Mirvish presents the return the Carole King bio-musical starring Toronto’s Chilina Kennedy
Carole King is one of the most prolific American pop songwriters of the last half-century. Even if you’re not familiar with the material she recorded herself you undoubtedly know songs she has written for other artists: “The Locomotion,” “One Fine Day,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” to name a few.
It’s no surprise her expansive body of work would be fertile ground for a jukebox musical. Mirvish has brought the touring production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical back to Toronto for a return engagement at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Continue reading Review: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Mirvish)
Toronto theatre artist Johnnie Walker debuts his new play based on a true criminal case
It was an initial whiff of injustice—a gay man wrongly imprisoned for defending himself—that sparked Toronto-based theatre artist Johnnie Walker into action. The playwright spent years investigating a complex criminal case and processing his findings into a new play, Shove It Down My Throat, now playing at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
True Crime is a genre that has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. Podcasts like Serial, Atlanta Monster, and CBC’s own Someone Knows Something, all roughly follow the same formula of unpacking a historical crime and examining it from multiple angles in hopes of drawing new and interesting conclusions. Shove It Down My Throat borrows heavily from that formula but Walker puts a spin on it by examining his subject through a queer lens. Continue reading Review: Shove It Down My Throat (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre/Pandemic Theatre)
Soulpepper presents an intimate adaptation of Euripides’ Greek tragedy Iphigenia in Aulis in Toronto
We tend to think of Greek mythology as the realm of epic battles and larger-than-life gods but the characters we find in Greek myths can also be used to tell compelling, human-scale stories. Euripides’ play Iphigenia in Aulis is an example of how an outsized conflict between gods and mortals can translate into a gripping family drama. Wedding at Aulis, an adaptation of Euripides’ play by Iranian-Canadian playwright Sina Gilani, is given a new, intimate production by Soulpepper. Continue reading Review: Wedding at Aulis (Soulpepper)
Mirvish opens the first Canadian production of the hit musical Dear Evan Hansen in Toronto
Last night, Mirvish opened the first international production of Dear Evan Hansen, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the writing duo behind the songs in the films La La Land and The Greatest Showman) and book by playwright Steven Levenson. The show became a runaway hit and this new production, featuring a Canadian cast, is now playing at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre. Continue reading Review: Dear Evan Hansen (Mirvish)
The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival presents over 75 sketch comedy artists
The world has completely gone to shit: fascism is on the rise again, we’re barrelling toward environmental catastrophe and this goddamn winter just won’t end. If there was ever a time we needed a good laugh, now would be it. Luckily, The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (or TOSketchfest) is presenting over 75 sketch comedy artists over 12 days in three venues in both the West and East ends of the city.
I had the opportunity to check out two of the festival’s headliners on opening weekend: Sasheer Zamata (of Saturday Night Live fame) and Adam Conover (from the popular TruTV series Adam Ruins Everything). Continue reading Review: Sasheer Zamata and Adam Ruins Everything (Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival)
Toronto’s Hart House Theatre presents Kat Sandler’s dark, comedic play
Hart House Theatre programs an eclectic mix of shows. Their seasons typically start with a modern classic by the likes of Tom Stoppard, Tennessee Williams, or George F. Walker, then there’s usually a Shakespeare play and a Broadway musical thrown in the mix but this season they’re presenting something a bit different. Retreat is a dark comedy by Kat Sandler, the prolific playwright and star on Toronto’s Fringe and indie theatre scene. Continue reading Review: Retreat (Hart House Theatre)
Mirvish presents the Toronto premiere of a new musical written by and featuring Sting
Mirvish has brought internationally renowned recording artist Sting to the Toronto stage in a new musical featuring an original score with music and lyrics written by the singer-songwriter. The Last Ship was inspired by Sting’s experiences growing up in the shipbuilding community of Tyne and Wear during the decline of Britain’s shipbuilding industry and the closure of the town’s shipyard. Continue reading Review: The Last Ship (Mirvish)
The Canadian Opera Company revives its Atom Egoyan-directed Così fan tutte in Toronto
The Canadian Opera Company has revived its 2014 production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte directed by Atom Egoyan. For this production, the director takes the opera’s secondary title, “The School for Lovers,” literally and sets it in what looks like an Edwardian-era boarding school which he packs full of naturalist symbols like giant butterflies. The end result is decidedly mixed. There are some aspects of the production I loved and other aspects that I found absolutely frustrating. Continue reading Review: Così fan tutte (Canadian Opera Company)
The Montreal-based theatrical circus company brings its new show to Toronto
Cirque Éloize has been touring its shows in proscenium theatres around the world for the past 25 years. TO Live (the recently re-branded Civic Theatres of Toronto) is presenting their newest show at the St. Lawrence Centre. Hotel follows hot on the heels of shows by other theatrical circus companies from Quebec–Cirque du Soleil and Les 7 doigts de la main–which also played runs in Toronto within the past two months. Unfortunately, I don’t think Cirque Éloize’s offering measures up. Continue reading Review: Cirque Éloize Hotel (TO Live)
Damien Atkins performs his new solo play at Toronto’s Streetcar Crowsnest
“The truth is out there …” ‘90s kids will recognize that tag line from The X-Files; the cult hit sci-fi TV show about a massive government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials was a cultural phenomenon. For the generation who grew up watching that show, it’s not hard to see the appeal of re-visiting the subject matter if only for the sake of nostalgia. That cohort includes Toronto-based playwright Damien Atkins whose new play, We Are Not Alone, delves into the topic of UFOs and alien abductions. Continue reading Review: We Are Not Alone (Crow’s Theatre/Segal Centre/2b theatre company)