Archive of Theatre Reviews

This listing includes all my reviews, theatre notes and short notices

After 2009 I stopped reviewing. The immediate reason was that my increasing deafness made it difficult or impossible for me to know whether actors had difficulties with projection, or whether it was my hearing. It's also the case that missing crucial lines or enunciations makes it harder to sustain engagement in the action, and thus harder to be sure a problem is the company's and not your own.

I have since realized that an additional part of the difficulty for me at the time was that many of the cast and crews of local shows had come to count on the reviews as "verdicts" on the production, or as seals of approval (or the opposite). I have never thought of my reviews as providing evaluations, as I do not believe I have sufficient authority to offer categorical judgments. My intention was to offer food for thought, to provoke reflection and discussion of plays, and thus the reviews were directed at audiences rather than the casts and crews. They were also almost always post-mortems; shows don't run long enough in Fredericton for reviews to provide a consumer's guide. When I have indulged in evaluation, it has been (at least so I've intended) in the service of thinking about why things are the way they are, and inviting others to think about that too. So I discontinued trying to review local productions here, and eventually all productions. I've left the reviews accessible here, because I think they potentially remain of some interest, not only historically, but as offering some minor insight into the task of reviewing and the process of understanding and enjoying theatre.

I have, however, continued to patronize live theatre and do what I can to encourage it. Until 2013, I did this partly through my St. Thomas English course, "The Page and the Stage," in which groups of students prepared "Playgoer's Companions" to local productions, usually during winter term every year.

More about this course -- and links to over seventy of those Playgoer's Companions -- can be found here.

More recent reviews:

2006-2007 Season:

2005-2006 Season:

2004-2005 Season:

2003-2004 Season: 2002-2003 Season: 2001-2002 Season: 2000-2001 Season: 1999-2000 Season: 1998-99 Season: 1997-98 Season: 1996-97 Season: 1995-96 Season: 1994-95 Season: 1993-94 Season:

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