HicksBiz Blog

Category: arts reviews

arts reviews

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 »

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 »

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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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 »

Graham Hicks' review of 2 Pianos 4 Hands, playing at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, to Nov. 17, 2013

A Graham Hicks theatrical review: 2 Pianos 4 Hands (2P 4H) Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada October 26 to November 17, 2013 Citadel Theatre Box Office Every parent and every kid with talent has been through this. Rebellion against endless practice.  Worry that the kid is obsessed with his or her sport or instrument. The slightly cuckoo, but really good, teacher. The fear of not being good enough. The little league politics, the musical competition politics. The crushing realization that a professional career is not in the cards. But who knew that such obsession could be the stuff of musical comedy? A musical comedy of such enduring affection that the two-actor show has been performed 4,000 times over 17 years, in 200 theatres in front of two million people? Probably not quintuple-threat artists (actors, pianists, comedians, playwrights, directors) Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt when they hatched the idea of a show about t ... Read the rest of entry »
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