All posts by Samantha Wu

Samantha is a writer and a fan of the arts and has been able to find numerous ways to pair the two. Aside from being an editor here at Mooney on Theatre, she’s a photojournalist for Lithium Magazine which gets her writing and shooting about everything from Dave Matthews Band to Fan Expo, and a copy editor/writer for Art Katalyst. She’s passionate about music, theatre, photography, writing, and celebrating sexuality — not necessarily in that order. She drinks tea more than coffee, prefer ciders over beers, and sings karaoke way too loudly. You can follow her on various social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Butt Kapinski – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From Press Release

Film Noir installation fantasy starring the entire audience. Butt Kapinski is funny, filthy and fully interactive. In a show that is part-comedy, part-social experiment, audience members play dead bodies and cops, men become whores, women become abusers, and Butt conducts the audience on a gender-bending ride—lit only by the angler-fish style lamp above the character’s head. 

Deanna Fleysher, also director/co-writer of internationally renowned Red Bastard, smashes through boundaries of gender stereotypes and what it means to be an audience member is this uniquely-staged ‘murder mystery’. Following extensive seasons in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK, Butt is set to take Toronto by storm.

BEST COMEDY: Perth Fringeworld 2017 INNOVATION AWARD: Adelaide Fringe 2017 COMEDY AWARD: Adelaide Fringe 2016 BEST OF FEST: Orlando Fringe 2015, Edmonton Fringe 2014, Calgary Fringe 2014, Hollywood Fringe 2013 WINNER: STAFF PICK, Edmonton Fringe 2014, VOLUNTEERS’ CHOICE AWARD and CULTCH AWARD, Vancouver Fringe 2013 WINNER: MOST ORGASMIC PRODUCTION, Hollywood Fringe 2013 NOMINATED: BEST TOURING SHOW, THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE

★★★★★ “Butt Kapinski is not just the name of a show; it could be the name of a new theatre/comedy style.” – GLAMADELAIDE

★★★★ “This is not audience participation, this is immersive comedy like you have never experienced. And we love it.” – THE SCOTSMAN 

★★★★ All the noir tropes are present and transformed: the street lamp that cuts through the darkness is affixed to Butt like a third eye… A raucous and raunchy thrill ride.” – THE LIST

Artist Bio: 

Deanna is a comedy artist, teacher and director devoted to immersive experiences and breaking the audience/performer divide. She currently tours with her award-winning solo show Butt Kapinski, and teaches workshops in physical comedy and audience connection around the world. She leads the ongoing Naked Comedy Lab in her new hometown of Bellingham, WA, USA. For more info, see www.buttkapinski.com or check out her blog at nakedcomedy.blogspot.com

Details

  • Butt Kapinski plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Unsuitable for Minors, Sexual Content, Audience Participation, Nudity, Mature Language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive early for evening shows.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 5th, 07:00 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 10:45 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 01:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 06:45 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 12:00 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 03:30 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 09:15 pm

Photo of Deanna Fleysher by Mihaela Bodlovic

I Am Hope – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From Press Release

Sufferers of anxiety disorders are set to get a dose of inspiration when Mia Raye Smith takes center stage in her solo show, I Am Hope in the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Written by Mia Raye Smith, I Am Hope is an autobiographical play about a young girl’s transition to one of New York’s toughest neighborhoods. Young Mia was seeking acceptance and validation from her peers, but a trip back home to Detroit helped her realized her deep family history in Louisiana.
Mia transforms into 19 characters that have helped shaped her life and in turn, develops an anxiety disorder complete with panic attacks leaving her homebound. Consequently, her dreams are put on hold.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada (ADAC) anxiety is the most common mental illness in Canada. In Fact, statistics reveal that one in four Canadians (25%) will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. I Am Hope illuminates the struggle of anxiety disorders to it’s fullest, as compelling piece of theatre that will resonate with everyone, but especially those who struggle with the disorder on a daily basis. Smith has performed this compelling theatre piece at a number of college campuses across America including Fordham University, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan and Brooklyn College. An educator at Fordham University, Ijeoma Nwaogu, PH. D., fully endorsed the show. She said: “I Am Hope is a poignant play filled with brilliantly portrayed scenes that stir emotions and inspires the audience. A funny, yet moving play sheds light on a woman’s real life experiences living with an anxiety disorder. Audience members are sure to feel moved and empowered.”
Mia Raye Smith ( Writer/Performer) Mia Raye Smith was Born in Detroit, Mi. She is a playwright, and actress as well as a proud graduate of the William Esper Studio. While enrolled in Emmy Award-Winning writer and teacher Matt Hoverman’s “Go-Solo “ Workshop, Mia wrote, developed, and performed her One Woman Show, “ I Am Hope”, which was featured OFF-Broadway in The United Solo Festival in NYC, New Works Series Festival and the Flying Solo Festival. Mia is currently touring “ I Am Hope” on the college Circuit. Mia is contributing to the conversation of mental health through the performing arts.
Details

  • I am Hope plays at the Tarragon Solo Room. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. Check in at the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime, and a staff member will escort you to the venue. Accessible seating is in the front row.

