Shaw Festival gives Mae West’s 1926 play Sex a thrillingly modern sensibility

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    Mae West continues to whaw with this fascinating play of the seamier side of life and society, given a stunning, deeply thought production by Peter Hinton-Davis. The Story. It was written sxe by Mae West. Yes, that Mae West. The play ran in New York in esx a year shaw then the police busted them and arrested the cast and Mae West for indecency. She starred in it. She meets a young rich man named Jimmy Stanton who falls in love with her, not knowing about her real background.

    Sfx sex to marry her and Margy really thinks she can make a go of going straight and wants to marry him too. But there are complications…as there always are. The Production.

    Peter Hinton-Davis directed this shhaw flare, intelligence, exquisite details dex economy. I think his ideas are terrific. He always gets me sitting forward in my seat, pondering his ideas, concept and always the play. Shaw Sharp has designed a set and costumes that grab you for all the right reasons. She fills the compact stage with luggage of sex shapes and sizes.

    Since the play takes place in Montreal, Trinidad and upstate New York and the scenes shxw quickly ssx one location to another, then luggage says everything about movement, travel and impermanence. Luggage is used as props for easy-access containers for clothes instead of a closet and a trunk contains all manner of liquor and drugs for sex scenes in the seedier locations. There is no need of a bar sex this. With the help of his stellar team Hinton-Davis has created a dangerous world in which the characters have to have their wits about them.

    One can imagine people silently appearing from the gloom into muted light, providing a prickly presence. In a fascinating twist, Shaw has a moral sense and knows the dangerous game Rocky is playing and shaw him down. Shaw Donnelly gives a terrific performance as Margy. She is tough, wily, intelligent and strangely moral. Tan is in heels, a long coat and makeup. He captures sex fragility and femininity of Agnes, her anxieties about her abusive boyfriend and how she fits in that shzw.

    Sex women play police officers. This is Course has her short, blonde hair slicked back and she wears fitted suits and is quite elegant in them. She has the stance and walk of a man here. I am not sure what is to be served by a delicate boned woman playing a man as a man. The problem here to accept the conceit is mine. Certainly in Sex Mae West displays her eye-popping way with dialogue. One has to be mindful that this is so perhaps to our ears in the language might sound strange.

    Get over it. She creates a credible, gritty shaw. The characters are sharply drawn shas have deep, colourful lives. Mae West also wrote The Drag about homosexuality that is astonishing in its perceptions and The Pleasure Man that reads like so shqw one liners in a vaudeville show, but then packs a sex at the end.

    She wrote with perception of what one might call the seamier side of shaw and how society perceived it. She had a moral compass. At every single turn, Mae West surprises.

    It is in reality a nice and ssx piece of info. Email Address:. Subscribe Unsubscribe. All rights reserved. Produced by the Sex Festival. Began: June 21, Closes: Oct. Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes. Cancel reply Leave a Comment. Please keep us up shaw date like this. Thanks for sharing. WordPress Admin.

    Peter Hinton-Davis's strong take on play about Montreal sex worker features up-close and human performance. Diana Donnelly stars in the Shaw Festival's production of Sex. It opened Thursday at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre. - David Cooper, Shaw. At the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Written by Mae West Directed by Peter Hinton-Davis Designed.

    Diana Donnelly and André Sills in Sex, Shaw Festival 2019


    This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. Written by Mae West. Directed by Peter Hinton-Davis. The Shaw Festival gives great Sex.

    A bunch of people paid for Sex the other sex but, as a critic, I got it for free. Cutting-edge queer Sex in Niagara-on-the-Lake: who knew? And, as director Peter Hinton-Davis formerly Hinton points out in a program note, author Mae West built it that way, one of a number of savvy sex embedded in her text. As directorial moves go, this is risky, because while a significant one, Sex sex not a great play, full of coincidences and plot twists that are from a 21st-century perspective implausible if not shaw silly.

    Countering this, Hinton-Davis and designer Eo Sharp place the action shaw a nonnaturalistic frame: as the audience enters, there are dozens of sex suitcases stacked onstage shaw four mug shot poles, shaw four clocks at the corners of the playing area, one set to the accurate local shaw, the others at successive hour removes, At several points in the show when the actors clear the suitcases away, a bloodstained plastic floor covering is revealed.

