HicksBiz Blog

Category: Performing Arts

Performing Arts

Kinky Boots at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium: Bodacious, sassy and fun! Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Kinky Boots  Broadway Across Canada touring show Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, February 14 to 19, 2017 Tickets $30 to $180 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Watch out Edmonton! If the whole city starts rockin’ and rollin’, dancin’ down the streets and prancing about in outrageous  sequinned boots, it’s because the energy and spirit of Kinky Boots exploded out of the Jubilee Auditorium and is cascading across Edmonton.  Not since Hairspray has a touring Broadway show been this much fun, so high calibre and so socially relevant.  Kinky Boots is a bodacious blend of sassiness, social message, social relevance, an intriguing story-line, great songs (thank you Cindy Lauper), astounding choreography and bigger-than-life talent. How did this plot get dreamed up? Its bones are about a reluctant heir of a dying English shoe-making factory, who accidently discovers a niche market for drag-queen boots. But for the business to surviv ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel Theatre's 2017/18 season is the real-meal deal - story by GRAHAM HICKS

Commentary on the Citadel Theatre's  unveiling of its 2017/18 season by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com  Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada February 13, 2017 The sigh of relief was audible last week among seasoned Citadel Theatre fans in Edmonton, as, play by play, new artistic director Daryl Cloran unveiled the 2017/18 season. This kid, the grizzled veterans of Edmonton theatre thought to themselves, is for real. Until the 2017/18 season announcement, we didn’t know quite what to think of Cloran. The Citadel board search committee had plenty of time, almost a full year, to find a replacement for past artistic director Bob Baker. Baker had announced his retirement after 17 excellent years at the helm of the theatre. He continues an association with The Citadel as artistic director emeritus. The board was excited about Cloran, who during six seasons as director of Kamloops’ innovative Western Canada Theatre had built a national reputation for both innovation and aud ... Read the rest of entry »

Disgraced at the Citadel Theatre: Excellent script, good-but-not-great production - theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Disgraced Hope & Hell Theatre Company Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jan. 21, 2017 to Feb. 5, 201 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com Tickets  Disgraced is a damned fine play, with its current production at the Citadel Theatre being good, but not great.  It is part of the Citadel’s season, but is produced by the Toronto-based Hope and Hell Theatre Company. In other words, nobody from the Citadel Theatre had any input into what’s on stage. If one of the Citadel’s past cadre of directors – artistic director emeritus Bob Baker, former associate directors James MacDonald and Tom Wood – had been at the artistic reins, this would likely have been a great show. All three directors are masters of this particular style of play. (I can’t yet include new Citadel artistic director Daryl Cloran. His directorial debut won’t come until the 2017/18 season.) Disgraced is one of those relentlessly contemporary dramas that ticks off all ... Read the rest of entry »

Discovering fine new theatre - Peter Fechter: 59 minutes - retrospective by GRAHAM HICKS

Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes Cardiac Theatre at the ATB Arts Barns Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A retrospective by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com If you missed Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes, performed at the ATB Arts Barns by the Cardiac Theatre company from Jan. 10 to 22, 2017, I’m sorry for you. It was an intriguing one-man show. One live actor, Bradley Dore playing Peter Fechter, with three pre-recorded voices coming from strategically located loudspeakers in the PCL Studio Theatre. The voices were those of Peter’s mother, father and best friend, and almost as important to the show as Peter Fechter himself. This intriguing theatrical experience was conjured up by leading young Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill.  Fechter is a true historical figure, who at 18 was one of the first East Germans attempting to flee from East Berlin to West Berlin across the recently constructed Berlin Wall in 1945. Fatally wounded by East German guards in the no-man's land along the wall, he bled to death ... Read the rest of entry »

Tom Wood returns as Scrooge, better than ever: The Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol, review by GRAHAM HICKS

A Christmas Carol Adapted for the stage by Tom Wood Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Nov. 26, 2016 to Dec. 23, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Tickets at www.citadeltheatre.com,  $25 to $110 Parking:  Downtown Library Parkade, $10 evening    Nobody does old/miserable/crotchety/irritated in Canadian theatre better than Tom Wood. So what a treat to have Wood back, after a seven-year absence, to play Scrooge in the 17th annual production of A Christmas Carol at the Citadel Theatre. No slight on the other Scrooges in the intervening years, they’ve all brought much to the role. But Wood is a living, breathing, real Scrooge.  He is Scrooge incarnate, and his transformation through miserable, to regret, to despair and finally redemptive joy is an intense, rich, emotional experience. It helps that Wood has a certain intimacy with the role. He wrote it! Wood created the Citadel’s stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol, originally w ... Read the rest of entry »

