I have been REMARKABLY busy.
I turned in a Manuscript! Murder at the Flamingo releases with Harper Collins July 2018 and you can add it to your Goodreads shelf . The cover for this book is nothing short of amazing and I will be able to reveal it to you in the next few weeks :-)
I traveled to Scotland, England and Paris (!!!)
I traveled to Northern Ontario for a work conference
I spent a weekend at CFRR in Cincinnati
I spent a weekend in New York seeing a ton of theatre
I have done weekend trips to Niagara on the Lake for Shaw!
I spent a week in my little hometown Orillia
I have wandered Toronto near and far!
I TURNED IN A MANUSCRIPT (let me repeat that )
So I have been very neglectful of ye olde blog and rather do one LARGE catch up post, I thought I should divide it into a few sections.
I have seen a ton of theatre in the recent months and I thought I should give you a recap
Les Miserables: this was a workshop at Factory Theatre that really has a lot of potential. The story isn't quite finished yet; but it drew greatly from Hugo ---drenched in his prose and presence. I am interested to see the final, polished product. We are so used to the musical version, it was nice to see something straight
Strictly Ballroom: here is a show with sequins and sparkle adapted from the popular film and transposing its soundtrack from screen to stage that just cannot figure out what it wants to be. It was a fun spectacle; but needs a little story work
Tosca My friend is the technical director at the Canadian Opera Company and I had the privilege of seeing this on dress rehearsal night. IT WAS AMAZING! Opera is not my favourite musical medium; but I do appreciate Puccini. I had seen this at the MET three years ago and I have to say, I enjoyed our production more. GO CANADA
SHAW FESTIVAL in Niagara on the Lake
The Farmer's Revolt: Face it: if you adapt the Rebellions of 1837 to stage my Canadian history loving heart is gonna go pitter patter. This was an interesting tapestry sewn of many different patches embroidering different perspectives of Canada's almost-Civil-War in Upper Canada well over a century ago. It was a great ensemble piece; but I found without a working knowledge of the source material, audience members might get lost. I was right: several people left at intermission
The Madness of King George: My friend Melanie and I did a double-header day and this was our matinee. It wasn't the cast's fault; but the pacing in this play needs so much help. SO MUCH HELP! amazing what an editor could have done to tighten up the plot. It is a fascinating look at the George that, truth be told, just makes everyone's favourite Hamilton songs run on loop
Saint Joan MAN THIS WAS AWESOME! I love Joan of Arc. They chose to do it in that vague century-agnostic militant way that so many people are doing to transpose popular yarns of war to the stage;but it was captivating and sparked a ton of discussion !
Got the dream team back together and spent another weekend JUST for shows in New York
Miss Saigon: they did a lot of work at revitalizing this blockbuster ( a long time favourite of mine because of the MUSIC!) and they kinda did everything I ever wanted them to do to make the story and characters more palatable. This is not a white saviour story. This is a story about conflict and multi dimensional characters , blended dark and light, spotlit against the travesty of a complicated war. There are not heroes and heroines in this piece: just sweeping music and poor decisions informed by impossible situations.
So first, there are some great additions to the soundtrack ( albeit some lyrically challenged). Second, the production values are astonishing: costumes, lighting, sets, design--- truly breathtaking. STORYLINE --- this has always been problematic and somehow it becomes more apparent on stage when told in this way. I enjoyed it; but I wasn't floored. I kept turning to my friend Kat, scrunching up my nose to match her puzzled expression in the dark and shaking my head. The pre-teen girls in their sparkles LOVED IT
GUYS! I bought the soundtrack to this early in the summer and it is just absolutely dazzling. On stage, this is just a revelation: the actors sing, dance, act (triple threats!!!) and PLAY INSTRUMENTS! You see a real live swing band form before your eyes. I loved the story of recent veterans from the Second World War returning home to find that the world hasn't stopped as they anticipated; nor is it rolling out the red carpet as they dreamed when in the trenches. A bit more careful characterization could have drawn out some of the individual stories of the supporting band members, but Laura Osnes and Corey Cott (!!!) were exceptional
Kim's Convenience Readers of this blog know that this is not my first time with this show. Due to my friend Kat's close relationship with it, I have followed it around --- this time to New York! It was so lovely to see a slice of Toronto find a home in Manhattan for a little while and touch audiences in America the way it does here
Half a Sixpence
This is the show you pick to see in the West End when you want to see the most British thing you can conjure. Based on a lesser known H G Wells novel, it is kinda Downton meet Great Expectations meets--well any Lord of the Manor from humble beginnings tale. The music isn't memorable, the story is flimsy; but there's this adorable bunny (actor Charlie Stemp) who has a whole lot of gumption and a banjo and literally takes the show and runs off with it. You literally cannot take your eyes of him. When you do, you see a tightly produced piece with expert voices and choreography that are far better than the material they are performing. A fun night out and so very British I cannot even....
One of the reasons I trekked to the UK this summer, was to check up on my friend Maggie and her immersive show in the Edinburgh Fringe, Intermission. It was kinda neat to see how this piece---infused throughout Edinburgh by marriage of stage show and app and video and podcast--- came to be.
Whew! I think that is it ! Mel and I are off to Stratford to see Twelfth Night on the weekend--- so will keep you posted on that
Catch Up Posts will continue .....