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Category: arts reviews

arts reviews

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 »

Great balls of fire, this show works! Review of Citadel Theatre's Million Dollar Quartet by GRAHAM HICKS

Million Dollar Quartet Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Oct. 22 to Nov. 6, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com Tickets  Holy moly, Lord have mercy, great balls of fire, it’s a miracle! Well, not quite.  But damn near. Somehow, the Citadel Theatre found the perfect four actors for its production of Million Dollar Quartet, running through November 13, 2016 on the Shoctor Stage. Piano virtuoso, singer and madcap actor Christo Graham embodies the spirit, cheekiness and looks of Jerry Lee Lewis.   Guitarist, singer and actor Kale Penny plays every complex Carl Perkins’ guitar lick as if were his own.   Singer/actor Christopher Fordinal’s reincarnation of the young Elvis Presley will be a life-long meal ticket. Singer/actor Greg Gale impersonates (in the best sense of the word) Johnny Cash’s mannerisms plus possesses a melodious baritone that is uncannily Cash-like.  The context of the ... Read the rest of entry »

An Unusual, Fascinating and Insightful Show: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  Playing at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 17, 2016 to October 9, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, at the Citadel Theatre through October 9, 2016, is one of the most interesting, multi-layered and thoughtful plays to have come along in a long, long time. Ostensibly, it’s about a high-functioning autistic young teenager, Christopher, trying to find out who killed his neighbour’s dog. Boil down the plot and the swirling collage of scenes and characters: In a compelling sub-text, author Mark Haddon (and, one presumes, stage adapter Simon Stephens) shakes his head at the inability of modern adults to sustain deep, loving life-long relationships, especially in the context of children and their needs.  Curious Incident is a subtle meditation upon (and a magnificent creative illustration of) the emotional effects of parental break-up on c ... 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 »

The ultimate ensemble - West Side Story at the Citadel Theatre until May 22, 2016 - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

West Side Story, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada April 23 to May 22, 2016 Featuring the participants of the 2016 Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program Review by GRAHAM HICKS, www.hicksbiz.com Eight years ago, The Citadel Theatre and the Banff Centre embarked upon a professional theatre training program for young-ish actors well into their acting careers but taking time out to refresh their skills. It’s been highly, highly successful, both for the actors and especially for Citadel Theatre audiences. Because after a month of general theatre training in Banff, the 20-or-so actors descend on Edmonton to continue their training within the context of rehearsing and performing a major show as a finale to the current Citadel Theatre’s season. I couldn’t tell you how the economics work, but the fact is with the Professional Theatre Program, the Citadel has at its disposal some 20 fine young actors, full of vim and vigour and renewed enthusiasm, with the capacit ... Read the rest of entry »

Costumes, colour and non-stop action: The Citadel Theatre's Alice Through the Looking Glass. Review by Graham Hicks

Alice Through The Looking Glass Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Feb. 27 to March 20, 2016 Adapted for the stage by James Reaney, from the Lewis Carroll classic. Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com To truly enjoy the Citadel’s frothy, Cirque de Soleil-like production of Alice Through the Looking-Glass, look not for underlying philosophy, ideology or theology. Relax, sit back, and simply enjoy the theatrical feast laid before your very eyes. This is a production of non-stop delightful  moments, showing off the ability of professional theatre to create illusion at its very finest. It’s about costume and colour, superb team-work and great comedy – mostly of the physical variety.  When this stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tones down to serious, or at least explanatory, it stumbles and goes cold as was the case in Act. 1.  Once Alice (Ellie Heath) has popped through the looking glass into her dream world (or is it the Red Kin ... 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 »

The Citadel Theatre at its best - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, review by GRAHAM HICKS

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jan 23 to Feb. 23, 2016 Review by Graham Hicks, HicksBiz.com Written in 1962, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf sits in that pantheon of dysfunctional family dramas that poured out of American playwrights with the release of literary social taboos following World War II – Death of A Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (and the rest of the Tennessee Williams canon), Dark At The Top of the Stairs, Long Day’s Journey into Night. With one huge exception:  It’s very, very funny and playwright Edward Albee’s wicked humour seems to work even better as time goes by, given the acceptance and prevalence of cheerful cynicism in the early 21st Century. Face it, the rest of those classic psycho-dramas were awfully heavy slogging – the long wrung-out pauses, the gloom, the sourness, the non-stop drama, the deep dourness of all those screwed-up people. Martha and George and Nick and Honey are as screwed ... Read the rest of entry »

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen - HicksBiz review by GRAHAM HICKS

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jan. 13, 2016 to Jan. 24, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS Chelsea Hotel is an intriguing concept – a unique theatrical rendering/interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s considerable canon of songs, back-to-back  for 90 minutes of musical theatre. On the Edmonton pride side, creator/director Tracey Power has recently re-located back to Edmonton where she graduated, some years ago, from the Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts program.  Citadel Artistic Associate James MacDonald served as the show’s dramaturge (theatrical consultant) before it embarked on its current cross-country tour. It’s an intriguing concept … that while most pleasant and creative, doesn’t really work. Chelsea Hotel occupies a no-man middle ground.  Either this show should be blown up Cirque de Soleil style and go to Vegas for a two-year run, or it should be pared down to its essential Leonard Cohen mi ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel Theatre's Christmas Carol is defining Christmas in Edmonton - Review by Graham Hicks

A Christmas Carol Citadel Theatre,  Edmonton, Alberta, Canada To Dec. 23, 2015 Review by GRAHAM HICKS How is it possible, after seeing a show on 16 consecutive opening nights, that one is still reduced to tears and gentle sobs of happiness/joy/sadness, at least 10 times through the evening? Because it's A Christmas Carol, darn it!  And not just any Christmas Carol but an adaptation for the stage by Tom Wood that is as classic as the brilliant book on which it is based.  It still must mystify its creators, Wood and director Bob Baker, that they produced such a gem of a production that it has hardly needed any tweaking since that original opening night on the Citadel's Maclab Stage in 1999.  Here's Christmas Carol, 2015, as popular if not more so than ever. And if there are any rumours out there declaring this to be the last year Christmas Carol will be done at the Citadel, they are unequivocally, absolutely and utterly untrue, says Citadel General Manager Penny Ritco. Why does thi ... Read the rest of entry »