Review: The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Holiday Improv arrives on the Toronto stage

The Wonder Pageant isn’t the Coal Mine Theatre’s (1454 Danforth Ave.) typical kind of production, and the cast jokes about this early into the show. This is hilarious improv show taking place in Toronto’s East End, and I highly recommend checking it out this holiday season.

While the company is known for its more serious theatrical productions, this evening of improv is anything but. What it does manage to be is exceedingly charming. The set is a homey little living room, and when you sink into your chair it really feels like you’re over at a friends’ holiday party.

Waylen Miki, the musical director, is seated at the keyboard which he plays throughout the show. I think that my only gripe with The Wonder Pageant is that Waylen felt under-utilized. They teased him being a 2-time Dora recipient for composition, and kept the gag running throughout the show. With that, I wanted to see his music take centre stage a teensy bit more than it did.

That said, when your only gripe with a show is wanting more of a good thing… well then you know it’s good. The cast is decked out with heavy hitters. Each of these performers has an impressive list of credits. The co-creators/directors/performers Kayla Lorette and Ron Pederson are great improv actors themselves, and they’ve really assembled an all-star team. Each member of the troupe had moments that gave me belly laughs.

Since this is an improv show, what you see is going to be different than my experience. What I can guarantee is that your evening is safe in these performers’ hands. I really enjoyed filling out a tiny piece of paper with a line at the beginning of the show, which was later used for a hilarious scene.

There was some fun back and forth between Jan Caruana and another reviewer that left everyone laughing. The conversation led to a fantastic scene about the reviewer’s life. The audience interaction was always great, and my regret for the evening was that I didn’t speak up more myself. My friend Zack did, and he wound up enjoying the show just as much as I did.

So check out The Wonder Pageant this holiday season. This is a wonderful opportunity for a night of fun on the Danforth, and I highly recommend it.


  • The Wonder Pageant  is playing at theCoal Mine Theatre’s (1454 Danforth Ave.) until December 23, 2018.
  • Showtimes are Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 pm, with weekend matinees at 2 pm.
  • Tickets are $42 with $25 rush tickets.
  • Tickets can be purchased online or in person at the box office.
  • Run time is 75 minutes with no intermission.
  • Audience Advisory: This production contains coarse language and audience participation.

Photo of Paloma Nuñez, Ron Pederson, Jan Carauna, Matt Baram, Kris Siddiqi, Waylen Miki, Kayla Lorette by Tim Leyes.

One thought on “Review: The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)”

Comments are closed.