Grand Hotel

I enjoyed the Shaw production of Grand Hotel though the music itself is not very memorable. I didn’t leave the show haunted by any of the melodies but by the wonderful performances. Director Eda Holmes had her hands full with set of strong, compelling characters – at time it was more traffic cop with all the blocking needed to move everyone, sometimes all at once, on the stage. 

Based on the 1932 all-star film the plot moves with clockwork perfection. Multiple characters with different needs, motivations & secrets interact over 24 hours in a plush hotel. Staff is attentive but have their own stories tell as well. I loved the telephone operators. As ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya, Deborah Hay demonstrates some real ballet barre chops. Vanessa Sears as Flaemmchen gives ‘Girl In The Mirror’ real longing.

This is very much an ensemble piece. It’s almost as if the writers counted words to make sure each principle character had their fair share of lines. All were strong singers and dancers as well. Parker Esse’s choreography captured the energy of 1929 without it feeling like a museum piece. It was also clear that the cast loved what they were doing. The energy in ‘We’ll Take A Glass Together’ was palpable. Michael Therriault as Otto Kringelein shows amazing physicality in this number as well. The spinning bar was a delight.

The script handles multiple characters without becoming confusing or muddled. The layers of story telling were intricate &, for a change, logical. I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of the play though. My only negative comment is that the sound balance for the chorus scenes: multiple characters singing different view points with the chorus having their own songs – became rather muddy – as if the band felt it had to play louder to be heard – result: singers & lyrics drowned out.

1929 Berlin was simmering between the wars & there is little sense of what was to be, when people come to the Cabaret. A thoroughly entertaining production I’d recommend. 

Other recent reviews:

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: “a ghost haunting the past” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-30f 

Coriolanus: “My rage is gone” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-31K 

The King and I: “The King and My Memories” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-31Y

Julius Caesar: “Honourable Women” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-33T

The Hound of the Baskervilles: “Entertainment Afoot”

https://wp.me/p1RtxU-34I

The Tempest: “Brave Spirits Indeed” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-35S

http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/event/hot-damn-its-a-queer-slam-feat-janice-lee/

#sfPericles 

Pericles is journey/quest play that takes us through parallel universes were fathers & daughters, loss & love struggle to find happy endings.The play opens when Diana & her maidens walk on stage singing – no boarding call, no lights down & we’re on our journey. The production breaks into song several times. Sweet or stirring, moments of Les Mis & echoes of Brecht made for captivating moments.

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gone but not Starbucks yet

The cast was solid, some excellent villainous then comic work from Wayne Best, stalwart Evan Buliung managing to age well & suffer without being one-note. Deborah Hay was good but the decision to have her play three different women in the same dress confused some of the audience – at one point there was an nubile audience whisper: who is she now?

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I reflect on empty seats

Each place Pericles arrives is clearly different though – excellent costume work gives the show a sense of moving though time as well – from Victorian, to Renaissance. Great sea storms, sword play and romance gave the production momentum & energy.

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candy in refraction

I enjoyed the resonance of other Shakespeare plays that run through Pericles – The Tempest, Claire Lautier as a clear Lady MacB, plus all the plays where someone washes up on shore, is thought dead & isn’t, or survives a bawd’s life. An excellent production well directed by Scott Wentworth & highly recommended.

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losing his head to the music

Check out my other Festival reviews: Love’s Labours Lost: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1ik; The Physicists http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1j4.

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Seeds

like a sparrow

fluttering from Sylvia’s tree

i drop down

looking for seeds

 

i follow others

pecking at the past

for kernels of what happened

to bring me to this point

 

it’s not that my memory

is barren or faulty

but that part of my past

isn’t where so much springs from

 

a happy home

with no abuse

strange & sad to admit

what a normal family i had

 

can’t blame them

for me wanting to pick up a gun

and shoot everyone who ever

treated me wrong

 

stranger & sadder to admit

no one ever treated me so wrong

that i look to my past

for seamy secrets

 

i don’t look to my dad

with blame but with gratitude

my mind is not clouded

with revenge or rescue

 

i don’t swim lost

in a sea of things to say

to change but feel compelled

to peck at the past

 

looking for some grain of truth

to bring to this discussion

about fathers & sons

some drama trauma confession

 

but i can’t and frankly

i am glad that this lack of grist

pushes me out of the tree

once again

soon

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

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