Hey everyone!!! After a nice winter break, it was great to get back into attending theatrical and musical performances, with a fresh mind, new ideas and willingness to explore unfamiliar avenues.
The first show back on my 2017 run was CARRIE: THE MUSICAL at the Hart House Theatre, Toronto, which is currently running from January 20th until February 4th 2017. I attended opening weekend on Saturday, with excitement and high expectations, as this is both one of my favorite all-time horror movies and book adaptions.
Whether you are a horror fan or not, one cannot deny that it is an incredible concept to come up with…a young bullied girl, an outcast at school…rejected by her classmates, persecuted by her peers and controlled by her over-bearing mother, finally discovers she has telekinetic abilities that are controlled by her emotions and rage.
It is a story of how victims of bullying can only be pushed so far, and when Carrie’s fellow peers take further steps to ruin her life, it results in dire consequences for everyone around, as her pent-up rage is released to wreak vengeance.
So how did the cast, crew and theatre company of Carrie: The Musical perform on the night? First of all, I must give credit to the theatre itself. If no-one has ever attended a show here, you have to; if only to appreciate the decadence of the decor. As we are escorted to the lavish, underground performance area, I felt I was being given the opportunity of seeing something that many do not…a somewhat hidden secret.
But less of that and more of the show! From curtain up to close, I enjoyed the show and appreciated how well the musical numbers were intertwined with the story we know so well.
Tiyana Scott who played our female lead Carrie White, was a delight to watch on stage, as her acting and musical performance was raw, fresh and believable.
Alyssa Minichillo played the role of one of Carrie’s tormentors, Frieda, with humor and fun, and had the audience laughing at several points throughout. Madison Sekulin embraced the role of the bully leader, Chris Hargenson, and did not disappoint, as she portrayed her devious and unapologetic nature perfectly on stage; remaining true to the original.
But the 2 performers that were the stars of the show, apart from the wonderful leading lady Tiyana Scott, were Brittany Miranda who played Carrie’s mother Margaret, and Paige Foskett, who took on the role of Norma Watson, the second-in-command bully.
Brittany’s voice soared above the crowds and just showed us how much range and power she has a vocal artist. As well as staying true to Margaret’s over-bearing nature, she was able to transfer those feelings directly to the lyrics of each number, making them extra effective.
Paige Foskett, however, had the theatre-goers in fits of laughter, as she was a breath of fresh air and a comedic delight to the dark storyline. Despite being a supporting actor, I wished she had more dialogue throughout, as her sassy attitude made us want to see more of this great actress.
Saturday night’s show was a SELL OUT performance, which proved Carrie: The Musical’s rightful position on the Toronto stage. The songs were catchy and memorable, and the acting was terrific.
Nevertheless, if I was to express my professional reviewing experience in an unbiased fashion, I would have to give my constructive opinion on a few elements of the show. Firstly, the stage could have been much more eye-catching than what it was. It is important in live theatre to provide both audible and visual stimulation. I personally wished the set designers and stage production had created a set that allowed each scene to open and transform before our eyes. For such a marvelous stage that the Hart House Theatre provides, more artistic creativity could have been splashed across it.
For example, the introduction of props and set design is simple and effective. In scenes like Carrie’s home, it would have been visually stimulating to add a bed or sofa in the background, or maybe a table with religious statues upon it to enhance the scene. Also, scenes such as the school should have had school emblems or posters, even study desks and chairs to depict student life.
Also, the lighting effects during Carrie’s telekinetic experiences could have been a bit more dramatic and vivid; with more added sound effects to make the crowd jump.
But all in all, I found the show to be a success, which gave a new take on the classic 1970’s storyline. I would urge theatre fans to get down and see this show, and if you are a fan of the movie, then it will be a double delight. The musical numbers such as The World According to Chris and A Night We’ll Never Forget had me singing into the week to follow, and the cast made me want to see more of their faces in the future. Despite the underwhelming set design, the actors and actresses raised the show to new heights with their stellar performances and ultimately give us… A Night We’ll Never Forget…as the song suggests.
Tickets can be purchased prior to the show at the Hart House Theatre Box Office, but to avoid disappointment, tickets can be purchased in advance online, by clicking HERE.
For more information on the Hart House Theatre and future shows scheduled, please click HERE.
Until next time my fairy followers. xxx