A Christmas Carol

photo by Racheal maccaig

photo by Racheal maccaig

It's not too late to see Ross Petty's rip-roaring, funny family musical, A Christmas Carol! Audience members, young and old, will delight in this modern and hilarious take on a classic story. What's more is that on January 4th and 5th, you can be part of a live audience for a television broadcast on the CBC and Family Channel. Don't miss your chance to be a part of it!

 A Christmas Carol is playing at the Elgin Theatre until January 5, 2018. Ticket prices range from $27-$99 Adults • $27-$69 Children under 12 • $256 Family 4-Pack. Tickets can be purchased online at rosspetty.com/tickets, by phone at 1.855.599.9090 or in person at the Elgin Theatre Box Office, 189 Yonge Street.

 

 

The Illusionists: Live from Broadway - Theatre Review

The Illusionists: Live from Broadway - Theatre Review

Professional magic is serious business. 

Magic is a highly competitive field, with performers jealously guarding their techniques and participating in high-stakes competitions. There’s intense self-promotion and branding and a kind of swaggering machismo in this very male-dominated art form, and if I asked you - quick! - to name a modern magician/illusionist, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that the first person that came into your head was Criss Angel, better known for his broody, Goth-y persona than for sunshine and lollipops. 

It was a pleasant surprise to me, then, that The Illusionists: Live From Broadway was so much fun. Seven headliners give us a solid evening’s worth of pure entertainment, doing acts that have very different definitions of what “magic” is. The feeling that links them all, though, is amazement - a pure, exhilarating rush of OMG what did I just see? that far too many adults are missing in their lives. The audience was a mix of magic newbies and dedicated fans, but all of us participated in the same delightful suspension of disbelief.

As you approach the Princess of Wales Theatre, you’ll notice the abundance of promotional material for the show, mostly atmospheric pictures of seven men that could be Doctor Who (quirky suits, funky hair, guyliner,  and so many frock coats. Never let it be said that magic isn’t the most flamboyant of the stage arts). Once settled in your seat, though, you’ll find that many of the performers have a very warm and engaging stage presence. Darcy Oake, who goes by the stage name of The Grand Illusionist, has a very hard-rock aesthetic - leather, tattoos, driving electrical guitar solos - but in one of the most delightful moments of the show, he came down to the front row and made a card appear inside a bottle for an astounded ten-year-old. The glee he took in her obvious wonder made it clear that Oake is still a geeky kid from Winnipeg fascinated by his dad’s card tricks. (Then he made a motorbike appear out of literally nowhere, so perhaps the rock-star analogy is still a good fit for him.) 

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Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

You know those people who always have their holiday shopping done months ahead of time? Yeah…I’m not one of those people. I’m more of a “run to the mall on Dec 23” kind of girl. I would like to share some gift-giving ideas with you. These amazing products would make wonderful presents at any time of the year!

Caroline Néron
This Montreal-based fashion designer and offers a wide selection of stylish necklaces, rings, bracelets, wallets, handbags, earrings, watches and fragrances. Her line has something special for the fashionista in your life. Caroline Néron offers high quality but affordable products for women, men and even a new collection for tweens. This is a cool Canadian brand that has my support!  

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Theatre Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Theatre Review

It's not often that I see a show that sends me straight to the internet to look for other people's opinions. I like to see a production without added bias, experience it directly, and try to express to you, my readers, how it felt to be there, what it was like to be immersed in the experience. But this play requires something a little more, because this is a story that has a neuro-atypical person as its lead character, and everything in this magnificently produced show is meant to show us how he moves through the world. 

I'm neuro-typical – that is, my brain works in roughly the same way as those of most people in my culture. Christopher Boone, the heart of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is not. He is fifteen years old, loves animals, math, and machines, and doesn't like to be touched. He embodies some stereotypes about autistic people and is, at the same time, a unique and very real person. His story is one of the struggles and growth that come with growing up and leaving the safety of what's known, and it's also about living in a world that's not made for you. For this reason, I think it's really important that I include the voices of people who actually are on the autism spectrum as I tell you about this show, because it's a beautiful and innovative piece of theatre that I hope will raise questions in the audience about recognizing and acknowledging other voices. And I hope you see it, because whether you're a regular theatre-goer or more of a once-in-blue-moon viewer, I guarantee you won't have seen anything like this. 

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Lela & Co. - Theatre Review

Lela & Co. - Theatre Review

Some months ago, I saw a play that will remain nameless. It dealt with profound, emotional subject matter – sexual slavery during wartime. It was intense and graphic and disturbing. The writing was uneven, flowery and artificial in some parts and exposition-heavy in others. The directorial treatment wavered between mawkish symbolism and misery porn, lavishing attention on women's tortured bodies. And this story, meant to be about women, somehow managed to give more time to the voices of men – the women's abusers and loved ones. It was a disappointing evening. Maybe it just can't be done, I thought to myself. Maybe this kind of story is so powerful, so disturbing, that it just can't be made into good theatre.

Lela & Co., now playing at the Theatre Centre, proved me wrong. 

The subject matter is the same; Lela & Co. is a play about sex trafficking. It tells a harrowing story and it doesn't sugarcoat the realities of war. But it is so much more than that. It's the story of Lela, her childhood, her struggle, her resistance and resilience. It's a story of war, those who suffer, those who profit, and those who try to help. It's a production that educates, yes, but never at the expense of character. Most of all, it proves that in the hands of skilled writers, performers, and crew, even a story as painful as this one can be a thing of beauty. 

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