Thursday Theater Roundup
The Thursday Theatre Roundup took a little hiatus last week, in the midst of the insane arts extravaganza that was the Buffalo Infringement Festival. But now that those breathless 11 days of artistic activity are over, it's time to survey the local (and quasi-local) stages once again. Off we go:
"Macbeth," through Aug. 15 in Delaware Park in a production of Shakespeare in Delaware Park. From the review: "In planning the current season, the company’s founder, Saul Elkin, gazed out across the broad landscape of acting talent in Western New York, saw a profusion of women who too seldom get shots at juicy Shakespearean roles and cast a huge swath [of] them. That smart and simple stroke not only results in a taut and entrancing production, but also provides a fine troupe of female actors a rare chance to show off." --Colin Dabkowski
At the Shaw Festival:
The cast of the Shaw Festival's "The Doctor's Dilemma" on the Festival Theatre stage.
"The Doctor's Dilemma," through Oct. 30 in the Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "...audiences might not agree with Shaw’s opinion. But it’s difficult not to be sucked in by the inherent drama, the wonderfully idiosyncratic characters and the overall charm of this show, which dives headlong into the challenges of the medical establishment in a stratified society." --Colin Dabkowski
"John Bull's Other Island," through Oct. 9 in the Court House Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "[The production] uses an intelligently and heavily abridged script that, together with Christopher Newton’s sure-handed control of stage action, provides a performance that rolls along purposefully and compellingly, leading the audience by the ear and eye even through the most pontificating of Shaw’s soap-box orations." --Herman Trotter
"Half an Hour," through Oct. 9 in the Royal George Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "Barrie has packed a surprising amount of humor, hope and tragedy into
such a compact package that you may walk out of the theater thinking
you’ve seen a full-blown production.... It’s not Shaw, it’s not Shakespeare and it’s perhaps too sentimental for
some tastes, but “Half an Hour” may be the most effective piece of
drama from concentrate I’ve seen. It is, at the very least, well worth
the time." --Colin Dabkowski
The cast of "One Touch of Venus at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
"One Touch of Venus" through Oct. 10 in the Royal George Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "With Weill’s music enhanced by S. J. Perelman’s book, and lyrics by the one-and-only Ogden Nash, the prospect is for top-level music and laughs. And to a large degree that’s what we get. But it doesn’t take long to discover that the joy of Ogden Nash’s lyrics can sometimes be diluted in the transfer from printed page to song... Directed by Eda Holmes, the large cast was given a lot of latitude to exploit the show’s louder, more boisterous possibilities." --Herman Trotter
"An Ideal Husband" through Oct. 31 at the Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "The intricacies of the plot — which, truth be told, is a little tiredly conceived and tends in spots toward the maudlin — all serve one over-arching and worthy point: We are all hopelessly imperfect creatures whose only hope for forgiveness comes through the redemptive power of love. It’s a beautifully simple, almost naive idea, and it’s what elevates the play beyond a chuckle-worthy society comedy. That it was written while Wilde was embroiled in a public scandal over his forbidden homosexuality, and from which he would never recover, lends the play’s storybook conclusion a gloss of wistful fantasy that makes it all the more compelling." --Colin Dabkowski
"Harvey" through Oct. 31 at the Royal George Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "'Harvey' should be completely exempt from deep analysis. It is about happiness. Its simplicity and gimmicky humor are its chief strengths, a fact exploited by director Joseph Ziegler and carried on ably by his cast. This is the antidote to Chekhov, the perfect cure for world-weariness and a great affirmation of eccentricity that strives to bring out the dreamer in us all." --Colin Dabkowski
Severn Thompson as Varya and Laurie Paton as Lyubov Andreyevna Ranyevskaya in "The Cherry Orchard" at the Shaw Festival.
"The Cherry Orchard" through Oct. 2 in the Court House Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., in a production of the Shaw Festival. From the review: "This production, featuring Shaw veterans Benedict Campbell as Lopakhin and Laurie Paton as Lyubov among a great many other gifted actors, employs an excellent Irish-tinged adaptation by Tom Murphy. This imbues the script with subtle sense of modern urgency (“How’s tricks?” instead of “How are you?”) and expands it ever-so-slightly beyond the insularity of its rural Russian milieu." --Colin Dabkowski