Toronto Theatre Reviews

2019 Progress Review: Blood on the Dance Floor (ILBIJERRI Theatre Company)

Toronto’s Progress Festival presents a tragi-comic mix of dance, theatre, and storytelling

A tragicomedy mixed with a hopeful love story – Blood on the Dance Floor presented at the Progress Festival is an emotional mix of theatre, dance and storytelling. The one-man show is performed by Australian Jacob Boehm of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. Boehm connects his identities–gay, Black and HIV positive–through a motif of blood, which defines his fears and generates discrimination against him. The work is curated by The Theatre Centre and Native Earth Performance Arts. Continue reading 2019 Progress Review: Blood on the Dance Floor (ILBIJERRI Theatre Company)

Review: Canadian Rajah (Canadian Actors’ Equity Association)

 Unknown true story from Canadian history is rediscovered in new site-specific performance at Toronto heritage building

The beauty of Canadian Rajah is in the ambitious stakes that playwright Dave Carley sets for himself, which the cast and crew quite admirably exceed. Namely, they bring a little-known piece of Canadian history to life: a family drama, involving sex, racism, Borneo royalty, and political intrigue, with only two actors to step into the roles of this sprawling, decades-long story. The play is at the end of a run of intimate performances at the Campbell House Museum.

Continue reading Review: Canadian Rajah (Canadian Actors’ Equity Association)

Review: Blood Tides (Kaha:wi Dance Theatre/DanceWorks)

Photo of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre in Blood Tides

Blood Tides, performed by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre and presented by DanceWorks, explores and reclaims the experiences of Indigenous women across generations and cultures. Choreographer Santee Smith brought together a team of Indigenous artists from Canada, the US, Mexico, New Zealand, and Fiji in a collaboration that used dance, video, music, and even pottery to create something that felt like a sacred ritual.

Continue reading Review: Blood Tides (Kaha:wi Dance Theatre/DanceWorks)

Review: Oslo (Studio 180 Theatre production, presented by David Mirvish)

Omar Alex Khan, Sanjay Talwar, Alex Poch-Goldin, Jonas Chernick & Marla McLeanin the Studio 180 Theatre production of OSLO

Exciting negotiations take centre stage in Oslo, playing in Toronto

Oslo – a Studio 180 Theatre production playing at the CAA Theatre as part of the Off-Mirvish Season – is remarkable theatre.

Who would expect that a play about peace negotiations would be so thrilling, engaging, and witty, that almost three hours would pass in what feels like no time?

Continue reading Review: Oslo (Studio 180 Theatre production, presented by David Mirvish)

Review: Ashley with a “Y” (Ashley Botting)

Photo of Ashley Botting Photo by David LeyesToronto comedian Ashley Botting remounts her delightful musical improv Fringe show

It’s hard to articulate a show like Ashley with a “Y” playing at the Bad Dog Theatre. Musical improv that changes with every show, totally dependent on the talent and charisma of one woman and her pianist, sounds like it could be the lead up to, well, one heck of a joke.

And it pretty much lives up to its punchlines.

Continue reading Review: Ashley with a “Y” (Ashley Botting)

Review: Come From Away (Mirvish)

Photo of the cast of COME FROM AWAY - Canadian Company, Photo by Matthew MurphyMirvish transfers smash hit musical Come From Away to a new venue: Toronto’s Elgin Theatre

What I like most about Come From Away is that if you want layers, you can find them; if you just want a joyful feel-good show, you can find that too.

As my show-partner Ryan said, it is “infectious and warm, and as a Canadian, you can’t help but feel proud.” I felt it too as I watched the story of how the townspeople of Gander, Newfoundland stepped up to take care of the unexpected visitors, as though I had some ownership of their story by simply living in the same country as them.

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Review: Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre presented by Canadian Stage)

Why Not Theatre and Canadian Stage presents an ASL integrated Prince Hamlet in Toronto

Why Not Theatre along with Canadian Stage presents a version of Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, playing at the Berkeley Street Theatre, unlike any you’ve likely seen before. Directed by Ravi Jain and integrating ASL seamlessly into the performance along with gender bent characters, this version of the Bard’s classic is jagged around the edges and very provocative. It’s simply stunning to watch.

Continue reading Review: Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre presented by Canadian Stage)

Review: Post No Bills (Harbourfront Torque/Kitt Johnson X-Act)

Danish Choreographer Kitt Johnson returns to Toronto to present a new dance show

It was the alluring and distorted promotional picture of Danish Choreographer and Dancer Kitt Johnson that caught my eye. The image of Johnson in somewhat of a contortion dressed in a white tank top and a ski mask piqued my curiosity. I wanted to get to know the mysterious person behind the mask. And as her show Post No Bills began, I found myself yearning to learn more about Johnson’s unique contemporary dance style as she purposefully stepped on to the Harbourfront Centre Theatre stage allowing the audience into her world.

Continue reading Review: Post No Bills (Harbourfront Torque/Kitt Johnson X-Act)