All posts by Ashima Suri

With her love of theatre, dance and writing, Ashima Suri jumped on the opportunity to write for Mooney On Theatre. Ashima is an award-winning established dance artist with her own dance theatre company called Limitless Productions. In her own work, she uses art as a tool for social change. As a reviewer, she seeks out shows that speak to the diversity in the community. She loves to watch innovative shows that break the norms and challenge the audiences.

Drowning in Wasabi (actwright theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival

drowning in wasabi

The title of this production was the first thing that made me want to see this show. It piqued my curiosity, stimulated my senses and to be honest, made me want to eat a little hot wasabi. With some sushi ofcourse. Kent Lam’s Fringe show, Drowning in Wasabi, had me smiling throughout. The show was a collection of creative monologues delivered by talented actors who really embodied their characters.

There is nothing that makes me happier than watching a show that has a well-written script and actors with great comedic timing. With all the rain pouring down today putting a damper on people’s spirits, the cast of Drowning in Wasabi sure knew how to lighten up the mood and provide us some great entertainment!

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DABDA (alvinhayle) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Amanda Donato photo by Alvin Collantes

The best way for me to describe my experience in watching DABDA is by comparing it to watching a powerful choreographed contemporary dance routine by legends such as Mia Michaels or Sonya Tayeh from the show So You Think You Can Dance. The routines tend to be so captivating that by the end of the routine I catch myself taking a deep breath and tapping into emotions I didn’t even know I had. DABDA did exactly that for me and more.

Generally, I can be fidgety in theatres after sitting down for a long period of time, but not in this show. This Fringe Festival dance drama, choreographed by the outstanding choreographers Alvin Collantes and Hayley Paone, had me sitting still for the entire fifty-five minutes! The only time I did move from my cozy seat at the cool Factory Theatre was right at the end during the well deserved standing ovation.

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BURNT …and toasted! (Donna Greenberg) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

BURNT ...and toasted!

It takes a lot of commitment in putting together a one-person show where an actor plays multiple characters, sings and dances. This is the commitment Donna Greenberg took in her Toronto Fringe show Burnt …and toasted! but unfortunately there were many pieces missing and it didn’t quite work for me.

The musical show started with Greenberg doing a song and dance number which was a nice way to open the show. But she lost me once she started her dialogue that began with ‘Once upon a time…’. Greenberg takes us back into her past by walking back and forth across the stage trying to take on the different characters.

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Here (Fulcrum Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival

Here

Emily, played by Jacqueline Byers, sits in front of the projection screen watching dancers stretch, jump and turn. The dance sequence on the screen grabs all her attention. Nothing else seems to matter. As an audience member walking into the Randolph Theatre, this image of Emily in the front of the screen is the first thing I see. Intrigued by what will happen next, I sit down comfortably to watch Here presented by Fulcrum Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Video on a projection screen, some good lyrical dancing and a little suspense is a great way to start a show and get the audience’s attention right away. The story is centered on the character of Emily (who incidentally really resembles the actress, Keira Knightley). Emily is a small town Sudbury girl who dreams of being a dancer when suddenly an accident changes her fate forever. When she finds out she can’t dance, Emily is forced to face reality and start again.

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No Permanent Answers (Human Atoms) 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival

no permanent answers

No Permanent Answers consist of two unique contemporary dance performances choreographed by Angela Blumberg and Tracey Norman. This Toronto Fringe Festival dance production boasts some of the finest contemporary dancers in Toronto. The strength and maturity of the dancers was apparent as they danced their hearts out on the Randolph Theatre stage.

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Corpus Matris (Nrittanz) 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival

Corpus Matris

Having been previously trained in the Indian classical dance form, Bharatanatyam, I was intrigued to see Paromita Kar dance to a similar dance form called Odissi. Dressed in a beautiful traditional attire, Paromita graced the Theatre Passé Muraille stage with delicate hand gestures and strong foot work.

The most interesting part of Corpus Matris was Paromita’s expressions! Have you ever seen someone make funny faces to a baby? Where the eyes seem to expand and the mouth takes on a whole new shape. Similarly, in laughter yoga, facial muscles are used to create a variety of different expressions. And that is exactly what Paromita did in her performance. From showing us her big bold eyes, to showing her passionate rage, it was entertaining to watch this classically trained dancer.

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Stealing Sam (Next Step Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival

Stealing SamSteven Gallagher in Stealing Sam had me laughing, crying and on my feet clapping loudly by the end of the show. Whatever he was selling throughout his stellar performance, I bought into it. If you are looking for a Toronto Fringe show that tells a compelling honest story then Stealing Sam at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse is a show you don’t want to miss!

Now what would you expect if you see an average-looking middle-aged man dragging his medium-sized suitcase with him as he walked on to the stage? That maybe you are about to see a show of a typical business-like man who is possibly leaving town? Or maybe that he has a dead body inside his big suitcase and that body happens to be Sam? Neither of which is true. What you see is not always what you get. And that really is the underlying premise of the whole story.

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Piece of Mind (skindivers dance company) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

 Piece of Mind (skindivers)

Six athletic ladies move gracefully across the stage in a mixture of contemporary dance routines for the opening of the Fringe show, Piece of Mind, at the Robert Gill Theatre.

Being an avid fan of dance, I was especially excited to see the show. It was non-stop movement as my eyes moved from one dancer to the next.

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Review: Avenue Q (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Avenue Q

Avenue Q is the adult’s Sesame Street, back at Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre

Watching Avenue Q at the Lower Ossington Theatre was like eating a large bowl of your favourite comfort food. In my case, it was like eating my childhood favourite, spaghetti and meatballs! It hits you in all the right places and makes you yearn for more. If there was ever a show that could physically touch you and tickle you until you couldn’t stop smiling, than Avenue Q would be that show.

I generally love musicals but I was a bit wary about watching puppets and puppeteers sing and dance for a whole evening. Having not heard the music before, I admittedly was a little curious to see what all the hype was about. Why were people raving about seeing puppets?

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Review: The Way of All Fish/Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet (Kourage Theatre, Cric Crac Collective & Crazy Folk Productions)

Elva Mai Hoover and Tracy RankinA quirky, charming evening at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre with a fishy double-bill

From a push up challenge between a self-absorbed executive and her devoted secretary to an aging store clerk playing footie with a doctor, the double bill featuring The Way of All Fish and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet, did not disappoint. Watching the comedic intriguing actors embody their respective characters was truly a wonderful way to spend a summer evening at the intimate Tarragon Theatre Extra Space.

I’ll be honest. Having read only a short synopsis on the double bill production, I went in with minimal expectation. I let my imagination go wild while I guessed what the intent was behind each play based on their chosen titles. Does the way of the fish have something to do with the analogy ‘there is plenty of fish in the sea?’ Or how exactly is Miss Fozzard going to find her feet? With that being said, going in to the theater with minimal expectation made the experience of watching the plays all the more enjoyable and intriguing.

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