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Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Mad Fantastic Maid of God: Joan of Arc: Review by GRAHAM HICKS 3.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Mad Fantastic Maid of God: Joan of Arc: Review by GRAHAM HICKS  3.5 of 5 stars Mad Fantastic Maid of God: Joan of Arc Venue 36, “L’unitheatre at La Cite Francophone, 8627 91 St. (Rue Marie Anne Gaboury) Thurs. Aug. 17 – 8 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18 – 5 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 7 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 7:15 p.m. Tues. Aug 22 – 6:15 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 3:45 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 2 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 4.45 p.m. 3.5 of 5 stars THEATrePUBLIC/Polema Productions Duration 55 minutes Not a bad show from prolific Edmonton playwright/director Ken Brown, who often writes new plays premiered at the Fringe and had consequently developed a strong and loyal following.  But Mad Fantastic is not a Ken Brown classic, not like Life After Hockey or the Spiral Dive Trilogy, not by any means. The idea is a strong one – a narrative/meditation of the life of historical/Christian legend Joan of Arc, who as a teena ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com –The Charm Offensive: Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com –The Charm Offensive: Review by GRAHAM HICKS  4 of 5 stars The Charm Offensive  Novus Actors Venue 12, Varscona Theatre 10329 83 Avenue Fri. Aug. 18 – 1 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – 1 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 7 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 – 9 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 1 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24 – 3 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 1 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 7 p.m. Duration: 60 minutes 4 of 5 stars Beneath their legal armour, it's been said that many lawyers secretly yearn to be poets and actors and writers.  But as practical under-graduate arts students in university, they opted for law school rather than the uncertainties of a bohemian life.  Which is partially why the Stewart Lemoine-penned Charm Offensive is so much fun. By day, the cast are all engaged in the legal profession, but weeknights, weekends and during the Fringe, they are actors. And by George, they are very good actors, certainly a much better ensemble of hob ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com - 6 Quick Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation: Review by GRAHAM HICKS 3.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com - 6 Quick Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation Review by GRAHAM HICKS Venue 5, King Edward Elementary School, 8530 101 St. Fri. Aug. 18 – 2:15 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 9 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 – 4 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 12:15 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24 – 7:15 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 11:15 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 4 p.m. Duration: 60 minutes 3.5 of 5 stars A pleasant hour is to be spent at the Fringe, enjoying Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer – or at least Mike’s private-eye cousin Dirk Darrow – do conjuring tricks. Dirk Darrow is actually Tim Motley – an Australia-based American actor who has found an enduring character in Dirk Darrow, a classic cigarette-smoking, trench-coat and fedora, ‘30s or ‘40s private investigator with a plethora of one-liners. Dirk’s shtick is the fact that he’s just as much a card-trick magician as he is a comedic private eye. Motley stays st ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Die-Nasty in A Midsummer Night's Fringe – review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hickbiz.com – Die-Nasty in A Midsummer Night's Fringe – review by GRAHAM HICKS

Venue #12, Varscona Theatre
10329 83 Ave.
August 18 to 26, 10:30 p.m.

80 minutes with no intermission. 

4 of 5 stars

They are so funny.

They have been doing this for soooo long, yet the show just keeps getting better and better and better, and now it's in a beautiful new (renovated) theatre, and for the A Midsummer Night's Fringe the Die Nasty collective has decided to offer a week-long running improv riffing off of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

If you are still able to grab tix for any of the remaining 10:30 p.m. shows, do so at once! 

The guarantee is you will laugh harder and louder at Die Nasty than at just about any other Fringe comedy. 

