HicksBiz Blog

Category: Performing Arts

Performing Arts

This Romeo and Juliet sets The Citadel ablaze - Review by Graham Hicks

This Romeo and Juliet sets The Citadel ablaze Graham Hicks review Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Citadel Theatre – Maclab Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada April 5 – 27, 2014 Ticket information The opening to the Tom Wood-directed Romeo and Juliet will stay emblazoned in my memory as long as there is memory upon which to be emblazoned. Eighteen cast members on the stage (plus nine teen apprentices) are fighting, some with sword-play in the initial Montague/Capulet brawl. It’s a swirling galaxy of choreography, initially in slow motion to pounding lights and music, then shifting gears to real life speed, finally, slowly, winding down as the elders of the two warring houses and the rulers show up to sort things out. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for big fight scenes, especially when the actors are in the prime of their athletic lives as these kids on either side of 30 are – rolling and flipping and dancing with those swords, up ‘n’ over ... Read the rest of entry »

How wondrous the Citadel Theatre's production of Mary Poppins - review by Graham Hicks

Mary Poppins A musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film Shoctor Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada through April 20, 2014 Ticket information. (Buy quickly. This show is going to sell out, especially at the low-end $35 rate) Review by GRAHAM HICKS Posted at www.hicksbiz.com March 21, 2014 780 707 6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix How wondrous the Citadel/Theatre Calgary stage production of Mary Poppins (The Broadway Musical)! How mysterious that Mary Poppins, despite the 1964 Walt Disney movie, the West End/Broadway production of 10 years ago, and at least five songs that have burned their way into the memories of most of the English-speaking world, remains a lesser figure in the pantheon of favourite children’s fictional characters. At least that’s the case in North America. The original book of Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, didn’t travel well across the Atlantic, and the entire Mary Poppins’ series (eight books) made ... Read the rest of entry »

Racism is just one of many themes in the Citadel's remarkable Clybourne Park production: Graham Hicks review

Review of Clybourne Park,  Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada  Jan. 25 to Feb. 16, 2014 By GRAHAM HICKS Much has been made of the racism aspect of Clybourne Park, the much awarded drama that has made its way to the Citadel's Shoctor Stage and plays through February 16, 2014. Almost too much ... Because for all the discussion around the play, basically concluding that not much has changed in the 50 years between acts, Clybourne Park actually suggests much has changed. In the first act, the neighbourhood association is all white fighting to keep black folks out of the Chicago neighbourhood. In act two, set 50 years later in the same house, the neighbourhood association is represented by two black activisits, fighting to keep incoming white neighbours from tearing down old houses and "gentifying' Clybourne Park. There's so much more to this show than an overly-trod-upon racism theme: There's the unusualness of the playwright placing the first act in 1959, the second act in the same h ... Read the rest of entry »

Graham Hicks review of two Citadel Theatre shows - The Daisy Theatre and Long Day's Journey Into Night

Graham Hicks review of two Citadel Theatre productions: Citadel Theatre, 9828 101A Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - 780 425 1820 Long Day's Journey Into Night in the Shoctor Theatre to Oct. 13, 2013 The Daisy Theatre with Ronnie Burkett in The Club (Rice Stage) to Nov. 17, 2013 Ticket information Can there be any more polar opposites in theatre than the two shows marking the start of the Citadel Theatre's 2013-14 season? And if any two shows could demonstrate why the Citadel Theatre continues to be a beacon of cultural hope in a vulgar, de-sensitized pop culture world (Miley Cyrus, Snooki, say no more) it would be Eugene O'Neill's sombre and sober (in tone at least) Long Day's Journey Into Night, on the Shoctor stage until Oct. 13, and Ronnie Burkett's cheeky, hilarious, poignant, satirical, spur-of-the-moment marionette (puppets on strings) Daisy Theatre, playing cabaret-style in The Club (Rice Theatre). Long Day's Journey is homage to what's very much now old-style, "classical ... Read the rest of entry »

The Soul Collector: Catalyst Theatre is back in all its beautiful, macabre glory. Review by Graham Hicks

The Soul Collector Directed, written and scored by Jonathan Christenson Design by Bretta Gerecke A Catalyst Theatre production, ATB Financial ArtsBarns, to May 12, 2013 matinees Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12. Tickets $17 to $42, online at Tix on the Square Review by Graham Hicks,  Hicksbiz.com blog For Jonathan Christenson fans, there’s an irresistible pull every time the brilliant writer, composer and director teams up with designer Bretta Gerecke for another Catalyst Theatre world premiere. The Soul Collector, at the ATB Financial Arts Barns through May 12, 2013, is truly a world premiere, as are all Christenson and Gerecke (CG for short) Catalyst productions. Catalyst has rock-band-like legions of international fans. Its shows tour for years, across North America, Europe and Australia. As far as made-in-Edmonton cultural exports go, Catalyst is up there with Tommy Banks, kd lang and Corb Lund. The pull, the must-attend factor, is the unique style of any C/G production. For wan ... Read the rest of entry »

