The Picture of .... Chuffed.


We were chuffed to have been mentioned as a "don't miss this" in John Terauds' prestigious blog, "Musical Toronto", on Monday October 15th, 2012, and then to have read his review of the show, on October 21st. 

By the way, if you missed our October performances, there is one more performance planned at Gallery Fontana Swing on Saturday November 24th, 2012, at 8:00. As always, the doors open one half hour before the show and, of course, we're serving Butterscotch Squares and Nanaimo Bars!


Because we are, indeed, so chuffed about it, here is the full text of Terauds' review:


"After a nap and snack, my partner and I set out for The Picture of Happiness, a show created by and featuring Toronto pianist Patti Loach (a regular collaborator with mezzo-soprano Jean Stillwell) and singer-actor Brad Hampton at Gallery Fontana Swing, where the living-room furniture had been moved aside for a couple dozen folding chairs arrayed around a grand piano and a stool.

I had seen the show before in rehearsal, and wanted to see it again with a real audience.

The critic in me was also very curious to see how people would adjust to the missing fourth wall between performer and patron in such a small space — especially when the subject matter is at once intimate yet musical. We were going to be party to a very personal journey inspired by Hampton’s family history, interspersed with songs from musical theatre, which defy a whispered delivery.

This is where the revelations began.

Toronto musician and producer Jowi Taylor introduced the show by projecting one personal and one public image of the director (Rae Ellen Bodie) and the two performers on the big wall behind the piano, then asking each in turn what made one so personal and the other one so public.

The true confessions that came out, whether spontaneous or not, had the sound and feel of candour. The give-and-take between Taylor and the artists broke down any defenses we, the audience, would have walked through the door with.

We had been, without being beaten over the head, primed for what was to come.

The fact that Hampton and Loach were in excellent form helped, too.

You see, the secret to great spontaneous-feeling theatre or musicmaking is to rehearse it to the point where the technique and trappings behind it disappear, and then behave as if every syllable and note were being delivered entirely in the moment.

This is so much harder to do than it sounds.

One more observation last night was on the quality of Loach’s playing. This was show music rendered with a grace, subtlety and craft that could put many an art song or opera accompanist to shame.

Just because it’s not classical does not mean it can’t be art. After all, Leo Tolstoy wrote,  'Art is human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.'

Mission accomplished."

John Terauds

"Hampton is charismatic, he and Loach have excellent chemistry, the songs are just the right mix of funny, touching and irreverent, and the show’s timing is impeccable, thanks to director Rae Ellen Bodie’s careful guidance. It all happens at one of the hip new gallery spaces in Leslieville." John Terauds


Patti reads Terauds' blog on a daily basis; it's the go-to link to what is not-to-be-missed for excellent music and theatre in Toronto.

Bookmark Musical Toronto, you won't regret it.  It's the picture of intelligent and informative writing.