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Mary Alderson

Mary Alderson Mary has been a fan of live theatre since her first visit to the Stratford Festival as a child, where she saw Christopher Walken and Louise Marleau in Romeo and Juliet. As a teenager, she had a summer job at the Grand Bend Tourist Information booth. Huron Country Playhouse founder James Murphy gave her free tickets to his inaugural season so she could promote it to visitors. She has a vivid memory of sitting in a tent on a folding chair, with her feet up on the seat in front of her, to avoid the rivulets of rain flowing through the mud and gravel towards the stage. Unfortunately, the productions that summer were less memorable, but have improved greatly over the years.
Mary holds a B.A. in Honours English and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. After graduation, Mary was a reporter for the Exeter Times-Advocate and reviewed shows at Huron Country Playhouse. Many years later, in 2004, Mary returned to writing reviews and posting them on her blog at . She lives in Strathroy, Ontario, central to the Stratford Festival, London’s Grand Theatre, Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend, Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, the Blyth Festival and more. Mary is a member of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association ( By day, she works for the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations, ( ) where she sees first-hand how a professional theatre can be an asset to the economic development of a community.



BWW Review: THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE at the Huron Country Playhouse
June 18, 2019

At first glance, she's an evil villain, kidnapping young women and selling them into human trafficking.  It might be seen as a politically incorrect role, perpetuating a racist stereotype.  And in the wrong hands, it could be.

BWW Review: Drayton's HOLIDAY INN - A Strong Cast of True Triple Threats
May 21, 2018

Imagine a musical with the warmth of Christmas, the spring colours of Easter, and the fun of dancing turkeys at Thanksgiving!  Drayton's Holiday Inn is an enchanting romp through the calendar with stops at all the major holidays for singing and dancing. What's not to like? Currently on stage in Drayton, the show comes to Grand Bend and Cambridge later this year.

BWW Review: Do You Hear The People Sing? Drayton's LES MISERABLES Shines
August 13, 2014

The classic story turned epic musical has finally made its way to Grand Bend's Huron Country Playhouse. Based on Victor Hugo's novel, LES MISERABLES follows the life of prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean, who was thrown in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for a hungry child.

BWW Reviews: Drayton Entertainment's 'DAMN YANKEES'
July 10, 2014

Huron Country Playhouse has a heart-warming home run hit with Damn Yankees, now on the main stage. This little-known Broadway musical dates back to 1955, and while you might not be familiar with the show, you will certainly recognize some of the tunes. Based on the Faustian legend about a German scholar who makes a pact with the Devil in exchange for great knowledge and wisdom, this show is reminiscent of the great Canadian curling play, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon, written by W. O. Mitchell in 1951.

BWW Reviews: THE PHILADELPHIA STORY at the Shaw Festival
June 13, 2014

The Philadelphia Story, on stage at the Shaw Festival, takes the audience back to 1939, to the wealthy who have survived the Great Depression. Survived? It looks like they flourished! The audience applauds the luxurious set as the curtain is raised. Everything is gold, silver and white - a lavish grand piano and gold satin cushions in a room piled high with elegantly wrapped wedding gifts.

June 7, 2014

Yes, Alice, there is another world on the other side of that mirror...and it's made for kids! In an effort to reach out to families and little children, Stratford is offering something to keep the attention of the 12 and under crowd. Big colourful costumes, zany situations and audience participation will make this a hit with the small set.

BWW Reviews: Stratford's KING LEAR
May 29, 2014

Love between parents and their offspring should be unconditional. As soon as King Lear puts conditions on the love of his daughters, his life unravels: he goes mad. But what really drives him crazy? Is it remorse resulting from his bad decisions? Is it stress, worrying about his daughters? Or is simply old age - dementia or perhaps Alzheimer's? Colm Feore has blended all three, in a gritty portrayal of Lear. One of Shakespeare's tragedies, this play opens the 2014 season at Stratford Festival. Feore is impressive as Lear with an equally good cast in this superior production.