Performances

  • Thursday July 6th, 09:30 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 06:30 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 05:00 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 02:45 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 04:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 08:30 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 04:30 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 08:00 pm

Photo of Mia Raye Smith by Keith MacDonald

Monsters by Nature – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From Press Release

Kindling Collective proudly invites you to their Toronto Fringe Festival debut, Monsters By Nature. Monsters By Nature is a collective creation piece that takes an in depth perspective at the human capacity to commit evils and embrace their inner bestial power. Inspired by the classical tales of Frankenstein, Dracula, Quasimodo and more, you are taken on the journey of the creation of a monster. This project has been in the works for two years and has had contributions from several different creators plus numerous anonymous submissions from our online questionnaire. It features a mix of self-written material and published text, ranging from Jacobean, Elizabethan, to anonymous posts in forums found on the deep dark web.

Kindling Collective aims to take an intersectional feminist perspective to classical works. This production’s team features a diverse cast of classically trained female performers and musicians. Co-founders Jilly Hanson, Shannon Murphy, and Chelsea Woodard take the stage along side up-and-coming artists Ellie Posadas, Parmida Vand and Julia Vescio.
Details

  • Monsters By Nature plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Sexual Content, Mature Language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive early for evening shows.

Performances

  • Friday July 7th, 06:45 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 12:00 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 01:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 07:30 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 11:30 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 08:45 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 01:00 pm

Photo of Ellie Posadas, Chelsea Woodard, Parmida Vand, Julia
Vescio, Shannon Murphy, Jillian Hanson, Lauren Pileggi by Geoff Stairs

Songs for a New World Order – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From Press Release

Songs for a New World Order is a 45 minute acoustic collection of sharp, witty, and ridiculous songs that hang in the balance between observational and surreal. The show finds the humor in our absurdly twisted world by exploring the hard hitting issues that plague our modern society such as: Slow walkers, the TTC, love in space, single fatherhood, mothers day conspiracies, bullies, roleplay, humans and their secrets, to asking important questions like “where did all the love in the world go?” and much more.
Under the direction of Tricia Black (Songbuster: An Improvised Musical, The Sketchersons), Anesti Danelis showcases songs that range in style from pop, hip hop, rock, and campy, and that are woven together with clever wordplay and unexpected turns. With the silly and playful nature of Flight of the Conchords, and observational, dark tones of Bo Burnham, Anesti’s joyful style oftentimes hangs on the edge of darkness before being whisked back up into bliss.
Over the last year, Anesti has been crafting these songs by performing them regularly across Toronto as a guest, and as a headliner. He has also performed around North America, as his songs earned him an official selection for the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival (2017), Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival (2017) and as a semi-finalist in Z103.5 FM’s Fund Me Fest (2017). After all that fine tuning, he now presents his original music in one delightful, yet dark, debut solo package.
You can also catch Anesti Danelis in his other fringe show “And then it Happened…” a two-man sketch revue with company Aspiring Landlords.
Anesti Danelis (Company: Third Wheel) 
in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents
Songs for a New World Order
Written by and Starring Anesti Danelis
Directed by Tricia Black

Details

  • Songs For a New World Order plays at The Theatre Centre’s BMO Incubator. (1115 Queen St. W.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Sexual Content, Audience Participation, Mature Language.
  • This venue is accessible.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 5th, 10:00 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 06:30 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 04:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 01:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 06:30 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 08:00 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 03:30 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 04:00 pm

Photo of Anesti Danelis by Anesti Danelis

No Place – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From Press Release

No Place is about a young woman finding her voice and unearthing deep family secrets just in time to bury her beloved grandmother. Written and performed by Jillian Welsh (Second City House Co., RISK! Podcast) and directed by Shari Hollett (For the Record, Radio: 30, Second City), the show weaves interconnected stories for a brutally honest and painfully funny examination of the things we take with us and the things we leave behind.

Praise for Jillian Welsh:

“The performers are very good, especially Welsh, who seems equally at ease with comedy and drama. If she has a day job like this, I hope she sticks with the acting; she’s a natural.” – Glenn Sumi, Now Magazine review of Pressgang Theatre’s Served.

“Jillian is one of my favorite performers in this city and one of the most unique voices in storytelling.” – Paul Afalo, Confabulation Storytelling.

“A very funny talent.” – Kevin Allison, The State/RISK Podcast.

No Place

Written and Performed by Jillian Welsh
Directed by Shari Hollett
Stage manager: Ada (Last Name)
Produced by Pressgang Theatre as a part of the Toronto Fringe Festival

Details

  • No Place plays at St. George the Martyr. (197 John St.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.

