Based out of Stratford, Ontario, Lauren is an Occupational Therapist working in mental health by day and a Theatre Reviewer/TV Re-Capper by night (or by matinee). Lauren enjoys daring new productions, classic plays, and everything in between. She is particularly fond of Musical Theatre but she also has a soft spot for Shakespeare--which she studied at the University level. In addition to her theatrical reviews, Lauren is the resident "Grey's Anatomy" Re-capper for BWW TV. Lauren holds a BA in Psychology and an MSc. in Occupational Therapy. She is a strong advocate for the benefits the Arts have to the overall wellness and happiness of human beings. As much as she loves to perform (she is an alto sax player, and spent her youth working as a mascot), she also takes great pleasure in sitting back and enjoying a good performance. Lauren is very excited to share a variety of reviews, recaps and features as a contributor for Broadway World Toronto and Broadway World TV.
Over the years, I have had a variety of different thoughts as I walked out of a theatre at the Stratford Festival having just watched a Shakespearean production. I often reflect on how the show made me feel, or the incredible performances I just witnessed, or the creative ways the director made the production his or her own. All of those thoughts certainly crept into my mind in the hours following the opening performance of CORIOLANUS, but Friday night was the first time that I exited the theatre after seeing one of Shakespeare's works where the very first thought that crossed my mind was 'That. Was. Cool.' The second thought that crossed my mind was 'Had the Tom Patterson Theatre been available, would this production have been at the Avon?' If the answer is 'no', then thank goodness for construction because the Avon Theatre is exactly where this production needed to be and Robert Lepage is exactly the person who needed to direct it. AgainThat. Was. Cool. June 25, 2018
Thursday evening marked the world premiere of BRONT: THE WORLD WITHOUT at the Stratford Festival's Studio Theatre. Written by Jordi Mand, and developed in the Stratford Festival's Laboratory, this piece explores the relationship between Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, as well as the brilliance and passion for writing that each sister possessed. Director Vanessa Porteous and the small but mighty cast of Beryl Bain, Jessica B. Hill, and Andrea Rankin explore the genius, jealousy, and genuine love of writing and of each other shared by these iconic sisters.BWW Review: Martha Henry's Performance is Magical in the Stratford Festival's Production of THE TEMPEST June 21, 2018
As the house lights went down in Stratford's Festival Theatre on June 10th and it became clear that director Antoni Cimolino's production of THE TEMPEST was about to begin, there were loud cheers of excitement and, quite frankly, relief from the audience-many of whom had been at the theatre for what was supposed to be Opening Night of the Festival just weeks earlier. All eyes were on the 44-season Festival veteran Martha Henry, who was already on stage. The anticipation among audience members was palpable. Everyone seemed excited that she finally had this moment that had been rudely taken away from her by a bomb threat on May 28th. And then, as is the case with all good theatrethose thoughts and emotions were swept away, as the audience became immersed in the story happening before theBWW Review: Stephen Fry's MYTHOS Trilogy at the Shaw Festival is Captivating June 19, 2018
Audiences at the Shaw Festival are in for a treat (or three) for the next month, as Stephen Fry regales them with tales of Greek myth. He has constructed three one man shows, directed by Tim Carroll and based on his book MYTHOS which explores these myths as he has heard them and read about them over the years. His stage trilogy at the Festival Theatre is split into GODS, HEROES, and MEN. Theatregoers can choose to see some or all of these productions. The Shaw Festival indicates that it does not matter if you see the shows in order, but after watching all three, I will say that there is most definitely an established order, and I would argue that audiences who are seeing all three would get the most enjoyment out of the experience if they did watch them in such order (GODS, then HEROES, then MEN). That said, I agree that this is certainly not necessary to appreciate the grand storytelling ability of Mr. Fry.BWW Exclusive: An Interview with Director/Choreographer Donna Feore about the Stratford Festival's Upcoming Forum Event MAKING CLASSIC MUSICALS CONTEMPORARY June 13, 2018
Opening week has come and gone at the Stratford Festival and with that, the 2018 season is in full swing. This includes the events and discussions taking place as part of The Forum. One such event is MAKING CLASSIC MUSICALS CONTEMPORARY--Adiscussion between Director/Choreographer Donna Feore and CBC Radio Host and Globe and Mail music critic Robert Harris, moderated by director and journalist Richard Ouzounian. This in-depth analysis of what makes classic musicals last, how they stay relevant, and the ways in which they can be made to feel more contemporary for audiences today, will take place this Saturday morningat the Studio Theatre.BWW Review: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Stratford Festival is Captivating and Thought Provoking June 12, 2018
Each season at the Stratford Festival, there is a production that is geared to children or youth and isput on by Schulich Children's/Youth Plays. This season, that production is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Based on the novel by Harper Lee and dramatized by Christopher Sergel, this play is likely advertisedas being geared towards youth and adults because the book is so commonly read at the high school level, and also because it explores the perspective of children. The material and the issues dealt with are hard ones--forboth young peopleand adults. this is what made the novel so important when it was published, and what makes this play important today. The powerful story is matched by powerful performances by all involved. This is a play that will linger in your mind long past the final bows.BWW Review: Go See THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW at The Stratford Festival...And then Go See it Again! June 6, 2018
