"bold, brassy and beautiful...4 stars"
the pink lens
"a bold mix of documentary, confessional strident manifesto, and arthouse experiment. it defies categorization a lot like the artist at its centre."
"it's a masterpiece"
hollywood north magazine
oh what a lovely war
the nine best toronto theatre productions of 2018
"deep research, top-notch musical and design elements, and performances that felt lived in and deeply personal: hinton and his company put the shaw’s long rehearsal periods and considerable resources to exemplary use."
oh what a lovely war (shaw festival)
oh what a lovely war’s ambitions pay off in dramatic fashion
**** out of ****
"the shaw festival’s current staging accomplishes all these things again, while adding another task and knocking it out of the park: to make this very english piece relevant to today’s canada... an essential design element is howard j. davis’s remarkable projections of historical photographs, maps, and paintings...impressive research brings together varied material about canada’s war effort, with a particular eye to stories of indigenous and black canadians struggling against racist barriers to play their part....when[allan louis] sings the war standard “there’s a long, long trail” against projected images of uniformed black soldiers, new levels of identification and pain emerge...
educating, entertaining, heartbreaking: hinton’s production has it all. excellence across all areas of creative production and craft weave together to deliver this production’s high ambitions. it’s a show unapologetic about its brains, its heart, and its ethical principles; and exemplifies what a well-funded repertory company such as the shaw festival exists to do."
"there is an outstanding collection of photographs and videos showing all horrible aspects of the war...howard j. davis was responsible for the extraordinary projections."
"[peter hintons] work here is inventive and ambitious, using howard j davis’ projections and a few pianos as his only set pieces but creating something that feels at once gigantic and deeply intimate. the cast is excellent, as are the textual adaptations that refocus elements of the storytelling on the canadian experience...oh what a lovely war is a hard watch- it’s odd and intellectual and necessarily bleak- but its rewards are remarkable."
throughout the performance, there are black-and-white projections (stills, video and various effects) just above the action which silently fill in/enhance the historical blanks, one image at a time. the result is not so much a play but a documentary with music (largely era songs) and a few bits of dance.
designer teresa przybylski's set and costumes combined with lighting design by bonnie beecher and projections by howard j. davis create a hauntingly, yet poignant canvas for this satirical world war i-era musical.
"flawlessly acted with superb direction and stage design, neptune theatre has a true theatrical force on its hands that demands to be seen.
(black theatre workshop)
(translated from french)
"the last act, which integrates video and slam, is extremely successful and we would have taken more...the slogans of the #blacklivesmatter movement, images of white supremacist demonstrations, barack obama's victory, trump's face, a knee placed on the floor. oppressing and galvanizing at the same time, the scene would deserve to close the room"
"i loved how the team used technology, phones and tv in order to create a collage of all the major events and injustices that happened after the death of reverend king showing us how many serious things have happened since then and that in the end, the fight for freedom, really, never ends but that the mission, the “baton” passes on to another person and generation."
the millennial malcontent
"the multimedia visuals are very effective, and howard davis’s gorgeous projections make for some delicious eye candy."
"howard davis’ video and projection designs function as modes of transportation between these emotional extremes; such is the immediacy of their aesthetic. the moods they set are undeniable in their vividness. davis’ work comprises the unmentioned ninth member of the cast."
the theatre reader
"howard davis' artful projections"
j. kelly nestruck
"erin shields’ concepts are helped here by understated direction from peter hinton, using video projections by howard davis only at key moments."
"howard davis’s projections add another dimension to the space and the scene."
the colour purple
"neptune theatre's production of the color purple is an effortless, empowering production that will be remembered for decades."
by broadway world
"the color purple, fabulous tower of song and talent than enriches the soul...the all-black cast of 18 canadian and nova scotian performers includes remarkable singers"
i call myself princess
howard j davis expands his artistic and personal identities thanks to i call myself princess
"lovely, compelling work from this cast, featuring some impressive vocal chops... davis’s alex, a black gay man who doesn’t read as black due to his light skin tone, and who must deal daily with the outside perceptions and assumptions in a largely white population. in a performance that shows both strength and vulnerability, davis gives us a loyal, passionate man who sacrifices much for those he loves, but must come to terms with the fact that, despite his best efforts, he can’t be all things to all people, all the time."
by life with more cowbell
"there’s also some excellent acting ...howard davis in multiple roles including morin’s partner are excellent."
alex park, played by howard davis, was much more engaging, and stood out in his portrayal of both park and other minor roles. davis stole the scenes with his sensitive portrayal of morin’s neglected partner, and anchored each scene he appeared in.
"the best acting comes from lancaster and davis, and they provide the bite to the drama.."
paula citron, ludvig van toronto
"howard davis also plays more than one role, but it is in his wonderfully nuanced turn as william’s struggling yet supportive boyfriend, alex, that mr. davis truly shines. he and mr. wells share a solid chemistry, even when having a phone conversation on opposite sides of the stage."
