Deathtrap: A tale of genius, distrust and envy.

imageOn Thursday evening I set off once again in pursuit of 2017’s summer theatre lineup. After being wowed during my last visit to Scarborough Village Theatre, at their previous comedy “Tons of Money,” how could I turn away the opportunity to see this fabulous theatre group bring another classic to life?

This time around it was none other than the classic, dark comedy DEATHTRAP by Ira Levin. For those unfamiliar with this theatrical addition, you may be familiar with Ira’s other famous offspring, such as The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby. Simply by looking at his previous works, I was already excited as a lover of all things dark, with a touch of comedy.

As soon as the eager audience were introduced to the theatre by the delightful producer Katherine Turner, the lights dimmed and the show began.

The best way to describe this show to prospective attendees is that it is a “play within a play.” The story begins with our lead character Sidney Bruhl; a once “in-demand” playwright, now swimming in a mixture of writer’s block and discontentment; played by the talented Clive Lacey.

He hasn’t written a successful play in well over a decade, and to make matters worse, a former young pupil at one of his past seminars has sent him a copy of a play he has just created.

But why should that make things worse, I hear you ask? The reason…the play is fantastic. Sidney is kicking himself that he didn’t come up with the idea himself…the story is so fresh, so new and bursting with potential. Its got the perfect plot, as well as the many twists that lie throughout.

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Sidney’s wife Myra Bruhl; an intelligent, opportunistic business woman, sees a way to bring her husband out of his self-thrown ‘pity party.’ Played by Peta Bailey, Myra encourages her partner to get in touch with the aspiring young playwright, in a hope to offer her husband’s wealth of knowledge of the industry to this gentleman. Not only would this be seen as beneficial to the up-and-coming creative talent, but it inevitably would throw Sidney back into the spotlight, which he yearns to have back on him.

When Deathtrap’s creator Clifford Anderson (Nicholas Wicht) arrives to the Bruhl household in Westport, Connecticut, all seems to be going to plan. Sidney boasts to Clifford of past triumphs, even throwing in how he is ‘supposedly’ writing a new suspense play based loosely on the work of psychic-clairvoyant Helga Ten Dorp, which now will have to take a step back, if he is to inject his expertise into tweaking Deathtrap.

But much to Sidney’s surprise, Clifford is not as simple-minded and naive as he would have hoped for. Clifford soon informs Sidney and Myra that it would be silly of him to place all his eggs in one basket and solely consult Sidney on the promise of his play.

Darkness soon descends, and with it, Sidney’s distrust and feelings of a soon-to-be-lost opportunity. Myra can see what’s coming. With no-one knowing where Clifford has headed off to, and not a soul aware of Deathtrap’s existence, Sidney behavior begins to change.

Despite the creepiness of the scene, you cannot help but laugh at both Sidney’s efforts to appear calm and collected, and Clifford’s sudden realization of the approaching threat to his life and work. Sidney attacks and as the struggle dies down, so does the lifeless body of Clifford.

All over? Think again. Yes, Sidney now has Deathtrap for himself, and a future theatrical award on his mantelpiece, but more surprises lie on the horizon. Lo and behold, the renowned Helga Ten Dorp (played by the marvelous Erin Jones) has moved into the house next to the Bruhl’s. How much of a problem could she actually be? Yes she assisted authorities on missing person’s cases, especially murders…but she couldn’t be the real deal…or could she?

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With the arrival of this eccentric psychic, Helga, and lawyer Porter Milgrim (Frank de Francesco), the story unravels, and what we believe to be true gets turned upside down. With surprise visits, shocking revelations, hilarious outbursts and unforeseen twists that not even I seen coming, Deathtrap is one of those dark comedies you can laugh with from beginning to end.

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Some secrets are taken to the grave, whereas others cannot remain buried.

All in all, the show was extremely enjoyable, which I was not surprised by. The Scarborough Players never fail in delivering a show that touches the hearts of every theatre-goer and tickles their funny bone.

Once again, credit must be given to the wonderful set designers of Deathtrapas they surprise me each time, with the authenticity and life-like quality of each stage they create.

Although the 5 cast members were phenomenal in their own way, the two actors that stood out for me the entire show were Nicholas Wicht, who played Clifford and Erin Jones, who played Helga. The reason why these two actors stood out was not just simply down to the comedic element of their characters, but their natural ability to make the audience feel a mixture of emotions; whether it be fear or fun,  or an equal measurement of both.

Erin had the audience’s sides aching with laughter in every scene she appeared in. Her take on Helga had everyone wanting more and more. Whether it be the hilarious, psychic reactions to everything she touched or her unexpected visits when the Bruhl’s least expected it…Erin truly brought the fun factor to the show.

