Sneak Preview Review: ELEGIES: A SONG CYCLE

by Lynn on March 26, 2014

in The Passionate Playgoer

Elegies: A Song Cycle.

At the Aki Studio Theatre, Daniels Spectum, 585 Dundas St. E.  Music and lyrics by William Finn. Directed by Lezlie Wade. Musical Direction by Wayne Gwillim. Pianist, John Hughes. Designed by Robin Fisher. Lighting by Siobhán Sleath. Starring: Thom Allison, Barbara Barsky, Steven Gallagher, Joel Gomez, Eliza-Jane Scott.

Produced by Acting Up Stage Company. Plays at the Daniels Spectrum Centre until April 13.

Definition: Elegy: “A poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead.” William Finn (March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland), has written Elegies: A Song Cycle to commemorate those he has lost, from friends, his mother, pets, neighbours, to the destruction of the Twin Towers. Finn is a master wordsmith. He captures the phrase that pricks the heart. But rather than thinking this is a serious, downer of an evening. It’s not. Much of it is buoyant as the funny memories of the dearly departed are recalled and celebrated. We’ve all lost pets. Finn handles this with a charming twist. Some memories are delicate and sweet: his brother taking his ailing mother for a last ride around the neighbourhood to reminisce about the things and sights that gave them joy.

This is not to say that the songs are all glib and funny. Elegies: A Song Cycle has moments that are heart-squeezing, poignant, moving. The show is never sentimental. It is directed with exquisite detail by Lezlie Wade. She knows how to stage her glorious singers so that each song is interpreted as clearly as possible. And her direction is as impeccable.

The cast of five is wonderful. The show is a gem. Elegies: A Song Cycle is a lament for ones that have been lost but it is also a celebration of life. Full review on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING 89.5 fm. On Friday March 28, between 9 am and 10 am.

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