All posts by Ryan Kerr

I Am Very Far (Pressgang Theatre) 2013 SummerWorks Review

I-am-Very-Far-Photo

I Am Very Far, playing at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre as part of this year’s SummerWorks festival, combines video, music and a team of actors to generate a cohesive impression of trauma, loss and memory as it affects the central character coping with the sudden death of his father. But like the themes represented, I Am Very Far loses direction halfway through, as narrative regresses into a blur of fragments and the audience feels very far, indeed, from what is happening on stage. Continue reading I Am Very Far (Pressgang Theatre) 2013 SummerWorks Review

Review: The Lover (Three Peasants Theatre)

Stephan Ermel as Richard, Nicole Buscema as Sarah in The Lover

Three Peasants Theatre presents Harold Pinter’s The Lover at Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre

Three Peasant’s Theatre transforms the Alumnae Theatre into a 1960’s suburban British homestead in Harold Pinter’s The Lover. Director Peter Wylde created a multi-layered production, casting talented actors and treating even comedic moments with severity and intention. Continue reading Review: The Lover (Three Peasants Theatre)

The Epitome of Regret (Mad Resilience)

After an exciting Toronto Fringe Festival, which proved yet again that creating some of the city’s best theatre only needs a shoestring budget and talent, my standards have again been raised.

However, when I went to see The Epitome of Regret—a new musical by Paul Morrison, Iain Gardner and Mark Datuin–just a week after the Fringe closed, I felt like I was stepping backwards. Continue reading The Epitome of Regret (Mad Resilience)

Review: Over the River and Through the Woods (East Side Players)

David A Fitzpatrick - Eastside Players - Over the River and Through the Woods

Toronto’s East Side Players keep it in the family with their latest theatrical production

If you have yet to venture Over the River and Through the Woods to historic Todmordon Mills, you have good reason to now. The East Side Players has put together a heart-warming evening at The Papermill Theatre which is clever, funny and touching. My father and I both laughed heartily while pondering playwright Joe DiPietro’s eternal question: how do families weather the storm of relocation, ageing and the future without losing the common threads that bind them? Continue reading Review: Over the River and Through the Woods (East Side Players)

Review: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (AngelWalk Theatre)

Dean Hollin, Alison O'Neill, Leslie Kay, Christopher Alan Gray - Photo by Raph Nogal Photography

Toronto can explore the elusive human connection with AngelWalk Theatre’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

A lot has changed in the last 20 years. I like to think that the way people relate to one other has been revolutionized thanks to some major shifts in technology. Social movements, online slacktivism and even our clipped computer-based chit-chat instead of long-winded phonecalls or “electronic mails” has produced a new breed of social networking. Every day I’m bombarded with stories of how impossible relationships thrive and how overcoming social adversity produces the richest results. These feel-good news stories challenge expectations of what is expected of us to the point of redefining the definition of success. I want to believe that we have evolved beyond conforming to an antiquated ideal to paving our own way to find true happiness (and maybe, love). Continue reading Review: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (AngelWalk Theatre)

Review: Night of the Living Dead Live (Nictophobia Films)

Having reviewed for Mooney on Theatre for a number of years now, I must admit that I’ve become a bit of a theatre snob. This is of course contrary to the mandate of MoT, which aims to share opinions that are constructive and accessible for theatre lovers and soon-to-be-converts. After years of biweekly (or more) productions, it’s rare to see a production as clever, well-rehearsed, and completely spot-on as Nictophobia Films’ Night of the Living Dead Live, playing at Theatre Passe Muraille until May 19th.

Continue reading Review: Night of the Living Dead Live (Nictophobia Films)

Review: Young Frankenstein: The Musical (Alexander Showcase Theatre)

Young Frankenstein Company

From cult-classic film to Toronto’s stage – Young Frankenstein dazzles while hitting the right spot on your funny bone

If you are not already a fan of comedian Mel Brooks, then this show – or any of his cult-classic film work – will not be for you. If however, you find his lewd goofiness entertaining, as I do, then be prepared to giggle throughout Alexander Showcase Theatre’s Young Frankenstein: The Musical, playing at the Al Green Theatre in the Spadina JCC. Continue reading Review: Young Frankenstein: The Musical (Alexander Showcase Theatre)

Review: The Seagull in Four Movements (Upstart Theatre)

Zack Amzallag, Stephanie Bitten, Elizabeth Tanner, Enzo Voci, Colin Murphy, Aisha Bentham, and Wesley J. Colford - photo by Madeline Haney

Thought-provoking theatre in The Seagull in Four Movements, staged at Toronto’s Winchester Kitchen and Bar

Upstart Theatre’s The Seagull in Four Movements takes place in a faded cocktail bar in present day Toronto. Like its late nineteenth-century Chekhovian reference, it’s rife with the passion of a love-pentagon – much more complex than a love-triangle – and balances everyday issues of vanity, insecurity and the pursuit of a mother’s love with modern-day vernacular. Writer/Director Meg Moran included lines like, “Sorry I was late, the College car was backed up” or “God I love Toronto!” to make the piece instantly accessible and applicable to the here and now, despite The Seagull’s antique origin.

Continue reading Review: The Seagull in Four Movements (Upstart Theatre)

Preview: To Myself at 28 by Sky Gilbert

A deep look into theatrical great Sky Gilbert’s life, playing at Toronto’s Videofag

Typically, when I choose a show which looks dynamic, interesting and topical to review, I write about it after seeing it. But once I chose To Myself at 28 taking place at videofag for an extremely limited run, I received an email stating that Friday’s To Myself at 28 is more workshop than fully fleshed production, “feedback is welcome but a full review is not appropriate.” Perfect. I can just sit back and relax when I watch this one.

Continue reading Preview: To Myself at 28 by Sky Gilbert

Review: II(Two Rooms) (Théâtre Français)

Théâtre français de Toronto stages II (Two Rooms), an evocative French-language theatre production

I don’t know a ton of Anglophones who high-tail it over to see French theatre in Toronto. It’s a shame, because watching something live, in another language, is like taking a different path to a familiar destination or ordering a flakey croissant over a breakfast bagel. It’s a refreshing way to experience theatre because it requires a level of attention beyond the typically passive observer. To understand, you must read the surtitles, sometimes leaning forward to catch both inflection and the written word.

And heck, if you like going to the opera -almost never in English- or the ballet -requiring visual interpretation- why not taste the French style? Frankly, the quality of Théâtre Français de Toronto, now celebrating its 45th season, merits the extra effort. Continue reading Review: II(Two Rooms) (Théâtre Français)