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: The King and I (Scarborough Music Theatre)

An impressive vocal cast does wonders to Scarborough Music Theatre’s production of The King and I

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I at the Scarborough Village Theatre hits all the right notes. It’s no surprise that this colourful cast, made up of many kids who were dancing past bedtime, received a standing ovation.

In this 1860s story, British schoolteacher Anna (formidable Laurie Hurst) is tasked with educating the many children of the King of Siam (Richard Kwong). Anna and the King never let us down, singing their way through extreme cultural differences and making us laugh along the way. Continue reading Review: The King and I (Scarborough Music Theatre)

Review: Sidekicks & Secret Identities (Monkeyman Productions)

Superhero antics take over the stage at Toronto’s Fraser Studios in Sidekicks & Secret Identities

Sidekicks Secret Identitiess - Sean KaufmannUp, up and away! If you’re into comic book conundrums, venture over to Toronto’s Fraser Studios for Monkeyman Productions‘ Sidekicks & Secret Identities.

Our evening about undercover wonders was made up of three stories: Sidekicks by Manda Whitney and Errol Elumir, and two shorter pieces Fortress of Solitude and Super by D.J. Sylvis.

Continue reading Review: Sidekicks & Secret Identities (Monkeyman Productions)

Review: Le Passé antérieur/Past Perfect (Théâtre français de Toronto)

Past Perfect Albertine Alex

Théâtre français de Toronto presents Michel Tremblay’s play Past Perfect / Le Passé antérieur

All talk, no action — that’s Past Perfect/Le Passé antérieur by Michel Tremblay. Playing at the Théâtre français de Toronto, this French-language story about love lost offers English surtitles on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Geneviève Dufour plays Tremblay’s passionate, broken-hearted star character Albertine. Dumped by Alex, the man she longed to marry, Albertine can’t bear the fact that Alex is courting her younger, mild-mannered sister. Albertine is unhappy, and misery sure loves company. Everyone who crosses paths with Albertine — her mother Victoire, her sister Madeleine, her brother Edouard, her ex-boyfriend Alex — must be made painfully aware of every single tear she has shed. Continue reading Review: Le Passé antérieur/Past Perfect (Théâtre français de Toronto)

Review: Into the Woods (Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts)

Into the Woods brings fairy tales to life on stage at the Randolph Theatre in Toronto

The fantastic musical Into the Woods, produced by the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts at Toronto’s Randolph Theatre, is a fairy tale extravaganza that shuns happy endings and makes you careful of what you wish for. 

You’ll be recalling a few bedtime stories as you bob your head to Stephen Sondheim‘s music. Based on James Lapine’s book, Into the Woods takes Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, and has a childless baker and his wife knead those classics into one big mega-tale. Continue reading Review: Into the Woods (Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts)

Elly’s Emotions (Daley Productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

At the Toronto Fringe Festival as part of FringeKids!, Elly’s Emotions, playing at the Palmerston Library, is a high-energy must-see musical produced by Daley Productions. It speaks to today’s kids for whom video games replace make-believe games, and being a creative, non-consuming daydreamer can make a child “weird”.

Written by Johnson & Johnston, the play is about how Elly (Torri Webster) struggles to keep her friends who no longer appreciate her lack of “stuff.” Her former pals are drawn to the kid with the Wii. Now who will come to her birthday party when there won’t even be a bouncy castle?
Continue reading Elly’s Emotions (Daley Productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

She’s Black, He’s Jewish, They’re Married, Oy Vey! (EpsteinandHassan) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Epstein Hassan

Playing at the Annex Theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, She’s Black, He’s Jewish, They’re Married, Oy Vey! is more than a 27-year-long interracial love story between Epstein and Hassan.

These stand-up comics are marriage counsellors! They share their wisdom on how to keep relationships alive and well and full of action under the sheets.

Their training package for couples, called “Black/Jew/Love technology,” requires homework. But the audience participation involves much more than that. A few willing, good-humoured members of the crowd ended up revealing marital status, sexual orientation, ethnic background and religion. (If you’re shy, no worries, there’s a don’t-bug-me signal.) Continue reading She’s Black, He’s Jewish, They’re Married, Oy Vey! (EpsteinandHassan) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Gold Fever (Keystone Theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Gold Fever is a wordless, silent film-type play about a small group of fortune-seekers during the gold rush. This black-and-white creation by Keystone Theatre is laugh-out-loud funny with some tragic bits about ruthless quests for gold. See it as part of Toronto’s Fringe Festival at the Al Green Theatre. You’ll be transported by the story-telling piano-playing, and you’ll admire the smart but simple sets that fully use 50 shades of grey. Continue reading Gold Fever (Keystone Theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Julius Caesar (Red Sandcastle Theatre)

Bloody Quests for Power in Julius Caesar Playing at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre

After voting in our provincial election, I went back to Roman Empire politics and saw different techniques of rising to power. Julius Caesar opened at the Red Sandcastle Theatre for a delighted, entertained audience. This powerful Shakespearean production was about democracy-minded politicians seeking to kill off their overly-ambitious leader.

Continue reading Review: Julius Caesar (Red Sandcastle Theatre)