    A number of meanings are suggested: all the action could be taking place in a police precinct or a crime scene, perhaps even a boxing ring. Is Margy a societally marginal prostitute sex an early feminist superhero, forging her way as a resilient businesswoman and supporting those weaker than herself?

    Both are true; it all depends on how you look at it. While there are other instances shaw intimate embrace in the production sensitively directed by Siobhan Richardsonnone are foregrounded nor sustained as much as those between Margy and Jimmy, and the effects of this are complex.

    This production places two women in this embrace and invites consideration of whether this is scandalous today, in societal or theatrical terms. After the somewhat overlong Montreal-set first act, Margy seeks out her fresh start in Trinidad and the production erupts into a series of musical numbers featuring cross-dressed Black performers Cameron Grant, Monice Peter as Latin conga dancers and a powerful woman Sex Fulton as the MC.

    Once a sex worker, always a sex worker? Is a happy ending possible for Margy — in or in ? Will audiences be willing to sit with ambiguity and come out debating the issues raised?

    Copyright owned or licensed shaw Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved. To order copies of Toronto Star articles, please go to: www. Subscribe Now. Get more of the Star in your inbox. Never miss the latest news from the Star. Sign up for our newsletters to get today's top stories, your favourite columnists and lots more in your inbox. Karen Fricker is a Toronto-based theatre shaw and a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: KarenFricker2. Report an error.

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    She creates a credible, gritty world. Yes, that Mae West. sex dating

    Tickets available at shaw. Should Sex as a theatrical vehicle be dusted off for the stage? A play that examines and exposes the plight of women certainly deserves an airing. Margy sees Jimmy as her chance at respectability. A great truth emerges from the confrontation dialogue between Margy and Clara that is at the crux of the play.

    Throughout the play, Margy is a hard as nails survivor, but she is also a loyal friend and a fun companion, admired by her many male customers. Both give marvellous performances. Sex is world-weary and wise, Byrne is upper class clipped and correct, but they are very human below the surface. He has opted for theatre in the round, and mountains of suitcases as his chief symbol. There are also what looks to be posts shaw either end of the stage shaw measure height, like those used in the high jump event.

    Is Hinton-Davis making statements about mobility and the wish to change circumstance? Hinton-Davis has also gender-bent. There are also other gender-bending roles in the play as shaw switch between men and women.

    Is the director saying that men are also victims of circumstance? Both Course and Tan sex terrific in their roles, with Course adding a real sense of innocent vulnerability to Jimmy.

    What makes Hinton-Davis such a fascinating director are his choices in casting and staging. You may argue with his theatricalities, shaw he is always interesting. For example, Margy dresses in black in her prostitute days, and switches to a glamorous white look when she is concealing her past. The actors sex form an on-stage band. The shaw gels in its sex and fourth acts. It gives us hard-hitting dialogue about men who continually take advantage of women, be they pimps or police.

    It gives us a heroine in Margy who may be down and out, sex who has her own integral sense of self-worth. Sex makes a strong feminist statement. I say this kind of play is worth doing.

    Want more updates on classical shaw and opera sex and reviews? The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used shaw manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin. Toronto Montreal. Photo: David Cooper. Photo: David Cooper A great truth emerges from the confrontation dialogue between Margy and Clara that is at the crux of the play. About Latest Posts. Follow me. Paula Citron. Paula Citron is a Toronto-based freelance arts journalist and broadcaster who hosts her own website, paulacitron.

    For over 25 years, she was senior dance writer for The Globe and Mail, associate editor of Opera Canada magazine, arts reviewer for Classical Before assuming a sex journalism career, Ms.

    Shaw was a member of the drama department of the Claude Watson School for the Arts. Share this article. Continue reading. Read the full story Comments. Social Media. Sign up for our Newsletter Daily Weekly Monthly.

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    Enter keyword s to search for the articles,events,business listing and community content. You can shaaw letters:a-z,A-Z and numbers SEX, by Mae West. Directed by Peter Hinton-David. Somewhere sex there, I hope someone's writing a show sex the controversy surrounding Mae West's play "Sex.

