Belles Soeurs: The Musical is a very unlikely musical. Based on the play Les Belles-Soeurs by Michel Tremblay, Belles Soeurs introduces the audience to Germaine Lauzon, a working-class housewife in Quebec who has just won a million trading stamps from a department store. The jackpot is so large it would allow Germaine a chance to buy everything in the latest store catalogue. So overcome with pride and joy Germaine invites the neighborhood over for a party where everyone will help paste the stamps into the appropriate booklets for redemption. As Germaine’s neighbors, closest friends and family make their way into her crowded kitchen the jealousy, bitterness and contempt for Germaine’s prize sneaks up rather quickly souring what should be one of Germaine’s happiest days.Read the full review.
Concord Floral, a rundown greenhouse on the outskirts of Hunt Club, is the local teenage hang out. It’s abandoned, dangerous and perhaps a little haunted, which is enough of a draw to make it the place to go for parties, hookups or to just hang out if one has snuck out past their curfew. This dilapidated building holds secrets of its own and hosts a number of haunted, if not haunting, characters.Read the full review.
The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God finds Rainey, played by Lucinda Davis, fighting to make her way out from rock bottom. Three years after the sudden and unexpected loss of her daughter, marred in a divorce and suffering from severe mental health issues you would typically find on a TLC show, Rainey finds herself back in her hometown, a small Cottage country town in Western Ontario along the shores of Negro Creek. It’s here where Rainey encounters a whirlwind of activity which draws her from out of her haunted past into the present and may just make her step away from the ledge.
The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God is a very ambitious project that The National Arts Centre English Theatre has decided to open their 2015-16 Season with. It’s a show that relies heavily on a very talented and enthusiastic chorus, who are on stage 99% of the time. It’s a show that has a fairly large cast and a unique group of different characters all with their own motivations and goals. It’s a show that runs nearly three hours long, yet within it’s extremely long run time has very little actual content. The plot of this play could be told in just over an hour if we were to cut out all of the singing and dancing, which while it definitely does add to the quality of the show, also makes the show drag out longer than it needs to be.Read the full review.
A timid and meek Golyadkin faces his nightmares, his friends, his enemies and himself in A Bad New Days Production of The Double, presented by the National Arts Centre English Theatre. Read the full review.
Take Me Back to Jefferson partners The National Arts English Theatre with Theatre Smith-Gilmour in its minimalist stage adaptation of William Faulkner’s 1930 southern Gothic novel As I Lay Dying. Read the full review.
The NAC English Theatres 2014/15 Ensemble assemble once last time in the political drama, Stuff Happens, based on the backroom conversations and dogmatic aspirations of those within the Bush administration post-9/11.
Should You See It?
I have truly enjoyed this season’s 2014/15 Ensemble at the NAC English Theatre and was quite looking forward to David Ferry’s interpretation of David Hare’s Stuff Happens. The show is an immense one, as it showcases a large ensemble of actors who are playing close to 40 different characters at any given time. Stuff Happens follows the likes of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Colin Powell and other heavy-hitters as the acting officials of the day did everything they could to manipulate the events of 9/11 and enter into Iraq on false pretenses and start a war, presented in the most Shakespearian of ways.
The biggest problem in this play is that 14 years after 9/11, we are already privy to every shocking moment this play is supposed to hold. We’ve become so desensitized to the corrupt actions of political leaders worldwide that this play doesn’t really carry the punch it would have carried when it was first premiered in 2004.
In the program the show is listed as running 2 and a half hours including an intermission. In reality, the show ran over 3 hours, with an off-kilter pacing that, I’m not kidding, put three people, within a very close vicinity to me, asleep, snores included, in the 2nd Act. The strong acting portrayed by Stuart Hughes (George W. Bush), Alex McCooeye (Colin Powell) and Greg Malone (Donald Rumsfeld) just wasn’t enough to distract from the very long and dry content that is Stuff Happens.
The best part of this show was its integration of technology into the stage. The setting itself was extremely simple, yet its sheer backdrop that allowed media to be displayed throughout the show was by far the most engaging piece in this artistic puzzle. It made up for the over the top wordy narrations that held no true significance to the story.
As the show wraps up its obvious that this show has evolved since its initial debut in 2004, as the content within the show expands on events after that date. In an attempt to seem relevant the show goes from being informative to preachy as it compares the war in Iraq to international governmental handlings of ISIS.
Overall, Stuff Happens is a show whose relevance is waning and whose run time bogs down any significant impact that it is attempting to make.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. Did you find Stuff Happens more engaging than I did? How did you feel about the shows intention to compare the present ISIS situation to that of 9/11? Let us know in the comments section below!
Nothing is as it seems in the stage adaption of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass which runs through the Holiday Season on the NAC English Theatre Stage. Read the full review.
Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata explores the darker realms of Craigslist through the best medium: laughter. Read the full review.