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Category: arts reviews

arts reviews

Hadestown at the Citadel Theatre: All that is good and right ... with a few problems: Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

Hadestown Citadel Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Nov. 11 to Dec. 3, 2017 Tickets start at $30. Review by Graham Hicks, Hicksbiz.com Hadestown is a beautiful, rich mix of all that is good and right in American performance art. That said, it has its problems. No report on Hadestown can take place without considering the current context.  The acclaimed musical,  close to a modern-day opera, is getting its final polish here at the Citadel Theatre before its producers and financial backers move the show to Broadway. The production,  based on a concept album by the talented and distinctive American songwriter/singer Anais Mitchell, contemporizes and universalizes the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.   Hadestown was a major off-Broadway hit in New York City. But it had to be adapted from an intimate theatre space to the big spaces of Broadway theatres.  Enter the Citadel’s 681-seat Shoctor Stage. So The Hadestown we are watching in Edmonton is not yet a final product. ... 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 »

Soul Sistas an explosion of talent and energy: Mayfield Dinner Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Soul Sistas Mayfield Dinner Theatre (DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton) Sept. 5 to Oct. 29, 2017 Hicksbiz.com review by GRAHAM HICKS Hang on! Taking in Soul Sistas at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre is like hopping into a musical Lamborghini on a race track with no speed limit. Breathless!  Exhilarating!  Exciting, and, dare one say it, probably as close to the originals (Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin) as is humanly possible. Tiffany Deriveau as Tina Turner and Tara Jackson as Aretha Franklin are far more than impersonators – they get inside their characters. In song, dance and spirit they channel these two super-stars of American soul, rhythm & blues, and, in Tina’s case, rock ‘n’ roll. Older patrons of the Mayfield Dinner Theatre, be not afraid. While the show is full of energy and enthusiasm and celebrates familiar music from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, it is presented within reasonable decibel levels. Soul Sistas is not so much a musical as two separ ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – A Quiet Place - Review by GRAHAM HICKS ??? of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – A Quiet Place - Review by GRAHAM HICKS A Quiet Place  Blarney Productions Venue 8, Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre 8426 Gateway Blvd.  Thurs. Aug. 17 – 9:45 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18 – 11 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – 4.45 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 12:15 noon Wed. Aug. 23 – 9:30 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 8 p.m. How many stars out of a possible five? I have no idea Blarney Productions Duration 60 min. I’m not saying A Quiet Place is bad theatre. Not in the least.  It’s probably very, very good theatre. But I’m part of that Fringe audience that just doesn’t understand/comprehend/grok that style of abstract theatre known as  “Theatre of the Absurd”. A Quiet Place is meant not to make contextual sense … I think. The show makes no attempt to explain why two men are in an inescapable room, why one starts being bound in a chair and being beat up by the other, why the r ... 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 »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The CANADA SHOW: The Complete History of Canada in One Hour– Review by GRAHAM HICKS 2.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The CANADA SHOW: The Complete History of Canada in One Hour– Review by GRAHAM HICKS 2.5 of 5 stars Monster Theatre Venue 2, Backstage Theatre, 10330 84 Avenue  Fri. Aug. 18 – 7:45 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – noon Mon. Aug. 21 – 3:30 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 – 5:45 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 2 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 5:15 p.m. 2.5 of 5 stars Several Fringe years ago, I saw a really good show that had much the same title and theme – i.e. the history of Canada told in one hour. It was terrific.  This one pales in comparison.  Lots of enthusiasm, not much meat. And no deep understanding of Canadian history from which to draw genuine satire and comedy. In fact this one is quite trite and shallow. Making fun of the War Measures Act?  I didn’t laugh at any of the jokes. But the Backstage Theatre was filled – and about half the audience seemed to greatly enjoy the show, while the other h ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds  – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds  Plain JaneTheatre Venue 3, Walterdale Theatre, 10322 83 Ave.  Fri. Aug. 18 – 8:45 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 2:30 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 7:15 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 12 noon Sat. Aug. 26 – 4:30 p.m. Duration: 90 minutes 4 of 5 stars Every Fringe needs its classic American dysfunctional family psycho-drama play – of which there are many.  Because the roles are wonderfully meaty for the actors and the plays have stood up for decade upon decade.  Plus there’s a need on the audience’s part to balance out the silliness and zaniness of most Fringe Festival shows with some sobriety, serious acting and serious reflection. The Effect of Gamma Rays  on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds is a classic, detailing the breakdown of an American family throug ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The 11 O’Clock Number! The Improvised Musical – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The 11 O’Clock Number! The Improvised Musical  – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4.5 of 5 stars The 11 O'Clock Number! The Improvised Musical Grindstone Theatre Venue 16, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Sanctuary Stage 10037 84 Ave. Thurs. Aug. 17 – 10:15 p.m Fri. Aug. 18 – 6:30 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 9:45 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 5:15 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 – 9:45 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 5 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24 – 6 p.m. Sat. Aug. 26 – 9:45 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 3:30 p.m. Duration: 60 minutes 4.5 of 5 stars Move over, Rapid Fire, Die-Nasty, Gordon’s Big Bald Head, Atomic Improv ….  There’s a new kid in town! Actually not so new:  Grindstone Theatre has been around for some five years, but with this Fringe is emerging from the underground into much wider recognition. Here’s the rub. Not only is this Edmonton ensemble really good at stage improvisation &hel ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The Apple Tree – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 3 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The Apple Tree  – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 3 of 5 stars The Apple Tree Plain Jane Theatre Venue 12, Varscona Theatre 10329 83 Ave. Thurs. Aug. 17 – 9 p.m Fri. Aug. 18 – 5 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 7 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 3 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 – 1 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 5 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24 – 1 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 9 p.m. Sat. Aug. 26 – 9 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 3:30 p.m. Duration: 65 minutes 3 of 5 stars The Apple Tree is a light, sweet two-hander, a not-so-well-known musical from the same team that wrote Fiddler on the Roof.  It’s a gentle, humourous, show, using Adam and Eve to illustrate the vicissitudes, contradictions and need for life-long male-female partnerships, going back to the original couple on Earth. Most pleasing is the polished singing of Madelaine Knight (Eve) and Graham Mothersill (Adam), both of whom have played leading roles in multiple musical pro ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The Inventor of All Things – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – The Inventor of All Things – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars The Inventor of All Things Big Word Performance Venue 13, Old Strathcona Public Library 8331 104 St. Fri. Aug. 18 – 2 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 6 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – 7 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 3 p.m. Tues. Aug. 22 – 8 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 7:45 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 10:15 p.m. Sat. Aug. 26 – 5 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 3:30 p.m. Duration: 75 minutes 4 of 5 stars English performance poet/storyteller extraordinaire/standup comedian Jem Rolls is a Fringe institution, and, having become an acquired taste, is a performer that his legions of fans would never think of missing.    At this year’s Fringe, Rolls is reprising his show from 2015, The Inventor of All Things.  It’s a little disappointing to see a show Rolls has already performed, but his mad-cap meditation on the invention of the atomic bomb by brilliant peace-lovin ... Read the rest of entry »
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