Throughout the performance and interval, I could hear people whisper, “I can’t wait to see the psychic come back,” “The psychic is hilarious,” and “Who is playing Helga? She is fantastic!”

imageNicholas, on the other hand was a breath of fresh air, in his portrayal of playwright hopeful, Clifford. He played the role wonderfully and I looked forward to each scene he was in. His take on the smooth, sweet-talking, cheeky student was second to none, and extra acknowledgment must be given to the physically demanding nature of his character’s role.

All in all, I would definitely urge the Toronto public to go and see this great show. You will hold your breath, gasp, jump and laugh your way from beginning to end. What more could you ask from a show?

 

DEATHTRAP runs for another 4 more days:

July 9th @ 2pm and July 13th-15th @ 8pm at Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston Road. 

For TTC users, the (102) Warden Station bus provides a front door theatre drop off point.

Theatre has FREE PARKING and is Wheelchair Accessible.

Tickets for Deathtrap can be purchased online by clicking HERE or can be purchased at the Box Office (Tel: 416-267-9292).

Further information on upcoming shows at Scarborough Village Theatre can be found by clicking the link provided.

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Tons of Money: Opening Night Review at Scarborough Village Theatre

imageI have always loved the saying, “My husband says that I’m the crazy one…but he’s the one that married me,” and this couldn’t be any more relevant than to the theatrical delight I had the opportunity of attending last night.

Yesterday evening at 8pm, curtain went up on opening night of the famous play, Tons of Money; performed by the wonderful actors and actresses of the Scarborough Players and directed by Jeremy Henson.

As I traveled out to the show’s residence, Scarborough Village Theatre, to attend its first show of a run that extends from now until April 22nd, I was buzzing with excitement. This was not only because I never attended a performance at this theatre before, but I had recently been informed by Toronto theatre sources that any show put together by the Scarborough Players is always destined for success.

And as I took my seat in the auditorium surrounded by a huge turnout, I immediately got my first glimpse into what wonderful things were in store for the audience. Before I fill you in on the show itself, I must give a quick shout-out to people involved in the construction of such a memorable set. As Tons of Money is set in 1926, the crew put together a stage that brought the decadence of the 1920’s to life…the lavish parlor surrounded by tall radius windows, overlooking the green fields and river in the distance. With the East wing ready for the maids and butlers, the west wing ready for surprise guests and the parlor set for the hilarious mayhem that was about to ensue with our main characters…the fun began.

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The story opens with Aubrey Allington (Christopher Wakelin) and his wife Louise Allington (Konstance Koutoulakis), as they sit enjoying their morning tea at the breakfast table. Surrounded by bills and final orders, spread among the cutlery, Aubrey and Louise joke carelessly about the debt collectors and how their lifestyle will remain as it is, thanks to their little friend…CREDIT. 

But after butler Sprules (Drew Smylie), maid Simpson (Ana Gonzalez) and gardener Giles (Rob Neilly) deliver a letter from the bank announcing impending bankruptcy and the cease of any continued credit…their care free ways are turned upside down. What are they to do? Where are they to go? What will become of their staff…and are they, themselves, destined to the life of a pauper?

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Suddenly, the arrival of solicitor James Chesterman (Kory Preston) brings some shocking news. Aubrey’s estranged brother in the United States has sadly passed away…but does his near bankrupt brother care? Nope! He has other worries, and his relationship with him over the years was nothing other but a rocky one. But as soon as it is revealed that his brother has left him $740,000 in his will, all history of sibling rivalry is forgotten.

Sounds like the answer to their prayers…right? Think again. Louise starts to add up all the debts that they have, and if her calculations are correct, the new-found fortune will be only seconds in their hands, before it’s gone.

Nevertheless Louise has an unusual, but what she sees as a foolproof plan. It all begins with four simple words…”I Have An Idea.” She reads the will and begins to understand that if Aubrey was to die, the fortune would go to his cousin George Maitland in Mexixo. Regardless that George disappeared many years ago without a trace and assumed dead by his family…he was never announced as deceased to the public.

Louise and Aubrey carry out the plan and fake Aubrey’s death. But why? For him to reemerge as long-lost cousin George, of course,  and claim a debt free fortune. Nothing could go wrong…could it?

Just when everything is going to plan…surprise characters are thrown into the mix, threatening to mess up their fraudulent scheme. First it is in the form of Louise’s resident aunt Miss Benita Mullet (Paula Wilkie), whose questionable nature throws a spanner into the works every-time she challenges Aubrey (in George disguise).

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On the other hand, little does the stressed out couple know that their staff are planning their own surprise resurrection of George, through their scheming pal Henry (Len Henderson), so they can claim the fortune and escape their lowly lives.

