HicksBiz Blog

Category: Performing Arts

Performing Arts

The Mayfield Dinner Theatre's Two Good Knights, The Music of Sir Tom Jones and Sir Elton John: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

 Two Good Knights: the music of Sir Tom Jones & Sir Elton John Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Mayfield Dinner Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 4 to October 28, 2018 Tickets: 780-483-4015  or mayfieldtheatre.ca Written by Will Marks, staged by Dave Horak, music direction by Van Wilmott, choreography by Christine Bandelow There’s a fledgling Motown Productions in town, a minor Tin Pan Alley, a writing/producing/directing all-in-one production house. It’s composed of four artistic types with a keen awareness of the need to sell tickets at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre  - musical director and overall Mayfield Dinner Theatre artistic director Van Wilmott, stage director Dave Horak, choreographer/singer Christine Bandelow, and the very low-key Will Marks as writer (a pseudonym I swear – despite his penning/compiling many Mayfield shows, nobody seems to know who Will Marks actually is). This team takes stock of its audience – basically 50+ folk ... Read the rest of entry »

Undercover at the Citadel Theatre, a comedic whodunit with more twists than a lemon in a martini: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Undercover A Spontaneous Theatre production presented by the Citadel Theatre The Citadel Theatre Club space, April 4 to 29, 2018 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com In a theatrical age dominated by ultra-serious political correctness, what a relief that Rebecca Northan knows how to have fun in a thoroughly professional way. Her touring show Undercover, on the Citadel’s cabaret stage through April 29, 2018, is a good old-fashioned murder mystery, a whodunit, complete with an old mansion, a dark and stormy night and black-outs in which the bereaved very suddenly, with much shrieking, becomes the bereaved. But it’s a whodunit with a fantastically fun twist. Every night, the show's assistant detective is an audience member, drawn at random to play the part. The script is cleverly written to let the latest and ever-changing member of the cast control the plot. As Northan says in thanking the audience/cast member at the end of the show, the second half of the show has never ev ... Read the rest of entry »

Magical, musical mayhem - The Citadel's Mamma Mia hits all the right notes: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Mamma Mia! Citadel Theatre, Maclab Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada February 17 to March 18, 2018 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com Mamma Mia, the biggest “jukebox musical” of them all, made its West End debut in 1999. Nineteen years later, the show built around the legendary pop songs of ABBA is still so popular that the Citadel Theatre’s excellent production of the same is pretty well guaranteed to sell most of the seats available for its four-week run, February 17 to March 18, 2018. The show is 19 years old! Jukebox musical is a term for a musical stage production built around the songs of a singer or a band.  Musicals have been constructed around the music of Queen, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, more recently Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys) and Carole King. But Mamma Mia continues to tower over all the other jukebox musicals ever created. Why? Because there’s as much art, to paraphrase the late, great Edmonton Sun entertainment writer Dave B ... Read the rest of entry »

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - what a fun show!!!! Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown Plain Jane Theatre/Varscona Theatre Ensemble Varscona Theatre, 10329 83 Ave. February 15 to 24, 2018 Tues – Sat, 7:30 p.m., 2 p.m. Sat. Tickets: varsconatheatre.com Review by Graham Hicks, HicksBiz.com Hilarious! Caroming! Intelligent! Witty! What other adjectives can I use to entice you to make the effort to get out on a cold February day to catch a wonderful piece of theatre happening until Feb. 24, 2018 at the Varscona Theatre. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown has EVERYTHING going for it!    An excellent script done with Latino/Iberian flair, great songs, eight fine comedic actors all with excellent voices, a cracker-jack live band on stage, wonderful colours and costumes, and, overall, a fine zaniness that so many shows attempt, but few pull off with such aplomb. Women on the Verge is a superior farce – far more intelligent than most:  One man with not one, not two, but three entangled r ... Read the rest of entry »

Motown the Musical - Feb.13-18 - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium: Much more here then meets the eye: Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

Motown The Musical (Broadway Across Canada presentation) February 13 to 18, 2018 Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Tickets  Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com Yes, Motown the Musical at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium February 13 to 18, is a song ‘n’ dance extravaganza featuring some 30 highly talented triple-threat (singing, dancing, acting) actors doing the songs and the great dance moves of the legendary Motown Record Company’s artists, from The Four Tops through Diana Ross through Stevie Wonder. But the show is far more interesting, much deeper and more complex than what would be expected. It’s a fascinating deep dive into American culture, race relations, politics and the entertainment business of the 1950s to 1980s. It revolves around one businessman/artist who single-handedly bought “coloured music” into the mainstream of American pop music. Berry Gordy is a mass of walking contradictions, which makes the story ever so interesting. A bri ... Read the rest of entry »

