All posts by Jonathan Lavallee

Rage Against the King (Pound Ionesco Faulkner) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Rage Against the King

RAGE AGAINST the King, produced by Pound Ionesco Faulkner at Toronto Fringe Festival, is the third part of a trilogy being performed this year where different groups are writing around a single incident and creating unrelated stories. This is important to know because we thought that we would be lost not having seen the others. Thankfully that isn’t the case; each one has its own story and can be viewed on their own.

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The Greatest LOVE STORY Ever Forgotten (The Boy Who Swallowed a Bullet Collective) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Brittaney Bennett in The Greatest LOVE STORY Ever Forgotten

The Greatest LOVE STORY Ever Forgotten  produced by The Boy Who Swallowed a Bullet Collective playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Forgotten is a sixty minute story told over two days about Florence (Brittaney Bennett) who is an elderly woman in a home. She’s visited by a therapy clown (Gungun Deep Singh) who discovers that the picture Florence thinks is her husband, is actually actor Rock Hudson. The clown undertakes to help Florence piece the memories of her life back together.

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Review: Grease: The Musical (Irregular Entertainment)

Popular musical arrives on the Winter Garden Theatre stage in Toronto

Grease: the Musical is a classic, and it’s got that classic vibe about teenage friendship and romance in the 50s. Returning for another run after playing in Toronto in early 2018, the production currently playing at the Winter Garden Theatre is, as the opening song says, the time, the place, and the motion to watch an entertaining rendition of this popular musical.

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Review: After the Blackout (Soulpepper and RARE theatre company)

Melanie Lepp in a red robe holding a hockey stickAfter the Blackout is “powerful”, “vulnerable”, and “poignant”, on stage in Toronto

Regardless of everything else that happens in the play, the ending is what makes the point.

After the Blackout, playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, is not a typical theatrical story. I say that beyond the fact that the stories are all about people with disabilities, and played by actors with those disabilities. The note by Judith Thompson, who wrote and directed After the Blackout, talks about how the goal of the play was to write a complex story in which the disabilities of the cast were facts, not features. That succeeded beyond measure, but it too is not why this isn’t a typical theatrical production. This story is a-typical because it’s a difficult story, not just in what it is saying but in how it is being said.

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Review: The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)

Henry MossToronto’s Unit 102 Actor’s Company presents Sam Shepard’s play The Late Henry Moss

There is a certain style of American theatre that has its roots in plays like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman or David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. I like to call them the “men have feelings, but can only express them through yelling and punching” style of plays. The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard fits very comfortably in that style. Continue reading Review: The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)

Review: The Hungriest Woman in the World (Pencil Kit Productions)

Photo of Nora Williams by Magnus Berg and Pascal Lamothe-KipnesToronto’s playwright Shannon Bramer’s multi-layered play explores the theatre community

This play can be taken in so many different ways.

That’s intentional. There’s a scene in The Hungriest Woman in the World where Julie and Nathan (Tammi Freeman and Arun Varma), shout out a series of statements hinting at what this play could actually be about. They shout it out at Rob (Christopher Sawchyn) when he comes to pick up his wife Aimee (Nora Williams), who has spent the night with Julie and Nathan after going to the theatre.

But that’s ahead of the point.

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Review: Reflector (Theatre Gargantua)

Louisa Zhu - ReflectorUnique multimedia experience arrives on the Toronto stage

Reflector is Theatre Gargantua’s opening production of their 25th season, and the play is at the heart of the company’s goal of exploring compelling subjects in their multi-discipline style. You understand that goal as soon as you walk into the theatre, with various large projections of photographs that flip through a wide variety of images behind four microphone stands on the main stage at Theatre Passe Muraille. Continue reading Review: Reflector (Theatre Gargantua)