Who else wants to ruin Louise’s plan? Step on up…Jean Everard (Charlie Parkes-Patel), the real George Maitland’s wife. Will she recognize Audrey in disguise as George, or maybe Henry as the additional impostor? Not to worry…maybe the unexpected and shocking arrival of the real George Maitland (Neil Nicholas Kulin) will clear all this confusion right up.

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From beginning to end, I never laughed as much in a play, as I did last night. It was the type of show that had jokes in every scene, and the situations each character got themselves into, would have you crying with laughter. The production not only flowed well, due to the perfect story-telling and direction of each act, but through the wonderful interaction between one actor and another.

Every actor and actress brought something wonderful to this fantastic, humor-filled theatrical wonder. Drew Smylie and Ana Gonzalez were perfect as the indoor-help duo “Spruce and Simpson“, as they believably portrayed their dual intentions so well; waiting on every beck and call from their employers, whilst secretly plotting against them.

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Rob Neilly was a nice addition as gardener Giles, as he brought a somewhat innocent nature to the play, as he was the only character without a secret agenda.

Paula Wilkie was a breath of fresh air and provided many laughs throughout, as Auntie Benita Mullet. For a character whom everyone believes to be of little impact to their shrewd plans because of her airy-fairy nature and lack of hearing, she surprisingly is a ninja at breaking down stories that “just don’t add up”…codswallop in her opinion.

Neil Nicholas Kulin and Len Henderson were wonderful as George Maitland and his impostor, Henry, respectively, as their addition into Louise’s now crumbling plan only brought more giggles.

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Also Charlie Parkes-Patel was a joy to watch as the dramatic, energetic and extravagant addition Jean Everard. She, in particular, was one of my favorite characters, as she played her carefree, shallow and unquestionable nature so well.

And who could forget Kory Preston, as solicitor James Chesterman; who had wonderful control and ownership over each scene, as he comically reigned in each of his fellow characters, who were making his job as executor of the will a difficult one.

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But the funniest times you will have watching this show, is the scenes involving Christopher Wakelin as male lead Aubrey and Konstance Koutoulakis as his outstanding wife Louise Allington. Never have I seen an acting duo that worked so well together, where you couldn’t help but smile at the on-stage chemistry they portrayed to the audience.

imageChristopher exuded confidence in every scene and never failed to delight the great turnout with his fun energy and humorous antics. But it was Konstance who was the person who shone the most for me. She was without a doubt the best choice of actress to play the female lead, Louise. For those who attended the show last night, and for those planning to…you will be blown away by her performance. From her character’s initial plan to save the fortune, to her constantly failing ideas…you see how she transforms from the cheerful, untroubled wife…to a woman who gets herself into hilarious tricky scenarios with every new lie she creates. TONS OF MONEY definitely proved to the public that Konstance is undoubtedly an actress who blossoms on the comedic scene.

imageIn many ways, I drew similarities between their stage relationship and that of on-screen duo John Cleese and Connie Booth in 1970’s BBC show Faulty Towers; to which I was delighted with, as those comical relationships are the most memorable.

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For those wishing to go see this amazing show for yourselves, tickets can be purchased at the theatre box office. Information on box office hours can be found by clicking HERE.

If you prefer to book your tickets online in advance, you can purchase them by clicking HERE

I encourage everyone reading this to get down and see the show. It is a play that will have you laughing from beginning to end and one that will have you talking for months to follow.

In the famous words of the delightful Louise Allington, “I HAVE AN IDEA…GET YOUR TICKETS NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”

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NOTE: Many thanks for the delicious Wine and Cheese reception organized by the cast, crew and volunteers on opening night. It truly showed a wonderful sense of community and highlighted how much Theatre Scarborough appreciates their patrons.

Little Shop of Horrors: The Show that Bites Back

imageGot green fingers? Have an interest in the relaxing world of horticulture? Well think again! Having green fingers may be seen as a remarkable skill, but in this case, you need to be careful where you put them. These plants BITE!

On Saturday evening, I came along to the Lower Ossington Theatre’s brand new production of cult classic musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which premiered on March 24th.

As mentioned in my previous post, Little Shop of Horrors follows the story of Seymour (Hugh Ritchie), who works day in-day out in Mushnik’s Flower Shop, owned by his somewhat childhood guardian Mr Mushnik (Andrew Soutter). The business is failing, no-one is ordering bouquets with them any more…not even a funeral wreath. In reality, the business itself is the one that needs the funeral wreath, as it is dying around them by the second.

