Toronto Theatre Reviews

2018 Progress Review: Dis Merci (Joe Jack et John, curated by Volcano)

Dis Merci, currently playing at The Theatre Centre as part of the Progress Festival, is a Joe Jack et John production, curated by Volcano Theatre. Several neighbours in Quebec prepare to welcome a Syrian refugee family into their neighbourhood, but as they plan the celebration, their unique prejudices and collective dysfunction complicate their very best of intentions. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: Dis Merci (Joe Jack et John, curated by Volcano)

Review: Come From Away (Mirvish)

Photo of the cast of Come From Away in Toronto by Matthew MurphyMirvish opens a new Canadian production of the hit musical Come From Away in Toronto

It’s been about a year since the original production of Come From Away—a new musical by Canadian husband-and-wife writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein—finished its limited, sold-out run in Toronto and transferred to Broadway.

In the intervening year, this little Canadian musical-that-could has taken the Great White Way by storm. It opened to a warm critical reception and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical. To this day, it still regularly plays to sold out houses in New York and is one of only a handful of Broadway shows that consistently grosses over one million dollars in ticket sales each week. Continue reading Review: Come From Away (Mirvish)

Review: Jerusalem (Outside the March/Company Theatre/Starvox Entertainment)

Jerusalem is a “a fable for a gentrified generation” on the Toronto stage

The Canadian premiere of Jerusalem, written by English writer Jez Butterworth, took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, both on stage and off, to produce. This is apparent from two things. The first is (are) the numerous companies that collaborated to make the Toronto production happen, namely Outside the March, The Company Theatre, and Starvox Entertainment. The second is the immaculately-crafted, unrelenting, coo-coo-bananas-craziness in every moment of this performance.

The play takes place throughout the course of nine hours in the woods of Wiltshire, a county in the south-west of England. In these woods lives Johnny “Rooster” Byron, ex-daredevil and local troublemaker, who is about to be evicted from his caravan so that condos can be built on the land.

Continue reading Review: Jerusalem (Outside the March/Company Theatre/Starvox Entertainment)

Review: King Charles III (Studio 180/Mirvish)

Photo of Jeff Meadows, Shannon Taylor, David Schurmann, and Rosemary Dunsmore from King Charles III provided by the companyStudio 180 and Mirvish presents King Charles III, on stage in Toronto until March 4 2018

Mirvish presents the Studio 180 production of King Charles III to the newly rebranded CAA Theatre (formerly the Panasonic Theatre). This production saw sold out crowds on Broadway and London’s West End, and will likely cause waves in Toronto. The story takes a look at what could be for our beloved British royals in this future history play written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Joel Greenberg.

The Queen is dead and Charles, the “King in Waiting”, ascends the throne. While attempting to assert the power of the crown, he defies an age-old tradition, sending the country into turmoil.

Continue reading Review: King Charles III (Studio 180/Mirvish)

2018 PROGRESS REVIEW: Contemporaneity 2.0 (Anandam Dance Theatre)

Two dance programs come to Toronto’s Theatre Centre

Contemporaneity 2.0, playing at the Theatre Centre as part of the Progress Festival, has two different Programs, A and B, both produced by Anandam Dance Theatre. On opening night we saw Program A, Gandhari. Unfortunately, the most interesting part of the event for me was the land acknowledgement by Gein Wong. Continue reading 2018 PROGRESS REVIEW: Contemporaneity 2.0 (Anandam Dance Theatre)

Review: The Abduction from the Seraglio (Canadian Opera Company)

The COC brings one of Mozart’s masterpieces to the Toronto stage

The Canadian Opera Company’s original production of The Abduction from the Seraglio (Die Entfürung aus dem Serail, W.A. Mozart, 1782), under the direction of Wajdi Mouawad, has made some bold and progressive choices with difficult and racially charged subject matter. There is some deviation from the original 18th century text, which is aided by the fact that this is a Singspiel opera, wherein the dialog is spoken, rather than sung as recitative.

Continue reading Review: The Abduction from the Seraglio (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: The Secret Garden (Young People’s Theatre)

Natalia Gracious and Jake Runeckles in The Secret GardenYoung People’s Theatre’s production of The Secret Garden enchants Toronto audiences

When I found out I would be reviewing The Secret Garden produced by Young People’s Theatre, I was both excited and a little nervous. The play is based on one of my favourite children’s books, so I was looking forward to seeing it with my young guest, who also loves the story. But I was also afraid the production would make a mess of it. I needn’t have worried. The performance is delightful and enchanting and manages to live up to our high expectations. Continue reading Review: The Secret Garden (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: hang (Obsidian Theatre)

hang is “ingenious” and “shrewdly written”, on stage in Toronto

“What could ‘justice’ look like for the victims of a heinous, life-altering crime?” is an intense question to explore. hang, by debbie tucker green wades right into that intensity and does not back away for a second. The current Obsidian Theatre production teases out every painstakingly uncomfortable beat with unrelenting commitment. Continue reading Review: hang (Obsidian Theatre)

Playlistings in Toronto for the week of February 12th

Shows That Caught Our Eye in Toronto the Week of February 12th, 2018

This week’s selections feature some racy Valentine’s Day shows for you and your sweetie. If you’re more of a revolutionary, check out one of the Black History Month appropriate shows. There is much to choose from, so here to help you chose is our Managing Editor Wayne, with a few of his top picks in red. Check them out below the cut:

Continue reading Playlistings in Toronto for the week of February 12th

Review: The Humans (Canadian Stage and Citadel Theatre)

Cast of The Humans, Bluma Appel Theatre, Feb 2017

Tony-winning play The Humans takes to the Toronto stage!

Stephen Karam’s Tony award winning play, The Humans, opened at the Bluma Appel Theatre on Thursday evening. It’s a comedy/drama, funnier earlier on and more dramatic later, about a family Thanksgiving dinner that unfolds in real time, at just under two hours.

We’ve probably all experienced special occasion family dinners like this. Mom, Dad, Grandma (in this case Momo), and the adult kids get together. There’s joking and teasing and bickering and unsolicited advice and sometimes real tension. People talk over each other, little groups form, break apart, and form new groups; people laugh, sometimes they yell, sometimes they cry. They did in my family. And that’s what my friend Patricia and I loved about The Humans; they seemed like a real family. Continue reading Review: The Humans (Canadian Stage and Citadel Theatre)