All posts by Dorianne Emmerton

Dorianne is a graduate of the Theatre and Drama Studies joint program between University of Toronto, Erindale campus and Sheridan College. She writes short stories, plays and screenplays and was delighted to be accepted into the 2010 Diaspora Dialogues program and also to have her short story accepted into the 2011 edition of TOK: Writing The New Toronto collection. She is also a regularly contributing writer on http://www.sexlifecanada.ca. You can follow her on twitter @headonist if you like tweets about cats, sex, food, queer stuff and lefty politics.

Review: Elephant Girls (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

Elephant Girls is an entertaining, gender-bending piece of theatre, on stage in Toronto

In post war era London, an all female gang called the Forty Elephants were notorious for theft and extortion. Now Margo MacDonald, as both playwright and performer, brings them to life in in Elephant Girls, onstage at Red Sandcastle theatre as part of The Wilde Festival.

With intimidating poise and a sly script that balances between understated pathos and thrilling adventure, MacDonald’s show is sure to please anyone with an interest in history, queerness, or just an entertaining seventy minutes in the theatre. Continue reading Review: Elephant Girls (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

Review: Unholy (Nightwood Theatre)

“Theatrically powerful” Unholy plays on stage in Toronto

In Unholy, produced by Nightwood Theatre and playing at Buddies In Bad Times, a Youtube broadcasted debate pits four women with differing relationships to Abrahamic religions against each other to discuss the controversial matter of misogyny in religion. Though their backgrounds are diverse, all are passionate, displaying intellectual prowess contextualised by flashbacks to experiences of loss and grief. Continue reading Review: Unholy (Nightwood Theatre)

Review: Sequence (Tarragon Theatre)

Nancy-Palk-Ava-Jane-Markus-Kevin-Bundy-Jesse-LaVercombe-in-Sequence-photo-by-Cylla-von-Tiedemann-2-1024x635Sequence, at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, explores concepts including science and faith

In Sequence, onstage at Tarragon Theatre, two separate narratives play out in the same space, at the same time, exploring the same themes: science and faith, luck, coincidence and probability. A mathematician confronts a man famous for a twenty year streak of winning Super Bowl bets on the flip of a coin; a fundamentalist Christian confronts a stem cell geneticist working on a cure for her own degenerative disease. The stories never intersect, but they have unlikely — one might say improbable — details in common. Continue reading Review: Sequence (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: A Better Place (Lily Rose Productions)

A Better Place Catherine Gardner,Chis Langille,Rachel Cairn photo by Bruce PetersToronto play tackles the right to die, but could use more character development

A Better Place, onstage now at Factory Theatre and produced by Lily Rose Productions, looks at the issue of end-of-life decision-making under a terminal condition. The protagonist of the play is a 55 year old widow named Stella (Kris Langille) who is active in her bowling and Catholic communities, and just beginning to date a new man (Edward Heeley). Everything is looking up for Stella – until she is diagnosed with ALS. Continue reading Review: A Better Place (Lily Rose Productions)

Review: It’s (Kind Of) A Love Story (Tree Of Life Theatre)

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Toronto show has potentially great actors lost in “deeply flawed” writing, and reinforces stereotypes

It’s (Kind Of) A Love Story, produced by Tree Of Life Theatre rankled me right away , as it opens with a scene of pure fatphobia. Michael (JaeMoon Lee) is joking to his best friend Alison (Ellie Posadas) about his desire to become “morbidly obese”, which goes on for what felt like five minutes. Thankfully, it elicited no laughs on opening night, as it is far from funny to stigmatize a particular body type. Continue reading Review: It’s (Kind Of) A Love Story (Tree Of Life Theatre)

Review: Swan (Little Black Afro Theatre)

bria-mclaughlin-and-michelle-chiu-2Swan is a “captivating horror story” on stage at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto

Aaron Jan’s Swan, produced by Little Black Afro Theatre and onstage now at Theatre Passe Muraille, is a captivating horror story set in Hamilton. The plot centres on an environmental activism group comprised of queer teenage girls, and their belated attempt to solve the gruesome murder of a swan ten years later. Featuring six women of colour who never even mention a man, Swan demonstrates that diversity should not be a buzzword but instead an indispensable aspect of telling compelling contemporary tales. Continue reading Review: Swan (Little Black Afro Theatre)

Kid +1 Review: Spirit Horse (Young People’s Theatre)

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Indigenous-focused Spirit Horse is essential and educational, and on Toronto stages now

Young People’s Theatre has opened their mainstage season with Spirit Horse, a Native American adaptation by Drew Hayden Taylor of the Irish play Tir Na N’og by Greg Banks, who also directed this production. Taylor is a First Nations writer I love for his humour and poignancy, and this offering is no exception.

Continue reading Kid +1 Review: Spirit Horse (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: Brave New World (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Brave New World photo by Dahlia KatzTheatre Passe Muraille brings Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic to the Toronto stage

Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World is one of the most well known dystopian science fiction novels, often mentioned in the same breath as Orwell’s 1984. I had never heard of it being staged before, so I was eager to see Litmus Theatre’s production at Theatre Passe Muraille. Matthew Thomas Walker’s adaptation is innovative and earnest; it feels exactly like a fearful vision of a commercialized, soulless future from the perspective of 1931.

Continue reading Review: Brave New World (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Review: The Watershed (Tarragon Theatre)

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The Watershed tackles a controversial and important issue on stage at Tarragon Theatre

The Watershed, currently onstage at Tarragon Theatre, details playwright Annabel Soutar’s investigation of the Experimental Lakes Area controversy that began in 2012. Using inspired stagecraft and deft performances that recreate real people such as politicians, activists, scientists and her own family, this production dives deep into the tension between economic and environmental concerns.

Continue reading Review: The Watershed (Tarragon Theatre)