Theatre Reviews

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Cole call

Showcase is currently rebroadcasting the groundbreaking British homo series Queer As Folk (Mondays at 10 pm), but meanwhile the American version is being filmed in T.O. The setting is supposed to be Pittsburgh. Ug-ly. Shouldn’t be difficult to recreate here.

Playing a small role is Keith Cole, local actor/dancer/filmmaker/public relations guru.

“I’m filming this scene where I’m in a diner eating a whore’s breakfast and Sharon Gless — from Cagney And Lacey — comes in and mistakes me for a trannie sister,” says Cole, who likens his physical look in the series to Shelley Winters.

“Everyone around me looks like Tori Spelling from 15 years ago,” he says. “Flat stomachs and full bums. It’s not like the British series at all. It’s very 90210.”

Other local actors in the sure-to-be-whitewashed series include Thea Gill and Elma Mae Hoover.

The show’s leads are straight, and American. A quartet of local dykes got a call to audition, along with a roomful of straights. One actor emerged from the audition room, looked at them and said, “I’ll have a good time masturbating imagining all these women as lesbians.”


Good Ride

Speaking of local theatre actors, Alison Sealy-Smith and Ron White helped make Showcase’s The Ride one of the best Canadian TV films.

Dora winner Sealy-Smith played a hard-assed taxi company owner, and White played one of her drivers. Also seen were two of the ubiquitous B-Girlz, Sanjay Talwar and Marvin Ishmael. Let’s hope it gets picked up as a regular series. But then again, that would mean we’d see less of these terrific actors onstage.

Avon’s calling

Caught a few plays recently at Stratford and noticed local actors Paul Dunn and a smiling Damien Atkins, in junior roles, then later partying at pubs around town. No wonder Atkins was smiling — it’s just been announced that the hot 20-something’s play, Good Mother, is premiering next year at the fest. The piece looks at a family confronting the debilitating illness of one of the parents. Let’s hope it’s as edgy and funny as Atkins’s previous work, the one-hander Miss Chatelaine.

Whittaker’s wit

Herbert Whittaker is a theatre packrat. He collects playbills, designs and artifacts. To celebrate the legendary critic’s upcoming 90th birthday, the Theatre Museum Corporation is mounting an exhibit of his stage memorabilia, including things like Alec Guinness’s sword from a Stratford Richard III.

The exhibit runs to October 8 at the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge).

The show kicks off Monday (September 11), when Ken Gass will be awarded this year’s Herbert Whittaker Drama Bench Award for his contribution to Canadian theatre.

Gass founded the Factory Theatre and introduced local audiences to playwrights David French, David Fennario and George F. Walker.

He kick-starts the Factory season next month, directing Michael Mackenzie’s Geometry In Venice.,

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