All posts by Catherine Jan

A former freelance translator in Paris, Catherine Jan now enjoys writing in Toronto and about Toronto. Especially about Toronto theatre. She also blogs about translation, copywriting, editing and other word-related past-times at Catherine Translates. Are you on Twitter? Join @translatetrad‘s 2,000 followers who keep up with her workin’ girl tweets.

Review: Women at Play(s) (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

cast and crew of Women at PlaysWe laughed, we learned things, and we broke out into Bon Jovi for Women At Play(s) at the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto’s east end.

You can see six brilliant short and sweet plays all in one evening, and hear diverse voices that don’t often surface in mainstream stories. But I can’t promise that you too will be singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” between plays since I don’t know if the audience’s energy and confidence were particular to last Friday night’s performance.

Continue reading Review: Women at Play(s) (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

Review: The Trip to Bountiful (Alumnae Theatre)

The Trip to Bountiful is a touching tale of one woman’s devotion to her roots

The Trip to BountifulWritten by Horton Foote, The Trip to Bountiful at Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre evokes differences between city life and country life and between the needs of the elderly and the younger generation. But the heart of the story goes much deeper than that as it expresses one woman’s unshakable longing for her roots.

Mama Watts (Jane Hunter) is an elderly woman who’s cooped up in a Houston, Texas apartment at a busy street corner. She’s living with her son Ludie (Jamie Johnson) and daughter-in-law Jessie Mae (Kim Croscup). Mama Watts yearns to return to her hometown Bountiful (also called a “swamp” by Jessie Mae) and this desire is all-encompassing. She hasn’t been home for 30 years.

Continue reading Review: The Trip to Bountiful (Alumnae Theatre)

Review (Kid +1): Lil’ Red Robin Hood (Ross Petty Productions)

Lil Red Robin HoodLatest Ross Petty show tackles Robin Hood and education, now on stage in Toronto

After laughing through Lil’ Red Robin Hood as a family, we had tons to talk about on the way home. It’s a show that’s fun to relive, whether it’s going back to the catchy songs or asking about jokes we didn’t all get. While last year’s Ross Petty show, The Wizard of Oz, played at the Elgin Theatre like the 20 odd shows before it, this year’s Lil’ Red Robin Hood has moved upstairs to the Winter Garden Theatre. The upper venue, with the leaves hanging from the ceiling, is conveniently compatible with the “Sherway Gardens Forest” of Robin Hood.

Continue reading Review (Kid +1): Lil’ Red Robin Hood (Ross Petty Productions)

Review (Kid+1): The Adventures of Pinocchio (Young People’s Theatre)

photo of Pinocchio and Blue Fairy

Pinocchio’s Adventures are Dark and Beautifully Costumed

Directed by Sheila McCarthy, The Adventures of Pinocchio is a fast-moving musical at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto. This beloved classic by Carlo Collodi is cleverly produced, and it is darker and more eerie than the Disney version. After being carved out of by wood by Gepetto (Shawn Wright), Pinocchio (Connor Lucas) rejects the idea of effort, responsibility and learning his ABCs. Instead, he leaves his kind father and joins mischievous Lampwick (Noah Beemer) on his misadventures, while the Blue Fairy (Malindi Ayienga) intermittently watches over him.

Continue reading Review (Kid+1): The Adventures of Pinocchio (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: The Bald Soprano (Théâtre français de Toronto)

The Bald Soprano

Classic absurdist theatre comes to the Toronto stage

Unusual living room conversations are to be heard in The Bald Soprano (La Cantatrice Chauve). At the Théâtre francais de Toronto, this absurdist classic from Eugene Ionesco is performed in French and has English sur-titles.

The story takes place in the London home of a well-to-do couple Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Manuel Verreydt and Geneviève Langlois). They have disconnected conversations that are petty in nature. Then Mr. and Mrs. Martin arrive (Pierre Simpson and Sophie Goulet), and they don’t realize they’re married to each other until they find out they have the same daughter and live at the same address. Make sense?

Continue reading Review: The Bald Soprano (Théâtre français de Toronto)