All posts by Jeremy Gardiner

Review: Spring Awakening (Randolph Academy)

Randolph Academy Spring AwakeningPhenomenal performances in Randolph Academy’s Toronto production of rock musical Spring Awakening

It’s no secret that Spring Awakening – Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s rock musical about the trials and tribulations of sexually repressed teens in 19th century Germany – is one of my favourite plays of all time. So, when I was given the opportunity to review the Randolph Academy’s production of the play – cast with actual teenagers – I was delighted.

After seeing it, I’m kind of torn about how I feel about the Randolph Academy production. On the one hand, there are several really phenomenal performances in it and I loved the multi-harmonied sound of the full cast in some of the group numbers. On the other hand there are an equal number of moments where the staging is flat (and so are the singers).

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Review: Cabaret (Stageworks Toronto)

Stageworks Cabaret

Stageworks Toronto brings sexy raunch to the George Ignatieff Theatre in Cabaret

Stageworks Toronto‘s fascinating current production of Cabaret — playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre until July 26 — explores the seedy underbelly of sex, politics, and the death of the Jazz Age in Germany on the cusp of the rise of the Nazi’s political power.

Although it is less inclined towards spectacle, this Stageworks production is more successful at illuminating the darkness in Kander and Ebb‘s classic musical than any other production I’ve seen – including the critically acclaimed Roundabout Theatre Company revival(s) with Alan Cumming.

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Waiting for Alonzo (Empty Box Theatre Company) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Waiting for AlonzoWhat draws me to Empty Box Theatre Company‘s Waiting for Alonzo, now playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is the same thing that drew me to the 2013 Broadway revival of Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart: a funny, complex, and ultimately loving friendship between two compelling characters in the face of oblivion. Continue reading Waiting for Alonzo (Empty Box Theatre Company) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Deadmouse: The Musical (Malach Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Deadmouse: The Musical

Move over Kinky Boots, there’s a new fun, fresh, high-energy musical in town: Deadmouse: The Musical. This play, which is destined to become one of the most successful of the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival, has all of the makings of a great instant cult classic: a smart and wacky story, a strong and hummable score, and a controversy that brought it to the public’s attention before it even opened.
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Cinderella: It ain’t over till the shoe fits (3 Little Bears Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Cinderella: It ain't over till the shoe fits promotional photo
Like Shrek, the 3 Little Bears Productions‘ production Cinderella: It ain’t over till the shoe fits now playing at FringeKids! has something for both kids and adults. Their retelling of the classic fairytale is a cute way to spend an hour at the theatre with your children.

Continue reading Cinderella: It ain’t over till the shoe fits (3 Little Bears Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Twelfe Night, Or what you will (Ale House Theatre Co.) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Twelfe Night, Or what you will
The Ale House Theatre Co. production of Twelfe Night currently playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival is an admirable production of Shakespeare’s greatest comedy. The production’s gorgeous costumes and beautiful singing in the 16th century style set it apart from other recent Toronto productions.

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You Are Not Alone (Paprika) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo From You Are Not Alone

Kenneth Collins’ play You Are Not Alone at the Toronto Fringe Festival is a sometimes-poignant, often goofy story about teenagers finding love and acceptance among their peers at a Catholic boarding school. Although I found it a little after school special-y at parts, I would describe it as kind of like the really great episodes of Glee or Degrassi that kept me watching those shows season after season.

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Review: FORNÉS X2 (Theatre Asylum)

Michelle Latimer and Jamie Robinson in FORNÉS X2

Site-specific pairing of plays in Toronto, FORNÉS X2, is wholly satisfying

My experience of seeing Theatre Asylum’s FORNÉS X2 was a lot like the experience of eating at an exceptionally good pop-up restaurant. I went in not knowing a whole lot about the brilliant Maria Irene Fornés or her plays The Successful Life of 3 and Mud (the two plays that make up FORNÉS X2), but I was assured that I was about to see something of high quality. Thankfully, I enjoyed both plays immensely and was left fully satisfied.

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Review: Macbeth (Wolf Manor Theatre Collective)

An inventive new take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth stuns on the Toronto stage

Macbeth Wolf Manor Theatre Collective

Wolf Manor Theatre Collective’s Macbeth is an intelligent, heart-pounding 90 minute interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Director Claren Grosz’s brilliant use of double-, triple-, and even quadruple-casting draws out smart connections between characters, and her astonishing staging choices make their telling of the play lucid and fast-paced.

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Review: Harvey (Stage Centre Productions)

Stage Centre Productions' Harvey

“Zenned-out” Harvey, now on stage in Toronto, produces mixed results

In Stage Centre Productions’ production of Harvey, director Steven Jackson re-imagines the classic 1940s comedy as a Buddhist text. For me, this change in delivery and pacing makes the madcap comedy dull and unfunny more often than not.

Still, the audience – myself included – did manage to find a few hearty laughs in those parts of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize winning text that did hit the mark.

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