On Friday night, a unique production of Shakespeare's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS was performed at the Studio Theatre-another production, which in any other year, would likely have been performed at the Tom Patterson Theatre, but I must say, it was neat to see it done at the Studio. Director Keira Loughran's production takes place in a completely gender fluid society-accepting of all sexual identities and orientations. Though potentially confusing for those who don't take the time to read the program liner notes, this twist proves to be quite inspired.BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's AN IDEAL HUSBAND Makes for a Delightful Night at the Theatre June 2, 2018
A delightfully fun and well-cast production of Oscar Wilde's AN IDEAL HUSBAND opened at the Stratford Festival's Avon Theatre on Thursday night. The show is a light-hearted comedy with a bit of an edge, as Wilde's story explores the notion that a woman should forgive a man's imperfections-even if said imperfections involve a serious crime-so long, of course, that the man has not been caught for committing said crime! This conclusion is somewhat unsettling, and the fact that the characters in question are generally likeable has audience members questioning their own morality in the end because, one's knee jerk reaction is indeed to be happy for everyone! Leave it to Oscar Wilde (and director Lezlie Wade) to trick us a fun play that actually becomes a spring board for self analysis and discussion about when it is appropriate to forgive ourselves and others and how we can manage to justify our actions or those of the people we lovewhen it suits us.BWW Review: The Stratford Festival's Production of LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is Captivating from Start to Finish May 31, 2018
The latest production to open at the Stratford Festival, is the Eugene O'Neill classic LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. Directed by Miles Potter, this emotional and honest production will rip your heart out and leave you thinking about the family it is based on for days. It is an absolute must-see this season at the Festival.BWW Review: THE MUSIC MAN Hits All the Right Notes at the Stratford Festival May 30, 2018
This Sunday, April 22nd, will mark the cinematic release of the 2017 Stratford Festival production of TIMON OF ATHENS - One of Shakespeare's later plays, for which productions are not nearly as common as some of Shakespeare's other stories. Directed for the stage by Stephen Ouimette, and directed for the screen by Barry Avrich, TIMON OF ATHENS is a story of a man who gives generously but does not pay close enough attention to his own debt. When the collectors come calling, Timon's friends do not show up for him like he did for them. This betrayal drastically changes his worldview and sends him into a tragic, reclusive life. Joseph Ziegler, who portrayed Timon in the production, was kind enough to chat with Broadway World about bringing this play to the big screen.BWW Interview: The Stars of Stratford Festival's ROMEO AND JULIET Discuss Their Show's Jump to the Big Screen February 26, 2018
In 2015, the Stratford Festival of Canada, under the leadership of Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and Executive Director Anita Gaffney, committed to capturing the entire Shakespeare canon in HD. Several stage productions have been filmed and released in cinemas and on DVD in the past few years, and this past season, it was ROMEO AND JULIET's turn. One performance of this much lauded production, starring Sara Farb as Juliet and Antoine Yared as Romeo, was filmed late in the 2017 season. Its cinematic release is now upon us. It will be coming to select Cineplex theatres nationwide on March 3rd. Broadway World had the opportunity to chat with Ms. Farb and Mr. Yared about their experience playing these characters and what this jump to the big screen means to them.BWW Review: Go Go Go See JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Theatre Aquarius December 6, 2017
In 1999 an original Canadian musical production based on the Bram Stoker classic, Dracula graced the stage at the Stratford Festival's Avon Theatre. On October 30th, a concert version of that same haunting and beautiful musical is returning to Stratford as part of INNERchamber's 8th season. The INNERchamber ensemble treats music fans in Stratford to a variety of events each season. Their home base is typically Factory 163, but for several reasons, this particular production will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church.BWW Recap: Classic GREY'S ANATOMY Returns in Back-to-Back Season Premiere Episodes September 29, 2017
The 14th season of GREY'S ANATOMY premiered with 2 jam-packed episodes last night. After what many would consider a lackluster season 13, it is clear that the writers are ready to tear down what they created last season and start over. Some drawn out storylines are quickly resolved, others finally have their dilemmas clearly laid out, and in one instance, some retroactive continuity helped explain away the odd and quite frankly, out of character behavior exhibited last year by one of Grey Sloan Memorial's doctors. The first of the two episodes was titled 'Break Down The House' and that is exactly what this season-opener did. After watching these first two-episodes, I can't wait to see how they continue to rebuild!BWW Review: THE BREATHING HOLE at the Stratford Festival Offers Beautiful Design and Compelling Storytelling September 23, 2017
In 1914, hundreds of British subjects of the Sikh faith were not allowed off of the boat they traveled to Canada on, and denied entry at the Vancouver harbour based on xenophobia and racist immigration policies. This story of the people aboard the Komagata Maru is an important part of Canadian history to be remembered and an important story to tell. The story is told on stage this season at the Stratford Festival in THE KOMAGATA MARU INCIDENT written by Sharon Pollock and directed by Keira Loughran. Unfortunately, the choices made in the way the story is told, cause the power of its message to not resonate nearly as much as it should be resonating at a time when it is so incredibly relevant in society.