The Comedy About A Bank Robbery" by the same acting troupe and absolutely loved it. That comedy was hilarious but also witty with a great farcical plot delivered with impeccable timing by the accomplished performers. Unfortunately "The Play That Goes Wrong" did not measure up in any respect. As the title implies, the show deals with a group of actors putting on an extremely low budget play where everything that can go wrong, does so. But rather than clever farce, the plot was banal and the humour involved the lowest form of slapstick that failed to be funny after the same pratfalls and crumbling set sequences were repeated endlessly. A good comedy starts slowly and gradually adds to the insanity until all hell breaks loose at the climax. This play went full throttle right from the start, then could not sustain the pace since there was nowhere else for it to progress to.
** Photos by David CooperBy comparison, Ladykillers, which we watched at the Shaw Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in June had much more interesting characters, dialogue and a clever plot based on the classic 1955 crime comedy starring Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers. A group of hapless bank robbers who are preparing for a heist, rent a room from a seemingly sweet little old lady, Mrs.Wilberforce, while pretending to be classical musicians. Problems ensue when their intrepid landlady gleans the truth of the situation and the robbers agonize over how to deal with her. I particularly liked the staging and set of the production, which showed a cross section of Mrs Wilberforce's two-storied home so that we could see the activities of the criminals in their second-floor room at the same time as the puttering of the old lady downstairs, as well as watch their reactions each time she comes up the stairs towards them. The set then spins around to show to exterior of the house, where more shenanigans take place. While the timing of the physical comedy was not perfect, this was still an extremely entertaining show to watch. We saw this at the beginning of its run, so perhaps the timing would have been better later in the season.
The musical Waitress, with music and lyrics written by singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, is based on the 2007 film of the same name starring Keri Russell. Jenna is the titular waitress who wants to leave her unhappy marriage when she finds out that she is pregnant after a drunken encounter with her abusive husband. Jenna finds solace in the pies that she bakes at the diner that she works for. As a clever tie-in to the musical, small jars of fruit pie were sold before the start of Waitress. Both Dear Evan Hanson and Waitress were good shows but I wasn't sure either was worth all the hype. I found the songs to be rather bland and not very memorable with the exception of the big number from each show—"You Will Be Found" and "She Used to Be Mine" respectively.
Umm Kulthum and Omar Sharif". Although I recognized the name of actor Omar Sharif, I did not realize that Umm Kulthum was a famous Egyptian singer and actress active from the 1920s to 1970s.
In 2019, we discovered the Crow's Theatre in the East end of Toronto which has two performance spaces—the larger Guloien Theatre and the smaller, more intimate Scotia Community Studio. There we watched two of the most unique and challenging plays of the season—The Flick and Ghost Quartet. Each show demanded your attention in a different way and stretched your preconceived notions of what to expect from a play.
Including the three musicals that we watched on Broadway when we visited Manhattan in December, we saw many great shows in 2019 and already have several lined up for 2020.