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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Theatre Exceeding Expectations - Hamilton and The Realistic Joneses

This past week I saw two excellent theatrical productions, both of which I was looking forward to for very different reasons, and both of which exceeded my expectations wonderfully! 

Like many of you, I saw Hamilton this weekend as part of the Broadway Across Canada tour. Over the past few years I had become quite familiar with the soundtrack (like most musical theatre nerds) and had watched the recording of the Broadway show on Disney+ but was so happy to finally see it live in a theatre. It definitely exceeded my expectations. You are never quite sure of that, but it was marvelously delivered. I know that friends of mine who saw it in the first week mentioned some sound glitches, but they clearly got that all worked out by the time I saw it on Sunday afternoon. I laughed, I resisted singing along (so as to not annoy those sitting around me), I leaned in and I cried. The crying caught me off guard but that is the magic of live theatre - it moves you in ways that a recording will never do. 

I was so happy to have taken my music-nerd son and one of his friends. They both knew the show well from the soundtrack and his delight and surprise at seeing the show was terrific to witness. He grabbed me at one point early on, with an excited, "Mom, I've never heard the scene change transition music before!"  If you are thinking that the Disney+ version was enough, I strongly encourage you to reconsider. While that is one of the best recordings of a live show I have seen, for me, it was definitely worth it to be in the room where it really happens! 

I did try to win more tickets via the online lottery so that I could get to see it again, but to no avail. I'm entered in the lottery for some of the Calgary dates so perhaps there will be a road trip in my future!

Hamilton runs to Sunday, July 10th at the Jubilee Auditorium. However, after that the tour moves on to Calgary so if you are also up to a road trip, I think it will definitely be worth it! Tickets range from $59 to $194. I encourage you all to enter the lottery for Calgary tickets via the Hamilton app. I know several people who lucked out in Edmonton and saw the show from from amazing seats! 

The other show I saw this week was very different, but also extremely satisfying. I took in The Realistic Joneses at Walterdale Theatre last night and it was simply terrific. I'd been looking forward to seeing this show since the moment it was announced. I had seen a production of the play a few years ago and was delighted by the very quirky script which at the time I called "unexpectedly and unpredictably funny". I wondered if I would have the same reaction having seen an excellent production of it before and I am very glad to say that I did. A different, but equally skilled cast, captured the four very real characters that make up the neighboring Joneses. The humour is handled with subtlety and surprise and for much of the first act I found myself laughing, caught off-guard by the dry wit. Director John Anderson and his cast of four (Zack Siezmagraff, Colleen Allen, Christoff Lundgren, and Brooke Hodgson) have created a real world tilted askew by illness and bravery, and infused with humour and hope. 

The Realistic Joneses runs at Walterdale Theatre until July 16th. Tickets are $25 and are available here. There are also some special nights with deals at the door - Tonight (Thursday, July 7) is 2 for 1 Night (bring a friend!) and Wednesday, July 13th is a Pay-What-You-Will Night. 

Photo Credit (The Realistic Joneses): Scott Henderson, Henderson Images

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