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.

Skunkweed (Triple ByPass Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Chris Whitby, Melanie Pyne, TJ Cheslea, and Amanda Armagon courtesy Triple Bypass Productions, photo by Cedric Swaneck

Have you ever, in your long and lucky life, met someone who just smiled at you and somehow their smile hit you right in the heart? I have. But never has such complicated, raw, needy nonsense ensued as is acted out in Skunkweed, my first Toronto Fringe show of 2015 (playing at Theatre Passe Muraille in the Mainspace). This production of Skunkweed, an Eric Bogosian play, is 100% Bogosian in plot (sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll) and in theme: what would happen if you stopped behaving as you were supposed to, and did what you wanted instead? Continue reading Skunkweed (Triple ByPass Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Kinky Boots (Mirvish)

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Kinky Boots, Cyndi Lauper-penned musical, “earn[s] every spangle” on the Toronto stage

There are regular-duty opening nights at the theatre – gowns, gays, glamour – and then there’s the extra-strength version that develops at the Royal Alexandra when Cyndi Lauper‘s in town for the opening of her totally charming, irrepressible musical with Harvey FiersteinKinky Boots. Not a sequin was wasted on a lackluster performance, though – Kinky Boots has earned every spangle on display (which, I do not believe anyone will be startled to hear, is quite a fair few). Continue reading Review: Kinky Boots (Mirvish)

Review: Idle Lessons (Raw Matter)

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Raw Matter Project takes on new Ontario sex ed. curriculum on stage in Toronto.

This morning, I unfolded the program from the Idle Lessons workshop at lemonTree Studios last night. It’s handwritten in purple pen on looseleaf paper, contains… most of the information I need to write my review, and is folded into the sort of intricate packet that was our only reference point for “information security” back in Grade 7. The program perfectly epitomizes the workshop itself: clever, bold, frolicsome, a bit uneven, and—while not fully cooked—quite promising.

Continue reading Review: Idle Lessons (Raw Matter)

Review: Much Ado About Nothing (Tarragon)

Nova-Bhattacharya-Gugun-Deep-Singh-Ellora-Patnaik-Tahirih-Vejdani-Sarena-Parmar-Anusree-Roy-David-Adams-Alon-Nashman-Ali-Momen-Photo-by-Cylla-von-Tiedemann_web-1024x711Shakespeare meets Bollywood in Tarragon Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing in Toronto

To be fair, Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favorites of Shakespeare, and so when it comes around again — as it has at Tarragon — I pounce upon an opportunity to enjoy a new staging. It’s flexible and broadly comic and tends to show the best of an actor, in my experience. Described as “Beatrice and Benedict take on Brampton in this Bollywood-inspired adaptation of Shakespeare’s most clever comedy” and full of the promise of amusing fusion, This version of Much Ado About Nothing delivered on most of its promises in spades.

Continue reading Review: Much Ado About Nothing (Tarragon)

Review: The Barber of Seville (Canadian Opera Company.

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 The Barber of Seville, on stage at the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto, is a charming blend of merriment and song

There’s a Christine Lavin song that begins with: “I am at the opera, I don’t like the opera / But he loves the opera, and I love him.”

It’s clear to me that the man Christine Lavin sang about did not take her to The Barber of Seville at the Canadian Opera Company. The Barber of Seville is a great starter opera – it’s funny, it celebrates love, there’s lots of physical comedy and it is entirely without tragedy. The opening night audience included more children than I’ve ever seen at a COC production, and with good reason. The Barber of Seville is an opera buffa: it was written to be accessible, funny and easily enjoyed by people without training and literacy in opera. This is a perfect opera (and a marvellous production) to use as a gateway drug, so people who have never been to (or have never enjoyed) opera can begin to fall in love.

Continue reading Review: The Barber of Seville (Canadian Opera Company.