Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: The Boy in the Moon (Crow’s Theatre)

“Deeply moving” The Boy in the Moon graces the Toronto stage

Crow’s Theatre’s production of The Boy in the Moon, currently playing at their stunning new venue Streetcar Crowsnest, opens with a father leading us through a late night struggle to put his son to back to bed. He describes the scene with an off-the-cuff rhythm that makes it seem commonplace, but we soon discover that the scene is anything but. His son Walker has a myriad of disabilities caused by a rare genetic disorder (CFC), turning this standard domestic task into an adventure full of humour and horror and love. Continue reading Review: The Boy in the Moon (Crow’s Theatre)

Review: En avant, marche! (NTGent & les ballets C de la B)

Photo from "En avant, marche!"“Fearless” Luminato show takes to the Toronto stage

It was a huge pleasure to attend En avant, marche!, co-produced by NTGent & les ballets C de la B and presented by Luminato. This wonderfully entertaining multidisciplinary show filled the stage at the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts with music, dance, and heart. With four actor-performers, seven Belgian musicians, and a brass band, there was never a dull moment.

The show centers around a musician (Wim Opbrouck) whose cancer diagnosis has forced him to trade his beloved trombone for a pair of cymbals. Far from being melancholy, however, En avant, marche! ricochets joyously from one feeling to another: it is at times funny, bizarre, profound, raunchy, and filled with visual and musical delights.

Continue reading Review: En avant, marche! (NTGent & les ballets C de la B)

Review: Shove It Down My Throat (Buddies In Bad Times)

Photo of Johnny WalkerShove It Down My Throat brought raw, living theatre to the Toronto stage

Judging by the title alone, I knew I was in for an edgy night of theatre and I definitely got it.

Pandemic Theatre Company‘s Shove It Down My Throat, which played for one night only as part of the Buddies In Bad Times Residency Program, is a docu-play investigating a series of stabbings at a LGBTQ New Year’s Eve Party back in 2013. Johnny Walker has written emails to Luke O’Donovan, the gay teen who was thrown in jail for committing the act. Johnny enlists his friends to help him find the truth of what really happened that night, and finds out once and for all whether or not Luke is the gay rights poster boy he thought he was.

Continue reading Review: Shove It Down My Throat (Buddies In Bad Times)

Review: Ghost Rings (Luminato)

Ghost Rings, part of the Luminato Festival in Toronto, is “whimsical” and “wonderfully wild”

David Pecault Square is home to the Famous Spiegeltent for Luminato, serving as the venue for performances including Ghost Rings, from NYC company Half Straddle. Ghost Rings is a pop-punk experimental musical about girls who are close when they are young, but grow estranged as they become adults. Continue reading Review: Ghost Rings (Luminato)

Life’s a Betch – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

Excerpt from Press Release:

Miguel Gauthier, Katharine O’Brien, Nora Saliken and Eitan Shalmon are funny people approaching humour from some dark and unexpected places. Would you think about holding a funeral for someone who hasn’t died? “She has it coming,” according to Saliken, who plays the victim’s daughter and possible murderer.

The dynamic is fired up as the four, members of Sketch Betch, rehearse for their show Life’s a Betch, opening July 6 at Toronto’s Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse as part of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. 

The title refers to the quirks of day to day stuff. “Be it work, relationships or that weird rash we can’t seem to cure, we cope by betching!” Shalmon says dryly. “Let’s face it, everyone can use a juicy little betch sesh!” adds Gauthier. Voila:Life’s a Betch, a show written and acted by the Sketch Betch Troupe. The members have honed their acting and comedy chops in everything from sketch comedy, theatre, TV and film, to stand-up. Awards are piling up too, including an Audience Choice Award for O’Brien’s short film Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny.

Life’s a Betch is a collaboration with each member writing, critiquing and performing, and working alongside Second City Mainstage alum Leigh Cameron as director, who manages to be encouraging even when saying “back up and try again.”

Details

  • Life’s a Betch plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George St.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible.

Performances

  • Thursday July 6th, 08:45 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 12:00 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 10:15 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 12:00 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 04:00 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 05:45 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 07:30 pm

Nora Saliken, Miguel Gauthier, Eitan Shalmon, Katharine
O’Brien. Photo Credit: Kevin Maheux

Review: Yellow Towel (Dancemakers’ 2017 Minifest)

Dancemakers presents Dana Michel’s powerful new show in Toronto as part of 2017 Minifest

Yellow Towel had its Toronto premiere on Saturday at the Winchester Street Theatre as part of Dancemakers’ 2017 Minifest. Before seeing Yellow Towel, I had never been to a dance performance. Immediately, I was caught off guard by the intimacy of the venue. There was no elevated stage providing further separation between the audience and the performer, just a plain white floor stretched out in front of a row of seats.  Continue reading Review: Yellow Towel (Dancemakers’ 2017 Minifest)

Review: King Arthur’s Night (New World Theatre and Luminato)

A unique take on the Arthurian tale, on stage in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival

New World Theatre’s production of King Arthur’s Night had its world premiere on Friday at the Berkeley Street Theatre as part of Luminato. The work was commissioned by Luminato and written by Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef who play Arthur and Merlin respectively. McNeil is a 35-year-old playwright and actor living with Down syndrome. Youssef is the artistic director of New World Theatre. Together with director James Long and composer Veda Hille, they’ve created a wonderful and unique work. Continue reading Review: King Arthur’s Night (New World Theatre and Luminato)

Review: Romeo and Juliet (Bard in the Park)

Bard in the Park tackles classic romance with wit and humour in Toronto’s Kew Gardens

Now in their 11th Season, Bard in the Park are community-based players that liven up Toronto’s Kew Gardens every summer with their performances. This year’s outing, Romeo and Juliet, is a well-rounded production with the courage to give the star-crossed lovers a little​ more life. While it is Shakespeare’s most famous romantic tragedy, Bard in the Park have staged a Romeo and Juliet that addresses the politics, comedy, and even hatred lurking within the antique text. It is a heartfelt performance, but with the cajones to veer into dark comedy. Shakespeare in the Park can often be harder than it looks. Continue reading Review: Romeo and Juliet (Bard in the Park)

REVIEW: Double Bill featuring Work-In-Progress and Rafters (Dancemakers 2017 Minifest)

Double dance bill challenges expectations on the Toronto stage

This last Tuesday, I stepped out of my theatre comfort zone and attended Dancemakers’ double bill of Amanda Acorn’s untitled work-in-progress and Andrea Spaziani’s Rafters. Acorn’s work-in-progress is a collaborative dance piece featuring Robert Abubo, Lori Duncan, Bee Pallomina, and Ann Trépanier. Rafters explores the thoughts and voice of Andrea Spaziani with collaborators Alicia Grant and Julia Male. As a part of Dancemakers’ 2017 Minifest, these two pieces pushed the constructs of dance and movement. Continue reading REVIEW: Double Bill featuring Work-In-Progress and Rafters (Dancemakers 2017 Minifest)

Review: The Lady in Shoes From Hell (Shoe Fits Productions)

Everything works in The Lady in Shoes From Hell, now on the Toronto stage

Burke Campbell’s play, The Lady in Shoes From Hell, had its world premiere at Red Sandcastle Theatre on Tuesday evening. It’s a very funny mystery/thriller, complete with car chases and flaming fireballs, set in Texas in the 1950s. I wasn’t sure it could work in such a small space, but it does. It works really well. Continue reading Review: The Lady in Shoes From Hell (Shoe Fits Productions)