baby grand studio

A Beautiful Play

Amy Rutherford & Becky Johnson, “A Beautiful View”

It is through the partnership of Theatre Kingston and Volcano Theatre that “A Beautiful View“, Daniel MacIvor’s play about another partnership, is currently playing in the Baby Grand Studio.  Two women appear on stage and tell the story of their relationship.  Sound simple?  Of course it does.  But of course it’s not.

As is typical of MacIvor’s work, “A Beautiful View” is far from a neatly packaged, linear and straightforward night at the theatre.  In this case, though, such is entirely suitable because the same can be said of the nature of self-identity, friendship, and love as explored in the piece.  Just like any meaningful relationship, the play demands a level of commitment – a combination of effort and perseverance to see it through to its end. (more…)

Seeing Red

Ben Sanders & Randy Hughson, photo by Mark Bergin

Ben Sanders & Randy Hughson, photo by Mark Bergin

Since its very beginning as “Theatre Beyond” in 1991, Theatre Kingston has been known for bringing challenging pieces to local audiences – typically ambitious and risky productions that may not have mainstream appeal, but are meant to enrich as well as entertain their audiences.  The current staging of John Logan’s “Red“, playing now in the Baby Grand Studio, is a perfect example of such a project, and is near-perfect in its execution.

“Red” is a vivid look into the life of famed artist Mark Rothko (circa 1958) as he undertakes the painting of a group of murals for The Four Seasons, an exclusive and expensive restaurant.  In addition to grappling with his own demons and creative process, he must also contend with a young new assistant, who has his own ideas and aspirations.  It is a play which explores the very essence of art: its creators, its creation, and its consumption.  “Everyone likes everything nowadays”, laments Rothko in the opening scene.  “Everything becomes everything else and it’s all nice and pretty and likeable.  Everything is fun in the sun!”  This play, however, is not.  And as such, the playwright has crafted a brilliant ‘case in point’ – if, that is, all of the elements of the production are able to live up to the lofty expectations established by the script itself. (more…)

She’s A Nine

Blue Canoe's "Nine"

Alex Oliver and Katie Oake in Blue Canoe’s “Nine”

There is a quote from the Kingston Whig Standard that appears prominently on the cover of the program for Blue Canoe‘s production of “Nine”:  “imaginative, energetic and engaging”.  Although I have no idea which former show this statement pertains to, it is most certainly suitable for this one, as well.

“Nine”, book by Arthur Kopit and music/lyrics by Maury Yestin, is the story of 1960’s Italian filmmaker Guido Contini, who is facing the simultaneous breakdown of both his professional and personal lives.  The tale unravels at a very quick pace, so you best pay attention if you hope to keep up, as there is little exposition or breathing room to provide any opportunity to catch up.  The narrative is neither linear nor straightforward, so those audience members who fall behind, are likely to be left behind.  Those, on the other hand, who follow along keenly will reap the benefits of some very rich and clever writing. (more…)