All posts by Adam Collier

Review: The Pillowman (Rarely Pure Theatre)

Toronto’s Rarely Pure Theatre stages a macabre The Pillowman

Intermission came less as a relief than a provocation.

What happens next to the young writer at the core of The Pillowman?

In the queue to the washroom patrons were buzzing. The thing I heard – okay, overheard – again and again is how violent and creepy the material is.

Really, it seemed, anything was possible in the upcoming act.

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Review: Love In The Time Of Time Machines (Theatre Elusive)

A show about love and time travel just in time for Valentine’s Day at Toronto’s Comedy Bar

At the start of Love In The Time Of Time Machines, a narrator takes the stage.

Up until recently we’re told, the mechanical mastery of time was elusive. One prototype device exploded. Another traversed forward at the rate of just one-second-per-second.

Thanks to the efforts of a diligent employee of a breakfast cereal company however, zipping backwards and forwards through the years is possible. What’s more, we’re told that this plucky chap intends to use the device to tinker with his romantic life.

Appropriately the show went up on Valentine’s Day at the Comedy Bar.

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Review: A Night Of Shanley (Half-Pint Theatre)

An intimate night of theatre at Unit 102 in Toronto

Once riding on the streetcar, I overheard two people.

“I like to be their friend,” said one to the other, “because I’m sensitive to their problems. But I usually sleep with them. Which is why I think I’m sensitive to them.” A pause. “But I really am nice,” the one insisted.

When I later rose to get off at my stop, I turned to get a look at the two talking. They were no more than 22 or 23-years old.

Though maybe a bit young to be characters in a John Patrick Shanley play, and definitely not dressed to be – each was in skinny pants, wearing leather jackets almost as tight – the self-analysis was quintessential Shanley.

Continue reading Review: A Night Of Shanley (Half-Pint Theatre)

Review: Rare (Young Centre for the Performing Arts)

Illuminating theatre experience, Rare, hits the stage at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts

The response he gave was dismissive.

I had told a friend that I was going to a show in which the performers all have Down Syndrome.

“It’ll mostly be family in the audience then,” he said.

My friend’s expectation – perhaps shared by other people, too – was that the work would be akin to an elementary school pageant. In other words: cute but unsubstantial.

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Review: Doubt: A Parable (UC Follies / Bygone Theatre)

No doubts about the merit of Doubt, performed by Toronto’s Bygone Theatre

The program for Doubt has on its cover a portrait of a young priest.

He stares directly at the viewer. His eyes set off by a melancholic blue-purplish background. His lips pursed.

The portrait, which looks a bit like it’s been done in colored pencils, was – and is, as I look at it again now – hypnotic. 

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Review: Eigengrau (Red One Theatre / Perfect Darkness Co-op)

Red One Theatre put on a fantastic show with Eigengrau at Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre

Desperate for any sign that the man she likes, likes her too, she – a young woman named Rose – takes comfort in an otherwise innocuous fact.

Something Rose’s roommate, Cassie, is quick to disparage.

Meanwhile, Tim, the object of Rose’s affection, has begun to fall for Cassie.

While the plot of Eigengrau has some of the same makings of a soap opera, its execution had my mouth hanging open.

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Review: Rare Mix (Toronto Dance Theatre)

Rare Mix is full of high energy and bold experimentation

At nearly 450 seats, the Fleck Dance Theatre is much larger than where I usually see work by the Toronto Dance Theatre.

In the past going to work by the TDT brought me to the Winchester Street Theatre. The latter, a deconsecrated church in Cabbagetown, has the stripped-down look of a workshop. There’s no curtain. The seats are temporary. A narrow corridor serves as its lobby.

The Fleck is a bit more sumptuous, with its blue suede curtains and carpeted everything.

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Review: De Colores Festival of New Works (Alameda Theatre Company)

Alameda Theatre’s De Colores Festival stages readings of new works to keep your eyes peeled for

Wychwood Barns, up near St. Clair West, was home to the De Colores Festival of New Works this year.

The festival – held on October 11th and 12th – features work-in-progress by Latino-Canadians. I had the privilege of attending Thursday night.

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