All posts by Catherine Jan

A former freelance translator in Paris, Catherine Jan now enjoys writing in Toronto and about Toronto. Especially about Toronto theatre. She also blogs about translation, copywriting, editing and other word-related past-times at Catherine Translates. Are you on Twitter? Join @translatetrad‘s 2,000 followers who keep up with her workin’ girl tweets.

Birds Make Me Think About Freedom (L’Arche Toronto Sol Express) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Melissa Marshall in Birds Make Me Think about Freedom

Birds Make Me Think About Freedom by L’Arche Toronto Sol Express is a memorable, eye-opening story at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. Playing at the Al Green Theatre, it reveals the dark past of the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities in Ontario. The play is performed with grace and beauty, and it tells us much about resilience. Continue reading Birds Make Me Think About Freedom (L’Arche Toronto Sol Express) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

SUM: A Shadow Puppet Reading of David Egleman’s Tales from the Afterlive (Sticks and Strings Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Sequoia Erickson by Hans Krause

Playing at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, SUM: A Shadow Puppet Reading of David Egleman’s Tales from the Afterlives is a shadow puppet performance at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. Put on by Sticks and Strings Theatre, SUM is a reflection that touches upon God, heaven, reincarnation, self-awareness and other heavy themes.

Continue reading SUM: A Shadow Puppet Reading of David Egleman’s Tales from the Afterlive (Sticks and Strings Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Queen Marie (Alumnae Theatre)

Ambitious Queen Marie plays at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto

Playing at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto’s Distillery District, Queen Marie is an engaging musical tribute to “great big girl” Marie Dressler. Dressler, whom I knew nothing of previously even though she won an Academy Award and acted with Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin, was an Ontario-born comic actor whose theatrical career spanned decades, right into the first “talkies”. Continue reading Review: Queen Marie (Alumnae Theatre)

Review: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Scarborough Players)

Big laughs in stylish comedy, now playing on the Toronto stage

Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a comedy that gets funnier after funnier with each scene. Playing at the Scarborough Village Theatre, this story will make your own sibling relations seem perfectly functional.

Wistful Sonia (Deborah Jarvis) and complacent Vanya (Chip Thompson) are stay-at-home siblings to whom nothing exciting ever happens. Things run amok after their psychic housekeeper Cassandra (Carolyn Williamson) warns them of housing doom and gloom. Sure enough, their movie star sister Masha (Martha Breen) waltzes in to visit, introduces her young bimbo boyfriend Spike (Holm Bradwell), and announces she wishes to sell the family home. Masha is the one who has been paying for its upkeep, while Sonia and Vanya have spent the past 15 years caring for their elderly parents, now deceased. Continue reading Review: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Scarborough Players)

Review: Brodsky/Baryshnikov (Show One Productions)

Baryshnikov performs the poems of Joseph Brodsky at Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre

When I saw that I had the opportunity to see the ballet dancer Baryshnikov, I jumped at the chance, thinking I’d be seeing spins and pliés. That wasn’t the case. This show at The Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto is a quiet, poetic performance that has only a minor dance element. BRODSKY / BARYSHNIKOV is Baryshnikov’s Russian-language tribute to his Nobel prize-winning poet friend Joseph Brodsky.

Continue reading Review: Brodsky/Baryshnikov (Show One Productions)

Review: A Christmas Carol (Ross Petty Productions)

A Christmas Carol is a “wonderfully goofy” take on the Dickens’ classic, now on stage in Toronto

Produced by Ross Petty, A Christmas Carol— on stage at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre — is a colourful and silly take on the Charles Dickens classic. As you may know, the miser Ebenezer Scrooge meets his dead friend Marley who warns him that Scrooge will be visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. These meetings turn out to be transformative for Scrooge: he ends up becoming generous and loving.

Continue reading Review: A Christmas Carol (Ross Petty Productions)