All posts by Stephen Lubin

Review: Cage (Soulpepper)

Toronto’s Soulpepper presents the avant-garde theatre piece Cage as part of its new Solo Series

Every time I go to an art gallery, there’s always the weird room. You know the one I’m talking about: the dark room with black and white projections, noise music or static playing over the speakers. It’s the room that you walk into and think “what the hell is this?” but you feign interest if you’re on a date.

Cage is being put on by Soulpepper at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts until March 25th. To me, it was a lot like the weird room at the art gallery, only instead of leaving after a few minutes, I watched it for an hour. I’m glad I did though; because regardless of my personal preferences going into it, I concede that this is a challenging piece that delicately toes the line between theatre and performance art. Continue reading Review: Cage (Soulpepper)

Review: Picasso at the Lapin Agile (East Side Players)

Einstein and Picasso walk into a bar… cozy, funny theatre ensues on Toronto stages

Picasso and Einstein meet in a bar in 1904. It sounds like the setup for a joke, but in the case of Picasso at the Lapin Agile it’s the setup for many jokes in this one-act comedy by none other than Steve Martin. Picasso at the Lapin Agile is being put on by the East Side Players at the Papermill Theatre (67 Pottery Rd.) until Mar 11, 2017.

This is a charming little play, often put on by community theatre troupes like the East Side Players. This production got plenty of laughs, and gave each of it’s actors some time to shine. I really appreciated it for what it was, and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into this show.

Continue reading Review: Picasso at the Lapin Agile (East Side Players)

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (George Brown Theatre)

George Brown showcases promising talent on stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If you’re in need of some Shakespeare, then you can get your fix in the distillery district this month. The George Brown School of Performing Arts is putting on a double feature of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

This is strictly a review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When I first saw the posting, I naively assumed that it was some sort of mashup, selection of scenes, or drastically cut versions being performed together. This isn’t the case: if you go on a given night you’ll be seeing one or the other, and in my case it was Midsummer. Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (George Brown Theatre)

Review: The Dining Room (Plainstage Theatre Company)

Plainstage Theatre Company presents a play examining WASP culture, on stage in Toronto

If you’re in the mood to see a Gilmore Girls-esque series of scenes deconstructing WASP culture, then head out to the Plainstage Theatre Company‘s The Dining Room, playing at The Box Theatre this weekend (January 13-15, 2017).

The Plainstage Theatre Company aims to rehearse and mount shows in a very short time frame. The idea being that this gives artists experience and stage-time without cutting into their professional and personal lives, something that even community theatre is guilty of doing. I love this idea and would absolutely recommend friends to get involved and even consider doing so myself. Continue reading Review: The Dining Room (Plainstage Theatre Company)

Review: What the Elf (Second City)

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What The Elf is an engaged, kid-friendly comedy for the holiday season in Toronto

The winter holidays are almost here, and if you’re looking for something to do with your young kids, you will probably enjoy What the Elf, being put on by The Second City in their Mainstage theatre (51 Mercer St).

As someone with a love for comedy who has always wanted to try performing in children’s theatre, What the Elf seemed like the perfect show for me to check out. I brought my 12 year old sister to this production (aimed at ages 4-12), figuring it’d be fine that she’s at the top of the age range, but was surprised to see that she was definitely the oldest kid there.

Continue reading Review: What the Elf (Second City)

Review: Avenue Q (Lower Ossington Theatre)

seanna-kennedy-photography-lot-2016-ave-q-promo-2The LOT performs tony-award winning musical Avenue Q in Toronto

Being about seven months out of university myself, I wasn’t sure whether I was ready to go see the Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of Avenue Q this weekend. It’s a poignant satire of children’s television programming that pokes fun at the struggles of adult life after graduation. The catchy tunes like “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” and “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” were written by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (co-creator of Book of Mormon and composer for Frozen), and they certainly rang true to me. You know you’re watching biting satire when a part of you dies each time you laugh.

But don’t let this cynical twenty-something discourage you: the LOT’s production of Avenue Q is a very fun show. Continue reading Review: Avenue Q (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Review: Apollo and Daphne / Enoch Arden (Toronto Masque Theatre)

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Double-bill Apollo & Daphne / Enoch Arden features “immensely talented” vocalists in stories about lost love

Apollo & Daphne / Enoch Arden is a double-bill being put on at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse by the Toronto Masque Theatre company this weekend only (Nov 17-19). It features some very in-demand Canadian performers and has raised the bar for this fairly green reviewer.

This is probably the most uncertainty I’ve had going into a production since I started with Mooney this past summer. I honestly had no idea what to expect, but was more than pleased with what I found. Continue reading Review: Apollo and Daphne / Enoch Arden (Toronto Masque Theatre)

Review: Much Ado About Nothing (Hart House Theatre)

muchado6webToronto’s Hart House Theatre sets Shakespeare’s Much Ado in the shadows of WWII

Perhaps this has to do with being a U of T grad, but for me Hart House shows have always been synonymous with “probably pretty good”. But even with a solid opinion of Hart House Theatre going into it, this production of Much Ado About Nothing has managed to raise that bar for me.

It wasn’t until the subway ride home that I realized I’ve reviewed works of director Carly Chamberlain before, in the 2016 Summerworks production of Plucked. I’m glad I didn’t know this going into Much Ado, because it gave me the opportunity to be blown away yet again by her directorial skills and ingenious knack for bringing texts to life in clever, thought-provoking ways. Continue reading Review: Much Ado About Nothing (Hart House Theatre)

Review: The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy (Eldritch Theatre)

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Eldritch Theatre’s charming puppetry delves into darkness for Toronto audiences

Over the past few months I’ve been on a horror binge, and I’ve often found myself thinking that it’s a shame we don’t see the genre in the theatre very often. So you can imagine how excited I was to have the opportunity to review The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy, being put on by Eldritch Theatre at the Red Sandcastle Theatre.

I don’t usually get my hopes up for shows I’m reviewing, and I was nervous going into The Harrowing, thinking that maybe I’d jinxed it. But I am so pleased to say that this production was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be.

Continue reading Review: The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy (Eldritch Theatre)

Review: Bill Clinton Hercules (Central Standard Theatre)

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Bob Paisley embodies the 42nd American president at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille

It’s a bit ironic that I missed watching the debates last night to see Bill Clinton Hercules, a politically charged one-man show being put on in the Passe Muraille Backspace by Central Standard Theatre. Though after reading up on and watching clips of last night’s debacle, I can’t help but think that my evening was better spent and significantly less infuriating.

Continue reading Review: Bill Clinton Hercules (Central Standard Theatre)