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Cut!– review by GRAHAM HICKS 2.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hickbiz.com – Cut! – review by GRAHAM HICKS Venue 4, Academy at King Edward 8525 101 St. (east side of school) Thurs. Aug. 17,  9:45 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21, 12 noon Tues. Aug. 22, 5:30p.m. Sat. Aug. 26, 11:15 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27, 1:45 p.m. Duration 60 minutes 2.5  of 5 stars Not worth your time. Cut! Is an amusing script, written many years ago by Alberta playwright Lyle Victor Albert and originally produced at the fourth Fringe festival in 1985. The plot is truly original. The setting is some kind of purgatory where characters that have been deleted/cut/left out of the final version of famous plays are sent to commensurate and lament with one another on how they should have been stars. The script is fun, and as the plot progresses there’s some playfulness around the theme of if-I-am-thought-of, do-I-exist? But this version – at least at the second show – just didn’t gell. There w ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Romeo & Juliet – review by GRAHAM HICKS 3.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hickbiz.com – Romeo & Juliet – review by GRAHAM HICKS Edmonton Dance Theatre (AKA Toy Guns Dance Theatre) Stage 1, Westbury Theatre Arts Barns building, 10330 84 Ave. Performances:  Fri. Aug. 18, 12:15 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19, 4:30 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20, 11:15 p.m.| Wed. Aug. 23, 2:45 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24, 9:15 p.m. Sat. Aug. 26, 11:59 p.m. 75 minutes 3.5 of 5 stars Whimsy, fantasy and old-fashioned fun slathered on top of ballet dance technique has always been the Toy Guns Dance Theatre’s stock in trade.  It was what made Toy Guns’ first major Fringe appearance - where a dozen dancer/actors shared the spotlight with a stage full of pillows - such a hit in 2014, and made successive Jake Hastey and former partner Richelle Thoreson’s Fringe shows must-see productions. Life changes. Thoreson is no longer associated with Toy Guns. The name of the dance company itself has mysteriously changed to Edmonton Dance Theatre, at least for the purpose ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks weekly dish: Chowin’ down at the Taste of Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, JULY 25, 2017

For once, the Weekly Dish has quasi-scientifically reviewed the food offerings at Taste of Edmonton, the city’s premier food festival in Churchill Square running this year to July 29. The challenge is to be dispassionate in choice – NOT to automatically return to favourite booths with favourite mini-dishes, not to be swayed by popularity or reputation. There are 47 food booths, plus 14 food trucks rotating in and out, plus special events, plus, plus, plus. Every time you turn around, a friend or a vendor urges you to try this, try that. So here’s the newly developed Weekly Dish Fool-Proof Taste of Edmonton review system: Every booth is numbered, one to 47. Pick a number at random from one to five. From that number, visit every fifth booth – no matter the food or the vendor. Our random starting point was booth #3 – the Afghan Chopan Kebab. Then it was every fifth booth after that. Over all – GOOD FOOD!!!! Very little was overly greasy. Much was imaginati ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Putting the AI (artificial intelligence) in Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017

An equipment dealer friend was invited to tour a top-secret R&D (research and development) division of a major supplier and manufacturer. He was shown prototypes of models being planned for 10, 20 years out. He was blown away by the money and effort being expended on the company’s long game. At the University of Alberta, three brilliant AI (artificial intelligence) computer minds — professors Rich Sutton, Michael Bowling and Patrick Pilarski — have, in fact, authored much of the fundamental global research on what’s called reinforcement learning within the AI sphere. So much so that the University of Alberta is considered the second or third centre of excellence in the world for “machine learning” or self-learning computer/robots. Hometown and local economy boosters are famous for flights of fantasy accompanying every new technology-based development in town. But this one is likely for real. DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence research comp ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Spend your marketing money on made-in-Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2017

We get it – sort of. The City of Edmonton/Edmonton Economic Development/Edmonton Tourism/Alberta Tourism spend millions of dollars on “marketing” our fair city – striving to create an impression out in the world that Edmonton is a most enjoyable place to visit and live. Those very-well-done, fast-paced, colourful, Edmonton-is-fun TV ads that ran during Oiler telecasts during the 2016/17 season represent “brand” marketing for Edmonton. The ads reached a big, targeted audience outside Edmonton and presented a pleasing impression of the city. We didn’t mind watching them over and over again. They were quite justifiable in terms of a return on the dollars spent. Our tourism/marketing folks are big on “brand awareness.” Millions of dollars are being spent to attract and subsidize targeted extreme sporting events to the city — the Red Bull Crashed Ice event, the Extreme World Series, the Tour of Alberta bike race. These events, our tourism expe ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly dish: Comfort food is in - Woodwork Restaurant - review BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2017

Almost four years old, Woodwork was a leader of Edmonton’s downtown bistro restaurant resurrection, a phenomenon that has truly been the talk of Canada’s culinary community. Woodwork – with its high ceilings, skinny layout, fancy cocktail bar in the front and open kitchen at the back - morphs into a cocktail bar with food late at night. It has become a design prototype for many new downtown restaurants. A return visit to review Woodwork – the first in three years - was prompted by well-known executive chef Lindsay Porter taking over the kitchen a few months ago. Lindsay has not so much revolutionized Woodwork’s offerings as evolved them. The menu has surprisingly become much more meaty – a most satisfying push against the trendy holier-than-thou, meat-is-bad, plants-are-good attitude. “Larger plates” are making a come-back, at least on the Woodwork menu. Woodwork currently offers eight mains – all meat but one – four “smaller pla ... Read the rest of entry »
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