All posts by Jeff Kerr

Jeff was introduced to theatre at a young age, enjoying such shows as The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Cats. His love for live performance grew through watching various Fringe Festival and SummerWorks shows. Jeff loves the raw reality of theatre performance. He is drawn to the fact that there are no do-overs and there is no screen in between the audience and the performers. Theatre is as live and true as life itself. He maintains a website of his own at jtkwriting.com, that features his own stories and musings about the written word.

Review: The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (Toronto Irish Players)

Part-Musical, Part-Comedy, Part-Drama is a “fun night out” at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto

The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down, currently on stage at The Alumnae Theatre, is part musical, part comedy, and part drama as per director Michael Hiller’s program notes. I was intrigued to see how all of these parts would coalesce, and enjoyed how everything came together for an entertaining show.

Set in a small pub in County Cavan on St. Stephen’s night 2007, the show opens with the characters celebrating the assumed birthday of local bar regular The Horse (Ian McGarrett). Dramas are slowly revealed throughout the first half, with bartender Barney (Stephen Flett) finding himself in a particular mess because of his separate dalliances with two of the bar’s patrons. Continue reading Review: The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (Toronto Irish Players)

Review: The Realistic Joneses (Tarragon Theatre)

jenny_young_patrick_mcmanus_tom_barnett_susan_coyne_in_the_realistic_joneses_photo_by_cylla_von_tiedemann_-_3The Realistic Joneses is “funny” and “quirky”, on stage at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto

The opening night of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, currently at the Tarragon Theatre, had me laughing with its quirky dialogue, feeling for its desperate characters, and wondering exactly how many words make up a life. Judging by the triple-encore ovation at its conclusion, I would hasten to guess everyone else in the Tarragon Mainspace enjoyed it as well.

Continue reading Review: The Realistic Joneses (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: The Circle (Tarragon Theatre)

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The Circle brings teenage archetypes and a suburban garage to Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre

I was excited for The Circle, currently on stage at the Tarragon Extraspace, as I thought it was going to be a modern Breakfast Club experience. While the two stories share a couple of characters and themes, The Circle is a darker look into modern teenage life with the characters’ need for home, acceptance, and familial belonging at the forefront.

The Circle brings together teenage archetypes Amanda the genius (Vivien Endicott-Douglas), Ily the drug dealer (Jakob Ehman), Mutt/Tyler the mess (Brian Solomon), Kit the runaway (Nikki Duval), Will the kid with ADHD (Daniel Ellis), and Daniel the son of a priest (Jake Vanderham) for a garage party that isn’t supposed to be a “party”. Continue reading Review: The Circle (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Even this old town was a Forest (Birdtown & Swanville)

william_ellis_-_photo_by_natalie_novakBirdtown & Swanville presents an episodic play of mystery, myth, misery, and survival in Toronto

Birdtown & Swanville’s Even This Old Town Was A Forest, playing at The Theatre Centre, is a performance-driven tale of mystery, myth, misery, and survival. It’s funny though so don’t let those last four words turn you off.

Even This Old Town Was A Forest gives us the story of sisters Mary and Becky as they travel from England to 18th century Toronto – with Mary’s fiancé William, and Becky’s husband Jonathan – to build a new life. Once there, the group meets Abequa, a First Nations girl who has an odd ailment and has literally lost her father. The group must face the elements if they hope to survive, but they are also taunted by a monster who is forever in their midst. Continue reading Review: Even this old town was a Forest (Birdtown & Swanville)

Review: Dead End (Theatre Lab)

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Dead End brings a creative take on the Zombie genre to Toronto’s Factory Theatre stage

Theatre Lab‘s production of Jonny Sun’s Dead End — taking over the Factory Studio until October 23rd — is a funny tale of fear, friendship, and flesh hungry zombies. The show is a creative take on the zombie genre with its inspirational material not far from the surface.

Dead End is one part Waiting For Godot, another part Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, mixed with a dollop of Shaun of the Dead. It is a quick-tongued, philosophical tango between two friends whose lives are being threatened by a zombie not twenty feet away. Continue reading Review: Dead End (Theatre Lab)

Review: Aunt Dan and Lemon (Shadowtime Productions)

Aunt Dan and Lemon challenges Toronto audiences to examine our own self-perception, morality

Shadowtime Productions’ Aunt Dan and Lemon, playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, is a play with a message. It’s delivered by the title characters with a subtle smirk so as to have us contemplate our personal morality – and that of the human race as a whole – long after we leave the theatre.

In a 1986 essay by playwright Wallace Shawn – excerpted in the program – the message is explained clearly in his own words: “I’ve written a play in which it’s hard to say whether you like some of the people or you don’t like them…the things people say are a complex jumble of lies, truth, half-truth, rationality, and irrationality.” Shawn ends the paragraph saying these are the same things he encounters when speaking with his friends and interacting with the world at large. Continue reading Review: Aunt Dan and Lemon (Shadowtime Productions)

Review: Kill Your Parents In Viking, Alberta (Storefront Arts Initiative/Blood Pact Theatre)

libby_osler_allie_dunbar_michael_eisner_jimi_shlag__dsc_1483Kill Your Parents has laughs and tension, now on stage at the Storefront Theatre

My first and last impressions of Kill Your Parents In Viking, Alberta were “wow.” The show is a co-production of the Storefront Arts Initiative and Blood Pact Theatre and currently plays at The Storefront Theatre. It is a dark comedy with focus on the highs and lows of three siblings meeting after the death of their grandmother.

My first “wow” came the moment I stepped into the theatre space. The set, designed by co-writer Bryce Hodgson and Producer and Production Manager Bri Proke, was like every suburban kitchen I have ever set foot in. The older appliances, worn table and chairs perfectly capture the Canadian small-town aesthetic. Continue reading Review: Kill Your Parents In Viking, Alberta (Storefront Arts Initiative/Blood Pact Theatre)

I’m Not Here (Composite Theatre Company)

ImNotHere-400x399Composite Theatre’s I’m Not Here is a clever and polished production, playing at hub14 as part of the 2016 SummerWorks Festival.

I’m Not Here is about the downward spiral and loss of identity of Ariana, played with a yearning innocence by Alex Petrachuk. The yearning being for an idea of who she really is and what the world is about, and the innocence in her questioning how the world is so complex. Continue reading I’m Not Here (Composite Theatre Company)

Daughter (Quiptake/Pandemic Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review

DaughterAdam Lazarus is both delightful and depraved in Daughter, a co-production of QuipTake and Pandemic Theatre, currently playing as part of the 2016 SummerWorks Festival at the Factory Theatre Studio.

I have been reviewing theatre for over a year now. This is the first show I have seen where I don’t want to write a review. I just want to say, go and experience it, as I feel anything I write will take away from the true — almost philosophical — experience of Daughter. Continue reading Daughter (Quiptake/Pandemic Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review

This is How We Got Here (Continuum Theatre/New Harlem Productions) 2016 SummerWorks Review

This_is_how_we_got_hereThis is How We Got Here, a co-production of Continuum Theatre and New Harlem Productions, is playing at the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the 2016 SummerWorks Performance Festival. It is a powerfully reflective presentation of real human reactions to loss.

A year ago, Paul and Lucille lost their son Craig to suicide, and through their interactions with Lucille’s sister, Liset, and her husband Jim, Paul and Lucille try to weave their broken lives back together. There is also a fox, and for fear of ruining its power, I will leave its meaning to be discovered. Continue reading This is How We Got Here (Continuum Theatre/New Harlem Productions) 2016 SummerWorks Review