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Category: Around town

Around town

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 »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Downtown Dining Week offers a taste of Edmonton's core By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 13, 2018

Despite downtown parking regulations more complex than a Rubik’s Cube, I still recommend lunch or dinner this week at just about all (decent) downtown restaurants through Sunday, March 18. It’s the 15th annual Downtown Dining Week, produced by the Downtown Business Association. Cheap eats! Champagne at beer prices! At the very least, you’ll save 10% to 20% over regular a-la-carte prices, often more. After 15 years, most of the bugs have been worked out on this special offer. It’s designed to entice you back to the downtown to experience Edmonton’s terrific restaurant renaissance, a renaissance that is being recognized across Canada. Too bad downtown parking is so expensive and so sparse – see below. Each of the 37 participating restaurants can mix and match from three categories — $18 mostly two-course lunches, $30 for mostly-three course dinners, or $45 “executive dinners” on offer at the top-end eateries such as The Harvest Room, Hardware ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Montana’s BBQ & Bar offers tasty food in comfy confines by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, March 6, 2018

Montana’s BBQ & Bar 10330 G.A. MacDonald Ave. (Calgary Trail south of Whitemud Drive) Six other Montana’s locations in Greater Edmonton 780-434-2886 Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $30; loaded, $50 Food – 4 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service – 3.5 of 5 Suns Edmonton hard-core foodies, this Weekly Dish review is not for you. Montana’s BBQ & Bar has close to 100 locations across Canada, seven in Greater Edmonton alone. Executive chefs do not create specialty dishes on location – line cooks make the same ribs and wings and fries in every single Montana’s. Montana’s market is about moms ‘n’ dads ‘n’ kids going out without dressing up, about ball caps and pick-up trucks and team gatherings after the game. Montana’s competition isn’t the fancy-schmancy downtown restaurants.  It&r ... 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 Joy of Music - Jersey Boys at the Edmonton Jubilee Auditorium - review by GRAHAM HICKS, hicksbiz.com

Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA Nov. 10 to 12, 2017 – matinees Saturday and Sunday Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Jersey Boys, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium for a far-too-short run of five shows between Friday November 10 and Sunday November 12, 2017, , is just as much the dazzling, interesting nostalgia trip today as it was in its Broadway debut 12 years ago. The nostalgia is the canon of songs from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons – Frankie holding some kind of record of 40 hit songs over a career that has spanned five decades. (Valli, at 83, continues to perform with his remarkable voice still intact.) In this show, the hits just keep coming: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk like a Man, December 1963, Dawn, Big Man In Town, Let’s Hang On, Bye Bye Baby, C'mon Marianne, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Do ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH: The Bedouins: A desert oasis on the northside BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017

The name is a draw unto itself.  “The Bedouins” – brilliant! It conjures up mythical images of Arabian desert nomads – Lawrence of Arabia, The English Patient, that kind of thing. Do Bedouin tribes have a distinct Middle Eastern cuisine? Not really. The two savvy partners in North Edmonton’s The Bedouins restaurant readily admit the name is more impressionistic, a brand rather than actual Bedouin dishes. While Bedouin tribes dot the desert landscape from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, maitre d’ Emad Elgaddafi and chef Ashruf Oun are offering North African cooking, the distinctive tajeens and beautiful lamb dishes of the Maghreb – the coastal regions of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. If there’s a regional bias, it’s Libyan. Pasta shows up more often than grains at The Bedouins, as Libya was once an Italian colony. Elgaddafi and Oun are of Libyan descent, Canada’s gain when civil war forced the two dynamic young men out of their ... 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 »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – To Be Moved – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – To Be Moved – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4.5 of 5 stars To Be Moved Blarney Productions Venue 28, the Playhouse, 10033 80 Avenue  Thurs. Aug. 17 – 9:15 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18 – 2 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 4:15 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – 7 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 4:15 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24 – 9:15 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 2 p.m. Sat. Aug. 26 – 9:15 p.m. 4.5 of 5 stars Duration 60 min. What a lovely, non-verbal, embracing-all-senses show To Be Moved is.  This is collaborative, accessible art at its finest – Meagan Koshka’s interwoven visual design, Matt Skopyk’s most appropriate electronic music … which actually carries a melody, thank you very much, the movements and emotions of actors Zoe Glassman and Kristian Stec, all bought together by artistic and conceptual director Braydon Dowler-Coltman.  It’s quite gorgeous.  A young sweet couple are  so much in love, tha ... Read the rest of entry »
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