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Don’t Miss this Show Magnus

THUNDER BAY, ON   -----  September 22,  2014  ----  Every once in a while I get surprised when I go out to review. Magnus Theatre’s current production of “Ain’t Miss Behavin”, the Ain’t Miss Behavin MagnusFats Waller Musical Show was a big surprise. All I can say is if you only go to the theatre once in a blue moon, then DON’T MISS THIS SHOW, it’s that good. I come from a musical family and of course musicians have recordings. In our family’s case we have recorded sounds from the early 1900’s to the present. There are a number of Fats Waller recordings on 78 rpm records in the family library and as a child growing up I was exposed the music of my father’s youth which came from the 1930’s and beyond. Names like Rudy Valley, Fats Waller are familiar to me because I listened to their music as a youth.

Magnus needs to be credited with bringing this show to its stage. There is great music from every decade and to think that the 1930’s had nothing to offer in terms of quality entertainment, would not do the decade justice. This is music of the American black community and while the show is not about race, the words of the songs were not changed to be politically correct in today’s sense. They are true to their decade.

When you go, you will hear some very impressive singing from the cast on stage. It might be popular entertainment, but the tunes on stage require as much training and professionalism as any operatic production. Not only are the singers performing in harmony, they all have solo roles as well. In a small 5 person chorus there is no room for a singer to hide, the voices must blend, balance, and have the same high level of energy for this stage production. Simply said; these performers are top drawer.

Fats Waller led a black band from the piano, and with Magnus’s production they choose to go with an all local talent pool. Any production where Danny Johnson is involved has been one that I really enjoyed. His stage band for this production is very good, although at times I thought the muted trumpet could have been a little more prominent, their performance was excellent. The audience could see the band only in relief through the scrim screen at the back of the stage.

Magnus spent a lot of time and money on this production, the on stage choreography done by Faye Gleeson and Cindy Kennedy really added to the production. Not only did the cast have to act and sing, they had to be fit enough to do the dance and sing at the same time. This is entertainments equivalent of the winter sport where you ski like crazy for a while and then you have to shoot a few targets etc. Never once did I hear a slip up in any of the voices. This is a very tight and athletic chorus as you will ever find.

Magnus did not spare the cash when it came to the staging. There are more lights on stage for this production than any other show I have seen there; here Kirsten Watt lives up to her last name! The lighting for the set was spectacular and effective.

By now you will have heard from your friends the same thing I am saying, ”DON’T MISS THIS SHOW!”. It is supposed to run until October 4th and I would call the box office soon to get your tickets at 345 5552.

Nicky Lawrence, Matt Nethersole, Alona Randall, Chris Sams and Michelle E. White deliver some of the best live entertainment I have seen in years, and its right here at Magnus theatre.

Bert Rowson

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