Reviews

BRMC Album and Tour Update

Posted on by Vik in Concerts, Everything, Theatre | 3 Comments

brmc black rebel motorcycle club Beat The Devil's Tattoo

It’s been over a year since we’ve heard any news on a new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album. Something we have been anticipating especially after the heated debate on whether their last release ‘The Effects of 333′ was considered a proper follow up to Baby 81 (or even a proper album for that matter).

According to a recent update the is set to release ‘Beat The Devil’s Tattoo’, on March 9th and is embarking on an extensive tour through North America and Europe beginning February 26th, 2010.

I for one am looking forward to hearing some new stuff. Here are the dates:

February 26 Sacramento, CA Harlow’s
February 27 Reno, NV Knitting Factory
February 28 Las Vegas, NV Wasted Space @ Hard Rock Hotel
March 2 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
March 4 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
March 5 Seattle, WA Showbox Market
March 6 Vancouver, B.C. Commodore
March 7 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
March 9 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
March 13 San Diego, CA House of Blues
March 14 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex
March 18 Dallas, TX House of Blues
March 20 Houston, TX House of Blues
March 21 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
March 23 St. Louis, MO Pageant
March 24 Madison, WA High Noon
March 25 Chicago, IL Metro
March 26 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
March 27 Minneapolis, MN First Ave.
March 30 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
March 31 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
April 1 Toronto, ONT Phoenix
April 2 Montreal, QC La Tulipe
April 3 Boston, MA House of Blues
April 5 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
April 7 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
April 8 New York, NY Webster Hall

Check out their website for the rest of ‘em.

SummerWorks Review: Greenland [The Greenland Collective]

Posted on by Brian in Everything, Reviews, Summerworks, Theatre | Leave a comment

GNLD 43

It’s been a few days now, and aside from finding new and creative ways to put off writing my last couple of SummerWorks reviews, I’ve been thinking about Greenland, and trying to come up with reasons why it’s such an amazingly spectacular show. Certainly, along with Melancholy Play, it’s the best show of the festival, at least out of the ones I saw.

Really, it’s all about the characters.

Jonathan (Andrew Musselman) is one of the world’s leading glaciologists (yeah it’s a real thing, look it up). He’s discovered an island off the coast of Greenland, previously unknown because it was covered by a glacier. He relates his story of being interviewed about his discovery. He talks about his father, about getting his Dad ice for his belts of rye when he was small. He talks a little about his own family, particularly his wife Judith. It’s all quite interesting and funny and just a bit sad.

Judith (Clair Calnan) is Jonathan’s wife. She’s an actor, and desperately wants a kid by Jonathan. She talks about feeling like her ovaries are drying up. How she and her husband are not really a good match, that they don’t really understand each other’s occupations. And she talks about her sister an brother-in-law, and how they were killed in an accident, when a piece broke off a bridge and crushed their car while they were in it, orphaning their two teenage kids. About her and Jonathan taking them both in. And she smokes like a chimney while doing it. It’s really sad, rather sexy, and compelling as hell.

Tanya (Jajube Mandiela) is their niece and adopted daughter. She’s doing a school report on Greenland. She talks about her twin brother, about dealing with death, about living with Jonathan and Judith, and makes up a fable on the spot for Jonathan’s newly-discovered island. It’s REALLY sad, but also inspiring and stunning.

And that’s all there is to it, really. The three of them come up, one at a time, with a spotlight on each, and they tell their stories. They don’t interact with each other on stage, they don’t speak to each other. The story comes out through their respective soliloquies, and it paints a complex, sad family picture.

It’s just a terrific piece of work, and all three actors in it are wonderful. The details of their stories is fantastic and the performances so nuanced that’s it was impossible not to be completely drawn in.

The show was an hour long, but flew by.

If you see that there’s a production of this show upcoming, see it, especially if this cast is reprising their roles. Hopefully it’ll be in a bigger space, since the 55-seat Passe Muraille Backspace couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted to see it (I felt bad, some people waited in line for an hour and still didn’t get in, while I had advance tickets).

