Volume 95, Issue 52

Tuesday, December 4, 2001
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The Grand Miracle

Let's Go hits New PL

Mo knows phunny

Flag-waving stupidity

Let's Go hits New PL

Let's Go To The Grand
Directed by:
Chris Doty

By Antonio Tan
Gazette Staff

There are probably two landmarks that put London on the map.

The first being Western and the second, The Grand Theatre, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year as London's finest theatre.

The Grand is immortalized by many as one of the most historical stages in Canada. Testament to its notoriety is its associations to famous actors and, of course, being the home of Canada's famous theatre ghost, Ambrose J. Small.

Among the many commemorations for the theatre's centennial anniversary is a TV documentary airing on The New PL later this month.

The film, entitled Let's Go To The Grand and directed by Chris Doty, is somewhat of a scrapbook rather than a chronicle of the theatre's history.

Doty has done an excellent job illustrating how important the theatre was for London in the early 20th century.

Let's Go focuses so much on the theatre's glamour and mystique, it makes the Grand's current status as a professional regional theatre more glaring than before.

It explores the days when legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt made one of her final performances there. Also included are the memories of other acting greats who paid visits.

Famous touring shows and vaudevilles, as well as highly-noted British theatre companies, used to pay visits. Even the North American premiere of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest took place there.

The documentary also highlights some Canadian theatre legends who were artistic directors.

This romanticizing of the prominence of the Grand is the documentary's one flaw.

With all these impressive stories on the lustre of the theatre's past, it creates the image of the Grand Theatre as a theatrical "has-been."

Still, it's The Grand Theatre's 100th anniversary and if you haven't acquainted yourself with this significant local landmark yet, there's no better time than now.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001