Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Love and Information (Canadian Stage Company)

Toronto’s Canadian Stage presents Caryl Churchill’s play Love and Information

I adore the work of playwright Caryl Churchill. First and foremost, it is provocative on an intellectual level, best appreciated if you’re consciously drawn to the ideas contained in dramatic situations. She favours non-naturalistic devices that prompt the audience to engage—consciously—with the mechanics of theatrical presentation, to examine language and movement, notice patterns and reflect upon them. Because of this, her text can be tricky to sell—emotionally. With masterful precision, Canadian Stage Company’s production of Love and Information allows all the ideas to sizzle and pop with fiery life. Continue reading Review: Love and Information (Canadian Stage Company)

Review: Fun Home (Mirvish/The Musical Stage Co.)

Mirvish brings the Tony Award winning new musical Fun Home to Toronto audiences

Fun Home, currently playing at the CAA Theatre, is one of those musicals that defies easy description. It’s so full of contradictions. At once funny and heartbreaking, uplifting and tragic, elegant and chaotic, it nevertheless balances all of these elements with expert precision and utter commitment to all of the messy, complex layers of its central plot: a lesbian cartoonist attempts to draw a true, authentic portrayal of her gay father, and in doing so must confront the fact that he killed himself a mere four months after she came out to her family.

Simply put, Fun Home feels like something new and innovative in the musical theatre world, and has since it originally opened on Broadway. This Canadian production absolutely upholds the reputation of the multi-award winning show (which includes the 2015 Tony for Best Musical). Continue reading Review: Fun Home (Mirvish/The Musical Stage Co.)

Review: The Nightingale and Other Fables (Canadian Opera Company)

Opera blends with puppetry in a breathtaking performance captivating Toronto audiences

The Nightingale and Other Fables (Canadian Opera Company) is a hauntingly beautiful production that innovatively weaves several short works by Igor Stravinsky into an integrated dramatic presentation. It is comprised of song cycles, short stories and instrumental pieces that are dramatized through puppetry, culminating in Stravinsky’s charming opera The Nightingale. Crafted by celebrated Canadian stage director Robert Lepage, The Nightingale and Other Short Fables is rapidly becoming part of the 21st Century operatic canon internationally. Continue reading Review: The Nightingale and Other Fables (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre)

Brave the weather for Risky Phil, now on stage in Toronto

My young guest and I headed out to see Risky Phil–a new play by Paula Wing, currently on stage at Young People’s Theatre–in the middle of an April ice storm. We thought it was a little crazy to be venturing outside, but the TTC gods smiled on us , and we arrived safely. In the end, we were glad we made the effort: Risky Phil is a charming play about fathers and sons, friendship, and figuring out how to be a family when your trust has been broken. Continue reading Review: Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: Le Menteur (Théâtre Français de Toronto)

Photo of Le MenteurThéâtre français de Toronto’s new play Le Menteur is a fast-paced, hilarious romp

There’s lying and then there’s lying. Théâtre français de Toronto‘s Le Menteur playing at the Berkeley Street Theatre gives a tongue-in-cheek lesson to its audience on how to spin a tale.

And if you want a fun time at the theatre, this is one lesson I guarantee you’ll want to see for yourselves.

Continue reading Review: Le Menteur (Théâtre Français de Toronto)

Review: Addicted (ADEDO Collective with The Watah Theatre)

Raven Dauda performs her new one-woman show Addicted in Toronto

Addicted, a new one-woman show produced by ADEDO Collective with The Watah Theatre is a confessional and spiritual exploration of intergenerational substance abuse stemming from colonial trauma that straddles the line between realism and surrealism. The use of mime, physical comedy, wry humour, storytelling and puppetry created a united whole that cuts a little too close to the bone emotionally. Continue reading Review: Addicted (ADEDO Collective with The Watah Theatre)

Review: Take d Milk, Nah? (Pandemic Theatre and b current)

Jivesh Parasram in Take D Milk, Nah?Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille presents Jivesh Parasram’s new solo show Take d Milk, Nah?

As we were heading to Theatre Passe Muraille on Thursday evening to see the opening of Jivesh Parasram’s solo show Take d Milk, Nah?, my friend Elaine commented that she wasn’t sure that she had been to Passe Muraille before. As I was about to say that she would recognize it we turned the corner and saw a huge inflated cow next to the theatre. There’s no way you can miss it.

Which is good because you don’t want to miss Parasram’s show. Parts of it will make you laugh, parts of it will make you think, and, if you’re a white Canadian, parts of it may horrify you. Elaine and I both enjoyed it although we both had the same quibble. More about that later. Although there was no intermission the show was in two distinctly different parts. It actually felt like two different shows. Continue reading Review: Take d Milk, Nah? (Pandemic Theatre and b current)

Review: Category E (Coal Mine Theatre)

Coal Mine Theatre presents a claustrophobic and dystopian drama on stage in Toronto

Three people are imprisoned in close quarters and stripped of their humanity, reduced to test subjects for mysterious experiments. This is the premise of Category E, by Edmonton playwright Belinda Cornish, onstage now at Coal Mine Theatre. It’s a horrific dystopia that left me wanting answers to a lot of questions. I would go see a sequel, or a prequel, in a heartbeat, both to find answers and to enjoy more of Cornish’s tightly-wound work. Continue reading Review: Category E (Coal Mine Theatre)

Review: Therac 25 (Unit 102 Actors Co.)

Cass Van Wyck & Luis Fernandes in Therac 25Assembly Theatre presents a story of love in the face of cancer treatment, on stage in Toronto

As I was putting my coat on in the ‘foyer’ of the Assembly Theatre after seeing the Unit 102 Actors Co. production of Therac 25, I overheard a woman say to her friend “That was lovely”. Her friend replied “it was”. Uninvited, I joined the conversation and said “It really was.”. The first woman said “The way they used the projection was so effective.”.

And that’s my review in a nutshell. It is a lovely play. Yes it’s about two young people with cancer and yes, a lot of it takes place in St. Margaret’s Hospital and yes, you might shed a tear or two at the end. It’s a play about two young people who have something really shitty in common, meet, become friends, and fall in love. Continue reading Review: Therac 25 (Unit 102 Actors Co.)

Review: The Best is Yet to Come Undone (Second City)

Second City brings their latest main stage sketch comedy revue to Toronto audiences

Second City launched their latest revue for the spring and summer and their team of talented and immensely funny improv comedians are excited to keep Toronto laughing. The Best is Yet to Come Undone is a hilarious night of culturally relevant, timely, and, well, woke sketch comedy that will leave you cackling in your seats and eager to tell your friends. A healthy dose of audience participation means no two shows will ever be exactly the same.

Continue reading Review: The Best is Yet to Come Undone (Second City)