Better to have loved and lost - Shadow Theatre's The Red King's Dream - review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Red King’s Dream Shadow Theatre production on the Varscona Theatre stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Oct. 26 to Nov. 13, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicks biz.com  Prolific Edmonton playwright David Belke has written plays encompassing modern farce, introspection, historic figures mixed into the contemporary world, humour, confusion and much more.  He, with Shadow Theatre artistic director John Hudson, chose to re-mount one of Belke’s most introspective and serious plays, 1996’s The Red King’s Dream, for the opening play of Shadow Theatre’s 2016/17 season in the new Varscona Theatre. The Red King’s Dream is a quiet play – a two-hour introspective meditation on the nature of romantic love and infatuation.  An awkward, intellectual loner, buried in books, is kindled by passion as he falls in love with a woman with similar tastes who happens to live in the apartment building. While The Red King’s Dream is an interesting tre ... Read the rest of entry »

Pitch-perfect evening of Simon & Garfunkel: The Simon & Garfunkel Story at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: A review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted Sept. 12, 2016

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Mayfield Dinner Theatre,  16615 109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 780-483-4051 mayfielddinnertheatre.ca To October 30, 2016 Tickets, including dinner, $85 to $115. REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS I’m sure the sociologists and neurologists have a field day studying this one, but it’s true. The pop music surrounding any given generation, from its high school years to the end of college, will become the most fondly remembered and favourite music of that generation for the rest of its days. Which is why the Mayfield Dinner Theatre – off Mayfield Road and within the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Edmonton West - specializes in nostalgia musical shows.  “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” will more than earn its keep as it plays at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre through October 30, 2016. Written and performed by Dean Elliott (he plays Paul Simon with fellow Englishman Jonny Muir as Art Garfunkel), Simon & Garfunkel is a lovely trip dow ... Read the rest of entry »

Citadel production of Other Desert Cities drowns in cliches

Other Desert Cities Playing at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta Canada April 9 to May 1, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com In a 50th anniversary Citadel Theatre season that has exploded with so much theatrical brilliance -  Boom, Evangeline, Christmas Carol, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Alice Through the Looking-Glass and the upcoming West Side Story,  Other Desert Cities ranks as the season's only dud.  There are a handful of great American dramas dealing with family dysfunction - heck, American playwrights aren’t comfortable unless they are hurling grenades at the All-American family. But Other Desert Cities, playing at the Citadel Theatre through May 1, 2016, isn’t one of them. This is a lightweight play delusionally convinced it’s a heavyweight. Other Desert Cities has universal themes, dwelling deeply on the right, or downright need, of writers to express their beliefs and opinions no matter the emotional damage to others. It's e ... Read the rest of entry »

Ukrainian Shumka Dancers' premiere of Kobzar misses the mark, but secondary show shines

Shumka Ukrainian Dancers  Kobzar and Travelling Chumaky April 9 and 10, 2016 Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Review by Graham Hicks You have to admire the restless spirit of Edmonton’s now 57-year-old Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, long considered one of the best, if not the best, Ukrainian folk-dance troupes in the world.  For its 2016 performances, sadly just two shows in the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium last Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10, 2016, Shumka didn’t just go with any old world premiere – you know, hire a choreographer, find the appropriate music, and off they go. This time around, Shumka, in collaboration with leading lights of Ukrainian culture, decided to go for the Big Show -  a massive allegorical tale of the suffering and triumphs of the Ukrainian people as a whole. The music was custom written and composed by Ukrainian national artist and composer Yuri Shevchenko, recorded in Kiev with a massive choir and a 68-member orchest ... Read the rest of entry »

This Wizard of Oz (at the Jubilee Auditorium) does justice to the legend - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Wizard of Oz Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Tuesday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 8 p.m.   Sat. matinee, 2 p.m. Sun. matinee, 1 p.m., evening 6:30 p.m. Tickets $45 to $145, (plus 25% extra in facility charges and service fees) REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS  - Hicksbiz.com How beguiling, to see another generation of young children entranced  by the story of Dorothy and Toto and the land of Oz.  It’s been going on since Frank Baum wrote the original “American fairy tale” in 1900, through Broadway productions, silent movies, then into the stratosphere with the classic 1939 movie with the young Judy Garland – using brand-new colour technology – as Dorothy, and the movie’s subsequent re-spooling year after year on that revolutionary new social medium of the 1950s known as television. The Wizard of Oz, being performed at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium through Sunday, Feb. 28, is the latest wrinkle in the re-telling of this ... Read the rest of entry »
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