"their partnership is sweet and unforced so that the gay struggle becomes just another shading of the same dilemma. howard j davis (c'est moi, bombay black, the wedding singer) not only fills the role of the supportive but frustrated boyfriend, but also a black servant who would be an opera star in his own right if he weren't descended from slaves. it is another bitter saga that is simply presented, mentioned in passing in that dismissive way of history as written by the conquerors, and sticks in the mind all the more for it...[wells] and davis work so well together, that an unearned finale is surprisingly cathartic and gives the audience enough of a happy ending to not despair."
"but there’s still lots to enjoy in the show: the performers..."
"this is a talented group onstage"
"the best of toronto, stratford & shaw theatre in 2015..."
by j. kelly nestruck (the globe & mail)
3.5/4 stars...peter hinton’s exquisite take on bombay black, now playing as part of the factory theatre season of “reimagined canadian classics.” his rethink of this problematic text is more than a revival; it’s an elevation...the three performances are top-notch – [howard] davis’s soft-spoken, eerie kamal hypnotic...here is everything the factory theatre had promised us this season, at last – a “naked” staging, and a play “reimagined,” not just revived."
by j. kelly nestruck (the globe & mail)
visually stunning and beautifully acted production...davis's mythic blind soothsayer inspires both apsara and the audience to question their beliefs as the story unfolds.
"howard j davis is the mysterious blind man who pays to be present when aspara dances. davis has startlingly vivid eyes that reach across the footlights and somehow manage to convey emotion while maintaining an unseeing gaze. when he begs to have the world described to him, the wonder on his face is contagious, and his muscular frame and child-like innocence make aspara's toxic combination of desire and fear frighteningly real...
by drew rowsome
kamal (a wonderful howard j. davis)...bombay black is a must-see: gorgeous and compelling story telling from a creative team of impressive talent.
by sprockets and greasepaint
"the actors do a stellar job of portraying their characters...howard j. davis provides a very enthusiastic performance as the blinded, mysterious kamal."
by the charming modernist
"the production at factory theatre, directed by peter hinton and starring kawa ada as apsara, howard j.davis as kamal and anusree roy as padma was brilliant...davis played the blind man so well it is hard to remember he is not blind...this is theatre at its best -gripping the audience from the first moment and not letting go until the final curtain.
by cathy & keith at the theatre
"the performances are also rather stunning."
by mooney on theatre
"howard j. davis is an anomalous figure, physically husky yet spiritually tender."
by k. garebian
the lithe ensemble was up to the challenges of his fosse-esque dance routines, most notably in the angular stylized movements of "rich man's frug."
"the shaw festival's cast is made up of many gifted young men and women with extraordinary acting chops"
by the buffalo news
"the talent in this production is splendid. the energy is high throughout the entire performance. thsi wonderful ensemble masters the new yorker speak with ease and can take the lines written by simon and make them great."
by new york theatre guide
ryerson theatre alumni
if you are heading down to niagara-on-the-lake this summer, be sure to stop at the shaw festival. this season, a range of ryerson alumni - from recent grads to veteran performers - are performing in festival productions.
among the newer faces at the shaw festival are ryerson theatre alumni howard j davis (’14)...
by fcad news
kelowna actor's dream coming true
"howard davis, who began his acting career with theatre kelowna, landed a spot with the shaw festival for the upcoming season.
for kelowna actor howard davis, his burning desire to be an acclaimed actor has come true, but not without some bumps and rough patches along the road. his first brush with the stage was under the watchful eye of local thespian vivian hughes, when davis was five years old.
“my family were always heavily involved in the arts, the arts scene, although neither was on stage,” davis said. “but myself and my siblings are all in the business and i’ve just been so taken by acting that i knew from a very young age this is what i wanted to pursue..."
the wedding singer
"howard davis as glen, the money-obsessed fiancé, stepped out and showcased solid vocals while leading the tune “all about the green.”"
"when everything clicked - the opening number of act two, "all about the green," being a prime example...making a supposedly ironic ode to greed a showstopper and the supposed villain, a dapperly slimy howard davis, the star song and dance man..."
by drew rowsome
"even the antagonists of the show, linda and glen (played by sarah horsman and howard davis), were likeable..."
by charlebois post
"the chemistry between the characters was impressive, which could be attributed to the credentials of the cast."
by the varsity
"featuring a cast of the city's finest emerging talent"
there is a lot of lovely character work...howard davis as the old uncle is a treat to watch, his performance is playful and buoyant".
by the charlebois post
"the antics of howard davis...were great fun to watch"
by kelowna capital news
"remember this kid's name...he won the hearts of many with his animated and professional portrayal of the artful dodger"
by showcase magazine
"it's howard davis in the role of the artful dodger that steals the show. he carries the role off with the charisma and style of a seasoned professional".
by kelowna capital news