Friday, December 13, 2013

Sharron and George’s (2nd ANNUAL) 
SUPER FUN Christmas Sing-A-Long  

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

December 20th - 21st, 2013 - 8PM 
Box Office:
 416 975 8555 

“Broadway may have 
Idina Menzel & Taye Diggs as their   
  musical theatre married couple, but so what? 
  We've got Sharron Matthews and George Masswohl” 

-Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star 

Canadian musical theatre 
couple, wanna bring you a little Christmas,  AGAIN! 

December 2012 saw the first installment of “Sharron and George’s SUPER FUN 
CHRISTMAS SING-A-LONG” and the night was SOLD OUT WEEKS in advance. 

Sharron and George, along with 
their special SECRET guests, will treat revellers to a new twist on the holiday 
sing-a-long which is on it’s way to becoming a new Toronto Christmas 

The smash sing-a-longs include that Mariah Carey song you all love so much, 
OLD School Carols, Movie Themed Carols, TV Animated Special Xmas Songs, 
Traditional Carols and so much more...SO MANY SING-A-LONGS! 

That hysterical duo, the Christmas Carols - Michael Hughes (2012 NYC Bistro 
Award Winner) and Ari Weinberg (The ONE and Only) are BACK!! What will they 
do this year? 

The super popular cookie table will be back as well!! Will you bring some this 

Also, Micheal Hughes’ will, once again, collect non-perishables for the Food 
Bank!!  Many chipped in last year.  Let’s break records in 2013!! 

George Masswohl 

The four time Dora nominated George Masswohl is one of Canada’s leading musical 
theatre performers and actors. Nominated for a Jessie Award in Vancouver for his 
acclaimed portrayal of “Sweeney Todd”, a role he performed in front of Stephen 
Sondhiem himself, Masswohl has played many major roles at Shaw and Stratford. 
From Lazar Wolf in the acclaimed Susan H. Schulman production of “Fiddler on the 
Roof” starring Brent Carver, to Frederik in “A Little Night Music” at the Shaw 
alongside Goldie Semple, to the world premiere of “Time And Again” at Off- 
Broadway’s prestigious Manhattan Theatre Club, George is a much sought after 

Sharron Matthews

Named “Woman Of the Year 2012” by UK’s The New Current. Sharron’s hit show 
‘Sharron Matthews Superstar: GOLD’ was named “One of the Top Cabarets of 2012 
Edinburgh Fringe” by the Scotsman. In 2012, Sharron toured ‘GOLD’ to Toronto, 
Scotland, London, New York City and Cape Town, South Africa.  She received the 
Scotsman’s BEST OF THE FEST for “Jesus Thinks I’m Funny” In 2011 and was named  
#1 Cabaret in New York City in 2010 by Andrew Martin, Nite Life Exchange and 
WPAT Radio for ‘Sharron Matthews Superstar: World Domination Tour 2010’. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013




The recent world premiere of Janak Khendry's Paradise Lost was an eclectic and impressive spectacle combining Indian classical and modern Western dance styles with the iconic narrative regarding Adam and Eve's struggle with good and evil in the Garden of Eden. By following John Milton's literary masterpiece to the letter, with help from various Milton scholars, Khendry has created a faithful narrative rendition, in dance, of the original text. The central couple, Eve and Adam, played by Eddie Kastrau and Kala Vageesan, appear to represent a coming together of different cultures as they wrestle with desire, temptation, and the infamous devil may care stance of their omnipresent satanic bedfellow. The casting (and choreography) is both interesting and curious, as neither performer fits into a traditional notion of romantic lead. Ms.Vageesan comes closer to what one might expect from a traditonal representation of Eve, but the neutral, beige/pinkish costuming for both characters tends to belie the sensuality and apple mongering, serpent seizing voracity that the once idyllic pair encounter  by the end of the piece. And although the narrative unfolds with literary authenticity, there are times when the choreogrpahy seems a little too true to the action, and might have taken off into more abstract flights of fancy rather than the very naturalisitc representation of actual daily tasks undertaken in the famed lush arboreal  site.

