Theatre in London

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Cherry Docs

Reviewed by , February 16, 2017

Ninety minutes is not a lot of time to unpack the motivations behind racism, the challenges of balancing social responsibility with personal beliefs, and exploring personal growth and understanding. And though the Procunier Hall venue should serve as an ideal setting for such a study of intimate emotions, Cherry Docs suffers from a superficiality that’s magnified by acting, directorial, and set-related challenges.

Cherry Docs is the story of Danny (Kyle Stewart), a liberal Jewish lawyer assigned to be the legal aid representation of skinhead Mike (Derek Barr) who has confessed to the …

Entering Eight Worlds a Night: PlayWrights Cabaret 2017

By , January 18, 2017

Jeff Culbert and Carolyn Nesbitt-Larking

When the lights go down on a theatre stage, an audience knows they are going to be transported into a world for a few hours.

That’s the norm.

This weekend, however, those sitting in the McManus Theatre will be transported into 8 different worlds each night.

Eight stories per evening, eight different playwrights, two directors and a handful of actors will transfix audiences ten minutes at a time.

The annual PlayWrights Cabaret was the brainchild of former Grand Artistic Director Susan Ferley and has proven to be a gateway for fledgling playwrights into the world of theatre.

This year for example, London’s Carolyn Nesbitt-Larking makes her playwriting bow with Johannah, a play about the last ten minutes of Johannah (“Black”) Donnelly’s life.

Set in …

Jenny’s House of Joy

Reviewed by , January 14, 2017

Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession, but it’s also one with its own ideas of propriety, ambition and politics. This play is an enjoyable exploration of that kind of life, a comic tale with a refreshingly non-judgmental tone laced with a genuine humanity.

In the Old West, Jenny (Colleen McGeough) runs a successful brothel with the naively socially ambitious Anita (Bronwyn Wilson) and the hard bitten Frances (Charlene McNabb) as her employees. Suddenly, the refined and desperate Natalie (Kaitlyn Rietdyk) comes pleading for a job and proves, after some adjustment, to be surprisingly talented …

The Secret Garden

Reviewed by , December 4, 2016

Modern adaptations of classics of children’s literature can be a minefield, with sometimes jarring cultural attitudes or a numbing preciousness that has nothing to relate to. Thankfully, this does not apply to this play, which is tuneful and even moving story about a girl learning …

The New Grand

By , November 15, 2016

At a press conference this morning, the Grand Theatre’s new artistic director, Dennis Garnhum, and a selection of Canadian theatre artists announced the theatre’s new play development program, Compass. Described as an “opportunity for London… to be on the forefront of theatre in Canada”, it currently comprises five new works presenting “our stories on our stages”.

While four of the projects are at a very early phase of conception (two have creative teams attached, and the others are ideas formulated in the last six weeks), one—Vancouver playwright Trina Davies’ Silence: Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell—reveals the first hint of Garnhum’s programming for the 2017–2018 season. Told from Mabel’s perspective as a deaf woman, the play was developed at Theatre Calgary (where Garnhum was …