SummerWorks: Capsule Reviews (Piano Tuner, Gilgamesh, Parrot/Tennessee, Apricots)

Posted on by Brian in Everything, Summerworks, Theatre | 1 Comment

Gilgamesh4

I’m pretty behind in my reviews and SummerWorks is nearing completion. I’m also getting burned out on plays after seeing four plays yesterday (I was scheduled to see Doppleganger and Underneath today but am passing on both from theatre over-exertion, so I apologize to those shows and to SummerWorks for cancelling on them) and 15 in just 7 days.

I’m also getting a little tired of writing full-length reviews of shows I didn’t love. Contrary to what some might think, I really do wish I could write rave reviews of every show. It sucks to write poor reviews, it’s way more fun to write good ones. As such, I’ll have full-length reviews of Greenland and the Sunparlour Players show shortly, and here’s some quick thoughts and capsule reviews of four shows I’ve seen since Friday: The Piano Tuner, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Under the Parrot/Over Tennessee, and Apricots.

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SummerWorks Review: Melancholy Play [Project Undertow]

Posted on by Brian in Everything, Summerworks, Theatre | Leave a comment

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Man, this reviewing gig is tough sometimes. How can I write a coherent review of a show when all I want to do is rave about it and call it the best I’ve seen at SummerWorks, at least so far? I think it’s easier to write a detailed review of a show you hated…

So what can I say about Melancholy Play? It centres around a woman named Tillie who is embroiled in a very deep melancholy. The funny thing about it is, during her melancholy she says the most enchanting (and absurd, but that’s part of the reason it’s so funny) things about her sadness and suffering and the world around her that the people around her, both men and women, can’t help but fall in love with her. These people include her psychiatrist, tailor, hairdresser, and a nurse who’s involved with the hairdresser. They all fall for Tillie, but when Tillie suddenly becomes a happy person, their love for her fades and they become miserable.

It’s silly, but it’s a show that has a lot of heart, too, with an understanding of the certain kind of sadness and depression that makes up melancholy. The kind of sadness that leaves one staring out the window in the afternoon, doing nothing more than observing the passage of time, or leads you to see the beauty in another person’s tears and makes you want to keep them forever.

There’s a lot of talk like that in the show (in fact, these two examples are relatively tame and straightforward), and it takes a very skilled cast to deliver those sorts of lines without sounding just ludicrous and totally beyond what a person would actually say. Fortunately, Melancholy Play has just such a cast. Ennis Esmer (Frank) and Pamela Rhae Ferguson (Frances) have a couple of scenes where they speak the same lines in concert without looking at each other, which is a whole lot harder to do than it looks. Anna Hardwick has some memorable lines as Joan. There’s a woman on stage, Cheryl Ockrant, who plays cello throughout the show, giving it some very proper melancholic ambience. Salvatore Antonio is a hoot as Lorenzo, Tillie’s psychiatrist, who speaks with an over the top accent (“I am from a eur-OH-pee-an country”) and keeps bringing up that his mother abandoned him as a child in a candy shop. And both actresses who play Tillie, Ingrid Rae Doucet as melancholy Tillie and Melissa-Jane Shaw as happy Tillie, strike just the right notes.

And if I can be slightly lewd for a moment, I don’t need a play to have several beautiful female cast members with very lovely legs who mostly wear short skirts throughout the show to enjoy it, with two of them in a relationship and living together and spending one scene trying to seduce a third. I don’t NEED that to enjoy a play, but it certainly doesn’t hurt…

Really, though, it’s a wonderfully absurd script by Sarah Ruhl, directed nicely by Rosa Laborde with a superb cast. I laughed the hardest that I’ve laughed all festival throughout, and don’t have a single bad thing to say about Melancholy Play. Sounds like a 5/5 to me.

Melancholy Play has just one show left at SummerWorks: August 15 at 10:30 at Factory Theatre Mainspace. See it if you can.