All posts by S. Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman has great faith in the power of theatre to make change, and has been putting his money where his mouth is on that one for some time. A writer, performer, and lecturer, Bear works full time as an artist and cultural worker and loves to see as much live performance as possible – making this a fantastic gig for him.

Review: Forget Me Not (Luminato)

Luminato presents Canadian Ronnie Burkett’s allegory about love, loss, and longing in Toronto

This year’s Luminato Festival, under the curatorial direction of Naomi Campbell, has collected any number of sharp, new takes on concepts that seem perhaps done – from love to climate change – but even among these Forget Me Not stands out. A new work from Canadian magic-maker Ronnie Burkett, Forget Me Not is an allegory about love, loss, longing and language that spans… well, it spans many distances.

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Review: 11:11 (AVO Collective/RISER Project)

WhyNot Theatre’s RISER Project (#notafestival) gives a boost to four deserving productions a year, and every year’s class is strong. 2019 brings us Samson Brown with 11:11, his first solo effort, under the directional and dramaturgical eye of hometown genius d’bi young anitafrika. Brown, whose Gillette commercial dropped just a couple days before the show opened, is having a big moment as he tends his transgender body and spirit in both media. Continue reading Review: 11:11 (AVO Collective/RISER Project)

Review: 887 (Canadian Stage/Ex Machina)

Robert Lepage brings 887 back to Toronto audiences at Canadian Stage

Canadian arts eminence Robert Lepage, notable as a director and designer for decades, has been making new narrative work the last few years. This includes the recent 887, a memory play currently running at Canadian Stage, tracing an early part of Lepage’s history with his family, childhood home, class, and relationship to the FLQ and the Quebec separatists movement.

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Review: Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers (b current)

Makambe K. Simamba’s gripping play, inspired by Trayvon Martin’s story, is onstage in Toronto

Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers, written and performed by Makambe K. Simamba, is the story of Trayvon Martin’s first hours in the afterlife, and it is utterly gripping and rendered with great tenderness and bravery. It’s also surprising, which was unexpected with such a well-publicized story. Simamba had her work cut out for her trying to make theatre that didn’t feel like a simple rehearsal of the brutal facts. But Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers is so, so much more.

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Review: Bigre (Canadian Stage/Théâtre Français Toronto

Canadian Stage presents a wordless, slapstick comedy show from France in Toronto

What, you might be wondering, might a wordless, slapstick, burlesque, Francophone show – such as Bigre – be like? I went to Canadian Stage to discover, and found the answer to be: a little lewd, a little rude, and ultimately pleasing, if you come ready to laugh.

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Review: Hot Brown Honey (Why Not Theatre/Native Earth Performing Arts)

Hot Brown Honey is a dazzling socially driven cabaret, a “brilliant spectacle” on stage in Toronto

Near the beginning of Hot Brown Honey, an Australian export co-produced by Why Not Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts and presented to lucky Toronto audiences by TO Live, Queen Bee Busty Beats exclaims from the hive-top “Fighting the power never tasted so sweet!” They are unimpeachably correct, so please stand by for several paragraphs of effusive, lavish praise for this spectacular piece of work.

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Review: Idomeneo (Opera Atelier/Mirvish)

Mirvish with Opera Atelier presents the striking tale of Idomeneo to Toronto audiences

With Opera Atelier, a company renowned for bringing a corps de ballet and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra to the opera, there’s little chance of a dull moment onstage – which, to be perfectly honest, is exactly as I prefer. Idomeneo does not disappoint on this score, nor on hardly any other. It’s a banquet of delights, really, though some of the tastes were unexpected.

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Review: 26 Letter Dance (Young People’s Theatre)


With a three-year-old and a nine-year-old to consider, it can be difficult to find shows that are accessible to the little one but not boring for the big one (to say nothing of boring for the semi-responsible adult accompanying them). When a show that’s pleasing to all three comes along, like The 26 Letter Dance, it feels like an entire March Break miracle

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Review: Good Morning Viet*Mom (Cahoots)

Since Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, Nanette, started doing big business in views and reviews, all sorts of comedians have written or dusted off longer solo pieces that combine comedy, storytelling, and a little good old theatrical flair. Franco Nguyen’s Good Morning Viet*Mom, playing in the Aki Studio theatre after a solid Next Stage Festival run, is an entry into this category (and a solid one at that).

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Review: Tartuffe (Canadian Stage)

The Stratford Festival production of Molière’s satirical play is currently on stage in Toronto

355 years ago, the Catholic Church considered Tartuffe so threatening to the moral fabric of society that they pressured the king of France into banning it’s performance. The two most satisfying facts about Canadian Stage‘s completely delightful production of the classic work, honestly, are these: this Tartuffe doesn’t remotely feel 355 years old and yet somehow it still feels dangerous.

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