Monday, May 27, 2013

Openings We're Tracking This Week, May 26-June 1

(photo by Jeff Busby [cropped])

Yup, yup, yup - it's a chick play but in that form it is a mighty one. It is also one of the great ensemble plays and, more rarely, actor-bait for a cast of women. Steel Magnolias, yes, has been made into a movie with a raft of Hollywood's greatest actors, but on stage it is a different experience, watching the people of a small town fill the space (a hair salon) - with gossip, down-South hilarity, gentle sniping, believable life-stories, tears but, ultimately, love. The company is good. The Company is good. (Ottawa)

We aren't crazy about Neil Simon's work but there are a couple we will accept into the pantheon of great comedies. The best of them is The Odd Couple. If you don't know it, just the premise will strike you as funny: a recently divorced fussbudget turns to his best friend for shelter. The friend, needless to say, is a world-class slob. Now...there is a version of the play that makes the principals women and that's the one hitting the stage here. The set-piece of the original - a poker game - becomes Trivial Pursuit in this version and instead of ditzy but pretty British sisters being on the receiving end of The Odd Couple's attention, it's a pair of Spaniards. Hey! it's summer froth...sit back an enjoy! (Mississauga, Ontario)

Last week, when Ganesh Versus The Third Reich was playing Calgary's Theatre Junction, the company's administrator, Kirsten White, Tweeted, "Love the looks of 'What the hell did I just see?' after a @TheatreJunction show." We love that look at the end of a show as well and Festival TransAmérique is becoming delightfully notorious for birthing that look. Like Junction, they also very wisely programmed this show from Australia about the Hindu god looking to reclaim the swastika from the Nazis. Look at the picture (above). Revel in the feeling of being off balance! (Read also Chad Dembski's interview with the artistic director of the company.) (Montreal)

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