Performances

  • Thursday July 6th, 08:00 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 01:00 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 08:00 pm
  • Sunday July 9th, 08:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 08:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 08:00 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 08:00 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 01:00 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 08:00 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 08:00 pm

Photo of Jillian Welsh by Dahlia Katz

Odd One Out – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From Press Release

1950. A love triangle. A secret attraction. A college student disappears in the woods. Ten years later, her rival lovers reunite in an attempt to solve the otherworldly mystery: what really happened to Clementine Yates?

Four years in the making, playwright Maureen Gualtieri combines the pulp of lesbian fiction of the 1960s with urban legends about disappearances to investigate desire, discovery and a woman’s role in the world. The script started shortly after her graduation from Montreal’s National Theatre School, where Maureen also met dramaturg Tara Koehler and actress Krystina Bojanowski, who stars as Clementine. Maureen’s previous Toronto Fringe credits include “Trip” and “Monkey Love”.

Joining Ms Bojanowski in the cast is Ryerson student Mattie Driscoll as Matilda and accomplished puppeteer Jesse Byiers as Jerry, helmed by director Elizabeth Traicus. Traicus is an alumnae of Queens University and Humber College.

Eerie, emotional and enlightening, “Odd One Out” brings its unique vintage and shadow-based aesthetic to the intellectual musings of Gualtieri’s script as part of the #FemmeFringeTO movement.

 Human Wick Effect
in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents

Odd One Out

written by Maureen Gualtieri
directed by Elizabeth Traicus
starring Krystina Bojanowski, Jesse Byiers, Mattie Driscoll
stage managed by Robyn Hoja
produced by Christopher Douglas
set design by Natalia Tcherniak
lighting design by Brandon Goncalves
costume design by Claire McMillan
sound design by Micah Champagne

Details

  • Odd One Out plays at the Tarragon Extraspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warning: Sexual Content.
  • This venue is barrier-free. Patrons who use wheelchairs or who cannot climb stairs are seated in the front row.

Performances

  • Friday July 7th, 08:30 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 11:15 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 04:15 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 02:45 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 07:45 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 05:15 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 02:30 pm

Photo of Mattie Driscoll, Jesse Byiers, Krystina Bojanowski by Natalia Tcherniak

Review: Onegin (The Musical Stage Company)

The Musical Stage Company presents the new Canadian musical Onegin, on stage in Toronto

I had never heard of the musical Onegin, now on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre produced by The Musical Stage Company, until I saw a flyer for the production stuffed in the program of a show I saw last month. The musical is based on the poem Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky and is a tale of pride, love, and scorn set in wintry Russia. This musical is fun and lively, the cast is remarkable… but it just didn’t pull on all the right heart strings for me.

Continue reading Review: Onegin (The Musical Stage Company)

Review: Don Giovanni (Odd Opera)

Odd Opera presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Commons Theatre in Toronto

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote the music for the two-act opera Don Giovanni, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, that saw its debut in 1787. It is a story that, unfortunately, has not lost any of its relevancy over the centuries past — sexual violence, assault, emotional abuse, gender politics, and apologists for all of the above haven’t faded into history. In fact, these crimes are just as prevalent now, which makes Odd Opera‘s current production even that much more haunting.

Continue reading Review: Don Giovanni (Odd Opera)

Review: Midsummer (A Play with Songs) (Tarragon Theatre)

A wild night of questionable decisions fuels Midsummer, at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto

Just like Shakespeare’s tale of fairies run amok on the shortest night of the year, Midsummer (A Play with Songs), on stage at the Tarragon Theatre, is a story of two lost and unlikely souls finding each other and allowing whimsy, chaos, and chance propel them through one helluva night.

This ramshackle blur of events is punctuated with song, sprinkled with creatively situated audience participation, and fueled by liquid encouragement. Being in the audience feels like you’re following that one friend around on a wild bender — you’re not quite sure where he’s going to end up but it’s bound to be a chaotic ride.

Continue reading Review: Midsummer (A Play with Songs) (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Banana Boys (Factory Theatre)

The hit show Banana Boys returns to the Factory Theatre stage in Toronto

Banana Boys is currently making its triumphant return to the Factory Theatre stage. Originally developed by the fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company in 2002, the show is now one of the most culturally relevant modern plays currently in production.

The show itself is a fast paced, witty, and at times raunchy look at what it means to be a “banana” — a cultural term indicating someone who is ‘yellow on the outside and white on the inside’. A displaced Asian with roots in the East but born and raised in the West. From the perspective of five young Chinese-Canadian men, they explore their struggles with career, education, love, friendship, identity, and the ever present pressure from mom and dad.

Continue reading Review: Banana Boys (Factory Theatre)