Hands up anyone else who has never seen a play by George F. Walker. Nor had I until Saturday when I saw the world premier of The Chance at The Assembly Theatre. I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen any of his plays before this, it wasn’t a conscious decision; more a case of never being in the right place at the right time.
Now that I’ve seen one I’m looking forward to seeing more. The Chance is funny, suspenseful, and a social commentary that never hits you over the head. It has strippers, bad guys, mistaken identity, a moral decision, a dead guy, cell phones, and a loan shark. Continue reading Review: The Chance (Leroy Street Theatre)
Young People’s Theatre presents Bello, a folktale with scary moments, on stage in Toronto
On Wednesday afternoon my grandson Desmond and I went to see Bello at Young People’s Theatre. It’s billed as suitable for kids from six to nine years old. Desmond is six years and three weeks old. It was his expert opinion that one of the classes attending the performance was a kindergarten class and that the kids weren’t six yet. They seemed to manage just fine.
Bello is essentially a folktale “about a time when there were no phones, no cars, and no light bulbs…” and a young boy named Bern who gets lost in the snow on his way back from school. Continue reading Review: Bello (Young People’s Theatre)
Sharron’s Cabaret is fun and lively with an engaging message, on stage in Toronto
On Thursday afternoon my grandkid Max and I headed to Young People’s Theatre to see Unapologetically Me: Sharron’s Cabaret For Kids. It’s recommended for kids aged 9-11. Max is only 8¾ but it was fine.
The Sharron in the title is Sharron Matthews and she does a great cabaret around the theme of being yourself. She’s an amazing singer, always a good thing in a cabaret. More than that though, she was so comfortable with the kids in the audience; she was like a really cool aunt who says things your parents don’t say and is funny but tells you important stuff. Continue reading Review: Unapologetically Me: Sharron’s Cabaret For Kids (Young People’s Theatre)
Britta Johnson’s musical Life After brings a cast of incredible performers to the Toronto stage
Britta Johnson’s musical, Life After, co-produced by The Musical Stage Company, Yonge Street Theatricals and Canadian Stage, opened at the Berkeley Street Theatre on Thursday. It’s a strong production with powerful music and a really contemporary feel while at the same time giving a nod to traditional musicals.
My daughter Megan came with me. I love going to shows with her. I’m all about what I feel and think after a show. Meg knows why she feels and thinks it. Articulating the ‘why’ is my challenge. We both really enjoyed the show. The audience joined us in weeping, a lovely change for me, but it’s not all tears, there’s lots of laughter. Continue reading Review: Life After (Canadian Stage, The Musical Stage Company, and Yonge Street Theatricals)
Toronto’s Unit 102 Actors Company presents Miss, a new play by Michael Ross Albert
On Saturday I stepped out of my comfort zone and saw Miss, a Unit 102 Actors Company production, at the new Assembly Theatre in Parkdale. Out of my comfort zone because the press release describes the play, by Michael Ross Albert, as an “explosive drama about loss, grief, guilt, and revenge” and I usually avoid anything with that kind of description. I am so glad went.
It was one of those rare evenings of perfect theatre that will stay with me for years. It’s why people make theatre. It’s why I love theatre. Continue reading Review: Miss (Unit 102 Actors Company and The Spadina Avenue Gang)
Early in Shaista Latif’s solo show The Archivist, a disembodied, cartoonish voice starts asking her questions about whether she wants a lawyer, disregards her answers, and tells her she has to swear to tell the truth using a complicated oath that involved spinning around.
The show—which opened on Saturday at Pia Bouman – Scotiabank Studio Theatre as part of the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival—Latif says, will prove that she’s Afghan. Continue reading The Archivist (Shaista Latif) 2017 SummerWorks Review
Are there sentences or phrases you can hardly bear to think about, let alone say? For me, one of those is ‘the only good Indian’. I was fairly surprised after I found myself blithely asking someone “Is this the right line for the only good Indian?” while at Factory Theatre. I guess it’s all in the context because The Only Good Indian is the name of a show that opened on Friday as part of 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival.
It’s presented by Pandemic Theatre and is hard to describe because it doesn’t fit neatly into pre-defined theatre categories. It’s a solo show created and performed by Jivesh Parasram, Tom Arthur Davis, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. The three performers alternate shows. Continue reading The Only Good Indian (Pandemic Theatre) 2017 SummerWorks Review
Let’s Try This Standing brings new meaning to the expression “caught between a rock and a hard place.” When she was 19, Gillian Clark was hit by an out of control SUV and trapped between it and a brick wall.
Her solo show that tells the story of her accident, hospitalization, and recovery opened on Friday at Factory Theatre, part of the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival. It’s a lot more cheerful than it sounds. Continue reading Let’s Try This Standing (Keep Good (Theatre) Company) 2017 SummerWorks Review
If you had asked me yesterday how I felt about seeing a play set in the post-apocalyptic wild west of Ontario, I doubt that I would have been very excited.
Then I saw Divine, and it’s marvellous. I am definitely excited! Everything about it is wonderful, the cast, the performances, the script, the set, everything. It opened on Friday at Factory Theatre as part of the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival. Continue reading Divine (Red One Theatre Collective/Storefront Arts Initiative) 2017 SummerWorks Review
The world premiere of What Linda Said, part of the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival, opened on Thursday at Factory Theatre to a full house. The play, by writer Priscilla Uppal, is based on imagined conversations she had with her friend Linda Griffiths after Griffiths died and while Uppal was having chemotherapy. Sound like a downer? Not at all! Continue reading What Linda Said (Dr. Up Productions) 2017 SummerWorks Review