Victory at The Shaw Festival – A Review

Victory at The Shaw Festival Howard Barker is the bad boy of British theatre. He revels in filth, flatulence, four-letter words, and fornication displayed on stage with all the verisimilitude that the law allows in plays set for the most part in past eras and other countries — for the “distancing effect” he says. “A […]

Cyrano De Bergerac at The Shaw Festival – A Review

Cyrano De Bergerac at The Shaw Festival Let’s start with the good news. The central story of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 Cyrano de Bergerac is alive and well in the capable hands of Tom Rooney as Cyrano, Deborah Hay as Roxanne, Jeff Irving as Christian, and Patrick Galligan as De Guiche. Moreover, playwright Kate Hennig, whose […]

Man and Superman at The Shaw Festival – A Review

Man and Superman at The Shaw Festival The Shaw Festival has entrusted the staging of George Bernard Shaw’s monumental Man and Superman on the expansive Festival Theatre stage to the relative tyro director Kimberley Rampersad, whose only previous directorial credit at Shaw was the one-act O’Flaherty, VC last season. It was a risk and I […]

The Ladykillers at The Shaw Festival – A Review

The Ladykillers at The Shaw Festival The original “mandate” of The Shaw Festival was to produce the work of the eponymous playwright. That was broadened to include any work written in his lifetime, which conveniently enough was quite long (he died in 1950). Eventually, that was tweaked to allow new Canadian plays to be showcased. […]

The Russian Play at The Shaw Festival – A Review

The Russian Play at The Shaw Festival A “like-a-joke” is a dismissive term of art in the world of TV sitcoms. It denotes a snippet of dialog that is structured like a joke, that is recognized as a joke, that triggers the laugh track, but that is not actually funny. To my way of thinking […]

Sex at The Shaw Festival – A Review

Sex at The Shaw Festival I have wanted to see the 1926 play Sex ever since, as a Mae West-besotted undergraduate, I first became aware of its existence. Mae wrote, produced, directed, and starred in it and went to the slammer because of it. Who wouldn’t want to see it? Thanks to Peter Hinton-Davis and […]

The Glass Menagerie at The Shaw Festival – A Review

The Glass Menagerie at The Shaw Festival The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee William’s 1944 memory play (and the one that established him as a major playwright) is receiving a thrilling production at The Shaw Festival. Directed by Hungarian director László Bérczes in the intimate Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, it features four nearly flawless performances that may […]

The Shaw Festival 2019, Part I

The Shaw Festival 2019, Part I The first four plays of The Shaw Festival’s 2019 season have opened and they’re a mixed bag. Here they are in descending order of my personal preference. Rope At the risk of the proverbial apples to oranges comparisons, perhaps the best of the bunch is Rope, a 1929 British […]

Shaw Festival 2014

Shaw Festival 2014 The picture-postcard-perfect town of Niagara-on-the-Lake was abuzz with shoppers and theatergoers when we arrived on a resplendent summer day for Shaw Festival 2014. You could be very happy just strolling the streets of this upscale village, admiring homes straight out of a glossy magazine, or shopping in the chic boutiques, or dining […]