All posts by Candice Irwin

Review: All Shook Up (First Act Productions)


I love a good musical. Sometimes all you need is a cheery storyline, peppy songs, and animated dance moves to help put a hop in your step. Sadly I left the Papermill Theatre on Wednesday night after seeing All Shook Up by First Act Productions in not as happy a mood as I had anticipated.

All Shook Up tells the story of a town that has been stripped of all things fun: dancing, loud music and necking in public. That is, until a mysterious leather-clad gentlemen, Chad, shows up in town. He shows the townspeople what it means to have a good time and reminds them of how wonderful falling in love can be. The cheesy, cheery story is interwoven with over twenty songs by the one and only Elvis. Continue reading Review: All Shook Up (First Act Productions)

Review: The Golden Mean (Live) (Compagnie Marie Chouinard/Canadian Stage)


Innovative and exciting dance programming continues with Canadian Stage at Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre

It has been on my bucket list for years to get to see a Compagnie Marie Chouinard production, but every time I have had the opportunity, something has stopped me from being able to go. So when I was given the chance to see The Golden Mean (Live) on Wednesday night at the Bluma Appel Theatre I was overjoyed.

Continue reading Review: The Golden Mean (Live) (Compagnie Marie Chouinard/Canadian Stage)

Review: Still Standing You (Pieter Ampe & Guilherme Garrido/CAMPO)

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I love Harbourfront’s World Stage series. Every year the shows I see as part of the series tend to make it on my list of most memorable performances of the year. Still Standing You, performed by Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido and presented by CAMPO, is no exception to that statement. I left Enwave Theatre on tuesday night knowing that it would be a long time before I ever forgot what I had watched over the past hour.

Not all performance is meant to make you comfortable, it is simply intended to make you feel. For me, there was an excess of emotions which I felt while watching Still Standing You. At moments I was laughing hysterically, at others I was cringing with discomfort or disgust. Though Still Standing You is listed as contemporary dance I personally would also consider classifying it as performance art. Ampe and Garrido have a very interactive and engaged relationship with the audience. Also, their movement, though probably greatly facilitated by their training, showed the kind of physicality and pushing of the body’s limits which is frequently present in the work of performance artists.

Continue reading Review: Still Standing You (Pieter Ampe & Guilherme Garrido/CAMPO)

Preview: River (Ballet Creole)


Toronto’s Ballet Creole has put together an energetic dance show with one remounted piece and one new choreography

This past Wednesday afternoon I was lucky enough to be invited into a rehearsal of Ballet Creole’s next show River. What a wonderful treat to watch the company in action only a week before they open at the Fleck Dance Theatre.

Two full-length works will be included in the evening. The first, entitled Trouchka, is a remount of a piece which was originally part of the company’s 2011 season. Artistic Director Patrick Parson has used Igor Stravinsky’s Petrouchka as his inspiration. The cast of 7 dancers take on the roles of giant puppets which have come to life.

Continue reading Preview: River (Ballet Creole)

Review: Swan Lake (Ballet Jörgen Canada)

Ballet Jörgen Canada brings the timeless classic Swan Lake to the Toronto stage

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It isn’t often that I get to watch classical ballet anymore. It was a treat to get to attend opening night of Ballet Jörgen Canada’s Swan Lake at the Betty Oliphant Theatre on Wednesday night. There’s something very nostalgic for me about watching these traditional stories come to life. It makes me feel like a kid again.

For anyone that doesn’t know the story of Swan Lake, it is your traditional boy-meets-girl tragic love story, just with some added magic and allusions to beastiality for pizzaz. Prince Siegfried is told by his mother that he must choose a bride to wed. Upset by her demand he goes hunting and comes across a flock of swans. As he aims to shoot, one of the swans suddenly becomes a beautiful young woman whom he falls in love with. The young woman, Odette, explains that she is a princess who has been cast under a spell by the sorcerer Von Rothbart. She is destined to be a swan by day and a woman by night until her true love is found and commits to her forever.

Continue reading Review: Swan Lake (Ballet Jörgen Canada)

Review: Heterollectual: Love, and Other Dumb Ideas (Pollux Dance)

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Quick, fun and funny contemporary dance at Dancemakers Centre for Creation in Toronto

It seems that most people view contemporary dance as a fairly dramatic and serious performing art. It isn’t often that you hear laughter in a contemporary dance audience, either because the work is very serious or because the audience isn’t sure if they are meant to laugh. Well let me safely say that Pollux Dance’s current show, Heterollectual: Love, and Other Dumb Ideas, playing at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation, is meant to make you laugh.

It seems appropriate that my date on Wednesday night was one of my closest single girlfriends. The one I call when I need a partner in crime on a Friday night, but also when a boy has broken my heart and I need someone to commiserate with. Actually before the show that’s exactly what we were doing: talking about love. I think we really needed a good laugh about it.

Continue reading Review: Heterollectual: Love, and Other Dumb Ideas (Pollux Dance)

Review: loveloss (Dancemakers)

Dancemakers creates an organically inspired piece with their latest dance work in Toronto

I tend to avoid reading program notes before seeing shows, but when I opened the program for Dancemakers’ newest work, loveloss by Michael Trent, the first thing I saw was a section entitled “notes on notes.” Out of intrigue I began to read the section before the show began. The thing that resonated was Dancemakers’ statement that they work hard to not give anything away in their program notes. So this has left me feeling very torn about how to write this review because, I too, don’t want to give anything away.

Continue reading Review: loveloss (Dancemakers)

Review: Final Savage Land (Sore For Punching You)

Liberate your love for theatre with Final Savage Land, playing at Toronto’s Oz Studios

You know when you go to a show that you enjoy so much that it leaves you speechless? If you don’t then you might want to check out Final Savage Land presented by Sore For Punching You (Alison Cummings) at Oz Studios. These are my favourite, yet most challenging types of reviews to write: the ones for shows that I enjoyed so much that I don’t know what to say. I will do my best though to describe what I witnessed on Thursday night.

Continue reading Review: Final Savage Land (Sore For Punching You)

Review: Christmas with Hi & Lo (John Alcorn/Kyra Millan)

Holiday cabaret cheers Toronto theatre audiences in Christmas with Hi & Lo

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘cabaret’? Crooning love songs, cheesy jokes and a touch of a story line to string it all together? Throw in a dash of Christmas cheer and that is exactly what you get at Christmas with Hi & Lo playing at Gallery 345 and featuring John Alcorn and Kyra Millan.

Continue reading Review: Christmas with Hi & Lo (John Alcorn/Kyra Millan)

Review: Soulful Messiah (Ballet Creole/Harbourfront Centre NextSteps)

Ballet Creole presents refreshing and engaging tap sequences in Soulful Messiah at Toronto’s Fleck Dance Theatre

I was really excited to go see Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah at the Fleck Dance Theatre on Friday night. I have a lot of respect for artistic director Patrick Parson. I was thinking that it would be a great way to start the Christmas season. Sadly, I didn’t find the evening as enjoyable as I had hoped.

Soulful Messiah is a combination of African-Caribean dance, ballet, jazz, contemporary and tap dance. The full-length work is set to Handel’s Messiah – A Soulful Celebration. Parson’s movement is meant to express and compliment the joyous nature of the music.

Continue reading Review: Soulful Messiah (Ballet Creole/Harbourfront Centre NextSteps)