All posts by Stephen Lubin

Explosions for the 21st Century (Pressgang Theatre) SummerWorks Review 2017

Christopher Ross-Ewart’s show Explosions for the 21st Century isn’t just something to go see, it’s something to hear. It’s being put on at The Theatre Centre Incubator as part of SummerWorks 2017 And I really recommend you give it a watch and a listen.

Ross-Ewart is a sound designer, and among many other things this show is an ode to his passion for the craft. He gives off the air of a dorky tech-guy that’s been put up in front of an audience. He opens by cracking nervous jokes and then starts monologuing while using his soundboard as an aid. Almost immediately, you’ll realize that not only is Ross-Ewart very funny, he has a lot to say Continue reading Explosions for the 21st Century (Pressgang Theatre) SummerWorks Review 2017

Verisimilitude (Cawthra Park Secondary School) SummerWorks Review 2017

Verisimilitude is a grim, dystopian drama written and directed by Kat Schmael. It’s being put on at SummerWorks 2017 by Cawthra Secondary School atthe Pia Bouman – Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble Street) with just one more performance on August 13th.

Until the morning of, I didn’t realize that this was a high school production. Not that I wouldn’t see student theatre on my own time, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable at the prospect of reviewing it. However, I’m really glad to say that this production totally surpassed my expectations.

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Mother Sea / Manman La Mer & What Do You See? (Crick Crack Collective / Jasmyn Fyffe Dance) SummerWorks Review 2017

Storytelling and dance in a double-bill make for a lovely show with Mother Sea / Manman La Mer and What Do You See?, which are playing at The Theatre Centre BMO Incubator (1115 Queen Street W, Toronto, ON) as part of SummerWorks 2017.

I enjoyed both of these shows, and though they were very different, I found that seeing them back-to-back made for a single cohesive experience. They both feature women of colour telling their stories, just one is in a more literal fashion.

Continue reading Mother Sea / Manman La Mer & What Do You See? (Crick Crack Collective / Jasmyn Fyffe Dance) SummerWorks Review 2017

Moonlight After Midnight (Concrete Drops) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Image of Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle by Will O'Hare.

In Moonlight After Midnight, a mysterious romance by Concrete Drops playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, a man and woman meet in a hotel room, and we’re not sure why they’re there.

The two unnamed characters act out scenes that may or may not be real, and the rest of this show unfolds like a long series of riddles. The entire time I was struggling to figure out what was going on, but the audience is given just enough clues to stay hooked. The resolution is both poignant and satisfying.
Continue reading Moonlight After Midnight (Concrete Drops) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

The Miserable Worm (Let Me In) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Image of (from left to right): Justin Mullen, Emily Howard, Seamus Easton, Michael Ruderman, Justine Christensen, Philip J. Geller, Tymika McKenzie-Clunis, Geneviève DeGraves by Rae Ormshaw.

The Miserable Worm is a modern reimagining of Anton Chekov’s first untitled play (often called Platonov). It’s being put on by Let Me In Theatre at the Toronto Fringe Festival. That original piece has a runtime of about five hours, is apparently very nuanced, and to be honest I didn’t know anything about it going into this.

The Miserable Worm follows Platonov, played by the show’s creator Justine Christensen, an intellectual who’s gathered her friends for a weekend of debauchery in celebration of her birthday. Christensen gives us an aloof, arrogant, and deeply selfish character who ruthlessly turns her friends against her over the course of the show.

Continue reading The Miserable Worm (Let Me In) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Magical Mystery Detour (Gemma Wilcox) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Image of Gemma Wilcox by Alive Studios.

It’s a tall order for one person to tackle a couple dozen characters in one show. And in Magical Mystery Detour by Gemma Wilcox at the Toronto Fringe Festival you’ll see it being done quite beautifully.

This is a touching show about a woman on a solo road trip at the end of a very long and trying year. It is at times funny and heartbreaking, and Magical Mystery Detour is one of the most impressive Fringe shows I’ve seen.

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Weaksauce (Sam Mullins) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Sam Mullins in Weaksauce

First times are always scary. And in Weaksauce, an original one man show by actor and writer Sam Mullins at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival, we experience some of the most intimate and hilarious first-time stories from Mullins’ past.

Sam Mullins is a masterful storyteller, and he carries this show very well. Clocking in at about an hour and ten minutes, I didn’t quite believe that I was sitting down for a Fringe solo show until I got into the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse and saw nothing but a small black chair and a water bottle onstage. Continue reading Weaksauce (Sam Mullins) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

HANDS DOWN (Shoot Good Films) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Image of: Xavier de Guzman, Mathew Isen, Jane Luk, Colin Petierre, Jen Pogue, Christian Potenza, Lauren Vandenbrook by Megan Vincent Photography.

When five strangers are huddled around a car for 100 hours, things are bound to get a little weird. In HANDS DOWN by Shoot Good Films at the Toronto Fringe Festival, things get very weird.

HANDS DOWN is written by Warren P. Sonoda, an experienced television comedy director with credits like Trailer Park Boys and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Going into this show, I was excited to see how someone with a high-caliber, albeit slightly different, professional background would tackle the Fringe Festival as writer and director.
Continue reading HANDS DOWN (Shoot Good Films) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: redShow / blueShow (InspiraTO)

InspiraTO delivers, both in inspiration and entertainment, on stage in Toronto

From now until June 10, there’s something special going on at the Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St). It’s the annual InspiraTO short-play festival. In the runtime of just one hour, you can see 6 original short plays.

InspiraTO chooses its shows from over two-hundred submissions. With this vast selection, it’s unsurprising that the short plays that make it into the festival are quite good. I was generally impressed by what I saw onstage. These plays are short and to the point; some were a bit too on-the-nose for my liking, but the brevity and variety meant that I was never bored. I really recommend checking out this festival.

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Review: The Play About The Baby (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Intimate production of Edward Albee play takes to the Toronto stage

If you’re in the mood to grab a few drinks at a fine Queen West establishment, have a some hearty laughs, and then seriously question the fabric of your reality, then boy have I got a play for you: Toronto Indie theater company Seven Siblings Theatre‘s production of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer-nominated show, The Play About The Baby.

Continue reading Review: The Play About The Baby (Seven Siblings Theatre)