary…

  • Les Belles-Soeurs At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Les Belles-Soeurs At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Les Belles-Soeurs At The Stratford Festival Les Belles-Soeurs (the Sisters-in-Law) by the francophone Quebec playwright Michel Tremblay holds an iconic position in Canadian theatre history. It is receiving a thought provoking revival under the enthusiastic if occasionally over-emphatic direction of Esther Jun. The year is 1965 in the working class east end of Montreal and…

  • The Real McCoy At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    The Real McCoy At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    The Real McCoy At The Blyth Festival The Blyth Festival is rounding out its 49th season with a smashing revival of Andrew Moodie’s 2006 play, The Real McCoy. A flawless cast and a sprightly script add up to an altogether marvelous show that is alternately hilariously funny and heartbreakingly sad. Elijah McCoy was the son…

  • The Fox At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    The Fox At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    The Fox At Here For Now Theatre Playwright Daniela Vlaskalic has adapted the D. H. Lawrence short story “The Fox” into an intriguing 90-minute play of the same name. It is receiving its world premier at Here For Now Theatre’s modest tent in the woods behind the Stratford-Perth Museum. The short story has never been…

  • Frankenstein Revived At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Frankenstein Revived At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Frankenstein Revived At The Stratford Festival Frankenstein Revived by Morris Panych at the Avon Theatre is a riveting piece of theatre and quite unlike anything I have ever seen at the Stratford Festival. Frankenstein Revived is an adaptation of the famous 1818 epistolary novel “Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus,” by teenaged Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. That…

  • Life Without At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    Life Without At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    Life Without At Here For Now Theatre Here For Now Theatre’s Life Without by Steve Ross, the popular, indeed beloved Stratford Festival actor is the work of a promising and powerful playwright. (Closed borders during the pandemic prevented me from seeing his first outing with Here For Now, the well received goldfish.) Life Without unfolds…

  • Handcuffs At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    Handcuffs At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    Handcuffs At The Blyth Festival The Blyth Festival’s epic presentation of James Reaney’s so-called Donnelly Trilogy, concludes with Part 3: Handcuffs. As abridged, adapted, and directed by Gil Garratt, it goes out in something of a blaze of glory. (To avoid needless repetition, I refer readers to my reviews of Part 1: Sticks and Stones…

  • Chronicles Of Sarnia At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    Chronicles Of Sarnia At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    Chronicles Of Sarnia At The Blyth Festival The Blyth Festival has another comedy hit on its hands with the world premiere of Chronicles of Sarnia by Sarnia native Matt Murray. Murray also wrote Myth of the Ostrich, which Here For Now Theatre produced earlier this season. He clearly has a gift for intricately plotted, character…

  • Frog Song At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    Frog Song At Here For Now Theatre – A Review

    Frog Song At Here For Now Theatre In a delightful change of pace, Stratford’s Here For Now Theatre is presenting Frog Song, an opera – yes, an opera! – for children and never has its tent theatre and its bucolic setting seemed more magical. With a book by Taylor Marie Graham and music by William…

  • The St. Nicholas Hotel At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    The St. Nicholas Hotel At The Blyth Festival – A Review

    The St. Nicholas Hotel At The Blyth Festival The saga of southwest Ontario’s ill-fated Donnelly clan continues in The St. Nicholas Hotel, the second installment of The Donnelly’s: A Trilogy at the Blyth Festival. The others in the series are Sticks and Stones and Handcuffs. After the broad overview of the legend of the Donnellys…

  • Wedding Band At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Wedding Band At The Stratford Festival – A Review

    Wedding Band At The Stratford Festival The Stratford Festival has another triumph on its hands in the form of Sam White’s searing production of the 1962 Alice Childress masterpiece, Wedding Band. Except for a mention in the author bio, the programme omits the play’s telling subtitle, A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, but it…