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: Undercover (Tarragon Theatre)

Rebecca Northan unveils her new show Undercover at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre

The opening night of Undercover at Tarragon Theatre was packed (as Rebecca Northan shows tend to be) and lively (ditto) with audience members keen to turn up and drink, mingle, and watch the proceedings as Northan – in what has become her signature play – scans the attendees for the evening’s perfect foil. In a new twist, Undercover adds a number of characters and a number of possible endings to the mix. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, as improv often is, and the result didn’t really, well, kill.

Continue reading Review: Undercover (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Lukumi A Dub Opera (The Watah Theatre)

d’bi young anitafrika takes Toronto by storm with her new show Lukumi: A Dub Opera

As an admirer of d’bi young anitafrika‘s solo work for some time, I was excited to arrive at Tarragon Extraspace for Lukumi: A Dub Opera and see a simmering, kinetic scene already underway, scored live by a small ensemble and featuring young (as Lukumi) engaged in a dance conversation with Daniel Ellis, who plays as a variety of characters. It set the tone for an extraordinary evening at the theatre.

Continue reading Review: Lukumi A Dub Opera (The Watah Theatre)

Kid +1 Review: Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World (Pirate Life)

Photo of Cast of Pirate Life Pippi The Strongest Girl in the World

Immersive seafaring adventure play takes to Toronto waters

At the lawless edge of Toronto, there’s a pirate adventure awaiting young and old in Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World, an original musical adaptation of a Pippi Longstocking tale of finding adventure on the high seas (in this case, on Lake Ontario). Presented by an energetic young cast of actor/musicians as their boat takes a cheerful cruise of the lake, Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World is a charming way to spend a breezy hour with the family.

Continue reading Kid +1 Review: Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World (Pirate Life)

Monsters By Nature (Kindling Collective) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

photo of cast of Monsters by Nature

Before seeing Monsters By Nature at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival, I described a different show (Blink’s Garden) as being like a camp play, but a very good one. I somewhat wish I hadn’t, because I would now like to describe Kindling Collective’s Monsters By Nature as being like a camp play, but…one that tries to do way, way too much considering the time and space.

Continue reading Monsters By Nature (Kindling Collective) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Pineapple Club (Robin Henderson Productions) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Perhaps you were not aware, as I was not before going to see Pineapple Club, that “comedic dance” was a thing. After Robin Henderson Company’s 2017 Toronto Fringe show, I can tell you for sure that it is, and that it’s both delightful and hilarious, and that I have almost no idea what Pineapple Club was about, and I don’t really care.

Continue reading Pineapple Club (Robin Henderson Productions) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

She Grew Funny (O’Sullivan Lane Productions/Brett McCaig Productions) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

She Grew Funny at 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival is the work of a comedian and television writer working in a new idiom, and that’s more or less my favorite thing about Fringe. I like when talented people take risks. I like seeing the new, fresh things they make while they’re still wobbly and damp as colts, though I know they may be uneven. This was, but I still found it worthwhile.

Continue reading She Grew Funny (O’Sullivan Lane Productions/Brett McCaig Productions) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

This Is Not She (The Simian Assembly) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

photo of Julia Haist in This is not SheNot enough people are going to see This Is Not She , a site-specific offering of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival, and that is a shame. It’s great nerd-fun, well conceived and acted, understated and affecting. But between “Shakespeare” and “audience participation” in the program, I think people will imagine themselves forced to do terrible humiliating English-class things and stay home. They should not. This is good.

Continue reading This Is Not She (The Simian Assembly) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Blink’s Garden (Fat Blue Productions) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Poster image from Blink's GardenHere’s the first thing I liked about Blink’s Garden at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival: the kids in it, of which there were a fair few, looked excited. I love when children’s theatre has actual children in it, and this multi-character epic delivered on that and much more during the completely delightful show.

Continue reading Blink’s Garden (Fat Blue Productions) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Fables From Faraway Lands (Merlene’s Impact Project) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Poster image from Fables from Faraway LandsEleven-year-old Aviv Cohen, star of Fables From Faraway Lands as part of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival, is a smallish human with a lot – like, several people’s worth – of performance charm. As the lead of Fables From Faraway Lands, she carries the performance on her slight shoulders. It’s a lot for her, but she carries it with just a few stumbles.

Continue reading Fables From Faraway Lands (Merlene’s Impact Project) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Bearing (Luminato)

Bearing is an eye-opening opera about residential schools, part of the 2017 Toronto Luminato Festival

The hero quote on the Luminato page for Michael Greyeyes and Yvette Nolan’s Bearing is Michael Greyeyes searing comment: “Every person in Canada is surviving residential schools, because if you’re Canadian you’re part of it.” My relation to residential schools is not personal – there are no residential school survivors in my family – but the need to learn about them, and to engage in reconciliation comes through ethical and treaty obligations. I am a treaty person, because I live on land that was part of the Toronto Purchase.* With this in mind, I went to see Bearing expecting to be implicated, to learn, and be moved. I did not have the experience I expected.

Continue reading Review: Bearing (Luminato)