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.

You Should Have Stayed Home (Praxis Theatre/The Original Norwegian) 2011 SummerWorks Review

We’ve certainly all heard things about the G20. If you’re a bit of a news junkie like me, you’ve read numerous accounts of the weekend. But I can pretty well guarantee you’ve never heard it as well told as Tommy Taylor’s You Should Have Stayed Home, which has more than lived up to its pre-SummerWorks hype.

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Brothers (James McKee) 2011 SummerWorks review

One of the reasons I have always loved SummerWorks is for its willingness to schedule work that breaks boundaries, mixes forms, or ignores certain conventions in favour of possibility. Brothers, a melded dance and theatre piece with a side-order of cooking show, is precisely this kind of work. After leaving Factory Theatre, I remarked that it had been 40 utterly gorgeous minutes of dance and movement. Fortunately or unfortunately, however, Brothers is a 75-minute theatre piece.

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The Adventures of Mazel and Schlimazel (Ldub Productions, co-presented by The Ashkenaz Foundation) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

As a theatre-loving parent of a toddler, I am so pleased – just on principle – with the existence of FringeKIDS. Even though children’s theatre can be hit-or-miss, just the experience of going has a lot to offer children. The Adventures of Mazel and Schlimazel, though, provided a good deal more.

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Virginia Aldrige, BSc (quoi quoi quoi) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Lest avid readers of Mooney on Theatre begin to feel a concern that I don’t like anything, let me be clear: I unreservedly adored Virginia Aldrige, BSc, produced by quoi quoi quoi – a name you may remember from last year’s Fringe smash Raven For A Lark. It’s charming, well-told story of a young woman who follows her dream – sort of – and takes off for Africa.

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In The Trenches (Sawshack Productions ) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Greeted by the most exceptional set I have ever seen at a Fringe show, I settled into a seat in a scant house at George Ignatieff Theatre for the performance of In The Trenches and marvelled. The trench runs across the stage cutting it into “our side,” “their side” – also known as the audience – and No-Man’s Land.

As you enter the theatre, the trench telegraphs that this is serious theatre; that time, effort and money has been put into its development. In the eponymous trench are nine soldiers, including Peter Sawyer, who also wrote and directed the play. It’s fitting he directed it – he plays Captain, and throughout the play tells the others what to do. To be precise, he plays the first, second and third Captain, since this character continually meets his problematic end.

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Holy Tranity! (Raging Bull) 2011 Fringe Review

The thing about shows like Holy Tranity! – shows so new they don’t even have a website – is that they’re a bit of a crapshoot, even more than a usual Fringe production, and especially when the production is a staged reading. I arrived for a mid-afternoon show to see a large table set with the world’s sparkliest tablecloth, three red binders, and three bottles of water. Even by Fringe standards, this show was low on set.
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Every Woman I Slept With Before I Met You (Borderline Motion Pictures) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Every Woman I Slept With Before I Met You promises to be a darkly comedic performance about a guy who takes a wrong turn trying to romance his current girlfriend, and ends up spilling his whole sexual history instead. Created by filmmakers David Amito and AJ Bond for the Fringe Festival, it drew a solid house for 10pm on a Wednesday night.

With this in mind, I turned up expecting a salacious – or at least mildly naughty – sex comedy. You know, the kind in which the performer would bite his lip like a bad boy and say something along the lines of “…which turned out to be more fun than I was expecting, even if I did eventually have to throw out all the bedsheets and wash my cat in dish soap.”

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Review: Svadba – Wedding (Queen of Pudding Music Theatre)

If there is such a thing as avant-garde opera – and I suppose there must be, since there are Google results for it – then Svadba – Wedding currently showing at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theater is it. Since I am admittedly not an avant-garde opera enthusiast, it took me a while to warm up to this Queen of Puddings Music Theatre production, but in the end I came away bewildered but delighted with what I’d seen.

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