Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer theatre season kicks into high gear in Niagara

Well, with the start of June, thoughts turn away from winter afternoons and evenings spent in concert halls and turn instead to indoor and outdoor theatre venues. There are a variety of choices for summer music enjoyment in Niagara and beyond, and we'll look at some of those later in the month. This week, though, we'll begin looking at some of the many choices for summer theatre in the Region and beyond, and there are plenty of choices.

First up, I attended the opening night performance last Friday evening of Lakeside Players' final play at the Port Mansion Dinner Theatre in Port Dalhousie. Lakeside is one of the groups of amateur thespians soon to be displaced as the reconstruction of Port Dalhousie takes place (or destruction, if you're on that side of the fence regarding the revitalization project soon to get underway). Tenants of the Port Mansion will have to find another venue for their performances, and who knows where that might be. It is a shame to lose such a cozy, intimate space such as Port Mansion. It is tight seating on a busy night, but that's part of the fun of summer theatre in Port.

The final offering by Lakeside Players is a winner: Norm Foster's The Love List, starring Tim Denis as Bill, Paul Wintemute as Leon, and Sarah Stevens as Justine. The play is directed by Brian DiMartile. Basically, Bill is a lonely guy who wishes he could meet his ideal match; Leon wants to help by using a matchmaking gypsy to set him up with someone, and presents a so-called 'love list' so you can list your top ten attributes you want in a woman. Wouldn't you know it, the 'ideal' woman for Bill just shows up that very night, and over the course of the play both Leon and Bill discover you might be sorry what you wish for. The play is great fun, although with some adult content to be aware of, and all three members of the cast are in top form. Stevens, especially, puts on a great show and makes the evening that much better. The Love List, another of the Norm Foster summer comedies he is known for, runs at the Port Mansion Dinner Theatre until July 4th, with show only, dinner/show and Sunday brunch/show packages all available. Call the boxoffice at 905-934-0575.

A couple of weeks ago, the Shaw Festival season got underway, although preview performances of many plays have been running since April. Opening Week is always exciting, and I remember my years attending all the openings at Shaw, although now I spread the performances over the entire summer so I can pace myself better. Open now at Shaw are the following: An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde, directed by Jackie Maxwell, at the Festival Theatre until October 31st; The Women by Clare Boothe Luce, directed by Alisa Palmer, also at the Festival Theatre until October 9th; Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, adapted by Tom Murphy and directed by Jason Byrne, at the Court House Theatre until October 2nd; Harvey by Mary Chase, directed by Joseph Ziegler, at the Royal George Theatre until October 31st; and the musical One Touch of Venus, with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ogden Nash, who also wrote the book with S.J. Perelman, directed by Eda Holmes, also at the Royal George Theatre until October 10th. Still to come at Shaw this season are Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma; Shaw's John Bull's Other Island; Linda Griffiths' Age of Arousal; the lunchtime offering of Half an Hour by J.M. Barrie; and Caryl Churchill's Serious Money, at the Studio Theatre.

I hope to start attending my Shaw shows next weekend, and will be writing about them in this space shortly afterwards; my ratings will also appear on the calendar page of my website at For tickets to all Shaw shows, go to, or call 1-800-511-SHAW.

This coming week, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival gets their Opening Week underway, although again, preview performances have been going on since April. Opening this week in Stratford are the following: Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Des McAnuff, opening June 7th at the Festival Theatre; Cole Porter's musical take on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate, opens June 8th at the Festival Theatre, directed by John Doyle; Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, directed by Marti Maraden, at the Tom Patterson Theatre, opening June 9th; the musical Evita, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, opening at the Avon Theatre June 10th and directed by Gary Griffin; the musical based on the life and times of Jacques Brel, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, opening June 11th at the Tom Patterson Theatre and directed by Stafford Arima; and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, directed by Tim Carroll, opening at the Avon Theatre June 12th. Still to come at Stratford this season: Shakespeare's The Tempest; Christopher Hampton's Dangerous Liaisons; For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again by Michel Tremblay; Do Not Go Gentle by Leon Pownall; Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona; and George F. Walker's King of Thieves.

I will be in Stratford throughout the summer months, starting later this month, and my reviews will be appearing in this space as well, beginning at the end of the month. Again, my ratings will appear on the calendar page of my website, For tickets to all Stratford shows, log on to or call 1-800-567-1600.

Let the summer theatre season begin!

June 5th, 2010.


慶天 said...

說「吃虧就是便宜的人」,多半不是吃虧的人。 ............................................................

Anonymous said...