BWW Reviews: Stratford's CRAZY FOR YOU
May 29, 2014

If you like musicals with amazing dancing, powerful singing and farcical comedy - and who doesn't? - get your tickets now for Crazy for You, on Stratford's Festival stage, as this show will sell out this summer. Crazy for You is an interesting invention. George and Ira Gershwin's old songs from the 1930s were gathered together, and while people love the tunes and lyrics, the stories that go with them are dated. So in 1992, playwright Ken Ludwig wrote a script incorporating the Gershwin favourites.

BWW Reviews: CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia
May 26, 2014

The laughter echoed throughout the sold-out house as Victoria Playhouse Petrolia marked its 2014 season opener with Church Basement Ladies. And it is laughter of recognition, whether the audience has memories of cooking in a church basement in the sixties, or feels the discomfort of hot flashes today.

BWW Reviews: CABARET at the Shaw Festival
May 15, 2014

Deborah Hay as Sally Bowles is a brilliant light shining in this otherwise very dark production of Cabaret, on stage this season at the Shaw Festival. Hayes has captured Sally completely, and in doing so, captivated the audience. Her rendition of "Maybe This Time" is so convincing that you believe she really wants the relationship to work. But then, as soon as Cliff starts packing for Pennsylvania, you can see the interest drain away from Hay's Sally.

BWW Reviews: Other Desert Cities
February 23, 2014

Other Desert Cities strange tale similar in style to the great studies of dysfunctional families - it's a modern version of O'Neill's A Long Day's Journey into Night, or Miller's Death of a Salesman. The production, currently on stage at London's Grand Theatre, is an interesting study in family dynamics.

BWW Reviews: The Passion of Narcisse Mondoux
February 3, 2014

1980: the times, they were a-changin'. But in The Passion of Narcisse Mondoux, poor old Narcisse is being pushed as he reluctantly keeps up with the changing times. Narcisse Mondoux and his long-time crush, Laurencienne Robichaud, are on stage together in this charming Quebecois play at London's Grand Theatre. This delightful two-hander stars Rod Beattie as Narcisse and Brigit Wilson as Laurencienne. Beattie, of course, is well-known for playing many parts in the Wingfield series, and Wilson has been on stage in Stratford and Blyth.

BWW Reviews: ELF, From the North Pole to New York
December 2, 2013

Elf, the Christmas musical now on stage at London's Grand Theatre is an endearing show, thanks to a funny, well-written script, and a six foot four Elf who can deliver the lines. Liam Tobin is perfect as Buddy the Elf: He's taken the best that Will Ferrell had in the movie version of Elf, but his portrayal of the 30 year old child-like character is more reminiscent of Tom Hanks in 1988 movie Big. Either way, Tobin has made Buddy very lovable and almost believable.

November 25, 2013

White Christmas is one of those "feel good" shows. There's a guaranteed happy ending, great songs, fantastic dance, and everyone leaves the theatre humming and smiling. What a great gift at Christmas time, on stage at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse!

November 25, 2013

Drayton Entertainment's Artistic Director Alex Mustakas has continued to his tried and true "Legends" series with Legends of Harmony. This is a concert-style revue, covering all your favourite four-part harmony songs.

BWW Reviews: RING OF FIRE - The Music of Johnny Cash
October 21, 2013

Ring of Fire, now on stage at London's Grand Theatre will be a thrill for true Johnny Cash aficionados. Only those who are big Cash fans and true country music enthusiasts will appreciate the lesser known songs in this concert-style show.

October 12, 2013

Florence Henderson: All the Lives of Me...A Musical Journey

BWW Reviews: GODSPELL - St. Matthew's Gospel with Great Energy
October 7, 2013

Energetic cast brings Godspell to life at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, Waterloo.

BWW Reviews: LEND ME A TENOR is a Door-Slamming Good Farce
October 2, 2013

Lend Me a Tenor offers many cases of mistaken identity, lots of physical comedy and plenty of door-slamming fun as the crazy situations unfold.

BWW Reviews: LEGALLY BLONDE - Grand's High School Project Goes Blonde
September 24, 2013

Legally Blonde, on stage at London's Grand Theatre, marks the 15th anniversary of their High School Project. Each year for the past 15, the Grand has mounted a full-scale musical with high school students as the cast and crew. The students get all the advantages of working in a professional theatre setting, with Artistic Director Susan Ferley directing the show.