All posts by Allison Gerson

Review: Burning Doors (Belarus Free Theatre/Luminato)

Maria Alyokhina in Burning DoorsBurning Doors is a difficult but deeply relevant play, now on the Toronto stage

Burning Doors, performed by Belarus Free Theatre, and currently being presented as part of the 2018 Luminato Festival is not an easy play to watch. In fact, if I had to describe it in one word, I would choose “painful.” It covers painful subject matter, and the performers must be in physical pain for large parts of the evening. But in spite the pain I felt watching it, I think it was an important play to see. Burning Doors highlights the power of art as political resistance. At a time when there seems to be an unending list of things to protest, it shines a bright, harsh light on both the risks and the necessity of doing so. Continue reading Review: Burning Doors (Belarus Free Theatre/Luminato)

Review: Swan Lake/Loch na hEala (Luminato/Teac Damsa)

“Dark and raw” dance and storytelling piece takes to the Toronto stage

Although billed as a contemporary adaptation of one of the most famous ballets, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala, performed by the Irish company Teac Damsa as part of the 2018 Luminato Festival, is a far cry from that classic. There are no tutus, no Tchaikovsky score, no pointe shoes. Instead, we are given a powerful fusion of dance, Irish folk music, and storytelling which takes Swan Lake as its inspiration but reimagines it as a modern tale of depression, sexual violence, and, ultimately, redemption. It’s a powerful piece of theatre. Continue reading Review: Swan Lake/Loch na hEala (Luminato/Teac Damsa)

Review: The 6th Degree (The Lighthouse Troupe)

Interactive murder mystery now on at the Campbell House Museum in Toronto

The 6th Degree, currently being presented by The Lighthouse Troupe at the Campbell House Museum, is not your traditional evening of theatre. There’s no stage, there’s no curtain, and there is no real audience. It’s an interactive murder mystery where the audience members are the detectives. My companion and I had never participated in anything like it before and, all in all, we had a lot of fun. Continue reading Review: The 6th Degree (The Lighthouse Troupe)

Review: Elvis & The Man in Black (Citadel + Compagnie)

Toronto’s Citadel + Compagnie presents a dance program inspired by Elvis and Johnny Cash

You might think that a show entitled Elvis & The Man in Black was a music concert. But it’s not. It’s actually an evening of dance currently being performed by Citadel + Compagnie. The two pieces shown are each inspired by and set to the music of a legend of 20th century American music – Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Continue reading Review: Elvis & The Man in Black (Citadel + Compagnie)

Review: Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre)

Brave the weather for Risky Phil, now on stage in Toronto

My young guest and I headed out to see Risky Phil–a new play by Paula Wing, currently on stage at Young People’s Theatre–in the middle of an April ice storm. We thought it was a little crazy to be venturing outside, but the TTC gods smiled on us , and we arrived safely. In the end, we were glad we made the effort: Risky Phil is a charming play about fathers and sons, friendship, and figuring out how to be a family when your trust has been broken. Continue reading Review: Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: Peer Gynt (Randolph College of the Performing Arts)

Andrew Eldridge and cast in Peer GyntClassic Ibsen play Peer Gynt arrives on the Toronto stage

When I was offered the opportunity to review Randolph College for the Performing Arts’ production of Peer Gynt at the Annex Theatre, I was intrigued. I had read and seen other plays by Henrik Ibsen, but not this one. I figured it would be good for my overall theatre knowledge to see it. And I’m glad I did. It’s a fascinating and very well done production. Continue reading Review: Peer Gynt (Randolph College of the Performing Arts)

Review: Map By Years (Peggy Baker Dance Projects)

Photo of Jessica Runge in Her HeartPeggy Baker presents a unique evening of dance at Toronto’s Theatre Centre

Peggy Baker has been one the major figures in Canadian modern dance for many years, but I had never see her work. So I was excited by the opportunity to see Peggy Baker Dance Projects’ Map By Years, currently being performed at The Theatre Centre. This evening of solo performances features four very different works that all showcase strong dancers and that share a common thread of longing and mysticism. Continue reading Review: Map By Years (Peggy Baker Dance Projects)

Review: The Secret Garden (Young People’s Theatre)

Natalia Gracious and Jake Runeckles in The Secret GardenYoung People’s Theatre’s production of The Secret Garden enchants Toronto audiences

When I found out I would be reviewing The Secret Garden produced by Young People’s Theatre, I was both excited and a little nervous. The play is based on one of my favourite children’s books, so I was looking forward to seeing it with my young guest, who also loves the story. But I was also afraid the production would make a mess of it. I needn’t have worried. The performance is delightful and enchanting and manages to live up to our high expectations. Continue reading Review: The Secret Garden (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence (dance Immersion)

Photo of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence in Four Cornersdance Immersion presented an evening of contemporary African and Caribbean dance in Toronto

Toronto has a lot of great local dance companies both small and large. But big-name companies from beyond Canada are presented far too infrequently for my taste. So, when I had the chance to review Ronald K. Brown/Evidence presented by dance Immersion at the Fleck Dance Theatre, I jumped at it. Continue reading Review: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence (dance Immersion)

Review: Or Not To Be (Andrew Batten/Glass Hammer Productions)

Or Not to Be explores the role of a lifetime, on stage at the Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto

Hamlet is a dream role for any actor. Everyone wants to try it at some point in their career, right? But what if it was your last role? Is that how you’d spend the limited time you have left? These are the questions addressed in Or Not to Be, a new play written by Andrew Batten and directed by Julia Haist, on stage now at Red Sandcastle Theatre. Continue reading Review: Or Not To Be (Andrew Batten/Glass Hammer Productions)