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.

Review: Old Jews Telling Jokes (Playhouse Productions)

OJTJ_horizontal_logoPlayhouse Productions brings Old Jews Telling Jokes, a fast-paced comedy show, to Toronto

“Well,” I quipped to my date as we arrived to the Randolph Theatre to join a sparse, mid-week crowd for Old Jews Telling Jokes, “this certainly will be old Jews hearing jokes.” Which more or less encapsulated the mood of the show, overall – a somewhat schtick-y, alarmingly fast-paced series of Jewish jokes, told by some old Jews and some younger Jews to a group of people who seemed very pleased just to hear some good old-fashioned borscht-belt humor. While I was glad for them, I privately wished for more.

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Review: La Traviata (Canadian Opera Company)

0406 – Quinn Kelsey as Germont and Ekaterina Siurina as Violetta in the COC’s production of La Traviata, 2015. Conductor Marco Guidarini, director Arin Arbus, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Cait O’Connor, and lighting designer Marcus Doshi. Photo: Michael Cooper Michael Cooper Photographic Office- 416-466-4474 Mobile- 416-938-7558 66 Coleridge Ave. Toronto, ON M4C 4H5

The Canadian Opera Company presents La Traviata playing in Toronto until October 31

The course of true love never did run smooth, as Shakespeare had it, and on this point of plot turns many an opera (all of them, really) – including La Traviata, currently being performed by the Canadian Opera Company. The Verdi opera has been much censored and maligned since it was first performed in 1853, frequently condemned as too racy, too scandalous to be a fit subject for the form. Having evidently been ruined for scandal by my thoroughly modern sensibilities, I must confess that of everything I have seen at COC this production of La Traviata is my absolute favorite.

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Review: The 20th of November (Buddies In Bad Times)

Sina Gilani from 20th of November as shot by Jeremy MimnaghThe 20th of November, on stage at Buddies in Toronto, is theatre that is “challenging” and less “entertainment”

Leaving the theatre after the opening of The 20th of November at Buddies in Bad Times, I ran (almost literally) into Toronto cabaret luminary Ryan G. Hinds arriving for the season’s opening party. “Did you enjoy the show?” he asked me with enthusiasm? I blinked at him, still getting my emotional bearings, and slowly replied “I… don’t think it’s a show you’re supposed to enjoy.”

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Review: Blind Date (Tarragon)


Among audience members in the packed Tarragon lobby for Blind Date on opening night, there was a palpable buzz among the men as it became clear to anyone who hadn’t heard that one of the men in the audience would shortly be chosen to spend the following ninety-odd minutes onstage. With the performer. Creating (as creator and performer Rebecca Northan quipped) a “new Canadian play.” If I hadn’t been tagged as a reviewer, and therefore off limits, I freely confess that I would have been nervous too.

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Review: Superhero! A Bam! Zap! Pow! Murder Mystery (Mysteriously Yours Theatre)


Superhero! is Toronto’s Mysteriously Yours’ latest dinner-theatre murder-mystery

In the world of theatre, a certain unofficial hierarchy of “importance” is known to exist and – we should probably all acknowledge – murder mystery dinner theatre tends to get ranked toward the bottom of the Serious Cultural Events scale. As the one who had to sit through Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia last fall, I can tell you for certain that while Superhero! A Bam! Zap! Pow! Murder Mystery might be less important, it’s certainly a lot more fun.

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