HicksBiz Blog

Category: Performing Arts

Performing Arts

Soul Sisters: Odysseo by Cavalia, Cirque du Soleil and La Bonhomie Quebecois

Odysseo by Cavalia Under the big top erected east of Fort Road, north of Yellowhead Trail, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through August 10, 2014 Tickets $25 to $200, at www.cavalia.net  Review/Reflection by Graham Hicks  It’s very interesting, because the world-famous Cirque du Soleil made its original artistic reputation as the first animal-free circus of any stature. Odysseo by Cavalia, with its 64 horses, is as culturally, spiritually and technically as connected to Cirque du Soleil as any show could possibly be. In fact, I would bet dollars to donuts that behind the scenes there is an immense amount of interaction between the two organizations, given Cavalia founder and on-going artistic director Normand Letourelle was a partner with Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberte  in its earlier years.  And obviously somebody had to finance what was obviously an enormous undertaking when Cavalia was founded in 2003. Odysseo by Cavalia is not only a spiritual sister to Cirque ... Read the rest of entry »

Wicked has it all: A magical night of musical theatre at Edmonton's Jubilee Theatre

Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Normally on Broadway, a “triple threat” refers to musical theatre actors who act, sing and dance.
Wicked is a triple threat of a different sort, so unique as to be almost on its own in the pantheon of active, touring Broadway shows.
Wicked has an extraordinarily creative story line, wonderful songs, and offers philosophical/ethical choices for its audiences to ponder after its shows.
For Wicked is very much, within all its action and finery, a contemplation on the nature of what creates wickedness, of the perception of wickedness. Is it born of circumstance, misunderstanding or simply innate?
This version, currently at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium until Sunday July 20, 2014, actualizes every ounce of the potential within its script, score and lyrics.

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Make Mine Love - Citadel comedy premiere still rough around the edges - review by GRAHAM HICKS

Make Mine Love World Premiere by Tom Wood, directed by Bob Baker, starring Rebecca Northan, John Ullyatt and Julian Arnold Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Tickets May 10 to June 1, 2014 Review by GRAHAM HICKS There are delightful, hilarious, slap-stick scenes in Make Mine Love, in which interactive live-film technology plays a leading role. But those gems are surrounded by long, laborious set-up stuff that just doesn’t quite work in the Citadel’s world premiere of its commissioned Make Mine Love, an original script written by Edmonton actor, director and playwright Tom Wood, directed by Citadel artistic director Bob Baker. Make Mine Love is a huge undertaking, especially with an untested script, 10 actors playing 26 roles, sets with hundreds of moving parts shifting with breathtaking ease across America from Hollywood, to New York City and a train in between, all in 1938 when women were dames, everybody smoked, and wisecracks were the accepted lingo of the day. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hairspray at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: As close to Broadway as we’ll get – review by GRAHAM HICKS

Hairspray at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: As close to Broadway as we’ll get – review by GRAHAM HICKS Hairspray – The Broadway Musical Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Doubletree by Hilton West Edmonton 16615 109 Ave., Edmonton 780.483.4051 www.mayfieldtheatre.ca/tickets/ April 18 to June 15, 2014 A theatre review by Graham Hicks Hairspray is as good a musical theatre show as has ever trod the boards of the Mayfield Dinner Theatre – and that’s saying a lot, because the theatre has been open since 1975. It’s a given that Hairspray is an excellent musical to begin with – given the quirky 1988 movie turned into 2002’s Broadway hit musical, which in turn became the smash movie musical of 2007. The songs are the best, the plot actually has some sociological meat of 1960s race relations and an iconic nod to the notion that skinny white socialite girls don’t always win against the outsiders, the Broadway/musical choreography is top-notch. But the wonder, the mag ... Read the rest of entry »

Are the clowns from hell sitting in purgatory? Review of Mump + Smoot in Anything, Theatre Network to April 27, 2014

Graham Hicks review of Mump & Smoot in "Anything" Theatre Network, Live at the Roxy Theatre 10708 124 St., Edmonton, Alberta Canada 780-453-2440 theatrenetwork.ca, Ticket ordering  Call it Mump + Smoot Light. The beloved clowns from hell are back with their ninth show, at Theatre Network through Sunday April 27, 2014, since veteran Canadian buffoon-theatre men Michael Kennard and John Turner invented the characters 25 years ago. But it seems that Kennard, Turner and Karen Hines – the off-stage co-creator and director – have currently relegated Mump + Smoot to the backseat of their creative endeavours. Anything is a set of three Mump + Skit mini-shows or skits, lasting an hour in total, without any particular underlying theme or plot. Let’s back up a second here. In more commercial hands, Mump + Smoot as the clowns from hell could have become an on-going franchise that would have made the Kennard/Turner/Hines trio materially wealthy indeed.  There’s very, ... Read the rest of entry »

