All posts by Stephen Lubin

By Heart (Canadian Stage)

Canadian Stage presented a truly magical piece of participatory theatre in Toronto

This past weekend By Heart, a truly magical piece of theatre was put on by Canadian Stage, performed at the Berkeley St. Theatre. A limited engagement, from May 30 to June 2, in the Upstairs Space.

By Heart is an interactive theatre performance created by Portuguese actor Tiago Rodrigues, in which Rodrigues brings up ten audience members and over the span of ninety minutes to two hours, teaches them one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. As he does so, he breaks up his teachings with stories about his grandmother and his favorite authors. Continue reading By Heart (Canadian Stage)

Review: Prophecy Fog (Theatre Centre)

A woman holds her hand to her head.

Entrancing, Intimate and Challenging: Prophecy Fog Opens in Toronto

If you’re looking for a thoughtful and intimate performance this weekend, look no further than Jani Lauzon’s Prophecy Fog, on at the Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St W) until May 26. Produced by the Theatre Centre in collaboration with Paper Canoe Projects, in association with Nightswimming.

The history of Giant Rock is fascinating and sad. At the heart of Lauzon’s story is a question: “can a site still be sacred if it has been desecrated”? But at its narrative core, Prophecy Fog is the story of Lauzon’s journey to Giant Rock in the Mojave with her daughter. Continue reading Review: Prophecy Fog (Theatre Centre)

Review: Impressionism (Alumnae Theatre)

Alumnae Theatre stages a play by television writer Michael Jacobs in Toronto

If you want to see some paintings this weekend and don’t want to go to just any old gallery, check out Alumnae Theatre’s production of Impressionism by Michael Jacobs. On until April 27 in Alumnae’s main space.

Impressionism is a play by writer Michael Jacobs, whom you’re probably more familiar with as the creator of Boy Meets World as well as several other television shows. In Impressionism Jacobs’ television writing shines through in the show’s humour, with some truly funny banter and zingers. Continue reading Review: Impressionism (Alumnae Theatre)

Review: New Magic Valley Fun Town (Tarragon Theatre)

Tarragon Theatre presents a new play by Daniel MacIvor in Toronto

New Magic Valley Fun Town is wonderfully funny, extremely moving, and quintessentially Nova Scotian.  This new play is written by, and starring, Daniel MacIvor. You can catch it at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Ave.) from now until March 31st.

New Magic Valley Fun Town captures the lives of a family of Cape Bretoners in their hilarious nuances. It opens with lighthearted comedy, but by the end you may get a bit misty eyed.  With great acting and writing, I found this play to be immensely rewarding. Continue reading Review: New Magic Valley Fun Town (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: The Virgin Trial (Soulpepper)

The Stratford Festival production of The Virgin Trial, a play by Kate Hennig, is onstage in Toronto

After premiering at the Stratford Festival‘s 2017 season, The Virgin Trial by Kate Hennig has hit Toronto stages, being produced by Soulpepper. It’s on until February 3rd, so this is your last week to catch it at the Young Center For The Performing Arts (50 Tankhouse Lane).

The Virgin Trial is a tense historical, political thriller that tells the story of a 15-year-old Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth The First). After an attempt on King Edward VI’s life, his Lord Protector brings in Elizabeth, called Bess in the show, to question her involvement and inquire about her supposed virtue.

Continue reading Review: The Virgin Trial (Soulpepper)

Review: The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Holiday Improv arrives on the Toronto stage

The Wonder Pageant isn’t the Coal Mine Theatre’s (1454 Danforth Ave.) typical kind of production, and the cast jokes about this early into the show. This is hilarious improv show taking place in Toronto’s East End, and I highly recommend checking it out this holiday season.

While the company is known for its more serious theatrical productions, this evening of improv is anything but. What it does manage to be is exceedingly charming. The set is a homey little living room, and when you sink into your chair it really feels like you’re over at a friends’ holiday party. Continue reading Review: The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Review: The Message (Tarragon Theatre)

Tarragon Theatre’s The Message, is “wonderfully performed” yet “dense” playing in Toronto

This one’s a thinker for sure… It gave me a ton of material to work through and I’m still puzzling over it. If you want to see a show that’ll invoke your undergrad media studies classes, The Message is being put on by Tarragon Theatre from now until December 16, 2018.

The set stands out from the moment you walk into the theatre. As with all Tarragon shows, this play has high production value with a lot of creativity behind it. The Message, by Jason Sherman, tells the story of Canadian academic Marshall McLuhan as he struggles in the wake of life-altering surgery.

Continue reading Review: The Message (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Theory (Tarragon Theatre)

A woman staring at a laptop screen. A mess of internet comments projected on the surface behind her.Theory, a play by Norman Yeung, is seat-gripping thriller playing at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre

If you’re looking for some real scares this fall season, turn your attention away from schlocky horror flicks and consider trekking out to Tarragon Theatre. Theory is on until November 25, and it’s an absolute thrill that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

Theory is an original play by writer Norman Yeung. It’s a sort of social justice thriller with some very relevant dialogue, but the overarching perspective is still quite sensitive and informed. Continue reading Review: Theory (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: The Valley (Don’t Look Down)

Four people on a black backdrop, looking somber.A play by Joan MacLeod igniting conversations about mental health is now on stage in Toronto

The Valley by Don’t Look Down Theatre Company hopes to ignite conversations about mental health. It’s taking place in Theatre Passe Muraille’s (16 Ryerson Ave.) backspace until September 23, 2018 and I thought it made for a memorable show.

The Passe Muraille Backspace is tiny and chilly from the AC. The tough content of this show certainly won’t warm you, but perhaps the dialogue it inspires will. This is a show about four characters in Vancouver and how their lives are affected by mental illness.

Continue reading Review: The Valley (Don’t Look Down)

COCONUTS, CEDAR TREES, AND MAPLE LEAVES (Habib Siam and Jean Paul) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Habib Siam and Jean Paul by David Cyr at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.

If you’re looking for laughs at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival, look no further than COCONUTS, CEDAR TREES, AND MAPLE LEAVES, playing at Sarah’s Bar and Cafe. (1426 Danforth Ave.).

It’s funny that I’ve often heard Fringe described as having “everything” in casual conversation, yet COCONUTS, CEDAR TREES, AND MAPLE LEAVES is the first stand-up show I’ve seen at the festival in three years of writing reviews. I really enjoyed this show, and thought that its medium and tone made it stand out among the countless other Fringe shows that I’ve seen before.

Continue reading COCONUTS, CEDAR TREES, AND MAPLE LEAVES (Habib Siam and Jean Paul) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review