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.

A Woman’s Guide to Peeing Outside (Holly M. Brinkman) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Alice Jones and Holly M. Brinkman in A Woman's Guide to Peeing Outside at the 2019 Toronto Fringe FestivalA Woman’s Guide to Peeing Outside by Holly M. Brinkman is a conversational, coming-of-age story. It’s playing at the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival and it’s well worth watching for Brinkman’s humour and clever way of tying various urination incidents with her making discoveries about her body, identity and the culture around her.

Brinkman reads parts from A Woman’s Guide to Peeing Outside which is an actual book that’s been translated into several languages. So “peeing” gets mentioned dozens of times, and I’m happy to report that I’ve taken away a technique or two.

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The Knitting Pilgrim (Ergo Arts Theatre) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

picture of Kirk Dunn in The Knitting Pilgrim

Tonight, we sat in pews at a church which had that solemn old church smell to see a thoughtful, moving play. It shares one man’s questions about Christianity, Judaism and Islam — via knitting. The Knitting Pilgrim, workshopped by Ergo Arts Theatre and playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is indeed a beautiful work of art that culminates in three knitted tapestries. Each one represents a religious faith.

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Review: Welcome to My Underworld (RARE Theatre Company/Soulpepper)

photo of Bilal Baig in Welcome to My UnderworldToronto’s Rare Theatre Company presents a collection of plays featuring marginalized voices

Welcome to My Underworld is like a theatrical collection of short stories. Playing at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto’s Distillery District, these nine poignant plays give voice to many untold experiences, under the direction of change-maker Judith Thompson. Continue reading Review: Welcome to My Underworld (RARE Theatre Company/Soulpepper)

Review (Kid +1): Under the Stairs (Young People’s Theatre)

Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre presents a play by Kevin Dyer full of warmth and humour

Under The Stairs, YPTPlaying at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto, Under the Stairs is an important, fanciful musical story written by Kevin Dyer. It’s about a little boy named Tim who escapes to a closet of coats when his parents argue. There he finds comfort amongst a motley crew of other abandoned souls.

Timmy (Kyle Orzech) is sweet and boyish in his grey pyjamas and bare feet. Lily (Kelsey Verzotti) lives in the closet and is loving and protective. Violet (Fiona Sauder) is her cynical, foot-stomping best friend, and Albert (Paul Rainville) is their non-verbal tag-along whose knees easily wobble.

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Review: The Cherry Orchard (Modern Times Stage Company and Crow’s Theatre)

Modern Times and Crow’s Theatre present a minimalist take on a Chekhov classic in Toronto

Playing at the Streetcar Crowsnest in the Toronto east end, The Cherry Orchard is a story about one aristocratic family’s struggle with transition. It was written by Anton Chekhov in 1903, just one year before his death. It was his last play.

Headed by a Russian matriarch Lyubov (Arsinee Khanjian), a family is at risk of losing their estate due to bad debts. Like Lyubov, her brother Leonid Gayev (Cliff Saunders) doesn’t have much of a head for business and is unable to find a proper solution to their property woes.

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Review (Kid+1): The Wizard of Oz (Ross Petty Productions)

The Wizard of Oz - Ross PettyAn annual holiday tradition, Ross Petty Productions’ panto takes the stage in Toronto

This year’s Ross Petty holiday production at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre is a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, and it does not disappoint, thanks to the endearing characters, brightly coloured costumes and set, and jabs at politicians. We’re happily taken along the yellow brick road, while we watch Dorothy (spirited Camille Eanga-Selenge) make the world a better place.

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Review: Noises Off (Scarborough Players)

photo of Noises Off castScarborough Village Theatre presents the farcical play Noises Off in east Toronto

The actors of Noises Off at the Scarborough Village Theatre put on a fantastic show about actors putting on a not-so-fantastic show called “Nothing On.” Mishaps, both onstage and off, multiply with each scene throughout the course of this farce.

This play about a play was well-loved by the audience, thanks largely to the witty story by Michael Frayn, the physical comedy by the earnest but confused characters, as well as a set that shows us the stage of the fictional play in the first and final acts, but pivots to show what happens behind-the-scenes in the second act allowing us to see the frenzied behaviour on the other side of the curtain.

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Review: I Call myself Princess (Paper Canoe Projects/Cahoots Theatre/Native Earth Performing Arts)

I Call myself Princess, Jani Lauzon’s “play with opera,” is now playing at Toronto’s Aki Studio

Written by Jani Lauzon, I Call myself Princess is a powerful, captivating play that addresses Indigenous identity and culture. Playing at Toronto’s Aki Studio, this musical performance is above all an eye-opener.

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