Monday, March 25, 2013

Openings We're Tracking This Week, March 25 - April 1

Victor Hugo's novels - big mofo tomes - have been adapted to theatre many times. Les Mis, of course, being the most famous example, but there is also the made-in-Canada musical Notre Dame de Paris (which played Paris and then London for a bit). But Hugo's plays, outside of classrooms and French-language artsy theatres, have gone largely ignored beyond their various incarnations as operas. You know...the plays are not bad at all! The best of them is Le roi s'amuse which, this week, is appearing in a spiffy new translation called The Prince's Play. At its heart it is a love story gone terribly wrong with a father who doesn't want his daughter ruined by the man she loves (a cad). Sound familiar? Of course, it's also the source material for Rigoletto. (Vancouver)

Two brothers, one stable, the other a class-A loser, are together in their mother's tidy little house. What can go wrong? Well, this being Sam Shepard's True West, the answer is everything. In a perfect combo of character, dialogue and plotting, Shepard proves that he is unsurpassed as a portraitist of America. Soulpepper offers a first-rate cast and a warning of "Coarse language." Well...yeah! (Toronto)

When The Boy Friend was first produced in London in 1954, it was instantly a smash hit - probably because of its larky music and story in a time, you'll remember, when post-war food rationing was just ending. When it moved to Broadway, the lead was taken by an unknown with an unbelieveable eight-octave range. There she was discovered and soon moved onto true stardom in My Fair Lady. It was Julie Andrews, of course. Andrews is also largely responsible for the present-day interest in the musical as she directed a production of it in 2003. It's energy, it's razz-ma-tazz, it's fun and, into the bargain, here you get a university cast. (Vancouver)

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