The Ladies Foursome at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: Teeing off on emotional comedy - review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Ladies Foursome Mayfield Dinner Theatre DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton, 16615-109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta Canada  Feb. 6, 2018 to April 1, 2018 Tickets $70 to $105, mayfieldtheatre.ca/tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Sometimes the best of business deals – the breakthrough talk that leads to later agreement at the negotiating table - take place on the golf course. And, according to the Ladies Foursome, playing at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre in Edmonton from Feb. 6 to April 1, 2018, the golf course is often a place where emotions can also be explored in the few minutes when the foursome are gathering at the start of each hole. The Ladies Foursome is a sweet show written by prolific Canadian playwright Norm Foster, a comedy with wistfulness, a comedy about regular folks who aren't super-stars, or characters plagued by bigger-than-normal problems. Four people, four close friends tied together by a regular golf outing that has gone on for years and years, gather together fo ... Read the rest of entry »

The Humans: Nothing new here - Citadel Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

The Humans Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada January 6 to 27, 2018 Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com What is all the fuss about?   Why is a yet another cliche-filled play about yet another dysfunctional American family considered to have been 2016's hottest Broadway property, winning every award in the book? The Humans, having its Canadian premiere at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre January 6 to 27, is about as American soured-apple pie as it gets. Rebellious aspiring musician younger daughter Brigid, currently bartending, is living in a dingy two-floor apartment with her boyfriend in New York City's Chinatown. Ambitious older daughter Aimee is about to be fired from her  law firm, mainly because her medical problems are eating into her billing hours.  And her girlfriend has broken up with her. Mom and Dad, Deirdre and Erik, are devout but liberal-minded Catholics, on good terms with the daughters but still nagging them a ... Read the rest of entry »

Subtle changes in the 18th edition of the Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Subtle changes in the 18th edition of the Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol At the Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Dec. 1 to 23, 2017 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com The changes are subtle, but they are there. For the first time since A Christmas Carol graced the Citadel’s Maclab stage 18 years ago, the grand annual Christmas presentation is not being directed by the now-retired former Citadel Theatre artistic director Bob Baker.   Nor does it star Tom Wood, who wrote the stage adaptation of the story that the Citadel has used to this day, and who has played Scrooge for most of those 18 years. It is the end of an era, but not the end of an era. For if ever a transition was seamless, this is it. Director Wayne Paquette has long been Bob Baker’s assistant director for A Christmas Carol.  The role of Scrooge this year is being alternated between Glenn Nelson – who has played the role before &nda ... Read the rest of entry »

Ubuntu at the Citadel Theatre: Entertaining, enriching and insightful Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Ubuntu (The Cape Town Project)  Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre,  Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA October 11, 2017 to Oct. 22, 2017 Tickets:  $30 and up Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com I can’t remember the last time an audience at a Citadel Theatre production sat utterly bewildered for the first 10 minutes and then, by the show’s end, rose as one in an immediate, enthusiastic, standing ovation. But such was the case October 12, 2017, at the opening night of Ubuntu (The Cape Town Project) on the Maclab Stage. Ubuntu – meaning “a person is a person through other people” in the South African Bantu language – is full of richly layered complexity, simply and joyfully presented. Its mystery and magic lies in its deep understanding of the human condition, on so many levels, ALL THE TIME!!!  In almost every scene, three or four sub-themes, ideas, emotional hues, cultural clashes, pleasing/jarring visual and aural prompts simultaneously e ... Read the rest of entry »

Citadel Theatre's Shakespeare in Love worthy of the highest praise: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Shakespeare in Love Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 16, 2017 to October 8, 2017 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Rest easy, the Citadel Theatre is in good hands. Daryl Cloran has had a year now as the new artistic director of the Citadel Theatre, but the 2016/17 season was still picked and planned by his predecessor Bob Baker, who retired in the spring of 2016 after a long and rich tenure at the helm of the largest theatre in Canada west of Toronto. This season’s opener Shakespeare in Love is the first show of the first season that Cloran has fully overseen. Plus he decided to direct the show as well – which must have involved many 18-hour days leading up to opening night on Thursday, September 22, 2017. Big challenge! Shakespeare in Love is a sprawling, BIG play in all aspects, over two hours long, 20 actors, jam-packed with action and meaning. You may remember it began life as a movie, a major hit that earned seven Academy ... Read the rest of entry »
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