All posts by Lauren Stein

Review: The Return (Circa/Canadian Stage)

Members of the Circa Ensemble in The Return.Canadian Stage presents Australian Circus company Circa’s production The Return in Toronto

Circa explores the fusion of circus and opera in their production of The Return, a reimagining of Monteverdi’s baroque masterpiece The Return of Ulysses. The show opened on Wednesday night at the Bluma Appel Theatre as part of the Spotlight: Australia performance festival, produced by Canadian Stage. Featuring seven highly trained circus artists, a live ensemble of musicians and two opera singers, the performance definitely pushes the boundaries of convention.

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Review: ‘Til Death (Do Us Part) (Lauren Griffiths/Filament Incubator)

Lauren Griffiths in Til Death (Do Us Part)‘Til Death (Do Us Part) blends sketch, improv, audience interaction and love on stage at the Monarch in Toronto

Taking over the main floor of Toronto’s Monarch Tavern, ‘Til Death (Do Us Part) is an interesting amalgam of sketch comedy with improv elements. The show introduces audiences to the fictional Canada’s Cupid Corporation, a company seeking to take the unlucky in love and transform them into the ultimate partner.

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Review: Suitcases (Rosanna Saracino)

Cast of Suitcases, photograph by Brittany Clough.

Suitcases offers Toronto audiences a unique take on mental illness and memory

Suitcases, a collaborative production helmed by Rosanna Saracino, got quite a warm reception last night for its opening. With a full audience, and a balmy shift in the weather, the Artscape Sandbox Theatre in Toronto was the place to be.

A piece of theatre that frequently crosses the lines of contemporary dance, Suitcases takes its inspiration from the 1995 closure of the Willard Asylum in New York State. An employee of the asylum had uncovered over 400 suitcases in the attic, belonging to patients who had been institutionalized there between 1910 and 1960. The suitcases, and their contents, became a fascinating source of insight into the lives of the patients and have since been meticulously documented by photographer Jon Crispin.

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Review: Falcon Powder, Vest of Friends (2016 Toronto Sketchfest)

Photo of Kurt Smeaton, Scott Montgomery and Jim Annan from Falcon Powder.Toronto sketch troupes Falcon Powder and Vest of Friends deliver laughs at the Theatre Centre

Taking over Toronto’s Theatre Centre, the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival attracted a lively audience during last night’s line-up. On the playbill were two local sketch comedy groups, Falcon Powder and Vest of Friends, each veteran acts that boast their share of accolades in the world of Canadian comedy.

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Review: Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation (Royal Winnipeg Ballet)

going home starRoyal Winnipeg Ballet takes on the legacy of the residential school system in Going Home Star

It was an intense evening at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts last night for the opening of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Toronto leg of their Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation tour. The strength of the RWB dancers and their dedication to telling this story, the story of residential schools and the terrible mark they’ve left on the Indigenous community, make this ballet one of the most powerful and necessary dance productions I have seen in a while. Continue reading Review: Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation (Royal Winnipeg Ballet)

Review: The Addams Family – The Musical (Randolph Academy)

Photo of Matt Lacas and Shannon Tosic-McNally. Provided by Randolph Academy.

Randolph Academy’s latest production, The Addams Family – The Musical, opened to a pretty packed house earlier this week, bringing the hijinks and horrors of everyone’s favourite morbid family to the Annex Theatre stage in Toronto. Randolph’s latest graduating class brings great energy in their portrayal of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Lurch and the rest of the gang.

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Review: Lakeboat (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)


Lakeboat, playing at the Theatre Machine in Toronto, doesn’t catch many waves

Outfitted to look like the innards of a shipping vessel, the Theatre Machine is playing host to a cast of real guys’ guys in Unit 102 Theatre Company’s production of David Mamet’s Lakeboat.

One of Mamet’s earliest works, Lakeboat follows the relationships and camaraderie of a group of men employed on a steel freighter over the course of a summer. Through the eyes of the newest and youngest shipmate, Dale, we get to meet and learn about the other men on board, from their life philosophies to how they prefer their liquor.

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Review: Albertine in Five Times (Freelance Intern Productions)

albertineAlbertine in Five Times, now on stage in Toronto, sees five actors portray a single character

Amid the frolicking froshies and fresh-faced students emerging from summer’s relaxing grip, Toronto’s Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse was full of one character’s tremendous life experiences. It’s not every day you get to watch the evolution of one character performed through the bodies of five actors, but Freelance Intern Productions tackles Michel Tremblay’s Albertine in Five Times with grace and gravitas.

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Review: Battle for the North (PANAMANIA)

Photo of breakdancer mid-dance from Battle for the North as part of Panamania.

Battle for the North brings a break dance showcase to Toronto audiences as part of PANAMANIA

The Young Centre for the Performing Arts is keeping slightly different company with Battle for the North, a break dance showcase and competition produced as part of PANAMANIA in Toronto. Crews from all over Canada were invited to battle head to head against each other for a cash prize of $2,000, all before a live audience of urban dance enthusiasts and newcomers to the genre alike.

On the second night of the three-night event, 16 crews were slated to battle one on one. The top eight teams would then move on to the last round where four would be pronounced the best of the best. Each round lasted seven minutes, with the three judges given about one minute to decide a winner.

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Urban Legends (Breakin’ Ground) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Northbuck Crew by CJ. Cromwell at the Toronto Fringe Festival

Busting a move at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, Urban Legends brings the best of the best in Waacking, Breaking, Krump, Popping, Locking and House to the Toronto Fringe Festival. Framed more as a showcase or variety show than a narrative dance performance, Breakin’ Ground seeks to deliver both an incredibly talented cast of dancers (all of which are prime fixtures in the Toronto urban dance community), as well some insight on what these dance styles are about and where they came from.

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