strauss2

The best way to describe choreographer Heidi Strauss’ latest work, what it’s like, is a stream of consciousness about brotherhood. The totality of the piece is brotherhood looked at from very personal relationships to the larger metaphor of a world in chaos. Three charismatic male dancers – Michael Caldwell, Luke Garwood and Naishi Wang (who are listed as co-creators) – move on a random journey with the audience literally following them through their travels. They laugh, challenge, one-up, pretend –Read More

Recent Blog Posts

TIFF Movies 2016 – Best and Worst

Saw 21 films, almost all of them enjoyable. Due to a broken neck, (I kid you not), caused by a very bad fall in early August, I had to construct a list of films where I didn’t have to switch theatres during the day. I also needed decent access because of my walker, so there are more big-budget English language movies than I would usually choose. My directors were largely women, although that was happenstance and not design. By coincidence, –Read More

Regarding Rob Ford

First let me point out that the death of a relatively young man with a young family is a very sad story indeed. Rob Ford was only 46, after all. Nonetheless, within the adage of you don’t say anything bad about dead people, i’ve been very amused how Canada’s politicians have struggled to find the positives to say about the late Mr. Ford. My favourite is, “He was very dedicated to the city”. I wonder who thought up that bit –Read More

Fall for Dance North Festival – Opening Night

Fall for Dance North is a triumph. The packed house was really stoked and you could feel the buzz in the Sony Centre. It was palpable excitement and each performing group was cheered wildly. Artistic director Ilter Ibrahmof mounted a dream program. What a boon for the city. Program two is tonight and tomorrow and I am in breathless anticipation.

No one will ever again say Fall for Dance what? The tickets for next year’s festival will go like wildfire.

Game of Thrones Rant

This is a stern message for George R.R. Martin.

I love the Game of Thrones series because I fell in love with the books long before they ended up on HBO. However, the TV shows have now moved beyond where Book 5 ended. We’ve been waiting for Book 6 for ages. Meanwhile the TV series leaps ever onward. Come on George, give the GOT fanatics Book 6. You’ve kept up waiting long enough. I am very aggravated.

Recent Reviews

Opera Review – Canadian Opera Company/Rossini’s Maometto II

For bel canto fanatics, (among which number I count myself), the COC production of Rossini’s Maometto II (1820) will be nirvana. For others, the composer’s florid musical style, expressed through non-stop ornamentation, will seem like coloratura torture, and, not surprisingly, there were a significant number of early departures who did not come back after the intermission. Tant pis to them.

Rossini wrote far more opera seria than he did opera buffa, although it is the latter for which he is –Read More

Opera Review – Canadian Opera Company/Bizet’s Carmen

Brilliant conducting by Italian maestro Paolo Carignani, coupled with the sensational singing of French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine as Carmen, and the passionate delivery of Canadian tenor David Pomeroy as Don José, make the COC’s production of Bizet’s warhorse worth the price of admission.

All, however, is not perfect.

Bizet’s Carmen can be a two-edged sword. Yes, the richly expressive music certainly tells you all you have to know about the story and the characters, but on the other hand, weak staging –Read More

Dance Review – DanceWorks/Jackie Burroughs is Dead & what are you going to do about it?, choreographed by DA Hoskins

DA Hoskins usually creates busy pieces inspired by sophisticated intellectual inquiry. Elaborate is a good word to describe his epics that employ text, sets, and visual media, all rooted in a deep emotional base that pervades his choreography.  Jackie Burroughs is Dead & what are you going to do about it? has Hoskins going back to the basics. Three dancers, an empty stage, and a live musicmaker are the sum total of the forces employed to express this work.

The –Read More

Theatre Review – Modern Times/Theatre Centre – Bahram Beyzaie’s The Death of the King

Since 1989, Modern Times Stage Company has come to stand for elegance of expression. Its productions are spare and passionate, whether the plays are original, classical or international. Co-artistic directors Soheil Parsa and Peter Farbridge believe in content that says something about and to humanity at large. As a result, there is a timeless quality to a Modern Times production. If I had to sum up the company in one word, it would be universality.

The Death of the King –Read More