Review: Toronto, I Love You (Bad Dog Theatre Company)

Picture of Kyle Dooley, Anders Yates, Lucy Hill, Nigel Downer, Carolyne Das, Devon Henderson in Toronto, I Love You

In Toronto, I Love You no two shows will ever be the same, so there’s always more to discover… just like Toronto itself.

Bad Dog Theatre is bringing their much loved comedy show, Toronto, I Love You, back for a limited run. The show features an ensemble cast performing long-form improv comedy. Taking its narrative inspiration from conversations between the cast and audience members, the show explores imagined encounters in different Toronto neighbourhoods.

On the night I saw Toronto, I Love You, the show focused on three Toronto locations: The Rock Oasis, a rock climbing gym in Toronto’s east end; the Don Valley Brick Works Park, a City of Toronto park surrounding Evergreen Brick Works; and Yitz’s Delicatessen, an old-school Jewish deli, formerly located near Eglinton and Avenue roads, that recently closed after 47 years.

The cast featured Rob Baker, Nadine Djoury, Kyle Dooley, Nigel Downer, Devon Henderson, Lucy Hill, Paloma Nuñez, and Anders Yates. Additionally, Nick DiGaetano provided live, improvised musical arrangements, using his voice and guitar.

The cast on the whole was enormously warm and funny. They were physical, playful, and wonderfully creative. They weaved pop culture references into their material effortlessly. Most notably, Henderson portrayed Andrew Lloyd Webber as a deranged cat-whisperer, in reference to Cats, which is currently on stage in Toronto, and coming to movie theatres later this month. Across numerous sketches, Downer appeared with a stoic, godlike aura as the ultimate Hype Man: Lebron James. In response, Nuñez summoned Bianca Andreescu.

My favourite sketches of the night included Henderson’s performance of Webber, which also featured Hill and Nuñez as truly insane cats: somewhat lazy (or tired) showgirls, who gave a murderous nod to moral relativism. Further, Baker played a Don Valley Brick Work Park wild deer with a vengeance against Downer, who played a young boy forced to live in the park due to the city’s ever-growing cost of living.

On the whole, Toronto, I Love You was a real treat to see. I hadn’t been to any of the three locations featured in this show, but left with a great desire to explore the Don Valley Brick Works Park come springtime. It’s interesting to discover what spots in the city your fellow citizens hold dear (or have a strong reaction to one way or the other). And, the real beauty of this show is that no two shows will ever be the same, so there’s always more to discover.

Details

  • Toronto, I Love You is playing until December 21, 2019 at Bad Dog Comedy Theatre (875 Bloor Street West, Second Floor).
  • Shows run Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm.
  • Tickets are $30, and $20 for students and artists.
  • Tickets are available online, or in person at the box office.
  • Accessibility: this theatre is located on the second story of 875 Bloor Street West, which is reachable via a 20-step staircase. If you require accommodation for entry and/or seating, email boxoffice@baddogtheatre.com to discuss available options.

Photo of Kyle Dooley, Anders Yates, Lucy Hill, Nigel Downer, Carolyne Das, and Devon Henderson provided by the company

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