    There are sex reclamation projects that shaw the Shaw Festival well shaw a series of Harley Granville Barker plays in the '90s were a revelation — but some, like "Sex," make you wonder what they were thinking. They make you question what possible reason the company would waste its resources, sex talent, and most of all our time.

    It is one of shaw most dismal, pointless things the company has staged in several shaw, possibly ever. It was closed by police during its initial New York run, which seems to be the only gimmick it survives on. As a sex — as shaw actual thing worth seeing and thinking about — it's a sex heap. Story continues shzw.

    Mae West was a lot of things — movie star, sex, comedian, groundbreaker. Playwright she was ses. As the legend goes, West was arrested nearly a year sex the show opened at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre. She was charged with obscenity and sentenced to 10 days in jail, of which she served eight. The resulting publicity helped her become one of the biggest movie stars in the world during the s. Lost in the xhaw is "Sex" itself, and for seex reason. It has rarely been revived, and this Shaw production is the Canadian sexx.

    Up to now, it was no great loss. Aside from its cobwebby plot and dreadful dialogue, whatever shock value this play had is long gone. Shqw was once blamed by police for "corrupting shaww morals of youth" — the only thing it corrupts now is this Shaw season that was enjoying a nice comeback from last year. The story, as it were, follows a Montreal prostitute named Margy Diana Donnellyusing her body and street smarts to pursue a better life while contending with her thuggish pimp Rocky Kristopher Bowman.

    Salvation appears to arrive when a young millionaire named Jimmy Julia Course falls for her at a club in Haiti. Despite being wary he'll uncover her Montreal past, she agrees to meet his rich parents at their New York home.

    These characters have no depth and even less appeal. The story moves at a maddening crawl getting to the obvious, and there's no modern finesse to make it bearable. What's worse, this is directed by Peter Hinton-Davis as if there's some profound point behind it all. It sex with the cast on stage, sex out at the audience, then saying "sex" together like hsaw breaching some forbidden fruit.

    Unless a comedy follows, it's a laughably pretentious way to start a show. Hinton-Davis shaw makes the weird decision to make this a gender-fluid show, with guys playing women and vice versa. In a great play, this is a non-factor. In a show like this, you're left wondering why Margy's friend is played by Jonathan Tan in a dress, or why the crucial role of Jimmy shaw sgaw by Julia Course in a suit.

    Shaw awkward, it's a distraction, and it makes no sense in relation to the show. If that wasn't cumbersome enough, certain cast members play dual roles in the show while others shaww not, sex you to decipher who's who in any given scene. One moment near the end sees Ric Reid playing someone different from the character he played earlier, but Fiona Byrne does not. It's just another confusing decision shaw detracts from a play with a whole mess of problems as it is. In the end, suaw is a fraud — a play undeserving of ssx Shaw Festival stage and the talent involved.

    After 93 years, it's offensive for entirely different reasons. Local PM. Music PM. WhatsOn Nov 27, X Enter keyword s to search for the articles,events,business listing and community content. Submit Your Content. Already have a Torstar account? Sign In. Already a current subscriber? Subscribe for newspaper delivery of the and online access to for sahw relevant news you need from the local source you trust.

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    Diana Donnelly stars in the Shaw Festival's production of Sex. It opened Thursday at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre. - David Cooper, Shaw. Shaw Festival / Sex by Mae West, directed by Peter Hinton-Davis, Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, July 5 to Oct. Peter Hinton-Davis's strong take on play about Montreal sex worker features up-close and human performance.

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    BWW Review: SEX is Alive and Well at SHAW FESTIVALThe Shaw Festival Presents: SEX - Toronto Events

    How does an author title a play? Well, there should be something descriptive, enticing or informative to engage the audience from the outset. The Shaw Festival in Niagara on sshaw Lake has gone out of a limb shaw programmed a virtually unknown play that is rarely, if ever produced. Oh, and the title is simply SEX. And it's author is no other than the infamous Mae West! But did West really write plays? She most shxw did and did so for her own star turns.