One such scene has the couple planting seeds and then entertaining Raphael, played by Tyler Gledhill, with a casual sit down dinner in the woods. This scene reveals the choreographer's thirst for story in a narrative that is rife with opportunities for dance to take over and provide explosive, ponderous, and beautiful expressions through corporeal gesturing and nuance, rather than the excessive attention to actual everyday activity. But these are the choices made by an artist drawn to what he calls Milton's uncanny parallel narrative. Khendry says; "I have realized that John Milton's thoughts coincide and run parallel to the ancient Indian scriptures Upanishad and Bhagwat Geeta. It has always fascinated me that how great minds of different cultures and different time periods can think along the same lines."

There are gorgeous sequences of pure dance where the combination of classical and contemporary movement, in the hands of a very skilled company, becomes an exciting coming together of diverse and distinct forms - merging and complementing each other as dancers gather around balletic and modern couplings and ensemble configurations that tell the story without too much ponderous representational action. One such coupling has a series of male dancers taking part in breathtaking leaps and bounds, made glorious by ravishing colours and drifting folds of layered costumes, revealing snippets of physical sensuality as they appear to be angels in flight. An element of homo-erotica may be perceived within these titillating turns when in fact it could simply be the way that angels and their kin fearlessly frolic in mid air when confronted with the complex commingling of celestial seasonings and hell bent emotions one encounters once winged and fancy free among the billowing immortality of comforting clouds, pearly gates, and all that heaven allows. Heaven only knows.

Musical composition by Eric Cadesky, Ashit Desai, and Alep Desai follows the action with a variety of explosive, ponderous, and hauntingly fearful aural images, not least of which are the instances of Allen Kaeja's unrelenting and powerful presence as Satan. The sight and sound of the devil comes alive with a fully integrated ensemble of musical and dancerly effect. Costuming that might have accentuated the fulsome bodily presence of a tempestuous bad guy tends to take away from Kaeja's immense physical skill, rooted in the obvious muscularity of a past as a wrestler who became a dancer. And when he returns as the serpent his horizontal slitherings are appropriately eerie and enthralling, but the somewhat lounge lizard pajama effect of his costume, perhaps unintentional but present nonetheless, detracts from the slick and powerful characterization Kaeja lends to each and every appearance onstage.

One scene near the end of the piece has three female dancers in gorgeous red and black costumes as they take part in beautiful, engaging choreography that enacts "a scene of humankind's impending demise." As they "build a highway over chaos to make future passage to earth easier" one is able to lose themselves in a pure choroegraphic vision of loveliness and deceptively lilting doom. This is perhaps where the overall ensemble of bodies and movment excels - whereby spectators are given the opportunity to observe images and colour and glean their own interpretation of a timeworn zealous text intent upon teaching its readers the meaning of godliness. Milton was one committed fellow and is known for his many ways of imposing holiness upon a variety of life experiences, from blindness in Sonnet 318 to elegiac ruminations on the tragic demise of a former Cambridge classmate in Lycidas. Janak Khendry has carried the tradition of Miltonic reverence into the twenty first century with grace, diversity and literary aplomb that at times may dwell too concretely on story, but when it takes flight into less literal narratives we have a glimpse of how future incarnations of this spectacularly conceived work of art may allow heaven and hell a more interpretive and less linear approach to unfold.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I have nothing against flabby men. I've got a bit of it goin on myself and they don't call them love handles for nothing. Something to grab onto can be, as Mary Poppins once said, practically perfect in every way. But at the end of Delivery Man when Vince Vaughan tells Cobie Smulders that he too will get a bit flabby if she remains "flabby" - well, it is rather hard to stomach coming from a somewhat beefy hot forty something man and being imposed upon the body of a gorgeous thirty something woman. But he is well intentioned and they do have to wrap it all up with a good conflicted chuckle. And if that's not enough maddening heteronormative foreplay, they're also both white. But this is all part and parcel of the latest little dramedy starring Vaughan and an impressive cast of hundreds.

