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.

Announcement: 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominees (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Soulpepper, Mirvish and Canadian Opera Company lead noms for the 38th Dora Awards

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) revealed the nominations for the 38th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards at a press conference early this morning. The Dora Awards seek to recognize excellence in the Toronto performing arts community. This year’s ceremony will take place on Monday, June 26 at the Elgin Theatre and will be hosted by prolific Toronto actor and musician Raoul Bhaneja.

Continue reading Announcement: 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominees (With Links to MOT Reviews)

Write for us! Coverage of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival

Tarragon-Lineup_smCover Toronto Fringe for Mooney on Theatre

Mooney on Theatre is looking for folks to review shows at the Toronto Fringe Festival, which runs from July 5 – 16, 2017.

In many ways, Fringe Festivals embody what Mooney on Theatre holds dear: making theatre more accessible. The Fringe features inexpensive shows attended by a wide range of people, many of whom are not theatregoers the rest of the year.

With this in mind, we put an intense amount of effort into providing as much coverage of the Toronto Fringe Festival as we can. To get an idea of what that coverage looks like, check out the Fringe Festival category on this site.

Among other things, this coverage includes reviewing each show in a relatively substantive way by the end of the first weekend. This task takes a lot of writers. Each year, to make it happen, we bring on additional contributors. Maybe this year that will be you.

Continue reading Write for us! Coverage of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival

Review: Strictly Ballroom (Mirvish)

Mirvish presents Baz Luhrmann’s musical stage adaptation of his film Strictly Ballroom in Toronto

Australian director Baz Luhrmann has adapted his 1992 cult hit film Strictly Ballroom into a stage musical and yes, it features all the razzle-dazzle dance numbers and brightly sequinned costumes you’d expect. The result is a show that provides some frivolous, superficial fun but that also gets a bit lost in the transition from screen to stage. Continue reading Review: Strictly Ballroom (Mirvish)

Review: Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre/Soulpepper)

A Toronto adaptation of Hamlet features American Sign Language and a female lead

For its tenth anniversary, Why Not Theatre and director Ravi Jain re-visit their first-ever production: Prince Hamlet, Jain’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For this new production the director set about—as described in the press materials—to “illuminate the contemporary relevance of the 400-year-old play and ask the question ‘who gets to tell this story?’”

It’s an ambitious challenge and while the result is by-and-large a solid production of Hamlet, I don’t think it quite hit the mark it set for itself. Continue reading Review: Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre/Soulpepper)

Review: BUTCHER (Mirvish/Why Not Theatre)

Mirvish presents Nicolas Billon’s theatrical thriller play BUTCHER in Toronto

It’s now hours after I’ve left the theatre and I think I’ve finally caught my breath after seeing BUTCHER, a stunning thriller of a play by Canadian playwright Nicolas Billon, presented by Mirvish as part of their Off-Mirvish series. As I collect my thoughts and sit down to write about the show, I get a text from the co-worker I brought with me tonight: “I’m still thinking about the play … it delivers such a striking note that lingers.” Continue reading Review: BUTCHER (Mirvish/Why Not Theatre)

Review: Sousatzka (Teatro Proscenium/Garth Drabinsky)

Photo of Jordan Barrow and Victoria Clarke in SousatzkaGarth Drabinsky brings Sousatzka – A New Musical to the Toronto stage

Sousatzka – A New Musical marks the return of embattled theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky. The producer has mustered a team of experienced writers and production designers, each with Broadway credits galore on their resumes, as well as a talented cast led by Tony Award-winning actors.

Sousatzka is making its world debut and playing a limited run in Toronto with hopes for a future run on Broadway. However, judging by what I saw of the show on opening night, I don’t think the show is ready for the Great White Way. Continue reading Review: Sousatzka (Teatro Proscenium/Garth Drabinsky)

Review: Cirque Éloize – Cirkopolis (Sony Centre for the Performing Arts/Canadian Stage)

Cirque Éloize brings a unique blend of circus and dance to the Toronto stage with Cirkopolis

Cirque Éloize is the other theatrical circus troupe from Quebec. A younger cousin to the juggernaut Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize is known for creating more intimate shows staged in proscenium theatres. What Éloize may lack in scale and technical complexity they more than make up for in artistry. Evident in their show Cirkopolis, now being presented in Toronto by the Sony Centre and Canadian Stage, they bring a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that surpasses that of their bigger, more famous peer. Continue reading Review: Cirque Éloize – Cirkopolis (Sony Centre for the Performing Arts/Canadian Stage)

Review: The Audience (Mirvish)

Mirvish presents a play about Queen Elizabeth II by the creator of Netflix’s The Crown, in Toronto

Writer Peter Morgan has built a career writing biographical scripts about Queen Elizabeth II, including the 2006 film The Queen and the current Netflix series The Crown. Morgan wrote his play The Audience between these two projects.

The title is a reference to the weekly private meeting or “audience” given by the Queen to the sitting British Prime Minister. The Audience  details the Queen’s weekly audience with the PM from her ascension to the throne in 1952 through to 2016. Continue reading Review: The Audience (Mirvish)

2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Two Truths and a Lie (Pressgang Theatre)

truths-1Each night of the Next Stage Theatre Festival , three Toronto theatre artists, Graham Isador, Helder Brum and Rhiannon Archer, will take over the Factory Theatre’s Antechamber and each will impart an outlandish tale. Two of them will be telling true stories from their lives and one will be telling a story that’s made up. The fun for the audience is in guessing which one is fiction. Hence, their new half-hour show Two Truths and a Lie.

Continue reading 2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Two Truths and a Lie (Pressgang Theatre)