Let’s Try This Standing (Keep Good (Theatre) Company) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Gillian Clark Gillian Clark in Let's Try This Standing

Let’s Try This Standing brings new meaning to the expression “caught between a rock and a hard place.” When she was 19, Gillian Clark was hit by an out of control SUV and trapped between it and a brick wall.

Her solo show that tells the story of her accident, hospitalization, and recovery opened on Friday at Factory Theatre, part of the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival. It’s a lot more cheerful than it sounds. Continue reading Let’s Try This Standing (Keep Good (Theatre) Company) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Divine (Red One Theatre Collective/Storefront Arts Initiative) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Amanda Cordner in Divine photo by John GundyIf you had asked me yesterday how I felt about seeing a play set in the post-apocalyptic wild west of Ontario, I doubt that I would have been very excited.

Then I saw Divine, and it’s marvellous. I am definitely excited! Everything about it is wonderful, the cast, the performances, the script, the set, everything. It opened on Friday at Factory Theatre as part of the 2017 SummerWorks Performance Festival. Continue reading Divine (Red One Theatre Collective/Storefront Arts Initiative) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Serenity Wild (Tender Container) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo from serenity wild

Serenity Wild, playing at the 2017 SummerWorks Festival, is personally a highly anticipated show and one of the first ones I knew I had to see. As a member of the local BDSM and kink-positive community, I’m excited by the idea of media — be it books, television, movies or plays — that paint BDSM in the light that I’ve always known it to be: a place where consenting adults can explore desires. Serenity Wild promises exactly that.

Continue reading Serenity Wild (Tender Container) 2017 SummerWorks Review

The Principle of Pleasure (Gerard Reyes) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Gerard Reyes in The Principle of Pleasure

Gerard ReyesThe Principle of Pleasure has all the makings of a spectacle at this year’s Toronto SummerWorks festival, with Reyes’ own body being the primary attraction against a backdrop of smoke, sound effects, and strobe lights. And, of course, the songs of Janet Jackson. It falls short on a few counts though and opens up questions of whether intimacy can indeed be forged in this context. It may be overstated to say that any rules and conventions are broken in this piece, for, while entertaining, I didn’t find The Principle of Pleasure to live up to all it said it would be.

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Catacomb (Stopgap Theatre) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Catacomb is a site-specific exploration into the life of the honeybee juxtaposed to that of an addict on her downward spiral. Presented as part of the 2017 SummerWorks Festival, Catacomb takes place in an active greenhouse and features a guest appearance by live bees (enclosed in their colony, so I assure you, you’re fine). This intimate performance combines non-linear storytelling, movement, fun bee factoids, and plenty a twist and unexpected turn.

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Erased: Billy & Bayard (Queer Songbook Orchestra) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Erased Billy and Bayard“What year is it?” The innocuous questions opens Erased: Billy and Bayard by Queer Songbook Orchestra playing at the Toronto 2017 SummerWorks Festival.

Its the uncertainty in the answer that is at the heart of the show as it digs into the lives and accomplishments of musicians and Civil Rights activists Billy Strayhorn and Bayard Rustin.

Continue reading Erased: Billy & Bayard (Queer Songbook Orchestra) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Pearl Harbour’s Chautauqua (Justin Miller) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Pearle Harbour Pearl Harbour’s Chautauqua is a fresh and funny immersive theatre piece currently playing at this year’s SummerWorks Theatre Festival, written and performed by the genius Justin Miller.

The entire show takes place in a cozy canvas tent set up in the backstage area of the Pia Bouman Theatre. As I took my assigned seat on bench number 5, I see Pearle Harbour enter, dressed like an old-timey flight attendant with a 1920’s New York accent to match.

She promised us that by the end of the night, we will be rid of all of our pain and sorrows. I’ll tell you one thing, with stage presence like that — I would believe pretty much anything this woman told me.

Continue reading Pearl Harbour’s Chautauqua (Justin Miller) 2017 SummerWorks Review

To Do, To Don’t (Jenn Goodwin) and Icône Pop (Mayday) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Mélanie Demers by Brianna Lombardo

Those looking for an easy show need not attend. Steeped in abstraction and absurdity, the double-bill power combo that is Icône Pop by Mayday and To Do, To Don’t by Jenn Goodwin in SummerWorks 2017 never let me get comfortable with a convention. These generous performers do not care if you understand.

Continue reading To Do, To Don’t (Jenn Goodwin) and Icône Pop (Mayday) 2017 SummerWorks Review