Working alongside them is beautiful and kind-hearted shop assistant Audrey (Jessica Harb), whom Seymour has a huge crush on…despite their awkward encounters. However, Audrey already has a boyfriend, Orin Scrivello (Joey Graff)… a most violent individual with a sadistic personality and an addiction to nitrous oxide…so what better profession for him to be in, than that of a dentist.

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When Mr Mushnik announces his intent to close up shop and throw the towel in, Audrey encourages Seymour to show their boss the botanical project he has been working on after-hours. Here we are introduced to his colorful, rare and unusual plant that he bought from a man during the last solar eclipse, which he has named Audrey II, after his secret sweetheart.

Audrey II immediately becomes an overnight sensation when it is placed in the window, attracting new customers and bringing back previous ones who had long ago lost interest in the failing florist. But just as customer numbers are booming, the attractive plant starts to wither. Seymour is anxious and uses every horticultural remedy known to man, with little or no success. In the midst of all this worry, he cuts his finger on the plant, which brings it back to life. He soon realizes that Audrey II thrives on blood and the only way to keep it alive and customer flow steady, is to keep delivering a fresh supply of blood to it each day.

The only problem is, as Audrey II increases in size, from the once tiny pot-plant to an enormous wonder, a few drops of blood from a paper cut isn’t going to suffice its ever-growing appetite. Seymour is left with the morally challenging situation…does he let the business fail, or does he use any way possible to make its success continue?

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Throughout the show, I could not stop laughing at the humor mixed into each fantastic scene and memorable dialogue. For those reading the initial synopsis, one may assume that the show is quite dark, but this is not the case. I have never seen a musical that could have you bellowing with laughter at the most unusual situations.

The musical numbers were phenomenal, but what more could you expect from music and lyrics written by the famous Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Enchanted). Songs like “Closed For Renovation” will have you moving your shoulders and hips to the catchy beat and fun lyrics, whereas others like “Somewhere That’s Green” will remind you of long forgotten dreams.

One thing I must not forget to mention was the absolutely mind-blowing set construction by Michael Galloro. Every time I attend any shows at the LOT, set design is second to none, as they surprise me every time. I do not want to spoil it for you, but you will be amazed with how the set transforms throughout the show, from the interior of Mushnik’s flower shop to the exterior streets scenes.

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But what about the stars of the show? The first actors you are introduced to at the beginning are school-girls/soul sisters Ronette*, Crystal and Chiffon, who were played by the fabulous Michele Shuster, Liana Lewis and Stephanie Megraw-Fabian on the night. These 3 characters are in almost every scene, and help to tie the whole story together with their musical interpretation, smooth moves and sassy personalities. Having already been introduced to both Michelle and Liana from previous show “The Life,” I was looking forward to seeing them in a whole new light, and once again, they did not disappoint.

Jessica Harb, as always, proved to be the perfect touch of sweetness to this incredible musical. She was made for the role of Audrey, as she portrayed her cute but shy personality down to a T. The scenes between her and Seymour were believable and professionally executed, and her voice was simply sublime when singing the romantic duet, “Suddenly Seymour.”

The laughs without a doubt came from the character of Dentist Orin Scrivello, played by comedically talented  Joey Graff. As soon as this bad-boy is introduced to the audience, as the violent, creepy lover of Audrey…you will surprisingly fall in love with him and his hilarious actions. He is the baddie that you cannot help but adore. And your admiration for this character is only heightened when you watch him perform the side-splitting songs, “Dentist!” and “Now (It’s Just The Gas).” 

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However, Hugh Ritchie, who played Seymour and Andrew Soutter, who played Mr Mushnik were the 2 performers who did it for me. The last time I saw Hugh perform, it was in the LOT’s production of West Side Story, where he was the male lead in this story also. Hugh is not just a pleasure to watch, but his strong talented voice has the ability to interpret the emotion of the lyrics perfectly. Andrew, however, brought that extra bit of fun to each scene, and this was truly evident in the musical number, “Mushnik & Son,” where both Hugh and Seymour treated audiences to a wonderful, flamboyant performance, where they salsa danced, pirouetted and even piggy-backed their way throughout the song; proving them to be a class act.

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Credit must also be given to a character duo, who are not seen throughout the show, but played a huge part…and this is Bryan Kling (voice of Audrey II) and Evan Sokolowski (Puppeteer of Audrey II). The combination of vocal and puppeteer talents was wonderful and I had huge respect for how they achieved the end result.

If you are looking for a great show to see, get down to the Lower Ossington Theatre from March 24th to May 14th 2017 to see Little Shop of Horrors. You will laugh from beginning to end, and is the perfect way to spend your weekend. With live performances from Fridays through to Sundays, what more could you ask for this Spring weekend?

Tickets can be purchased at the theatre box office at 100A Lower Ossington Avenue, Toronto, or can be purchased in advance online, by clicking HERE.

