Reviews and Previews

Preview of Good People Bad Things (2014):

Halifax Media Co-op

Reviews of Good People Bad Things (2013):

Mooney on Theatre (review of SummerWorks production)

Winnipeg Free Press (4 stars)

CBC (4 stars)

Winnipeg Jewish Review

Previews of Good People Bad Things (2013):

Jewish Post and News

Winnipeg Jewish Review

The Metro (daily)

Reviews of Good People Bad Things (2012):

CBC Manitoba Scene: “Good People Bad Things” provokes big questions by Joff Schmidt

Or listen to the audio file: CBC Theatre Oct 22

Preview articles about Good People Bad Things (2012):

The Metro (weekly that appears in the Winnipeg Free Press): One man show examines slippery ideas of evil by Matt Preprost

The Uniter (University of Winnipeg weekly paper): Always look on the bring side of life by Kaeleigh Ayre

The Manitoban (University of Manitoba weekly paper): Good People Bad Things interview by Tiff Bartel

CKUW 95.9 FM (University of Winnipeg radio station): Interview on Mud and Water with Karen Mackintosh and Josh Brandon

 

Reviews of Past Productions:

Winnipeg Free Press review of King’s Park: Drama has brains, heart, humour by Alison Mayes 

Theatre review: “King’s Park” is well worth a visit

Reviewed by – Joff Schmidt

CBC Radio Manitoba

March 25, 2011

Physician, heal thyself; psychotherapist, get your own head straight.

That’s the grossly over-simplified gist of this moving, tenderly-written new script by local playwright Daniel Thau-Eleff.

King’s Park is the story of Michael Zipkin, a psychiatrist who is beginning to suffer the effects of Parkinson’s Disease – and so beginning to struggle with his own sense of who he really is. In addition, Zipkin, we discover, has his own complicated history: an absentee father, and a disturbed mother who attempted to kill herself along with her children.

In this precisely-drawn character sketch, Zipkin’s character is revealed to us primarily through what he does – much of the dialogue in Thau-Eleff’s script comes in the form of Zipkin’s carefully recorded, yet emotionally detached, diary-like assessment of his days. But the adage that we know a man by his actions proves true here, and Zipkin proves to be a compelling and sympathetic, if flawed, character.

Our hero is played simultaneously by Harry Nelken and Eric Blais, both of whom turn in outstanding performances. In the play’s clever, fugue-like structure, they sometimes share lines of dialogue, sometimes play scenes off of each other, sometimes overlap. It sounds complicated, but it works remarkably well under Chris Gerrard-Pinker’s unobtrusive, but precise, direction.

There are few quibbles to pick with the script or the production – some threads, like Zipkin’s troubled mother, and his relationship with his own son, feel like they’re not fully followed through. (That said, I’ll take a script that leaves its audience wanting more over one that overstays its welcome any day.) On the production side, Blais’ turn as “Psychotherapy Man” – a fantasy superhero persona Zipkin occasionally slips to in his mind – could be bigger, but it nonetheless provide some welcome levity in what is otherwise a not-particularly-cheery story.

But as a new independent production, there’s much to like in this offering.

It only runs until Sunday, so plan a trip to King’s Park this weekend.

Don’t let the premise fool you…

Daniel Thau-Eleff’s award-winning murder mystery Remember the Night is laugh-out-loud funny

Reviewed by Jared Story

Uptown Magazine

March 11, 2010

A-

What, me worry?

For Fred Mandelbaum, the answer to Alfred E. Neuman’s perennial question is “Yes!” Played by Andrew Cecon, the central character in Daniel Thau-Eleff’s Remember the Night is an anxious, lonely and depressed young man, who couldn’t be calmed by all the Xanax in the world.

On the contrary, Thau-Eleff and his Moving Target Theatre Company should feel comfortable and content with the comedy/murder mystery, which sold out its previous run at the 2008 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival and was awarded the Harry S. Rintoul Memorial Award for best new Manitoba play.

The story follows friendless and fearful Fred, who is so forlorn he hires a call girl, Cyndi (Claire Therese Friesen), to be his buddy (well, and also for blow jobs). But at story’s start, a cop (Jeff Strome) says Cyndi’s been murdered and Fred is a suspect.

As the secrecy of Cyndi’s slaying gets sorted out, the play jumps between past and present. In addition to Fred, Cyndi and the cop, we also meet Fred’s Alzheimer’s-addled mother (Patricia Hunter) and her seemingly senile friend Mrs. Himmelstein (Doreen Brownstone), and TJ and Alistair (Toby Hughes and Ray Strachan), two inept yet verbally adept drug dealers .

As the mystery unravels, Thau-Eleff parallels Fred’s lonesomeness with Winnipeg’s own isolation, his pessimistic personality saying a lot about this city’s inability to change. Black-and-white projected photographs by John Paskievech and Leif Norman, along with a moody live score by Ian La Rue and Patrick Keenan, add to that hopeless feeling, and the abandoned warehouse staging absolutely perfectly punctuates the playwright’s point.

However, Thau-Eleff’s symbolism is secondary to his humour. Directed by Arne MacPherson, Remember the Night is laugh-out-loud funny. Most amusing was Fred raving about depleting oil reserves mid-BJ, while the drug-dealing duo – which incorporated words such as ‘lugubrious’ and ‘superfluous’ alongside ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ – had me in an absolute giggle fit.

The comedic aspect of the play also proves important when Thau-Eleff’s ideas don’t totally add up. For instance, Mrs. Himmelstein has a confusing past-life connection with Fred -? but the bewilderment didn’t bother me, as there were still laughs to be had. Don’t worry, be happy.

Remember the Night

Reviewed by Kaj Hasselriis

CBC Manitoba

July 2008

This is the Fringe hit you don’t want to miss.

Remember the Night is so good it’s hard to believe it’s not debuting Off Broadway. Daniel Thau-Eleff’s script mixes Woody Allen-style laughs with Tarantino-esque structure, but it’s totally original. So is Arne MacPherson’s top-notch direction. You won’t see a theatre space being used like this anywhere else at the Fringe.

Set in Winnipeg, Remember the Night tells the story of a neurotic web developer (Andrew Cecon) who falls for a prostitute (Claire Therese Friesen) who, in turn, winds up dead in a warehouse. Or does she? The show will keep you guessing right until the end, and in the meantime, will treat you to some hilarious scenes involving a motley crew of supporting characters. It’s got everything from a Jewish mother with Alzheimer’s to a couple of pot dealers with samurai swords.

Leaving the theatre, I felt the kind of goosebumps you get when you’ve just seen something unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The Fringe might never see anything like it again.

Go see it now.

5 stars

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