Cobie Smulders

The basic premise of the film has Vaughan startled and angst ridden by the fact that he unknowingly fathered over five hundred children when he was quite young due to the strategies of a very busy sperm donor clinic. And now a whole bunch of them want to know who he is. Sentimentality, romance, even a faint nod to mutli-culturalism and the rights of adopted children and their birth parents are made throughout this hilarious and terrifying 105 minute tour of explosive heterosexual cum-araderie. But at the end of the day, what's it all about Alfie? What is this film trying to say? The blank narrative canvas of any given movie, as cinematic harbinger of prophetic messages, can make a good little film into a great big weird blockbuster. We can paint our own desires onto the flickering canvas and leave fulfilled, unchallenged, and secure in our knowledge of the universe and how we populate, over-populate, and basically flood the earth with way too many human bodies.

Throughout the film I kept wondering if Delivery Man was a mixed critique of over population or an ad for fertility and the joys of family life. Vaughan does at one point call childbirth and familial fare the greatest thing one can ever experience in a single lifetime. I'm a bitter old queen and for me family life means more than two people sitting at the bar at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I am moved to tears in family films and I did weepily watch the last hour of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner on TCM before going out to catch a five dollar tuesday night showing of Vince Vaughan's strange little cumedy. Spencer Tracy and Beah Richards reminded me of the poignant yet problematic race politics of a seminal Hollywood flick that I still love to be bewitiched, baffled, and bewildered by. As the lounge singer croons part way through this late Hepburn/Tracy classic, "that's the story of, that's the glory of love."  In Delivery Man love is a four letter word - times five hundred. In both DM and GWCTD I laughed, I cried, I felt appropriately hostile toward the predictable Hollywood formula for an entertaining stroll through the lives of untold thousands.

In Delivery Man there's one featured gay guy in the whole crowd of kids searching for daddy, and he seems to have lots of boyfriends, something Vaughan's character is comically startled by. There is also a recovering drug addict, a struggling actor, a lifeguard,  a severely mentally and physically challenged boy in a wheelchair, and a young black woman who Vaughan's character seems quirkily thrilled to be able to include in his collection of unplanned offspring. They come from all races and all walks of life, and when you see them all together at a kind of Woodstockian sibling reunion in the mountains you cannot help but wonder how much trouble they're all going to cause as they get to know each other over the next thirty years. Sounds like a sequel to me. A cast of millons. A film about how we don't have to be blood related to love each other, but in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, a film Scott Thompson once called the gay man's version of It's A Wonderful Life, "we are Blanche, we are!!!!!!" We are all kin and we just have to be careful how close the bloodlines cross. Unless you're in an Oscar Wilde play, then you can marry your cousin. But I digress.

I do prefer my family drama on screen or in a soap opera that I have watched semi-faithfully for forty years, or a madcap comedy starring just about anybody I find hot - and I do happen to find just about anybody hot. It is just so nice to be able to admire the bodies of men and women in whacky turmoil and trying to sort it all out when you don't have to really take part yourself. Too much family drama in real life leads to trauma, heartache, and an endless search for an affordable therapist. Not to mention alcoholism, dysfunction, and some profoundly great parties.

So what am I saying about Delivery Man? It's fabulous. A friend recently compared it to another wondrous family drama about love loss and weaponry - Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The Brangelina family could have posed for the poster of Delivery Man. Go see it. In an attempt to include just about everything it must, by its very nature, leave so much out. But if there is one thing you cannot escape in this film it is the very obvious point that people still love to procreate, sperm donate, have families, romanticize about the joy of life, and then proceed to complain about everything they planned or didn't plan oh so well. I love complaining. It warms the cock holes of my heart.

So avid film buffs, I'm off to the bar, to see my buff, well toned kin. And the good news is, when you're tired of boozing it up with 'real' family, the Carlton Cinema now has a bar. You can laugh and cry and drink til your heart's content. And you can do it all by your self!