Hope you all enjoy this hilarious and fun-filled show. Let me know how you get on. And remember…DON’T FEED THE PLANTS.

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*Role of Ronette usually played by Jenna Daley

“Proof” at The Red Sandcastle Theatre: The Review

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Last night, an opportunity presented itself for me to witness one of my favorite stories brought to life on the Toronto stage. So how could I turn away from that? Walking down through my favorite area of “The Six,“…Queen St East, on a crisp Thursday evening, I was surprised to know that this theatre existed, despite this being a place I often frequent. But there it was…the Red Sandcastle Theatre.

I walked through the signature red entrance, and inside the magic began. New theatre company, Theatre UnBlocked; lead by their creator and producer Carina Cojeen, have decided to bring the public a show that not only has a high degree of relevance today and relatable to many aspects of life, but is a Tony Award winning play and Pultitzer Prize winner also. This show is none other than the wonderful and thought provoking, “PROOF,” which plays from March 9-March 19 2017.

As the lights dim around us, and centre on the stage, we are introduced to our lead character, Catherine (Karen Slater). It’s Catherine’s 25th Birthday and she sits alone in her house. However, unlike many twenty-five year old girls on their birthday, she is in no mood to celebrate. Celebrate what? All the years lost? All the years spent in the shadow of her genius, mathematician father? Or possibly all the time spent caring for the genius, when he began to lose his mind, by the ravages of mental illness.

imageWe soon are told that her father Robert (Dan Willmott) has died a week earlier and her older sister Claire (Andrea Irwin) is on her way home from Manhattan to Chicago for the funeral. But when she returns, what she finds is an empty shell of a girl once full of life and ambition. Despite having inherited much of her father’s mathematical knowledge and thinking, she fears that she has inherited his history of mental illness also. And she is not the only one who thinks so…her sister feels the same her.

Catherine’s erratic and unstable behavior don’t help to challenge this mental diagnosis, as we watch her sudden outbursts towards her sibling and witness her paranoia regarding her father’s ex-student Hal (Chris Peterson) in his struggle to decipher her father’s final math notes, theories and equations.

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Here is a girl; who against her sibling’s advice, decided to take care of her father at home, rather than entrust his care to a facility. Here is a girl, who had to give up her own career to ensure the memory of her father’s one, would not be tarnished by the stigma of mental illness. But most of all, here is a girl, who has been left to fend on her own and through these unfortunate circumstances, has developed a distrust for the outside world.

But everything changes when Hal uncovers a hidden journal, believed to be Robert’s final works. Inside a theory, an equation and a solution to one of mathematics hardest problems. But confusion soon surrounds this discovery. Is this Proof that Robert was not as crazy as people may have thought? Or is Catherine the true author of this ground-breaking discovery. Is she capable of doing such a thing? Where is the PROOF?

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To prevent spoilers, I will tell you all no more.

However, one thing I can say is that the play is absolutely fantastic. As producer of her inaugural production for Theatre UnBlockedCarina Cojeen along with wonderful director Carl Jackson, have put together a wonderful adaption of this well-known play; putting their own stamp on an interesting story-line.

The set was simplistic and intimate, creating a feeling of audience involvement in the performance. I personally love sets like this because it not only feels like you are experiencing the action up-close, but it allows unforgettable acting performances to shine through.

In terms of the acting ability, the performances were second to none. Karen Slater who played our female protagonist Catherine, was a joy to watch and captivated the theatre-goers. She portrayed her character with such passion and determination…making it a believable and natural performance.

Dan Willmott was delightful as father Robert, and easily won the audience over with his take on the loving character, who was the perfect example of both brains and heart.

Andrea Irwin was outstanding as the uptight sister, Claire, and brought to life a character who I related to quite a bit. She became her character in every way; full of grace and poise, but with a hidden fun-factor.

Finally, Chris Peterson was brilliant as the charming and endearing Hal. He succeeded in depicting the determined nature of his character, in his relationship with both academia and his attraction to our leading lady.

Although mental health topics can be seen as a somewhat dark area, David Auburn’s play PROOF, is the perfect challenge to this opinion. It is filled full of humor, especially through the sisterly tension, which will have you chuckling throughout. But it also opens your mind to other possibilities. Proof shows the impact of instability within the family unit. It highlights the struggle of not only the sufferer but the people around them, who have to witness the changes brought by these debilitating diseases. It can bring people together or tear them apart. And sometimes in the darkest of moments, can you finally see the situation for what it truly is. An opportunity to grow, learn and become stronger from.

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This play debuted on Broadway in 2000, and as mentioned before, has won several awards and recognition. So much so, that in 2005 a movie adaption starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhaal graced the silver screen.

