All posts by Nicola Dempsey

Review: Mary Poppins (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Photo of the cast

The LOT’s Mary Poppins has some magical moments amidst amazing music

We are all familiar with PL Travers’ no nonsense British Nanny Mary Poppins, whether we encountered her in the original books or were a fan of the 1964 Disney classic starring Julie Andrews.

Now an Olivier and Tony Award nominated musical adaptation, with music by Richard and Robert Sherman, Stiles, and Drewe—and a book by Julian Fellowes—brings even more colour to the lives of the Banks family at the Lower Ossington Theatre.

Continue reading Review: Mary Poppins (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Review: Joyful Noise (East Side Players)

Photo of the castJoyful Noise gives Handel’s Messiah a humourous twist, on Toronto stages

George Frederick Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is considered one of the greatest and most frequently performed choral compositions of all time, most commonly recognized for its ‘Hallelujah Chorus’.

However, the backstory of its naissance was full of scandal, struggle and controversy. Naturally, it lends itself to a dramatic retelling in the theatre, in Tim Slover’s Joyful Noise, currently playing at the Papermill Theatre as part of the East Side Players’ 50th Anniversary Season.

Continue reading Review: Joyful Noise (East Side Players)

Review: The Four of Us (Foxglove Theatre)

Photo of Michael-David Blostein and Šimon Mizera, Christopher Fulton, Mike RudermanFoxglove Theatre presents a tale of envy and ego on stage in Toronto

Having made its off-Broadway debut in 2008, Itamar Moses’ hit play The Four of Us is now in the capable hands of Toronto’s new indie theatre company, Foxglove Theatre, at The Attic Arts Hub

This comic drama is a tale of envy, ego, and the stress that success can put on friendship. Two aspiring young writers, David (Šimon Mizera) and Benjamin (Michael-David Blostein) seem only to have a relationship of convenience, obligation and curiosity. Having been ‘frenemies’ at summer camp, their adult companionship now seems only to exist so that they can check in with what the other is up to in their career, and then compare.

Continue reading Review: The Four of Us (Foxglove Theatre)

REVIEW: OLD TIMES (UNIT 102 ACTORS CO.)

Photo of Lauren Horejda, Mark Paci and Anne van LeeuwenHarold Pinter’s memory play takes to the Toronto stage

First performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1971, Toronto indie theatre company Unit 102 Actors Co. have brought Harold Pinter’s Tony Award winning play Old Times to The Dirt Underneath. Old Times is categorized as one of Pinter’s ‘memory plays,’ where he explores the ambiguities and fluidity of memory and how our recollection of past events can affect the dynamics and relationships of the present and future.

Continue reading REVIEW: OLD TIMES (UNIT 102 ACTORS CO.)

True Blue (A Vagrant Theatre and Bad Dog Theatre Company) 2016 Toronto Theatre Fringe Review

Photo of the castIf, like me, you are craving a good police drama right now and are counting the seconds until the new series of Broadchurch and Happy Valley are released, Vagrant and Bad Dog Theatre Company’s True Blue, playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, could not come at a better time. And the good news is that it is improvised, so you can watch a whole British series of it (that’s six episodes) and each show will be different. Continue reading True Blue (A Vagrant Theatre and Bad Dog Theatre Company) 2016 Toronto Theatre Fringe Review

Angels and Aliens (Active Salad Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Jeff Leard and Sydney Hayduk

The supernatural comedy Angels and Aliens, from Active Salad Productions is making its Toronto debut at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival 2016.

When roommates Sydney (Sydney Hayduk) and Jeff (Jeff Leard) have sex, they avoid their awkward morning-after breakfast by downloading a two-player world building game, iBang, where they become the governors of a new evolving planet; Sydney is in charge of Aliens, and Jeff of the Angels. As their relationship worsens, so do the conditions of their fictional world, which closely resembles that of our own deteriorating earth. Continue reading Angels and Aliens (Active Salad Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Life After (The Life After Collective) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Two people walking through snow, one after the otherOn Alice’s sixteenth birthday, her father Frank, a celebrity self-help guru, dies in a car crash on the way to her celebration. Alice tries to navigate her life and find some meaning in it by questioning and exploring her complicated relationship with him, and the family, friends and acquaintances that surround her. Life After, from the Life After Collective, is a beautiful new musical making its stage debut at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Continue reading Life After (The Life After Collective) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Next Thing You Know (Ethereal Fantazy Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo (L-R) Johanna Reinberg, Liam Naughten, Olivia Ulrich, and Nick Xidos

Ethereal Fantazy ProductionsNext Thing You Know is a coming-of-age musical playing at the Randolph Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. It is a classic story following four New York artists lost in their mid-to-late-twenties, facing the realization that the life they thought they once wanted is now not as desirable as the life they thought they’d never choose to live. In other words, becoming an adult. Continue reading Next Thing You Know (Ethereal Fantazy Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Changeling; A Grand Guignol For Murderous Times (Desiderata Theatre Company)

World Premiere of Julian R. Munds’ dark thriller takes to the Toronto stage

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A ‘grand guignol’ was a term used for graphic horror plays that were bleak and bloody and popular in the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre. Desiderata Theatre Company’s production of Changeling; A Grand Guignol for Murderous Times, playing at the Box Theatre, was certainly a very grand guignol!

In this tragic thriller, cunning Beatrice-Joanna is set to marry Alonzo di Piracquo, but is in love with Alsemero. In order to get out of her engagement, she has Alonzo murdered by her father’s servant, DeFlores, and then must deal with the consequences. Continue reading Review: Changeling; A Grand Guignol For Murderous Times (Desiderata Theatre Company)