HicksBiz Blog

Category: Performing Arts

Performing Arts

The truth about marriage! She (he) is driving me crazy! The Long Weekend at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre - a review by GRAHAM HICKS

A Hicksbiz.com theatre review by Graham Hicks The Long Weekend By Norm Foster June 19 to August 2, 2015 Mayfield Dinner Theatre,  Doubletree by Hilton West Edmonton 16615 109 St. 780-483-4051 Tix info:  www.mayfieldtheatre.ca The Long Weekend is just a little too accurate in its depiction of the human condition when it comes to long-term relationships. We see too much of ourselves in the quarrelsome nature of the couples. Why are we so critical of the people we are supposed to love the most? Why are we (at times) so nasty to them?  Playwright Foster has nailed the behavioural drawbacks from which we all seem to suffer. That no matter who we with, our essential character flaws, quirks, whatever you want to call them, don’t go away. Max (played by Doug Mertz) can’t stop criticizing his loved ones – they never live up to his standards for cleanliness, proper musical tastes. He’s condescending, thinks he’s better than those around him.  There' ... Read the rest of entry »

Book of Mormon knows no limits - review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted March 27, 2015

Review of Book of Mormon Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 24 to 29, 2015 (Sold out, other than last-minute lottery style rush tickets for $25) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I never watched much South Park on TV, but I read enough about the animated comedy to know it broke all the rules of pleasantry and politeness, was one of the first shows on widely-watched TV in the early ’90s to break the profanity barrier, and was screamingly funny through humourous commentary that made fun of just about every American icon, be it human or otherwise. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were natural heirs to the irreverent, damn the social torpedoes school of American satirical humour that broke through with George Carlin, gestated in Saturday Night Live, spawned The Simpsons and John Belushi. So it wasn’t surprising that Parker, Stone and third collaborator Robert Lopez again broke all the rules when they wrote Book of Mormon, certainly the most successful Broadway s ... Read the rest of entry »

Vigilante sends Jonathan Christenson in new directions: Citadel Theatre review by Graham HIcks

Vigilante - written, composed and directed by Jonathan Christenson World Premier, Citadel Theatre (Mclab Stage), Edmonton, Canada A Catalyst Theatre production March 7 to 29, 2015   Review by Graham Hicks It sure is fun, and fascinating, to watch the evolution and growth of an artistic genius in our backyard ... like watching your immensely talented kid brother slowly reveal his extraordinary potential. This review is about Jonathan Christenson’s latest rock-opera Vigilante, playing on the Citadel’s Maclab Stage in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, through March 29. But before we get there, the artist and the show need context. Christenson, born, raised and resident in Edmontonian, is playwright, lyricist, composer and director of his own shows. He’s written musical theatre most of his adult life. House of Pootsie Plunket (1999) and Blue Orphan (2001)brought Christenson a national profile with his collaborator at the time, Joey Tremblay. But it was when Christenson went solo - writi ... Read the rest of entry »

Playing With Fire, The Theo Fleury Story at the Citadel Theatre: Jocks and their artsy girlfriends will both love this show - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through Feb. 15, 2015 Tickets, starting at $30 Review by Graham Hicks,  hicksbiz.com Relax. Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story – is not going to subject you to scene after scene of the grim sexual abuse story of Fleury’s adolescence that finally sent his hockey coach tormentor Graham James to prison. In fact, this one-man show on the Citadel’s Maclab Theatre is surprisingly cheerful and funny, given it’s a detailed autobiographical account of the famous and diminutive Calgary Flame's ascent and then descent into a living hell of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction, then, one hopes, back to an addictions-free life.  (Who knows? The play is based on Fleury’s autobiography, published in 2009.) It’s also innovative, played on a mini-hockey rink, with top-notch multi-media enhancements to the story, beautifully acted with Shaun Smyth taking hi ... Read the rest of entry »

Venus in Fur at the Citadel Theatre - whooo hoo! A review by GRAHAM HICKS

Venus in Fur – A HicksBiz.com review by Graham Hicks Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage 9828 101A Ave., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through February 8, 2015 Tickets start at $30 What’s this? A little foreplay?  Black corsets? Whips? Legs that go on forever? At The Citadel Theatre? Yes!  But, this being the theatre, we’re not talking pornography. And, if it was a film, Venus in Fur would likely have a “G” rating. But you wouldn’t take your kids. Venus in Fur is based on a wildly creative idea and is executed on the Citadel’s Shocter stage in wildly creative ways.  The plot’s straightforward and needs explanation before writing about this production. A struggling director/writer (Jamie Cavanagh) is holding auditions for the female lead in his new play, based on a 19th century erotic novel, Venus in Furs by the original Mr. Sadomasochism himself, an Austrian writer by the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. This is historic fa ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel's One Man, Two Guvnors - is it humanly possible to laugh this hard? Review by GRAHAM HICKS

One Man, Two Guvnors Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Through Sunday, November 16, 2014 Tickets $30 and up, www.citadeltheatre.com Review by GRAHAM HICKS In One Man, Two Guvnors, Francis (John Ullyatt) splays away with a metaphorical comedic machine gun, shooting off humour in every which direction, at every which moment, within every which comedy device ever devised since the first playwright walked on his or her back legs. Lord, this is one great screwball comedy that Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre has used to brighten up its 2014/15 season – up there with previous productions such as Monty Python’s Spamalot, Noises Off, the Noel Coward runabouts and Tom Wood’s initial adaptation of The Servant of Two Masters – on which this show is also based – back in 2002/03. As the program notes usefully point out, British playwright Richard Bean is a worthy heir to the brilliant line of British physical/spoken humour that stretches from Spike Milligan to Peter Sellers, John Clee ... Read the rest of entry »

Kim's Convenience: Citadel Theatre season-opener is lightweight, charming and one-dimensional: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Kim’s Convenience Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage through Oct. 11, 2014 Tickets $30 to $84, www.citadeltheatre.com (Touring show, produced by Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company) Review by GRAHAM HICKS I’m not sure what Kim’s Convenience says about the current state of Canadian theatre. It’s a lightweight, superficially charming, one-dimensional, 90-minute piece of theatre that I most closely relate to lightweight, superficial, lame CBC-TV  sitcom comedies like Little Mosque on the Prairie, i.e. paying lip service to “Canadian” themes without any semblance of artistic, philosophical or emotional depth. Yet Kim’s Convenience has been a hit in Canadian theatrical terms, starting as a Toronto Fringe Festival star show in 2011, winning a pile of Toronto theatre awards, touring the country, and being optioned for a TV series. (If it’s not the CBC, I’ll eat my hat.)  Is there such a lack of contemporary Canadian play competition that this ... Read the rest of entry »

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 »
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