So if you want to see this touching and though provoking play on the Toronto theatre scene, get down to the RED SANDCASTLE THEATRE on 922 Queen Street East from MARCH 9-19.

Tickets can be purchased at the theatre on the night, but to avoid disappointment, can be purchased in advance online, by clicking http://theatreunblocked.brownpapertickets.com/.

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This is a show that should not be missed. Have a break from your hectic schedule and relax. What better place than at this lovely show? Surrounded by all the wonderful restaurants, cafes and bars that Queen St has to offer, it will help to top of a memorable night.

***Stay Tuned for a follow up interview with producer Carina Cojeen, and hear her take on this incredible play, and what she has in store for us in the future***

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(Production Photography courtesy of Bruce Peters)

Little Shop of Horrors: Lower Ossington Theatre promises a musical with a BITE

imageWe all know by now that one of my favorite theatre companies has to be; without a doubt, the Lower Ossington Theatre (LOT). With the wide selection of theatre avenues that they explore, it is not surprising that they give the public something that will appeal to each one of their tastes. Whether it is comedy, musical, classic play or drama, The LOT really knows how to deliver.

As you can guess, with theatres, there is a specific time frame after the festive holiday season in December, when all the theatrical organizers gather to plan the upcoming season’s brochure of exciting new shows.

In reality, the last show I attended at this establishment was actually in December 2016, and you can only imagine the anticipation I feel surrounding the new show. Program specialists have thought long and hard about what would be the most appropriate show to start off the season with a bang. But what could that be? We like to be excited, thrilled, shocked, humored and entertained. But mostly we want to witness something with a fresh new BITE on the Toronto stage…so trust me…this will be the show for you.

From March 24-May 14, the stage adaption of the movie classic “LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS” will be delighting all who attend this marvelous show. If you are looking for a performance with originality, humor, suspense and a memorable score of musical tunes, then go no further.

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Based on the 1986 Sci-Fi movie of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors , is a horror-comedy musical classic, which follows the story of a nerdy, down and out NYC florist called Seymour Krelborn. With the help of his assistant Audrey, they run Mushnik’s Flower Shop in an area quickly starting to be referred to as skid row. Struggling to make ends meet; despite their passion and effort, Seymour starts to decide it could be time to “fold.” But thoughtful and dreamy Audrey proposes a plan to him, which could possibly bring more custom to the ever-empty business.

imageShe encourages him to display a specific plant to the public, which he has never done so before. This plant is in fact an unusual botanical species that he purchased from a Chinese Flower Shop during the last solar eclipse. As soon as he displays it for the passing public to see, it grabs the attention of all, and within a short period of time increases custom and talk about the flower shop. Seymour names the plant “Audrey II” but soon realizes than the plant is withering. Despite many botany interventions to save this growing tourist attraction, the plant continues to die…that is until…Seymour pricks his finger on the plant while tending to it.

He immediately witnesses the effect blood has on Audrey II, and in no time at all, the plant grows into a hot-headed, foul-mouthed, R&B singing diva with a carnivorous appetite.

imageBut what is Seymour to do? To ensure the continued success and ever-growing customer influx to his store, would it be wrong if he fed a few of them to Audrey II, to keep her at bay? No that’s wrong…OR IS IT?

The stage production of this horror musical comedy, is sure to be as entertaining and exciting as the original movie; filled full of dark humor and laughs. With its musical score composed by the one-and-only Alan Menkin (famous for the music of Aladdin, Sister Act, Enchanted, The Little Mermaid and many more), you can only imagine how catchy the show-tunes will be.

This musical originally premiered on the Off-Broadway stage in 1982 and garnered success for many years on both sides of the Atlantic. So much so that it just completed a West End Tour in 2016. But now it’s Toronto’s turn to see this spectacular production, and the company & cast of the Lower Ossington Theatre will undoubtedly keep the success of this musical alive.

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Performances will be held FRIDAY’S, SATURDAY’S AND SUNDAY’S from March 24 – May 14 at The Lower Ossington Theatre, located at 100A Lower Ossington Avenue, Toronto.

Tickets can be purchased at the in-theatre box office, or can be purchased online in advance by clicking HERE. Also, as an added bonus, when purchasing online, make sure to use the code FEEDME25 to enjoy 25% discount on all available seats and tables.

Come along and see this popular show for yourself…I promise…we don’t BITE. 

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Tons of Money: Theatre Scarborough set to dish out the laughs with this hilarious stage comedy

 

imageRecently I have decided, as a blogger, that in order to fully appreciate the many outlets of entertainment that there is to offer, I must look outside the boundaries of Downtown Toronto. As fantastic, memorable and breathtaking as my previous shows were and continue to be, it is important to shine light on the exciting new productions that are destined to be outright hits with the public.

