NS reviews

Reviews of theatre and art in Nova Scotia and beyond

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elissa barnard

I wrote about arts and entertainment for 35 years for the Chronicle Herald and can't give it all up quite yet. My email is elissa.barnard@gmail.com

Late Company: great script about parents unravelling teen suicide at Halifax Fringe

My kid just went through high school and experienced the death of a teen friend by suicide, which is sadly not uncommon. So I was keen to see actor Beth Lachance’s production of the Ottawa hit, Late Company, by Jordan Tannahill. In this hour-long drama well-to-do parents, artist Deborah and MP Michael invite the teen who bullied their son and his less-affluent, unsophisticated parents Tamara and Bill to dinner a […]

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Olson confronts and chills in MacIvor’s Monster at Halifax Fringe

Taylor Olson gives a terrific performance in Daniel MacIvor’s chilling, complex Monster at the Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St., as part of the Halifax Fringe Festival. This structurally-challenging, suspenseful, one-man drama begins in total darkness with Olson entering the theatre from the rear saying, ‘Shutup asshole,’as he explains a movie is about to start. Immediately Olson confronts his audience – often in direct address – with a violent, off-kilter […]

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Ben Hur: wild, comic romp in Antigonish

Wally MacKinnon (top), Matt Lacas, Henricus Gielis and Rachel Lloyd star in Ben Hur, by Patrick Barlow, at Festival Antigonish’s Bauer Theatre to August 24. Ben Hur is a madcap comedy about four actors trying to stage the epic tale of Ben=Hur with all its grandiose chariot, Coliseum and galley ship scenes. Now playing at Festival Antigonish, the two-and-a-half-hour show is joyful, light entertainment full of belly laughs with an […]

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Wizard of Oz wacky and fun for the whole family at Point Pleasant Park

Starring in The Wizard of Oz at Point Pleasant Park are musicians Sophie Schade and Garry Williams, Kathryn McCormack as Auntie Em, Jade Douris as Dorothy and musicians  Deivan Steele and Dylan Brenton. (Michelle Raine) The Wizard of Oz goes through a tornado itself in Shakespeare by the Sea’s comical, musical twist on the childhood classic. This year’s collectively-created, all-ages show is wacky and silly – sometimes overly so in […]

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The art of drag: Brandt Eisner’s dazzling, conceptual costumes at the Craig

Brandt Eisner’s balloon dress is in Splitt — The Art of Drag, at the Craig Gallery. What does it mean? — “I don’t even know! Some people see these as tumours, some people have thought breasts. To me it’s so interesting what other people see.” Brandt Eisner’s amazing costumes for drag performances are a chance to see art fashion in Halifax without going to an international museum. The Halifax visual […]

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Henry V: thought-provoking play about power and war at Point Pleasant Park

James MacLean as Henry V. ( Michelle Raine) I think the French princess puts it best when the English king Henry V tries to woo her after killing thousands of her countrymen. “Is it possible dat I sould love de ennemie of France?” This cute scene is the capper on an intense play about war and a portrait of an often ruthless, heroic king, in a blazing performance by James […]

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Famous poet’s house inspires art about absence and presence, memory and loss

The Collapse, by Roxanne Smith, is in the show she shares with Kathleen Flanagan at ViewPoint Gallery, 1459 Brenton St., Halifax. The gallery is open daily, 12 to 5. Two artists explore memory, Nova Scotia’s old houses and poet Elizabeth Bishop’s troubled life in a photo exhibit at ViewPoint Gallery, in its new 1459 Brenton St. location, to July 28. Roxanne Smith and Kathleen Flanagan each spent time inside the […]

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Shivers, rebellion and revenge in thrilling outdoor theatre at Ross Creek

Frankenstein by Fire, by Allen Cole and Ken Schwartz, stars, from left, Jim Fowler, Chris O’Neill, Geneviève Steele, Mary Fay Coady, Devin MacKinnon, Jeff Schwager, Hilary Adams, Burgandy Code and Ryan Rogerson. The Two Planks and a Passion Theatre production is at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts to Aug. 17 at 9 p.m. with In This Light at 6 p.m.  (Macky Schwartz)  Cold fog swirled in and rain […]

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Bed and Breakfast: summer comedy with a heart at Ship’s Co. in Parrsboro

Gordon Gammie and Kevin Curran play 28 characters in Ontario playwright Mark Crawford’s small-town comedy Bed and Breakfast. (Alexa Robin) Two Nova Scotia actors thrill the audience in Bed and Breakfast, the season-opening comedy at Ship’s Company Theatre, Parrsboro, to July 28. Kevin Curran and Gordon Gammie are amazing as Brett and Drew, two gay men who move from Toronto to open a bed and breakfast in rural Ontario in […]

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41st Tattoo delivers fun and fanfare

The 41st Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo delights an audience of tiny tots to seniors in dramatic, mass gatherings of highland dancers, pipes and drums with incredible circus acts at the Scotiabank Centre to July 5. This year’s Royal International Tattoo starts with a dog who can see colour and ends with a massive, majestic, moving tribute to loved ones in service. There is everything else inbetween – good choices, […]

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