Harry Potter parody show arrives to make magic on the Toronto stage
First things first: my eight-year-old loved this show SO MUCH and giggled like a fiend the entire time. If your child under the age of about 14 is a big fan of Harry Potter, just accept with good cheer that you ought to be going to see Potted Potter at the CAA Theatre, and the show will be good-natured silly fun. The concept–all 7 books in 7 minutes–goes past a Cole’s Notes and squarely into a sort of theatrical shorthand, so if you’ve never read the books you’re mostly just watching two dudes do some skilled slapstick and improv. Then again, no one ever suffered for that.
Continue reading Kid +1 Review: Potted Potter (Starvox)
Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre presents Raven Spirit Dance’s play Salmon Girl
You think you understand kids, and then they surprise you – or at least they surprised me at Salmon Girl, presented at Young People’s Theatre and created by the folks at Raven Spirit Dance. While there were some mis-steps in the production, it has solid bones and there were parts of the show where my young companions, two enthusiastic second-graders, were literally motionless with interest and attention.
Continue reading Kid + 1 Review: Salmon Girl (Young People’s Theatre/Raven Spirit Dance)
Mirvish Productions brings the much beloved classic musical Annie back to the Toronto stage
I arrived to Annie at the Ed Mirvish Theatre on a sunny Sunday afternoon with my eight-year-old companion, joining a chattering throng of excited patrons for the fresh-from-London revival of an old favorite that I saw on Broadway as a young child more than 30 years ago. I vividly recall my excitement at the time, how exciting and fresh the show felt, and I hoped our visit would be equally enjoyable for my small charge. I’m happy to say it was; this production of Annie was a playful pleasure.
Continue reading Kid + 1 Review: Annie (Mirvish)
Young People’s Theatre presents Selfie, nuanced and thoughtful – great for teens, in Toronto
I arrived at Young People’s Theatre to see Selfie as an adult who works with a ton of teenagers and young adults (and has one of my own), skeptical in the extreme about work by adults about social media that’s aimed at teenagers. In general, I find it exhaustingly reductionist and at least five years behind schedule. Selfie, however, felt fresh and nuanced and appropriately difficult.
Continue reading Review: Selfie (Young People’s Theatre)
Tanya Tagaq and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory deliver awe-inspiring performance, on stage in Toronto
If you wanted to prepare yourself for this edition of Voices3
at Canadian Stage
, featuring Tanya Tagaq
+ Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory
you could watch Tagaq’s video Retribution
, which is a collaboration between the two. In the comfort of your home, you might feel prepared. You aren’t, but until the lights go down, and the theatre is as dark as an arctic night you would think you were prepared. And then Tagaq + Williamson Bathory would be there in the room with you, live and holy, and you will find yourself brilliantly discomfited in whole new way.
Continue reading Review: Voices3 (Canadian Stage)
Gobsmacked! is a family-fun a cappella-style musical on stage at the CAA Theatre in Toronto
Even before Glee re-introduced a cappella fever to the viewing public, the art form displayed in the new Mirvish offering Gobsmacked! has had a brilliant history. A cappella groups like Pentatonix now tour and perform, delighting audiences with their range of mouth noises. Gobsmacked! offers a rich sound, centered around obvious star beatboxer Ball-Zee, though overall I found it rather uneven as the various soloists took their turns.
Continue reading Review: Gobsmacked! (Mirvish)
A new play by Bilal Baig in Toronto explores the intersections between queerness and Islamic culture
Seeing Acha Bacha on opening night at Theatre Passe Muraille was a study in contrast, from beginning to end. In moments I found it so bright and beautiful that I could barely stand to blink, and in other moments I struggled with wanting a different kind of experience. Overall I found this a promising work by a playwright who obviously holds tremendous potential. Continue reading Review: Acha Bacha (Buddies In Bad Times & Theatre Passe Muraille)
Of course, the first thing that happened in the performance of The Harold Experience, an improvised comedy show based on true stories from the lives of audience members, playing as part of the 2018 Next Stage Festival (a sort of post-graduate Fringe experience, in theory) was director Rob Norman walking cheerfully down stage and explaining a) that he was not called Harold and b) what a Harold could possibly be. The audience mostly laughed appreciatively at his description, but I fear that we gave the cast the wrong impression about our values.
Continue reading 2018 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: The Harold Experience (The Assembly)
Mirvish brings all-ages magic show to the Toronto stage
With all the marketing around The Illusionists as a great show for the whole family, I was pleased but not surprised to see lots of kids hopping eagerly up the stairs with their grownups at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Friday evening. My seven-year-old companion was similarly irrepressible with anticipation for all the excitement that awaited, which – – mostly — delivered on its promise.
Continue reading Review: The Illusionists (Mirvish) Kid +1 Review
Like a much, much nicer version of hanging around schoolyards offering kids their first hit for free, our Canadian Opera Company has begun to expand its programs aimed at introducing young people to the wonders of opera early, so that their appreciation for the art form can grow and mature as they do. The Magic Victrola, this year’s specialty offering from the COC, is a magical journey assisted by an old trunk and a record player that a pair of children — Gracie and Sam — find in their grandfather’s attic. As the opera unfolds, not only do they get to hear the music on the old records, but fully-formed and dramatic operatic vignettes spring to life before their delighted eyes. Over the hour, children are introduced to a sort of Greatest Hits of operatic moments (with themes suitable for children, that is) by Bizet, Delibes, Donizetti, Mozart, Offenbach, and Puccini.
To find out what goes into making a piece like this, what to expect and what surprises there might be in store, we spoke to Ashlie Corcoran, the director, and Bruno Roy, who alternates as Papageno (the beloved everyman character from The Magic Flute):
Continue reading Preview: The Magic Victrola (Canadian Opera Company)