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Category: arts reviews

arts reviews

Peter and The Starcatcher at the Citadel Theatre: Give me time to laugh! Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Peter and the Starcatcher Citadel Theatre, Maclab Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA April 1 – 23, 2017 Tickets - $30 and up Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com Call it a qualified success. The Citadel Theatre’s version of the 2012 Broadway hit Peter and the Starcatcher is full of fun, friendliness, theatrical invention, imagination, silly puns, song, dance, vaudeville, panto, slapstick and so on. But the show – based on a book that is another author’s prequel to the classic Peter Pan – is just too frantic, trying just too darned hard to squeeze a monster into a mere two hours. The 14 actors each have a main character, and they all perform multiple other characters. The show dashes from scene to scene – in the first half, on board the two sailing ships the H.M.S. Neverland and H.M.S. Wasp somewhere in the late 19th Century when Britannia ruled the waves, in the second half on the mythical island that will become Neverland. The theatrical challenge is a ... Read the rest of entry »

Crazy For You at the Citadel Theatre: Way Too Much Fun!!! theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Crazy For You Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 4-26, 2017 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com It was an audacious daring experiment, even as Momma Mia was being awkwardly built around a framework of  ABBA songs. In 1992, playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me A Tenor) took the classic hits of George and Ira Gershwin from the 1920s and 1930s, stitching them into a successful new Broadway “jukebox” comedy musical that utterly captured the spirit and humour of the songs and their era, and, at the same time, had a strong story line – not just a series of sketches hung between songs. The Citadel’s version of Crazy For You, in partnership with Theatre Calgary, works like a damn. It’s big, boisterous, full of fun, silliness, and word-play groaners. The plot is pure fluff, but it’s fun fluff – show girls, dreams, cow pokes, crazy impresarios, veering in locale from New York City to Deadrock, Nevada.  The dancing is vaudeville tap-dancing ... Read the rest of entry »

Kinky Boots at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium: Bodacious, sassy and fun! Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Kinky Boots  Broadway Across Canada touring show Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, February 14 to 19, 2017 Tickets $30 to $180 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Watch out Edmonton! If the whole city starts rockin’ and rollin’, dancin’ down the streets and prancing about in outrageous  sequinned boots, it’s because the energy and spirit of Kinky Boots exploded out of the Jubilee Auditorium and is cascading across Edmonton.  Not since Hairspray has a touring Broadway show been this much fun, so high calibre and so socially relevant.  Kinky Boots is a bodacious blend of sassiness, social message, social relevance, an intriguing story-line, great songs (thank you Cindy Lauper), astounding choreography and bigger-than-life talent. How did this plot get dreamed up? Its bones are about a reluctant heir of a dying English shoe-making factory, who accidently discovers a niche market for drag-queen boots. But for the business to surviv ... Read the rest of entry »

Disgraced at the Citadel Theatre: Excellent script, good-but-not-great production - theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Disgraced Hope & Hell Theatre Company Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jan. 21, 2017 to Feb. 5, 201 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com Tickets  Disgraced is a damned fine play, with its current production at the Citadel Theatre being good, but not great.  It is part of the Citadel’s season, but is produced by the Toronto-based Hope and Hell Theatre Company. In other words, nobody from the Citadel Theatre had any input into what’s on stage. If one of the Citadel’s past cadre of directors – artistic director emeritus Bob Baker, former associate directors James MacDonald and Tom Wood – had been at the artistic reins, this would likely have been a great show. All three directors are masters of this particular style of play. (I can’t yet include new Citadel artistic director Daryl Cloran. His directorial debut won’t come until the 2017/18 season.) Disgraced is one of those relentlessly contemporary dramas that ticks off all ... Read the rest of entry »

Discovering fine new theatre - Peter Fechter: 59 minutes - retrospective by GRAHAM HICKS

Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes Cardiac Theatre at the ATB Arts Barns Edmonton, Alberta, Canada A retrospective by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com If you missed Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes, performed at the ATB Arts Barns by the Cardiac Theatre company from Jan. 10 to 22, 2017, I’m sorry for you. It was an intriguing one-man show. One live actor, Bradley Dore playing Peter Fechter, with three pre-recorded voices coming from strategically located loudspeakers in the PCL Studio Theatre. The voices were those of Peter’s mother, father and best friend, and almost as important to the show as Peter Fechter himself. This intriguing theatrical experience was conjured up by leading young Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill.  Fechter is a true historical figure, who at 18 was one of the first East Germans attempting to flee from East Berlin to West Berlin across the recently constructed Berlin Wall in 1945. Fatally wounded by East German guards in the no-man's land along the wall, he bled to death ... Read the rest of entry »

One fine night of theatre - Coralie Cairns and Shaun Johnston in Annapurna - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Annapurna Shadow Theatre production, playing at the Varscona Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada January 18 to February 5, 2017 www.shadowtheatre.org Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.ca This production of Annapurna, at the Varscona Theatre through Sunday February 5, is as satisfying an evening of theatre as is possible in Edmonton, or anywhere for that matter. The script, beautifully written by American Sharr White in the Sam Shepard tradition, is deeply cynical as it explores loss and loneliness, self-destruction, terrible life choices and emotional pain. And it has the most beautiful rays of redemptive sunshine, moments so tender as to make one weep in some strange mixture of joy and sadness.  And, in marvellous synchronicity with its many other themes, in a very intelligent way, Annapurna is extremely humourous. The title, by the way, refers to one of the highest and most difficult-to-climb mountains in the world. P.S. it’s a metaphor. So veteran Shadow Theat ... Read the rest of entry »

In search of plot: Fortune Falls Flat - Review of Catalyst Theatre's Fortune Falls by GRAHAM HICKS

Fortune Falls Book by Jonathan Christenson and Beth Graham Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Christenson A Catalyst Theatre Production, presented in association with the Citadel Theatre At the Citadel Theatre’s  Maclab Stage (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)  Ticket information January 17, 2017 to February 5, 2017 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com What, I wondered as the house lights came back up, was that all about? How could the taut, focused scripts of the Jonathan Christenson we know and love have dissolved into the muddle that had unfolded before our eyes? Christenson is an extraordinary story teller. In his best work, style, music, movement, sets, costumes and attitude relentlessly focus on telling that story.   Christenson’s best shows start with alienation, usually taking famous outliers of literature - Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe, the hunchback of Notre Dame, Vigilante’s Donnelly family - re-telling their stories through his creative process, turb ... Read the rest of entry »

Tom Wood returns as Scrooge, better than ever: The Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol, review by GRAHAM HICKS

A Christmas Carol Adapted for the stage by Tom Wood Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Nov. 26, 2016 to Dec. 23, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Tickets at www.citadeltheatre.com,  $25 to $110 Parking:  Downtown Library Parkade, $10 evening    Nobody does old/miserable/crotchety/irritated in Canadian theatre better than Tom Wood. So what a treat to have Wood back, after a seven-year absence, to play Scrooge in the 17th annual production of A Christmas Carol at the Citadel Theatre. No slight on the other Scrooges in the intervening years, they’ve all brought much to the role. But Wood is a living, breathing, real Scrooge.  He is Scrooge incarnate, and his transformation through miserable, to regret, to despair and finally redemptive joy is an intense, rich, emotional experience. It helps that Wood has a certain intimacy with the role. He wrote it! Wood created the Citadel’s stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol, originally w ... Read the rest of entry »

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 »
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