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Category: arts reviews

arts reviews

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 »

Fringe 2018 - hold-over reviews: Sweet irony from Teatro La Quindicina's A Lesson in Brio

A Lesson in Brio Written and directed by Stewart Lemoine Teatro La Quindicina Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival 2018,  hold-over last show, Sat. Sept. 1., 2018 Varscona Theatre, 10329-83 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 4.5 of 5 stars Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Teatro La Quindicina’s A Lesson in Brio (vitality, vigor, life, liveliness, animation, vivacity, spirit, spiritedness, etc.) is full of sweet irony, humourous manipulation of theatrical devices and positive thinking, darn it! As always from the ever-flowing pen of Edmonton playwright Stewart Lemoine, there is a quirky, imaginative plot, gentle but deliberately contradictory themes, pathos … and a great deal of humour, in this play as much aural as visual. Jenny McKillop steps on stage as Dr. Guinevere, with her PhD in the study of brio, which, in jocular lecturing style, she proceeds to define. As might be expected in a Lemoine play, Dr. Guinevere then steps into the developing play as a character, having alre ... Read the rest of entry »

Edmonton Fringe 2018 - reviews: Jem Rolls' I Idiot gives hope to the English language - review by GRAHAM HICKS

I, Idiot – Jem Rolls Edmonton International Fringe Festival Stage 13, Old Strathcona Public Library 4 of 5 stars Last show:  Sat. Aug. 25. 4:45 pm. 60 minutes Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com The English language has taken a beating these last few decades. English literature – the great classics of the language – are skipped over in school.  Teachers no longer know the rules of English grammar and composition. In fact, they are now a second or third generation of fuzzy generalists when it comes to the teaching of English (as a small part of social studies;  political correctness is given far more weight). None of them studied Latin, the language that explains grammar so well.  At the hundreds upon hundreds of shows at the Edmonton Fringe, theatre that leaves you delighted with the language – unless it’s true-to-the-original of Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, James Joyce or Shakespeare – are near non-existent.  Shows that use f* ... Read the rest of entry »

Oscar would approve: Teatro La Quindicina's production of The Importance of Being Earnest - review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

The Importance of Being Earnest Teatro La Quindicina production at The Varscona Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada July 12 to 28, 2018 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Watching The Importance of Being Earnest, Irish playwright Oscar Wilde’s acclaimed farce that is as robust and amusing today as  when first produced 123 years ago, is to realize this play’s seminal influence on most light-hearted humourous scripts written since it hit the stage. There is not a comedic sit-com, a crazy Mayfield Dinner Theatre farce or humourous romantic film that does not owe a debt to The Importance of Being Earnest.  Remarkably, Wilde’s play continues to be the standard-bearer of plot, of beautiful and witty language, of a comedy of manners. Over a century later, The Importance of Being Earnest does nothing but improve with age. It is so appropriate for Teatro La Quindicina to stage The Importance of Being Earnest. Teatro’s  playwright-in-residence Stewart Lemoine almo ... Read the rest of entry »

The Enduring Grandeur of Les Miserables, the musical/opera - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium July 3 to 8, 2018, review by GRAHAM HICKS

Les Miserables Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, July 3 -8, 2018 (seven shows) Tickets start at about $50 including fees/taxes Produced by Broadway Across Canada Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com So put up your hands, if you have seen Les Miserables at least once. All of you? Not surprising.  Various editions of the touring Broadway show have visited Edmonton/Calgary in 1990, 1992, 2013, and now 2018. The 2012 movie, with Hugh Jackman in the lead role, was faithful to the script/book, and again brought this magnificent story and score to public consciousness. Put up your hands, if you’d like to see it again … and again … and again. All of you? Hardly surprising! Les Miserables is fast securing its reputation as one of the 20th Century’s most enduring operas/musical theatre. It will likely, over time, join the 20 or so shows that are the staples of the opera world. The book upon which it is based, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, is considered one of t ... Read the rest of entry »

Children of God proves to be excellent musical theatre - Citadel Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Children of God Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 3 to 24, 2018 Tickets  Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com There’s all kinds of good news about the Citadel Theatre’s latest offering, Children of God. It’s a very good piece of theatre. Causes do not overwhelm characters. The plot carries itself admirably, never devolving into polemics. The acting, singing and music is of the highest standard. It does what “issues” theatre is supposed to do – presents its cause without losing its audience through too-much pounding upon our heads. All of which is an immense relief. The issue of Canada’s residential schools, where indigenous children were collected and sent for both education and assimilation from 1831 to 1996, has rightly been front and centre in Canada since the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. Corey Payette’s musical play – centred on six indigenous children who’d kno ... 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 »

Hadestown at the Citadel Theatre: All that is good and right ... with a few problems: Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

Hadestown Citadel Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Nov. 11 to Dec. 3, 2017 Tickets start at $30. Review by Graham Hicks, Hicksbiz.com Hadestown is a beautiful, rich mix of all that is good and right in American performance art. That said, it has its problems. No report on Hadestown can take place without considering the current context.  The acclaimed musical,  close to a modern-day opera, is getting its final polish here at the Citadel Theatre before its producers and financial backers move the show to Broadway. The production,  based on a concept album by the talented and distinctive American songwriter/singer Anais Mitchell, contemporizes and universalizes the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.   Hadestown was a major off-Broadway hit in New York City. But it had to be adapted from an intimate theatre space to the big spaces of Broadway theatres.  Enter the Citadel’s 681-seat Shoctor Stage. So The Hadestown we are watching in Edmonton is not yet a final product. ... Read the rest of entry »
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