The King and I - Theatre Review

The King and I - Theatre Review

Imagine yourself on a boat, pulling along the shore of Bangkok in 1862. You’re a windowed mother of a young son, about to embark on a new job – schoolteacher for the children of the King of Siam (currently known as Thailand). This is where the King and I begins its story; the titular “I” being the character of Anna Leonowens. 

The classic musical, written by the brilliant, multiple-award winning duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein, is, at its heart, a tale of clashing cultures. British born Anna has lived in the Eastern hemisphere most of her life, but only in countries under the British rule. Siam, much like its King, is still fiercely independent and lives by its own rules. Or rather, the rules of the King – a headstrong man who believes women are beneath him, and only exist to pleasure him and bear his children. When the equally headstrong Anna enters his life, he’s forced to reconsider this view.

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Potted Potter - Theatre Review

Potted Potter - Theatre Review

I like reviewing shows and doing a deep dive into the symbolism of sets and props, the nuances of language and the layers of a performance. I like getting tangled up in the author’s intentions and how that plays out in the process from page to stage. I like the depth, in other words; it’s the complexity of a theatrical piece or a work of art that gets to me. 

Every once in a while, however, something comes along that is simple, uncomplicated, and absolutely perfect that way. That’s Potted Potter, a rather twee-named show that promises to recap all seven Harry Potter books in seventy hilarious minutes. Spoiler alert - the show is seventy minutes, and it’s hilarious. It delivers exactly what it promises, no more, no less, with a joyous exuberance that’s completely lacking in snideness or cynicism. It’s already one of my favourites of the year. 

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Annie - Theatre Review

Annie - Theatre Review

The beloved family musical, Annie is now playing on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.

As a child, I had enjoyed the movie and would belt out classics like, Tomorrow and It’s a Hard Knock Life, much to the annoyance of my family. I was eager to see the musical and it was an absolute delight.

Annie is a precocious twelve-year old orphan, who lives with other mischievous little girls in and the evil Miss Hannigan in a derelict orphanage. When she is invited to spend two weeks at the mansion of billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, her whole life, and his completely changes.  

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Fun Home - Theatre Review

Fun Home - Theatre Review

Growing up is weird, isn’t it? When you’re a kid, going off to college seems so grown up and far away. Then suddenly you’re a real adult, looking back at your freshman year and cringing at your awkwardness and naiveté. Or you might look back at your shiny, happy childhood memories and see a darker truth behind them, and start to question everything. And if you’re a noted writer and illustrator like Alison Bechdel, you put it all in a graphic novel called Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, that gets adapted into a five-time Tony Award winning musical that’s part coming-of-age story and part family drama, with a bit of levity and lot of great music mixed in.

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GOBSMACKED! - Theatre Review

GOBSMACKED! - Theatre Review

Let me get something important out of the way first; yes, GOBSMACKED! is a little like Glee. But not that much. The beatboxing/a cappella show on for a very limited run at the CAA Theatre lacks the melodrama and twisted storylines of the TV series and it has a decidedly British slant - Britpop is well represented by songs from Ed Sheeran, the Beatles(twice!), the Stones, David Bowie, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Duffy, and Queen. It’s not perfect - there are a few numbers that come off as a little flat or overly produced - but for the most part, it’s a lively, exhilarating show with some genuinely jaw-dropping moments featuring the beauty and power of the human voice.

GOBSMACKED! is a team of six vocalists - a bass and two tenors, two mezzos and a soprano -
and one beatboxers (more on him later). Most of the singers are Brits, and the two mezzos have
that bluesy, soulful style I associate with Joss Stone and UK soul - a powerful voice that can be
deeply husky, as in Joanne Evans’ take on “It’s a Man’s World.” It takes some serious moxie to take on a James Brown number and Evans kills it. 

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