My tastes in theatre are extensive…be it suspense, comedy, thriller, Improv or musical…there is a unique element of each that can be appreciated. But lately I have been in search for a play that not only has a gripping storyline, but is laced with cracking comedy and added suspense. You know what I mean? But where could I possibly find this?

Well, the wait is over everyone! Through the expertise and creative minds of the theatre company, Scarborough Players, I present to you…TONS OF MONEY; a hilarious new comedy about death, inheritance and the means to have it all.

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Created by famous, British writers Will Evans & ValentineTons of Money was first performed in 1922 in the renowned Shaftesbury Theatre in London, UK. After over 2 years of dominating the West End, the farcical play was hailed by critics as a comedic triumph, as it created amusement around what would usually be seen as a tense situation.

The play was then revived and directed by Alan Ayckbourn in 1981, and since then has been adapted into film and television movies. But what is the backstory and what makes this play so popular and timeless?

Tons Of Money tells the story of Aubrey Henry Maitland Allington; an inventor so down on his luck, that his debts are accumulating by the day. But when things are about to get worse and tip Aubrey over the edge, a sudden monetary inheritance is awarded to him, which could eventually bring him out of his drowning debt.

imageHowever, he feels he has only two options; TAKE THE MONEY and have to use it all to pay off those pestering creditors or REJECT IT and continue to live a life of struggle.

But is that his only solution? Aubrey’s wife Louise comes up with an idea that will knock you off your seats. Her husband’s cousin George Maitland, was assumed to have died abroad; with very little people ever knowing what actually happened to him. But the creditors don’t know that…do they? Although not the most conventional method, she concludes that the only way they can enjoy the inheritance to the fullest without it being snatched from their clutches, is for Aubrey to fake his own death…and with so, leaving in his last will and testimony, that his assets go to his cousin George.

imageBut how can this be possible? George is assumed dead. So how can he collect such a inheritance? Part Two of Louise’s plan is for her newly “dead” husband to resurrect himself as his cousin, and accept his new-found fortune; unbeknownst to his debt collectors, who would naturally have to wipe the slate clean.

Sound smooth sailing? Think again. With an act so gutsy and destined for mishaps, Aubrey and Louise get themselves into side-splitting, hilarious scenarios, where each lie could either make them or break them.

Tons of Money promises to be a night full of laughter and suspense, where the audience will be anticipating each move of our lead characters. Not to mention, the many surprises that lie in wait, along the way. The entire Scarborough Players crew  and cast, alongside the artistic excellence of director Jeremy Henson, producer Linda Brent and stage manager Teresa Bakker, will without a doubt bring this feel-good story to life in their own wonderful way.

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If you are like me, and cannot wait to see this show, then here is all the information you need:

TONS OF MONEY will be performed at the Theatre Scarborough c/o Scarborough Village Theatre, located at 3600 Kingston Road, Scarborough, Ontario, M1M 1R9.

The show will run from opening night on April 7th until April 22nd 2017.

Tickets are priced at $22 and can be purchased by in person at the theatre, by calling the Box Office on (416) 267-9292 or simply reserving you tickets online by clicking HERE.

Tickets are already flying out the door, so get yours booked NOW before its too late.

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On a final note…stay tuned for my post-opening night review, and watch me work my magic.

LOVE: The Entertainment Fairy.

Feel Good Show of The Year: The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down

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Last night I had the opportunity to attend the opening night of the Irish based comedy THE NIGHT JOE DOLAN’S CAR BROKE DOWN, by renowned theatre company The Toronto Irish Players.

The live performance took place at the beautiful, comfortable Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley Street, Toronto.

As it was opening night, a lot of pressure is put on the cast and crew to deliver an outstanding performance; something that sets the bar and gets the media talking. As I moved through the waves of theatre-goers in the entrance hall, you could feel a warm energy travelling through the crowd; one of excitement and appreciation.

The crew prepared the many people for a wonderful night, as they mingled with the public and spared the time to, as we say in Ireland, have a bit ‘a’ craic. Since moving to Toronto, I have genuinely not met many Irish people, so to attend a show that allowed all of us to come together and reconnect in many ways, is something to be enjoyed & be proud of.

But what about the show? What was it about? Did it live up to expectations? And would I recommend it to all my followers?

