Whenever I go to review theatre, I continue my tradition of sitting in the aisle seat and enjoying a drinkee at intermission.
From the Stratford and Shaw Festivals in North America, to London's West End, I always get the aisle seat. (Tho meethinks London may have been a lucky fluke as I was there to see my friends Gerry and the Pacemakers when they were in Ferry Cross the Mercey.) Imagine my delight when the usher told me I could take my capped libation to the British Aisles with me.
And I am happy that this civilized practice is now carried out in many a Canadian theatre aisle as well.
2013 year marks my 30th season writing about The Stratford Festival.
Thank God they switched the name back from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
ZOUNDS! And ….. now that I am once again single my theatre loving friends are rejoicing because I can amass my own Guest List. Although for the first time in 30 years, a longtime friend asked me to be his guest which was a lovely birthday surprise.
From my aisle seat, I've seen my first two shows at Stratford this year.
Waiting for Godot (pronounced Goddo) is a masterpiece and a season highlight.
Directed by Jennifer Tarver, it features more of the fabulous chemistry between actors Stephen Ouimette and Brian Dennehy as witnessed in previous season productions The Homecoming, and Twelfth Night.
With Ouimette as Estragon, and Dennehy as Pozzo, Samuel Beckett's timeless libretto is interpreted with great gusto and aplomb. The talented duo are complimented by the excellent work of Tom Rooney (Vladmir) and Randy Hughson (Lucky) which creates a brilliant and delightful absurdist quartet.
In fact, Hughson's portrayal of Lucky is the best I have ever seen.
Romeo and Juliet is a blessedly traditional Elizabethan vision thanks to sublime director Tim Carroll. Sara Topham's Juliet is reminiscent of Olivia Hussey's impassioned performance in the Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film classic. Topham is supported by a fine brace of acting veterans including Jonathan Goad (Mercutio), Kate Hennig (The Nurse), Tom McCamus (Friar Lawrence) and Scott Wentworth (Lord Capulet). Mike Nadajewski almost steals the show as Peter! But debut actor Daniel Briere as Romeo.... Wherefore art thou in this role? Here's such a coil!
When it comes to commentary, I prefer to call myself “reviewer” or “arts writer.”
Because I feel the need to know so much more. I am neither 'highbrow' nor 'lowbrow'.
Suffice to say, I am .... 'no brow'. And would never deign myself “critic” (the word curiously used as insult bandied about in Godot!)
The Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan
Home of The Famous Algonquin Round Table!
My heroine Dorothy Parker was a 'critic'.
Parker aka Queen of the Quipping 1920's Algonquin Round Table alias The Vicious Circle drank and dished with fellow merry magazine scribes Robert Benchley, and playwright George S.Kaufman on a regular basis. The Algonquin's famed Gonk Bar features a sophisticated sip Martini on the Rock – a $10,000 imbibe which boasts a diamond inspired by Parker's famed avowal "I love a Martini..."
On a recent trip to New York, I sat in The Gonk paying homage to my critical hero by raising a glass of sparkling white vino. Excelsior! I too have a pithy (sometimes) vicious circle comprised of fellow writers, and good friends called The Cranks which meets on a semi regular basis. And I would like to think I have Miss Parker's caustic blessing.
To quote Dot, I too am a “rhinestone in the rough.”
To the Aisles!