All posts by Wayne Leung

Wayne is a writer, editor and corporate communications professional who is thrilled to be a part of the Mooney on Theatre team. Wayne has loved theatre ever since his aunt brought him to a production of Les Misérables at the tender age of ten . . . despite the fact that, at that age, the show’s plot was practically indiscernible and the battle scenes scared the bejeezus out of him. Wayne’s current list of likes runs the gamut from opera, ballet and Shakespeare to Broadway musicals, circus and Fringe theatre. Outside of the theatre Wayne’s interests include travel, technology and food.

Review: Corteo (Cirque du Soleil)

Photo: Lucas Saporiti Costumes: Dominique Lemieux © 2015 Cirque du SoleilCirque du Soleil brings its show Corteo to Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena for the Holidays

The Canadian entertainment juggernaut Cirque du Soleil is back in town with their classic show Corteo—playing a short run this week at the Scotiabank Arena (formerly the Air Canada Centre)—just in time for the holidays!

Corteo originally played a longer run in Toronto back in 2005. Cirque du Soleil has taken to adapting their older shows—ones which have already toured the world in their signature tent—to enable them to play in arenas allowing them to profitably run in smaller markets and in cities like Toronto during the cold winter months. Continue reading Review: Corteo (Cirque du Soleil)

Review: If on a Christmas Night (DopoLavoro Teatrale/Villa Charities/The Columbus Centre)

Photo of Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, Rory de Brouwer, Raylene Turner, Danya Buonastella, and Franco Berti provided by the companyExperience an immersive theatre celebration of Christmas through the lens of Italian culture in Toronto

For the second year in a row DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT), one of Toronto’s leading immersive theatre companies, has created a Christmas-themed show. Following last year’s An Italian Christmas Carol, a reimagining of the Dickens story performed for a solo audience member, the company is presenting If on a Christmas Night, an immersive theatre experience designed for a larger audience, written and directed by DLT’s Artistic Director, Daniele Bartolini. Continue reading Review: If on a Christmas Night (DopoLavoro Teatrale/Villa Charities/The Columbus Centre)

Review: Slava’s Snowshow (Show One Productions/Civic Theatres Toronto)

Photo of Slava’s Snowshow by Vladimir MishukovAfter 25 years on tour Russian clown Slava Polunin’s acclaimed show returns to Toronto

Winter can be a pretty depressing time in the city; tall buildings turn our roads into wind-tunnels channeling the bitter cold into our faces, the sidewalks are covered with brown slush, and the days are so short we seem to live in perpetual darkness. Even so, every year when that first snow flurry blankets everything in a fluffy, white coat, it still feels like magic. Now, if you could take that mix of emotions, bundle it together and put it on stage, you’d have something akin to Slava’s Snowshow. Continue reading Review: Slava’s Snowshow (Show One Productions/Civic Theatres Toronto)

Review: Yellow Rabbit (Soulpepper/Silk Bath Collective)

Photo of Amanda Zhou by Alfred ChowA new play by Toronto’s Silk Bath Collective is chilling, timely and relevant

I remember being stunned speechless at the end of Silk Bath; a searing, satirical play about the experiences of Chinese-Canadian immigrants by Bessie Cheng, Aaron Jan, and Gloria Mok, which enjoyed successful runs both at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival and the Next Stage Festival. The three playwrights have taken that raw, pointed play, refined it and adapted it into a new work: Yellow Rabbit. Continue reading Review: Yellow Rabbit (Soulpepper/Silk Bath Collective)

Review: Trace (Red Sky Performance/Canadian Stage)

Photo of the company of Red Sky Performance's Trace by David HouCanadian Stage presents the premiere of Red Sky Performance’s new dance piece in Toronto

I only became aware of Red Sky Performance about a year ago when I saw them perform with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I became an instant fan not only because of the company’s unique Indigenous approach to contemporary dance but also because of the breathtaking artistry and sheer physicality of their performance. 

I’ve sought out their performances ever since so when I learned Canadian Stage was presenting the world premiere of the company’s new show Trace, I jumped at the opportunity to see it. Continue reading Review: Trace (Red Sky Performance/Canadian Stage)

Review: Japanese Problem (Soulpepper/Universal Limited)

Photo of Yoshie Bancroft, left, and Nicole Yukiko by Mona Stilwell / Bob BakerA new play about the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII is presented in Toronto

Canadians are often guilty of a kind of smug, exceptionalism when it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion, especially when we compare ourselves to the giant dumpster fire that is the US. Rarely do we acknowledge or critically examine our own dark history. 

Events like our government’s forced internment of thousands of Canadians of Japanese heritage during World War II remain untaught or under-taught in our high school history classes. That’s why works like Japanese Problem are so vital if we are to truly understand who we are as a country.  Continue reading Review: Japanese Problem (Soulpepper/Universal Limited)

Review: The Children (Canadian Stage/Centaur Theatre)

Laurie Paton and Geordie Johnson in Canadian Stage's production of Lucy Kirkwood's The Children. Photo by Dahlia Katz.Canadian Stage presents the premiere of Lucy Kirkwood’s new play in Toronto

The Children is a new play by Lucy Kirkwood that has recently played both on Broadway and in London’s West End. The British playwright often takes a cerebral approach to her writing and tackles complex issues in her work. Canadian Stage previously produced her dazzling US-China political-thriller, Chimerica, in 2016. Continue reading Review: The Children (Canadian Stage/Centaur Theatre)

Review: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/The Musical Stage Company)

Photo of Kira Guloien, Bruce Dow, Donna Garner and the Edge of the Sky Young Company of Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life by Dahlia Katz.A cult leader’s funeral is the setting for a new musical by Toronto’s Anika and Britta Johnson

There’s definitely an air of mystery around Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life; a new, immersively-staged musical taking over Heliconian Hall in the heart of Yorkville. The casual theatre-goer would be forgiven if they had no clue what Dr. Silver was about from the show’s deliberately sparse website which only hints that it centres on the funeral of a charismatic nouveau-spiritual leader and doesn’t really provide much more detail than that. Continue reading Review: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life (Outside the March/The Musical Stage Company)

Announcement: 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award Winners (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Photo of Astrid Van WeirenJerusalem, Life After, and Orphée+ win big at the 39th Dora Awards

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) presented the 39th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards last night at a ceremony at the Winter Garden Theatre hosted by Astrid Van Wieren, currently starring in the Broadway run of the juggernaut Canadian musical, Come From Away.

Continue reading Announcement: 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award Winners (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Review: Wicked (Mirvish)

Photo of Ginna Claire Mason & Mary Kate Morrissey in WickedThe hit Broadway musical Wicked returns to Toronto

Since it opened on Broadway in 2003, the musical Wicked has become an international phenomenon. It has played over 100 cities in 15 countries, raking in over $4.5 billion in global ticket sales and winning over millions of fans in the process. A touring production of the show has just touched down at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre for a fifth engagement and—as with any long-running show—the question is; does Wicked retain its magic or does it show its age? Continue reading Review: Wicked (Mirvish)