Confederation Part I: Confederation and Riel (part of The History of the Village of Small Huts) Live at Soulpepper Tuesday July 11, 2017

Categories: 2017 and Theatre.

This is the second staging of a 1988 set of two 1-act plays which are part of the 21 1-act play cycle, The History of the Village of Small Huts, performed by Video Cabaret, a troupe that uses tableau and total darkness to give essentially soundbite snippets of Canadian history. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. Read More

Billy Budd (2010, Francois Rousillon)

Categories: 1951, 2010, Music, and TV.

To some, Billy Budd was the greatest English-language opera ever written when it premiered, to a few its even the greatest English-language opera ever. (To those people I say, have you ever heard of John Adams? But anyway…) I did not love it when I first heard it, for any number of reasons, the biggest being that Britten’s music is entirely too conservative for me. I do like a few of his pieces but, for the most part, I prefer my 20th century music a little more interesting than Britten. But I will say this live production from 2010 (filmed Read More

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder live at the Princess of Wales Theatre June 15, 2016

Categories: 1907, 2012, and 2016.

Unbeknownst to me, this is based on the same novel as one of my favourite comedies of all time, Kind Hearts and Coronets. I have not seen that movie in sometime, though the plot (and the gimmick) was still quite familiar. This is a funny show. But it’s a safe show, especially for a show about a man who murders multiple relatives. I haven’t seen the film in a long, long time, but one of the things I loved about it at the time was its black comedy, utterly shocking for 1949. Though my memory of the film is hardly Read More

Julie by Philippe Boesmans and Luc Bondy, Live at the St. Lawrence Centre, November 19, 2015

Categories: 1888, 2005, 2015, and Theatre.

This is a 2005 chamber opera based on the 1888 play Miss Julie by August Strindberg. I have never read Strindberg, and I don’t know if I’ve read much naturalist literature or drama, so this was a new experience for me. The staging and direction are fantastic – they’ve decided to stage the pay in some weird alternate reality where the time isn’t entirely clear (are they in 1888 Sweden or are they somewhere else entirely?) and there are odd things in the kitchen, such as a tire and a giant pipe. The storm in the middle of the opera Read More

The Physicists (1961) by Friedrich Durrenmatt, adapted by Michael Healy, live at the Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford, July 25, 2015

Categories: 1961, 2015, and Theatre.

This is a play about the social responsibility of scientists posing as a murder mystery-cum comedy, set in an insane asylum. The play uses comedy and the teensiest bit of mystery to dilute it’s overwise very heavy-handed message. The play itself is so prescient (and so relevant to our time) that I am shocked I had never heard of it or its author and I’ve had to add him to my list as I suspect that he’s written more interesting stuff, even if this is his most famous work. The cast was excellent and the staging was particularly clever, using Read More

Cannibal the Musical at the Panasonic Theatre, February 21, 2015

Categories: 2015 and Music.

For anyone who has seen The Book of Mormon, the musical comedy has kind of been killed. Everything pales in comparison. I loved Evil Dead the Musical when I first saw it. Then, when I listened to the soundtrack later, I was disappointed. This is cowritten by at least one of the people responsible for Evil Dead but I think it might be stronger. It’s clearly a post-Book of Mormon musical, as there the choreography is quite strong and the songs are strong even when they aren’t funny. (And they start off being not that funny – the show saves Read More

The Kids in the Hall Live at Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto, December 6, 2013

Categories: Theatre and TV.

I approached last night with a mixture of over-excitement and trepidation. The Kids in the Hall was the first thing I ever saw that said to me “it’s okay to be weird, in fact you can wear that as a badge.” I was a little young when I first caught glimpses of the show on CBC. I’m not sure whether I was 11 or 12 or even 13, but I do know that there name was innocuous enough that when I told my mom what I was watching, she wouldn’t think twice about it. So I stole the odd episode Read More