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

The Last Wife: wonderful herstory of wit, intelligence and court intrigue

Stephanie MacDonald stars at Kate, wife to Jodee Richardson’s King Henry VIII, in Neptune Theatre’s season-opening, mainstage production of The Last Wife, to Oct. 6. (Stoo Metz) The Last Wife, starring Stephanie MacDonald as the indomitable, passionate and intelligent Catherine Parr,  is a deliciously-dramatic, fast-paced story about women,  power and survival. Neptune’s production of Ontario playwright Kate Hennig’s 2015 drama, which sold out in its Stratford Festival debut, is expertly […]

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Broadway Boyz charm their audience

Garry Williams, Patrick Maubert and Forbes MacQuarrie in DaPoPo Theatre’s Broadway Boyz at the Halifax Fringe.  While not exactly as advertised, Broadway Boyz is an endearing, honest show about three queer men exploring their dreams of Broadway and what happened in reality. The buzz around this show is due to its musically brilliant co-creator Garry Williams, who won the 2019 Merritt Award for original score for Kamp, and who wrote […]

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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 […]

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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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