Review: Alegría in a New Light (Cirque du Soleil)

Cirque du Soleil returns with their classic show Alegría updated and revamped

Seeing Cirque du Soleil live has been on my bucket list ever since I was mesmerized by the TV ads for their then-new and ground-breaking show Alegría in 1994. Sadly, my parents were musical theatre people and not really circus people so they declined my persistent requests for tickets. When I was finally setting off on Thursday night to see the show’s 2019 re-imagining, Alegría in a New Light, a quarter century from its debut, I was struck with a moment of panic. After 25 years of anticipation, was there any chance it would live up to my expectations? Thankfully Alegría in a New Light is absolutely magical and surpassed more than half a lifetime of expectations. Continue reading Review: Alegría in a New Light (Cirque du Soleil)

Review: Actually (Harold Green/Obsidian)

Photo of Claire Renaud and Tony Ofori in Actually by Joanna AkyolRacial tensions run high on Princeton’s prestigious campus in Actually

When I was accepted to Princeton, a family friend I’d perhaps met once took it upon himself to send me a message. He urged me not to go, despite my dreams, due to the school’s less-than-stellar history with minority students and Jewish students in particular. Believing that the events he referred to were in the distant past, I disregarded his note and matriculated, and I fell madly in love with my school and the brilliant people populating it. That didn’t mean, however, that the journey was completely smooth.

Take an elite college full of self-reflective, high-achieving teenagers under pressure to succeed, mix in insecurities, alcohol, hormones, and class tensions, and you have a recipe for angst and bad decisions. It was with that background that I was eager to see Anna Ziegler’s Actually, a production by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in association with Obsidian Theatre Company, now playing at the Greenwin Theatre at the Meridian Arts Centre in North York.

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Review: Non Gratas, A Latinx Comedy Show With a Lot of Melodrama (Alma Matters Productions)

Cultures collide in Non Gratas at Bad Dog Theatre Company

Non Gratas, A Latinx Comedy Show With a Lot of Melodrama, is an improv comedy show that does its name proud. Produced by Alma Matters, and staged at Bad Dog Theatre Company, it’s loosely built around two young Latin American women who become friends after immigrating to Canada. As they struggle to connect with a new culture, they highlight the gap between two stereotypes—Canadian humility and Latinx passion—with jokes that kill but also let me into their devastating longing for home. 

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Review: The Band’s Visit (Mirvish)

Photo of Sasson Gabay and Chilina Kennedy in The Band's Visit by Matthew MurphyEgyptian musicians wind up in a small Jewish town in The Band’s Visit at the Ed Mirvish Theatre

“You probably didn’t hear about it. It wasn’t very important.” That’s the tagline to the events of the David Yazbek/Itamar Moses musical The Band’s Visit, now playing on tour at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. The show, based on a 2007 Israeli film, won 10 Tonys in 2018, and comes highly celebrated for such a supposedly small story.

In 1996, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, from Egypt, gets invited to play a show at Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Instead, due to a miscommunication, they wind up at Bet Hatikva, a (fictional) small desert town where absolutely nothing ever happens. As they wait for the next day’s bus ride out, the band members accept the initially-wary townspeople’s offer of their homes, hospitality, and the potential for unexpected, fly-by-night connections.

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