April showers bring
May theatrical wonders
Live English theatre returns to Montreal with Segal Centre’s Every Brilliant Thing
By Byron Toben
The song April Showers, which may come your way but bring the flowers that bloom in May, became a standard after being introduced by Al Jolson in a 1921 Broadway musical.
Montreal theatre folk appreciate the flowers but were hoping for the return of live theatre. And the first seedling has been planted with the Segal Centre’s opening of Every Brilliant Thing. Following all masking and social distancing requirements, they have selected a one-man show and, to follow curfew regulations, limited the performances to weekends only, at earlier hours. Thus, the first showing will be at 1:30 pm on May 2 following the 11 am streamed Sundays at the Segal panel discussion, but the subsequent shows will be doubleheaders of 1 pm and 4 pm on May 8, 9, 15 and 16.
The show spotlights popular film and TV actor Daniel Brochu as it blends ice cream, the colour yellow and the smell of old books in finding joy in the mundane. A joint production with Hudson Village Theatre, it is directed by HVT’s Dean Patrick Fleming.
Tickets by phone only at 514 739-7944.
Shows already opened but closing in May
New York’s Mint Theater, which specializes in “Old Plays Found Here”, has been streaming Yours Unfaithfully since March 22, as part of its silver streaming series (no fees or passwords). This play by U.K. actor-playwright Martin Malleson is a fully staged show (sets and costumes) from the Mint archives. The run ends on May 16.
New York’s Irish Repertory Theater began its filmed version of Little Gem on April 27. Elaine Murphy’s comedic and poignant story of three generations of women in Dublin won top awards at both the Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe festivals and now on-screen, continues on-demand until May 9. Free but donations welcome.
Beginning May 7
Montreal’s Geordie Theatre streams its archived children’s classic, Virginia Wolf, very loosely inspired by a relationship of British author Virginia Woolf and her sister. This Virginia, given to howling and grunting, is transformed after taking up painting her bedroom walls. Lots of clever graphics and featuring actors Jennifer Roberts and Alexandra Laferrière. Directed by Mike Payette.
There are five virtual performances: May 7 at 7 pm, May 8 at 1 pm, May 9 at 4 pm, May 15 at 1 pm and May 16 at 4 pm. Household tickets are $15.
Westmount Community Theatre Dramatis Personae streams its latest, Zoom in Love, three amusing short plays by Rich Orloff and Jonathan Rand, four times, on May 7, 8, 9 and 11, all at 8 pm
On May 13 only, from 1:30 pm to 3 pm, the Cummings Centre features film publicist David Novek again, this time lecturing with selected clips, some rare, on Frank Sinatra – the man, music, movies and humanity. I have enjoyed many of his earlier lectures which have included Doris Day, Ben Hecht, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, as well as Black Hollywood.
As this article opened with my mentioning the song April Showers, let’s go out with Frank Sinatra’s version:
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.