Our very own Pythons: A review of the Citadel Theatre's production of Spamalot, April 20 to May 19, 2013

Review by Graham Hicks Monty Python’s Spamalot A Citadel Theatre Production, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta Canada – Shoctor stage Until May 19, 2013 www.citadeltheatre.com It’s as much fun as Grease, back in 2003. It’s as zany as Rocky Horror Show in 2011. And it’s as silly as The Drowsy Chaperone in 2009. In other words, The Citadel Theatre’s own production of Monty Python’s Spamalot is as funny a show as has ever graced the Citadel’s main stage. You do know what you’re getting – given Spamalot is a loose stage adaptation of Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail movie, and the show itself was one of Broadway’s biggest hits of the past decade. Who doesn’t know The French Taunter’s “I fart in your general direction” or the Black Knight’s “tis only a flesh wound“ as King Arthur hilariously lops off his arm? As was the case with the Citadel’s renditio ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel Theatre's Kite Runner an epic drama on all fronts: Review by Graham Hicks, March 15, 2013

Theatre review by Graham Hicks The Kite Runner, adapted by Matthew Spangler, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini At the Citadel Theatre (Shoctor Stage) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 9 to 31, 2013 Ensemble cast Tickets and information: Thank you Citadel Theatre, for once again presenting a theatrical masterpiece, a contemporary masterpiece in a least expected setting. The Kite Runner is epic, spanning an emotional/ethical arc of friendship, betrayal, weakness, saintliness, rigidity, hypocrisy, lost innocence,  twisted brutality. These qualities of the soul are fit within a panoramic psycho-geographic landscape that echoes the interior conflicts and passions - an idyllic Afghanistan, tumultuous Afghanistan, wretched Afghanistan and San Francisco, USA, through the eyes of a refugee Afghan community. There is the masterpiece of the writing, shared between the author of the original novel, Khaled Hosseini, and the craftsmanship of stage-adapter Matthew Spangler. That so ma ... Read the rest of entry »

Private Lives at the Citadel Theatre, love in the moment: Review by Graham Hicks Feb. 8, 2013

Theatre review by Graham Hicks Private Lives, by Noel Coward At the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Canada until Feb. 24, 2013 Directed by Bob Baker Starring John Ullyatt and Diana Donnelly There’s a reason Noel Coward’s Private Lives is alive and kicking and powerfully relevant, 82 years after the drama premiered with Coward in the lead role. It’s more than the marvelous English wit and command of the language, the dancing in the dragon’s jaws, the suspension of normalcy, the physical hilarity and the superb construction of the famous British socialite/playwright’s plays. It’s about his surgical dissection, in Private Lives, of the paradox of human love: Of societal norms suggesting a man and a woman (or combinations thereof) ought to meet, fall in love, marry, answer all of each other’s emotional, spiritual and physical needs, raise a family in harmony and wisdom, grow old together, and never fight. Nothing should ever go wrong. Neither husband nor wife will ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel's Christmas Carol as magical as ever: Graham Hicks' review, Dec. 10, 2012

A Christmas Carol - through Dec. 23, 2012 Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada As adapted by Tom Wood, Directed by Bob Baker and Geoffrey Brumuk Ticket information at Citadel Theatre Nothing is quite such a Christmas classic as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. And in Edmonton, nothing has become more of a Christmas classic than Tom Wood’s stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol for the Citadel Theatre. A Christmas Carol premiered 13 years ago. The initial year was an herculean effort that darned near killed everybody. the huge production was mounted in six short weeks, as technically complicated and as artistically vast as theatre can get and all done for the first time. No matter. A Christmas Carol was an artistic and box-office triumph from opening night on. A Christmas Carol was designed to be an annual event – it had to run for a few years if only to recover its production costs – but nobody expected it’d be so popular as to continue, non-stop, for 13 Christmas ... Read the rest of entry »

Sondheim on steroids: A review of the musical Next To Normal, at the Citadel Theatre through Nov. 11, 2012

Review of Next to Normal, at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Canada, through November 11, 2013 By Graham Hicks A successful twisting of the dramatic dial always arouses great interest, and, given the intelligence level of the audience it attracts, great expectations. Thematically, the musical Next to Normal, that opened on the Citadel Theatre's Shoctor Stage last Thursday (Oct. 25, 2012) for an 18 day run, is not all that unusual.  The pathos and humour within dysfunctional  contemporary North American families has been a familiar backyard for American playwrights since Tennessee Williams and  Arthur Miller. This time around, the emotional rawness is given believable depth by genuine mental illness on momma’s part. Technically, Next to Normal is darn fascinating – leaving the safety of conventional musical theatre to edge much closer to opera, pushing much closer to Stephen Sondheim than to Rodgers and Hammerstein but delivering the whole show in an over-drive tempo that ... Read the rest of entry »