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)
Each 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)
Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston, members of the writing team behind some of the most-acclaimed musicals to come out of the Toronto Fringe in recent years (including Summerland and The Fence) bring the latest incarnation of Blood Ties, a darkly comedic musical the duo has been honing for several years, to the Next Stage Theatre Festival.
Keen-eyed observers may recall that the musical was featured as part of the storyline on season 2 of “Orphan Black,” the Toronto-based BBC America/Space cult hit science fiction thriller starring Tatiana Maslany. A musical about a bunch of friends tasked with cleaning up the bloody mess in a bathroom following a relative’s suicide on the eve of their friend’s wedding, Blood Ties is the kind of quirky dark comedy that has the potential to also achieve cult hit status some day but at this point I still think it needs some more work. Continue reading 2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Blood Ties (Edge of the Sky)
Toronto’s Outside the March takes on love, sex, technology & the future in a new immersive show
Think back ten or fifteen years ago and remember what dating was like. Who could’ve predicted that today, we’d be able to use apps to swipe and match with dozens of people (whom we subsequently never message), or use geolocation to find someone to hook up with in a set radius, or snap and send nude photos of ourselves that disappear after they’re viewed.
Disruptive technologies have profoundly changed the sociological nature of relationships. Projecting forward, what might the nature of dating, love and relationships look like in the future? That’s the question that playwright Rosamund Small explores in her new play TomorrowLove™, currently being staged in an immersive, site-specific production in Toronto by Outside the March. Continue reading Review: TomorrowLove™ (Outside the March)
Mirvish presents Broadway-bound original Canadian musical Come From Away in Toronto
Like many people, I’ve been in a miserable funk since the US election. Since that day, the world has become a much darker place and the future looks so bleak. Come From Away, an original Canadian musical playing in Toronto before heading to Broadway, was the balm I needed to soothe the ache in my soul. It’s an unabashedly uplifting story about the triumph of the human spirit in another dark moment in history. By the end of the show I was so moved that I wanted to leap up on my feet and cheer for the goodness of humanity.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the FAA grounded all aircraft across the US and closed American airspace causing hundreds of flights to be diverted. That day, 38 planes carrying 6,579 passengers and crew members were forced to land in the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland, nearly doubling its population at the time. Come From Away is about the events of that fateful day and how the community of Gander came together to care for these strangers in their hour of need. Continue reading Review: Come From Away (Mirvish)
Mirvish brings theatrical circus troupe 7 Fingers’ latest show Cuisine & Confessions to Toronto
Inviting someone to your home for a meal is one of the most personal gestures you can extend to someone. Establishing a deeper connection with someone by sharing a meal together seems to be a universal human experience that cuts across cultures. It just so happens that establishing a human connection by sharing food is exactly what theatrical circus troupe the 7 Fingers attempts to do in their new show Cuisine & Confessions. Continue reading Review: The 7 Fingers Cuisine & Confessions (Mirvish)
Toronto’s Theatre Fix stages an immersive show about refugees inside a shipping container
A year ago the world was collectively stunned by the image of Alan Kurdi, a young Syrian boy whose lifeless body washed up on a beach after he drowned in the Mediterranean sea as his family attempted the perilous crossing to seek asylum in Europe. It took that shocking photo to humanize the millions of refugees worldwide enough for the world to finally take notice.
The Container, a remount of a production presented at the 2014 SummerWorks festival, is a stark, gripping, immersive show staged in an actual 20-foot shipping container. The play sheds light on the stories of the people who risk their lives on these dangerous migration routes. Continue reading Review: The Container (Theatre Fix)
Look, I’ll level with you. Situational Anarchy, playing at Toronto’s Drake Hotel Underground as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival, was the last assignment I picked up for our coverage this year. It didn’t sound like something that would appeal to me judging by the blurb in the festival program; something about playwright/performer Graham Isador’s on again/off again relationship with rockstar Laura Jane Grace, the transgender front woman of the punk band Against Me. Continue reading Situational Anarchy (Pressgang Theatre/Pandemic Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review
This year, the SummerWorks Performance Festival is presenting its first-ever Chinese-language production: Mr. Shi and His Lover, an original musical in Mandarin by Toronto-based composer Njo Kong Kie and Macanese playwright Wong Teng Chi. Given the sizeable Chinese community in Toronto, I’ve often wondered why SummerWorks (and other festivals/theatres that present international work) don’t present more Chinese-Language theatre. This gorgeous contemporary musical theatre piece makes a strong case that they should. Continue reading Mr. Shi and His Lover (Macau Experimental Theatre/Music Picnic) 2016 SummerWorks Review
I live by myself, so I spend a lot of time on my own. When I first moved into my own place I was a bit worried that I’d get bored or lonely without anybody around, but I’ve actually found it really liberating. The idea that we become our unguarded, true selves when alone is the starting point for the blood projects’ intimate, site-specific show Inside, now playing as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival. Continue reading Inside (the blood projects/Cat and the Queen) 2016 SummerWorks Review