For those unfamiliar with the Irish legend that is Joe Dolan, he was a singer who dominated the music charts from the 1960’s to 1990’s with his array of catchy show-tunes, and was the Number One entertainer in the era of popular show-bands. Not only was he the only Irish singer to have consecutive number 1’s in every decade of his music career, but he had hoards of female fans following his across the country; thanks to his wit, charm and killer moves. Despite passing away in 2007, Joe Dolan still holds a place in people’s hearts and his songs never fail to get everyone up and swaying their hips, as if they were him.

imageAnd this is where our story opens. THE NIGHT JOE DOLAN’S CAR BROKE DOWN opens in the Glenaduff Inn, County Cavan, in Ireland. It’s St. Stephen’s Night and ten people sit within its four walls, having the craic and knocking back drink after drink. Not only is it the festive season but everyone has gathered for the surprise birthday of a man known as The Horse Munley (Ian McGarrett). A group of young ones, headed by thoughtful and cheerful Jane (Sinead Ni Bhraoin) are ready to celebrate the 60th Birthday, and use any excuse to order up another round of shots. Accompanying Jane are Sheila (Mairead Clancy); the wise-cracker of the bunch, John (Ryan Francis); the party lad just looking for a good time, Mary (Rebecca De LaCour); a loveable character with a fiery side, and Paul (Sean Gilheany);…we all have a friend like Paul…the quiet one who turns casanova, after a few drinks.

Providing the music on this cold night is resident musician Steve (Bill Poulin) and keeping alcohol flowing is barman Barney (Stephen Flett). The only other people in the pub are husband and wife duo PJ & Angela (played by Jamie Johnson & Kelly Marie Murtha).

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As the “liquid courage” keeps coming, the pub-goers start to get a little brave, resulting in hilarious showdowns and cracking one-liners; delivered by the entire cast. Non-drinker housewife Angela decides that trying a few shots wouldn’t do any harm, despite the warning looks from her over-bearing, outspoken husband. Meanwhile, a secret is being kept locked up by Jane, which she eventually reveals; turning the night upside down.

But just when you think the night could not get more dramatic, an increasingly drunk Angela reveals a scandalous secret that not only shakes the pub, but brings with it a feisty love triangle, that will have you crying with laughter.

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As family affairs and love lives are thrown about for all to see, our party goers depart ways…but what happens next turns the whole thing up a notch. A knock comes to the door, and who is it, but none other than Joe Dolan (played by Hugo Straney). After the initial shock wears off, the Horse Munley and barman Barney are treated to their own private show with Joe Dolan. As he belts out all his classic songs, the night starts to sail smoothly, and you cannot help but sing along with the songs we have all come to know.

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I am not one for spoiling the surprise, but as the night comes to a close and the sun rises, news arrives to the pub, that the audience will not see coming… a clever and memorable twist to a fantastic show.

So what did I think of it? Do you need to ask? It was phenomenal, and exactly what Toronto needs right now. It is the perfect addition to the theatre scene and even though this production is the Canadian debut of the popular play, you will be blown away by how effortlessly the storyline comes to life; thanks to these talented actors and stage professionals.

imageEvery actor was perfect in their role, and I could not fault them in any way, as they delivered high-quality, memorable and touching scenes, mixed with comedic magic. However, the characters that I immediately fell in love with, were ‘say it as ya see it’ Sheila (Mairead Clancy) and the hilarious, crowd-pleaser, which was Mary (Rebecca De La Cour). Also Stephen Flett in his role as Barney will have you laughing from beginning to end, making you wish you had barmen like him in your home town.

But an extra round of applause must be, without a doubt, given to the sensational Hugo Straney (Joe Dolan). With his wonderful vocal ability and fantastic range, he hit every note in a way that would make the late singer’s fans think he was right in the room with them all. Add all of this to the singer’s signature white suit, cheeky wink and the well-known snake-hips, he had the whole crowd wooing and wolf-whistling throughout…proving that this actor and performer is no “average Joe.”

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Lastly, I must acknowledge how wonderfully creative the set design of the Glenaduff Inn was on stage, which was all down to set designer James O’Meara. He put together such a realistic stage that at one point I felt like jumping up onto the set with them, and ordering my favorite drink.

If you wish to laugh your way into next week and go to a feel good show; laced with typical Irish humour, gags and classic phrases, then this is the show for you. The Irish are known around the world to be a very welcoming nation, up for a laugh and always a joke to tell. And this theatre group and production are the perfect example of this.

Last night was an absolute SELL OUT, so I’d encourage you all to GET YOUR TICKETS NOW before it’s too late. With many other days already selling out, you should get your tickets reserved before the show ends.

THE NIGHT JOE DOLAN’S CAR BROKE DOWN plays at the Alumnae Theatre from February 16th until March 4th 2017.

Tickets can be reserved online by clicking http://torontoirishplayers.com/wp/.

Great Show…Great Night…Great People.

5 STAR RATING 

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