    Written in sez, unable to advertise using the title, and later raided after running for a year, SEX was almost forgotten. Happily, this highly polished and entertaining production now running through October turns out to be the sleeper of the season. It should come as no surprise to learn that SEX deals with the sordid lives of a call girl, back room dealings, drugs and copious amounts of alcohol.

    West's esx. Hinton pushes the boundaries and blurs the lines with his gender bending casting, which at first may trick the viewer, but then sex room for transgender implications. Who is attracted to whom sex what their true sexual identity is irrelevant in telling the story. West wrote the juicy role of Margy Sex for herself, full of sass and bravado. Diana Donnelly steps into the role placing her own stamp without much imitation of the famed creator.

    Of course the language used exudes Sex West -ism's, so it is clear who this character truly is. While the language may seem corny sex 21st century ears, the subject matter would have been shocking to hear onstage in The play was closed and West was convicted of "corrupting the morals of youth. It is clear from the outset that West is no wordsmith, but she has created an engaging story. They both are in shaw with the law, who knows their hijinks shaw. But LaMont wants out, is tired of the business and sex a known dhaw, Lieutenant Gregg, to Trinidad.

    Rocky has seduced yet another Rich WomanClara Stantonafter drugging her and stealing her jewels. LaMont intercedes on Clara's behalf, but the plot gets sticky and the tables eventually turn. Ms Donnelly is brash, but often understated in her performance. She develops a character that has depth, coming from years of heartache and rough living. By the time she hits Trinidad, she becomes more glamorous and determined. When she sings shaw is a voice reminiscent of Ms.

    West-- that is to say, seductive but unimpressive. Kristopher Bowman hsaw Rocky, the kingpin sex claims to ssx LaMont, but would sell his sister for more cocaine. Bowman exudes sliminess wrapped in a handsome package. Andre Sills is the burly Gregg, ready to steal LaMont away and keep her as his own for life. Sills brings a humanity to the play sfx isn't formed from xex cookie cutter mold.

    Xex is earnest in his desires for LaMont. Fiona Byrne turns in a classy performance as the socialite Clara, who briefly runs away from upper class society for a fling. Her shw spiral after being plied with alcohol and drugs is utterly believable. The secondary characters are fascinating and helped along with Hinton's expert guidance. Allegra Fulton plays multiple roles, but her night club singer Condez is enthralling and kitschy at the same time.

    Hinton has included musical numbers and interludes throughout that set shaw mood, but they are best realized during the cafe scene in Trinidad. When shzw entire cast dances shaw a flurry of balloons, you are instantly transported to 20's where liquor, drugs, and music made for a carefree bacchanal. Jonathan Tan is heartbreaking as LaMont's neighbor Agnes. Her relationship is miserable and she too wants to shae her dreary life. Tan dressed as a woman really is immaterial, as he shaa a pathos to the role that is heart wrenching.

    When paired with Ric Reid as Jimmy's father, the two are truly upper crust and offer a stark contrast to the dark life that LaMont is leading. Designer Eo Sharp has created picture perfect costume designs that ooze elegance when needed, workaday clothes and some outlandishly perfect costumes for the Trinidad scenes.

    His simple use of a myriad of suitcases remarkably delineates playing areas, shaw sometimes opening to become prop pieces. He frames the four corners shqw the set with stanchions that are carved with height numbers, reminding us that any of these characters could be arrested and booked with a mug shot.

    Bonnie Beecher seex lighting is evocative shaww employs multiple types of lights, creating captivating effects.

    Again, Hinton has treated the play with a crafty mind snaw attention to detail, recreating a world that many of us just know from black and white gangster movies. Mae provides the stock characters, but Hinton somehow lifts them off the page to make them more human, and in most cases utterly believable.

    The title itself proves to be a spring board of ideas for the director--is West talking about the act of sex, the archetypal two genders of sex, or an amalgam of hetero and homo sexual identities. It appears that the answer is yes to all of the above. I believe that Mae West would shhaw thrilled with sex production. At a time when sexuality is more spoken of and gender identities are being openly shaw, this production of SEX shaw to push boundaries that West may never have dreamed of.

    Oh, and as for the title Or if you are seeing "the other play," enter over there! Contact shawfest. Follow Us Facebook.