NS reviews

Reviews of theatre and art in Nova Scotia and beyond

Seeing a fantastic, feminist rant and meeting a wizard at the Halifax Fringe



Gillian English takes on the bard and the patriarchy in 10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew at the Halifax Fringe Festival. 

Gillian English’s 10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew is a funny, angry, feminist rant against one of Shakespeare’s most problematic plays.

English is an award-winning Australian powerhouse by way of Pictou County and a Halifax Fringe favourite. She is amazing in her rage, her volume, her rapidity of delivery and how she crams so much information and humour into one hour with a lot of asides into personal story and contemporary life.

Women will love this raw, honest show though a few men laughed loudly when I saw it at Neptune’s Studio Theatre. English is not a manhater; she does have a boyfriend in Tasmania. She just wants a world where men stop raping women and women’s pants have decent, deep pockets.

The Taming of the Shrew, adapted into the 1999 romcom 10 Things I Hate About You with the Nick Lowe song Cruel To Be Kind, is great material for a feminist tear-down. Its tale of taming an angry, independent woman into an obedient wife has always been unsettling for women.

This honest, blazing show is very true and cathartic for any woman who’s held her keys  at night walking back alone to her parked car. English’s self-defense tips will shock you.

The R-rated show comes to Halifax after a run at the Edinburgh fringe and was winner of the 2018 Queensland Touring Award and Best Comedy Nominee at Melbourne Fringe. It runs at the Neptune Scotiabank Studio Stage Friday, Sept. 6, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 7, 7 p.m.. Tickets are $15 and $12. Tickets via https://halifaxfringe.ca/


And now for something completely different.

Stick or Wizard? is a sweet, hour-long show about how we are all wizards.

The four-year-old boy next to me at a sold-out performance started laughing out loud as soon as British, Gaulier-trained clown Oli Weatherly entered the room. He pranced about, a veil held up to his eyes, looking questioningly at people and asking, “Is there a wizard in the room?,” until the audience roared back,  “Yes!”

This adorable, participatory show is so simple with no gimmicks or magic tricks  but  Weatherly knows kid-speak – that secret way of talking to kids that brings them alive and activates their imaginations.

The little boy next to me raised both hands to get on stage to pull a toy out of the wizard’s bag or a drawer out of his table.

These small, everyday toys come with an autobiographical story attached and a reminder to cheer up during hard times and always have a sense of wonder.

At $10 and $7 this joyful show is great entertainment for kids. It reminds adults to laugh and play.  A winner of the 2018 StageDoor Audience Choice Award in London 2018,  Stick or Wizard? is on stage in the Imperial Room, Neptune Studio Theatre, Friday, Sept. 6, 3:15 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 8, 1:30 p.m. Tickets via https://halifaxfringe.ca/

Categories: Uncategorized

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