Review: Uncle Vanya (Show One Productions/Luminato)

Photo from Uncle VanyaUncle Vanya played to sold out crowds as part of the 2017 Luminato Festival in Toronto

I’ll admit that I approached seeing Uncle Vanya, the classic play about a family caught between the old and the new — between tradition and transformation — written by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov performed during the 2017 Luminato Festival in Toronto in Russian by Moscow’s Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre. Seeing a play in a foreign language, even with surtitles, isn’t exactly the same as putting on a foreign film — unless you’re entirely focused on the content at hand the entire way, there are moments and bits of dialogue that ultimately go missed and I lacked the rewind button to recapture the moment.

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Announcement: 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Award Winners (With Links to MoT Reviews)

Soulpepper, Tapestry Opera and The Theatre Centre, the big winners at the 38th Dora Awards

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) presented the 38th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards at a ceremony hosted by prolific Toronto actor and musician Raoul Bhaneja at the Elgin Theatre last night .

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Review: Flowers While We’re Living (Buddies in Bad Times)

Enthusiastic audiences greet Flowers While We’re Living on the Toronto stage

Flowers While We’re Living , presented by Unit 2 and Ninkuru Zinduru as a part of the 2017 Queer Pride Festival, had a glorious one night showing at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. It was a beautiful, vulnerable performance by incredibly talented trans people of colour. I was very grateful to have been given the chance to attend such a moving piece of work, especially as a part of a sold out house!

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Review: Bearing (Luminato)

Bearing is an eye-opening opera about residential schools, part of the 2017 Toronto Luminato Festival

The hero quote on the Luminato page for Michael Greyeyes and Yvette Nolan’s Bearing is Michael Greyeyes searing comment: “Every person in Canada is surviving residential schools, because if you’re Canadian you’re part of it.” My relation to residential schools is not personal – there are no residential school survivors in my family – but the need to learn about them, and to engage in reconciliation comes through ethical and treaty obligations. I am a treaty person, because I live on land that was part of the Toronto Purchase.* With this in mind, I went to see Bearing expecting to be implicated, to learn, and be moved. I did not have the experience I expected.

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Review: Talking Treaties (Jumblies Theatre)

Talking Treaties is active and immersive theatre performed at the historical Fort York in Toronto

Image from Jumblies Theatre's Talking Treaties showTalking Treaties calls itself a spectacle and really, it is. Jumblies Theatre is performing the show at Fort York National Historic Site as part of Toronto’s 2017 Indigenous Arts Festival. The show explores Toronto’s Indigenous history and unfolds the origin stories and after effects of three significant treaties.

To endeavour to tell such a vast history onstage could have been overly ambitious, but Talking Treaties delivers. With spirited ensemble performances, the show gives an illuminating presence and voice to the Indigenous peoples that came before us. They drum, they dance, they shout, they sing. And as my fellow show-goer reflected, they inspire.

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Review: Morro and Jasp in Stupefaction (Kabin and U.N.I.T. Productions)

Morro and Jasp failed to connect with our writer in Stupefaction, on stage in Toronto

Off the bat I should tell you: I am a tremendous Morro and Jasp fan, and I looked forward to Morro and Jasp in Stupefaction like any kid counts down to an especially desirable event. I prattled on with glee the whole way to the new Streetcar Crowsnest theatre to my two companions about how much I have loved every single Morro and Jasp show I have ever seen.

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Review: Vertical Influences (Le Patin Libre and Luminato)

Unique, exciting ice skating show takes to the Toronto ‘stage’

I know summer in Toronto is short, and we want to take advantage of the limited warmth and sunshine. But I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple hours this June weekend than inside an ice rink watching Vertical Influences, a contemporary dance performance on ice being presented as part of Luminato.

Vertical Influences is performed by Le Patin Libre, a collective of mostly former high-level figure skaters based in Montreal. But this is no Ice Capades full of sequins and sparkle. These dancers wear baggy jeans and street clothes and sport beards, ponytails and dreadlocks. Continue reading Review: Vertical Influences (Le Patin Libre and Luminato)

Review: Suffragette (Opera 5)

SuffragetteOpera 5 brings the Suffragette to the present on the Toronto stage

It seems almost impertinent that an opera written just over a century ago would resonate so much to the present moment. This double-bill production — Opera 5’s Suffragette, now showing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace — presents two works written by British composer and suffrage movement member Dame Ethel Smyth, to celebrate one of the (nasty) women who paved the way for a more equal and just society today.

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