All posts by S. Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman has great faith in the power of theatre to make change, and has been putting his money where his mouth is on that one for some time. A writer, performer, and lecturer, Bear works full time as an artist and cultural worker and loves to see as much live performance as possible – making this a fantastic gig for him.

Ajax (por nobody) (Hothouse Theatre) 2012 SummerWorks Review

The day after Ajax (por nobody), part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival, I am still having some difficulty organizing my thoughts about it. I’ll be honest: I had a strong reaction, and it wasn’t terribly positive. Post-show, I said to the friend with whom I have seen the show “Well. Unless that was a show designed to make me feel hopeless, disconnected, and mournful it’s a failure.” By morning I think, well? Perhaps it was. And even still, I am not sure I feel any better about it. Continue reading Ajax (por nobody) (Hothouse Theatre) 2012 SummerWorks Review

Review: Pam Ann – Around The World (Cidcom)

Popcorn-dropping hilarity that’s truly First Class at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre.

Dear Pam Ann,

Just got in from your show tonight at the Panasonic – well, all right, first we had a drink or two, but – fabulous. Fantastic, so funny, seriously I almost dropped my popcorn. And the straight lady and her husband beside me just got more and more prune faced as the night carried on and you got filthier and funnier.

Continue reading Review: Pam Ann – Around The World (Cidcom)

Review: Beyond The Cuckoo’s Nest (YPT)

Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest at Young People’s Theatre sheds light on mental health issues

My first real, coherent thought, five minutes into Beyond The Cuckoo’s Nest: “The people who made this should make more things. Things that can be appreciated by people who love the theatre.”

My next coherent thought, a couple minutes later: “Thank goodness these people make theatre for teenagers. This is the kind of thing that turns them into people who love theatre.”

Continue reading Review: Beyond The Cuckoo’s Nest (YPT)

Review: High (Mirvish)

Like Lady Tessie Tura, I like a gimmick, if it’s a good one. And so, when film stars take turns on stage, I have learned to hold my judgement until I see that person in that part (ever since being pleasantly startled by Laurence Fishburne as Henry in The Lion In Winter). Kathleen Turner is indeed a good one in Mirvish’s High, and she is well-used, if not quite as ably supported as I would prefer.

Continue reading Review: High (Mirvish)

Review: Lost Lounge (Buddies In Bad Times)

Take a journey with the Split Britches Theatre Company in Toronto

In the interests of full disclosure, I will state my bias plainly at the beginning of this review: I have been a huge fan of Split Britches Theatre Company, and especially of Peggy Shaw who I was privileged to work with when she was an artist-in-residence at my university, for twenty years. I totally fell for Lost Lounge, but I would have been a lot more surprised if I hadn’t.

Continue reading Review: Lost Lounge (Buddies In Bad Times)

Review: Dancing Queen (Cabaret Company)

Sky Gilbert’s Dancing Queen is playing at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times

There are many lovely things about seeing a performance by Sky Gilbert, but perhaps chief among them is: there’s no possible downside. Either it’s great and interesting, as usual, or not to your taste but still, certainly not boring. Dancing Queen, Gilbert’s latest, is squarely in the former category.

Continue reading Review: Dancing Queen (Cabaret Company)

Review: My Granny The Goldfish (Factory Theatre)

You cannot imagine what a relief it was to me to discover that My Granny the Goldfish was a title less about magical realism and more about a alcoholic grandmother. While that may seem a bit strange, the truth is that I am generally fairly averse to magical realism, while playwright Anosh Irani has written one of the funniest drunken elderly ladies since Lady Bracknell. And he could not possibly be any luckier than to have Yolande Bavan to play Granny, lending every bit of her considerable expertise to the role.

Continue reading Review: My Granny The Goldfish (Factory Theatre)

Review: Forbidden Broadway (Civic Light Opera)

Forbidden Broadway presented by Toronto’s Civic Light Opera Company is a musical about Broadway musicals

Forbidden Broadway at the Civic Light Opera Company (whose home theatre is tucked cleverly under the Fairview Library in North York) was full of charming surprises. Some of them I’m embargoed from discussing, at the request of the company, in order to preserve that pleasurable frisson of “That’s not….is he…oh, he is,” that the audience gets to enjoy. As a reviewer, of course, it takes a little of the fun out of the job, but since it might preserve the fun of the reader I’ll play along gladly.

Continue reading Review: Forbidden Broadway (Civic Light Opera)

Review: Visiting Mr. Green (Harold Green Jewish Theatre)

Legendary Theodore Bikel performs in Visiting Mr. Green at Toronto’s Jane Mallet Theatre

In my enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing Theodore Bikel onstage in Visiting Mr. Green, it’s possible that I may have gone on at length to my theatre-partner (and husband) about his myriad accomplishments: originating the role of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music on Broadway, more than 2,000 performances in Fiddler on the Roof, television, films, folk music.

He’s a living treasure of theatre, with 68 years of performance in five languages under his belt. To the benefit of all, certainly including playwright Jeff Baron and costar Aidan deSalaiz, both of whom must understand how much they’ve been enriched by their association with Bikel in Visiting Mr. Green.

Continue reading Review: Visiting Mr. Green (Harold Green Jewish Theatre)