4 great reviews for Learie McNicolls’ Transformation, July 2015

Peter Malysewich: “…the premier performance of this year’s Fringe.”
The performance was totally awesome. As a Learie fan, I came prepared to enjoy it and was rewarded with even more than I expected. Held my attention from right from the beginning. But I have to give a shout out to Dale Morningstar who at times was so intense he seem to be Learie’s alter ego, with his masterful timing, that movement and sound became one. A terrific venue, a terrific beer, and a fusion of artists for the premier performance of this year’s Fringe. July 23, Peter Malysewich, audience member, posting on FB, https://www.facebook.com/groups/11108185093/

Gary Smith: “..Theatre that pricks the social conscience, stirs the imagination and releases thought. Go get transformed.”

For goodness sake, go see Learie McNicolls’ dance drama “Transformation.” This piece of theatre-cum-performance art is a highly polished, professional work that finds inspiration in McNicolls’ narrative and Ron Weihs’ inspired direction. Add Judith Sandiford’s powerful visuals with their icy tinge of realism and you have a work of art.
McNicolls moves with easy grace offering a seemingly improvised (it’s not of course) banter that gives the work energy and rhythm. Accompaniment by musician Dale Morningstar on drums, keyboard, whistle and cymbals is always perfectly in tune with what’s going on.
“Transformation” reminded me of heady nights in Greenwich Village’s once famous Café Bizarre where, during the 1960s, art was deliriously performed for audiences who savoured every moment. Transformation_learie_McNicolls_8cr
This is theatre that pricks the social conscience, stirs the imagination and releases thought. Go get transformed. Performed at Artword Artbar 15 Colbourne St.
Gary Smith in The Hamilton Spectator, July 16, 2015. Gary Smith has written on theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for more than 35 years. He saw these Fringe shows in previews. Gary Smith reviews Transformation

Dawn Cattapan: “…Mc Nicolls’ strong mastery of dance performance and movement is especially apparent as each transformation takes place with ease and grace… a powerful and meaningful performance…”

Transformation: A Journey of the Soul’s Healing is a multi-disciplinary art piece that encompasses dance, spoken word, live music and image projections. … Transformation was first presented earlier this year and incorporates three [many] of Mc Nicolls’ poems in order to bring three distinct characters to life.
Although these characters have other interactions, Learie is able to portray every single character with ease, using his body and voice alone to capture the essence of each; from a small child passing by on a beach to a preacher as he comes to terms with a troubled childhood.
In this sense, the story itself is epic; intense emotions and opinions of family, poverty, war, love, fear, sacrifice and faith are carefully explored as the character gracefully transforms and weaves their way into and out of the changes in their life. Through it all, they continue walking forward, to face each sunrise, and the promise of a new day with unreserved enthusiasm for the promise it may hold.
Mc Nicolls’ strong mastery of dance performance and movement is especially apparent as each transformation takes place with ease and grace that reflect his professional training. No space or moment is wasted throughout the performance, as Artword Artbar is utilized perfectly in its entirety to capture each transformation, both in music, imagery and movement. Mc Nicolls and his live collaborators have carefully and consciously thought out each moment, ensuring that they contribute to a powerful and meaningful performance as the music and images move the story forward as seamlessly as its main character.
Although many may feel that contemporary dance is an art form not for them, Learie Mc Nicolls is an apt tour guide for those looking to learn more about it as he conveys his story. This type of performance is reason enough to be excited about the future of the dance and art community in Hamilton.
Dawn Cattapan is an arts management and communications professional who is currently working with Green Venture. The former Executive Director of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra and Education Manager for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, she is particularly interested in the potential of the Hamilton arts community. In her spare time, Dawn is an active yogi, burrito aficionado and can be found on Twitter @dcattapan.  July 17, 2015: http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/2880/transformation:_a_journey_of_the_souls_healing

Robin Pittis: “… masterpiece of poetic theatre, … a feat of mature creative artistry…”
Transformation: An avant garde dancer teams up with a musician and visual artist to create this challenging masterpiece of poetic theatre. Learie McNicolls is an accomplished and award-winning modern dancer, and he draws on richly personal material of growing up in Trinidad for his poems. Themes of innocence, violence, and faith swirl between Judith Sandiford’s imagery, Dale Morningstar’s creative sound scape, McNicolls’ lithe and free movement, and his vocal commitment to the text. This is a feat of mature creative artistry connoisseurs won’t want to miss. [R.P.] Robin Pittis, View Magazine, July 23, 2015

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