Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) set in seventeenth century France, is a modern musical, with a clever and creepy feel that I loved. In this Touchstone production currently on at the Firehall Arts Centre, lavish costumes and wigs transport the audience to a world where debauchery rules. The opening scene is a rich romp in a Paris boudoir with sex, music, and Louis XIV's lavish draped material. Even the pianist plays in costume and wig.

Debauchery is fun but when Mimi’s lover introduces death to her it proves even more titillating. Mimi uses pigeons to bake her poisonous pies so...

Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy)

Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog is a 2008 musical tragicomedy miniseries in three acts, produced exclusively for Internet distribution. The team wrote the musical during the WGA writers' strike. The idea was to create something small and inexpensive, yet professionally done, in a way that would circumvent the issues that were being protested during the strike.

Yes you can see the award winning internet production on YouTube, or purchase it through i-tunes but first see it mounted as the extraordinary live production at this  year's Fringe.

This is how I was introduced to the musical and time stood still.

Literally, Dr....

Dr Horrible

If you’re looking for a fun romp, that doesn’t make you think too much, or at all, with a talented cast, a not-bad musical score, good voices, then Happily Ever After is the show for you.   

Happily Ever After

From Proper Entertainment, this frothy musical take on the behind-the-scenes world of product demonstrators and trade show presenters (a job more than a few of Toronto’s actors are familiar with) is sharp, fast paced, and funny.

The central premise, that a veteran pitchman will gain unlimited power if he can assemble the perfect pitch for the devil (as played by a foul-mouthed Russell Oliver) is contrived, but very apropos for a show skewering the the cultural vapidity that is informercials. Clever lyrics sometimes outshine the conventional melodies, and structurally speaking the show does feel like one long...

the act now logo!

The touring production of the Broadway version of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein is currently at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto, and anyone who spent their youth spouting lines from the original movie to whomever was in earshot would be well advised to check it out. In fact, anyone with a taste for the zany would find their bum-in-plush-seat time well spent.

This advice does come with a caveat; Young Frankenstein purists will be confronted with a more colourful and vivacious rendition than they may be expecting, and theatre purists will be confronted with a surprisingly lengthy...

Roger Bart and Sutton Foster; photo by Paul Kolnik

OK, I have been in Debt; many of us have and many of us still are.

What’s it like? Not always good, not always bad. The country runs on debt, the people run on debt, the industries run on debt and most importantly the government runs on debt. It’s everywhere, like a living breathing entity we all know about and hear about on a constant basis; so why not write and sing about it? Make fun of it, tease it, laugh at it, cry about it, wallow in it… DEBT - the Musical, does just that.

Written by...

The cast of DEBT - the Musical.

As I took my seat with a cup in hand I was questioned by Dave, the fellow on my left, “Doesn’t that beer go against your professional code of ethics?”

Since I was drunk the first dozen times I enjoyed any Evil Dead movie, it goes against my code of ethics to not have a beer…  turned out I had to finish the beer quickly or I’d end up wearing it from laughing.

You may already be calling me a Deadite but I will confess, I was somewhat trepidatious before seeing the DSR production of Evil Dead:...

Scott Walters in Evil Dead

Just so everyone's clear: There are two versions of Evil Dead: The Musical playing in Vancouver right now.

One's a professional production by Ground Zero Theatre/Hit & Myth/Keystone which originated out of Calgary and is playing at the Vogue Theatre. You’ve probably seen the full page ads in newspapers for that one. Then there’s the other production, an “amateur” one by DSR Proudctions, that's filled with local talent and playing at the Norman Rothstein Theatre. It's a totally bizarre situation, especially as this highly anticipated musical is being touted as the new “Rocky Horror Picture Show”....

Evil Dead. Doesn't look like an amateur to me.

John Pippus is a brave man.  He's taken his musical career and parlayed it into a one-man show.  Trouble is, I think I'd rather be watching him perform a straight-up music concert rather than witnessing this play.

With a mix of scenes and direct address, Oh Winnipeg! requires a solid actor who can switch between  several distinct characters from John today to young Johnny to his mother to long-dead Auntie Edie.  The performance is uneven – and there is little true conflict in this life story.  Various projections of Pippus' family are interesting but not consistently used throughout the...

John Pippus