This Romeo and Juliet sets The Citadel ablaze - Review by Graham Hicks

This Romeo and Juliet sets The Citadel ablaze Graham Hicks review Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Citadel Theatre – Maclab Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada April 5 – 27, 2014 Ticket information The opening to the Tom Wood-directed Romeo and Juliet will stay emblazoned in my memory as long as there is memory upon which to be emblazoned. Eighteen cast members on the stage (plus nine teen apprentices) are fighting, some with sword-play in the initial Montague/Capulet brawl. It’s a swirling galaxy of choreography, initially in slow motion to pounding lights and music, then shifting gears to real life speed, finally, slowly, winding down as the elders of the two warring houses and the rulers show up to sort things out. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for big fight scenes, especially when the actors are in the prime of their athletic lives as these kids on either side of 30 are – rolling and flipping and dancing with those swords, up ‘n’ over ... Read the rest of entry »

How wondrous the Citadel Theatre's production of Mary Poppins - review by Graham Hicks

Mary Poppins A musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film Shoctor Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada through April 20, 2014 Ticket information. (Buy quickly. This show is going to sell out, especially at the low-end $35 rate) Review by GRAHAM HICKS Posted at www.hicksbiz.com March 21, 2014 780 707 6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix How wondrous the Citadel/Theatre Calgary stage production of Mary Poppins (The Broadway Musical)! How mysterious that Mary Poppins, despite the 1964 Walt Disney movie, the West End/Broadway production of 10 years ago, and at least five songs that have burned their way into the memories of most of the English-speaking world, remains a lesser figure in the pantheon of favourite children’s fictional characters. At least that’s the case in North America. The original book of Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, didn’t travel well across the Atlantic, and the entire Mary Poppins’ series (eight books) made ... Read the rest of entry »

Racism is just one of many themes in the Citadel's remarkable Clybourne Park production: Graham Hicks review

Review of Clybourne Park,  Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada  Jan. 25 to Feb. 16, 2014 By GRAHAM HICKS Much has been made of the racism aspect of Clybourne Park, the much awarded drama that has made its way to the Citadel's Shoctor Stage and plays through February 16, 2014. Almost too much ... Because for all the discussion around the play, basically concluding that not much has changed in the 50 years between acts, Clybourne Park actually suggests much has changed. In the first act, the neighbourhood association is all white fighting to keep black folks out of the Chicago neighbourhood. In act two, set 50 years later in the same house, the neighbourhood association is represented by two black activisits, fighting to keep incoming white neighbours from tearing down old houses and "gentifying' Clybourne Park. There's so much more to this show than an overly-trod-upon racism theme: There's the unusualness of the playwright placing the first act in 1959, the second act in the same h ... Read the rest of entry »

Graham Hicks review of two Citadel Theatre shows - The Daisy Theatre and Long Day's Journey Into Night

Graham Hicks review of two Citadel Theatre productions: Citadel Theatre, 9828 101A Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - 780 425 1820 Long Day's Journey Into Night in the Shoctor Theatre to Oct. 13, 2013 The Daisy Theatre with Ronnie Burkett in The Club (Rice Stage) to Nov. 17, 2013 Ticket information Can there be any more polar opposites in theatre than the two shows marking the start of the Citadel Theatre's 2013-14 season? And if any two shows could demonstrate why the Citadel Theatre continues to be a beacon of cultural hope in a vulgar, de-sensitized pop culture world (Miley Cyrus, Snooki, say no more) it would be Eugene O'Neill's sombre and sober (in tone at least) Long Day's Journey Into Night, on the Shoctor stage until Oct. 13, and Ronnie Burkett's cheeky, hilarious, poignant, satirical, spur-of-the-moment marionette (puppets on strings) Daisy Theatre, playing cabaret-style in The Club (Rice Theatre). Long Day's Journey is homage to what's very much now old-style, "classical ... Read the rest of entry »

The Soul Collector: Catalyst Theatre is back in all its beautiful, macabre glory. Review by Graham Hicks

The Soul Collector Directed, written and scored by Jonathan Christenson Design by Bretta Gerecke A Catalyst Theatre production, ATB Financial ArtsBarns, to May 12, 2013 matinees Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12. Tickets $17 to $42, online at Tix on the Square Review by Graham Hicks,  Hicksbiz.com blog For Jonathan Christenson fans, there’s an irresistible pull every time the brilliant writer, composer and director teams up with designer Bretta Gerecke for another Catalyst Theatre world premiere. The Soul Collector, at the ATB Financial Arts Barns through May 12, 2013, is truly a world premiere, as are all Christenson and Gerecke (CG for short) Catalyst productions. Catalyst has rock-band-like legions of international fans. Its shows tour for years, across North America, Europe and Australia. As far as made-in-Edmonton cultural exports go, Catalyst is up there with Tommy Banks, kd lang and Corb Lund. The pull, the must-attend factor, is the unique style of any C/G production. For wan ... Read the rest of entry »
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