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.

Aspergers: A Tale of a Social Misfit (Autistic Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Adam Schwartz

Part of our Toronto Fringe Festival, Aspergers: A Tale of a Social Misfit is a joke-rich stand-up comedy act by Adam Schwartz. Playing at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room and produced by Autistic Productions, this show will have you chuckling along with Schwartz as he makes fun of his own Aspergers-related misfortunes. And who knew that Ikea despises consumers with Aspergers?

Continue reading Aspergers: A Tale of a Social Misfit (Autistic Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

How Often Do I Dream (Transitus) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo from How Often Do I Dream

Produced by a new Halifax-based company Transitus, How Often Do I Dream is an intimate, touching performance about memory loss. Performed by Katie Dorian as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, this multi-sensory session at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room gives us stories about Dorian’s grandfather’s dementia, and it also includes singing, tasting, smelling and touching–by the audience.

Continue reading How Often Do I Dream (Transitus) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Soaring Above Reality (The Illusionist) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Poster of The Illusionist Lucas Wilson

Ooohs and aaahs are in no short supply during Soaring Above Reality for illusion after illusion at the George Ignatieff Theatre. This production by Guinness World Record-holders and magicians Lucas Wilson and Kelly Defilla is part of this year’s Fringe Festival in Toronto–FringeKids! to be precise.

Wilson is an excellent story-teller with a compelling stage presence, while Defilla is a crowd-pleaser because of her exaggerated facial expressions and theatrical body language. We were charmed by every act, from the floating table to the coat hanger trick to their human Tetrus. Continue reading Soaring Above Reality (The Illusionist) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Hamlet (Bard in the Park)

 

Hamlet

Shakespeare’s most famous drama plays in the park in Toronto

Get your summertime dose of outdoor Shakespeare by enjoying Bard in the Park‘s production of Hamlet. Playing in the Toronto Beaches at Kew Gardens, this two and a half hour play is complete with swordfights, ghosts and poison.

The premise: Hamlet’s father, who is the king of Denmark, suddenly dies. Hamlet’s uncle Claudius (Holm Bradwell) takes the throne and marries Hamlet’s mother Gertrude (Melissa Beveridge). Hamlet (James Soares-Correla) meets his father’s ghost and learns that Claudius murdered Hamlet’s father. Hamlet must now avenge his father’s death. Continue reading Review: Hamlet (Bard in the Park)

Review: The Anger in Ernest & Ernestine (Coffeehouse Theatre/Off the Grid)

Kasey Dunn Andrew Gaboury

A story of domestic discontent took the stage at Toronto’s Sidemart Theatrical Grocery

Take your lover to see The Anger in Ernest & Ernestine at Toronto’s Sidemart Theatrical Grocery and use the given scenes as a means to talk about your post-honeymoon disappointment, built-up resentment and your annoyance with your better half’s morning routine. Domestic bliss becomes a hilarious domestic nightmare in this wonderfully staged play by Leah Cherniak, Robert Morgan and Martha Ross. Continue reading Review: The Anger in Ernest & Ernestine (Coffeehouse Theatre/Off the Grid)

Review: Needles and Opium (Canadian Stage/Ex Machina)

Needles and Opium Marc Labrèche

Canadian Stage brings theatre wizard Robert Lepage’s play Needles and Opium back to Toronto

Written and directed by Robert Lepage, Needles and Opium will startle your senses at Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre. Jazz, light and movement make the stories of heartbreak, addiction and cultural discovery come to life.

I’ve never seen such a set. The action takes place not on the stage, but in the air. A three-sided cube turns intermittently. This mobile stage, through light, projected images and changing props, becomes a recording studio, hotel room, pawn shop and other settings. Ground-breaking. Continue reading Review: Needles and Opium (Canadian Stage/Ex Machina)

Review: Tom at the Farm (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

 

Jeff Lillico Jeff Irving

“Intense” violence and grief takes centre stage at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto

Playing at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times TheatreTom at the Farm is the most stressful play I’ve seen in the past year. This troubling thriller about grief, deception, desire and homophobia was written by Michel Marc Bouchard and was poetically translated by renowned literary translator Linda Gaboriau. Continue reading Review: Tom at the Farm (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

Review: Bull (Coal Mine Theatre)

Bull Coal Mine Theatre Damon Runyan

Coal Mine Theatre’s Bull is Chilling — You’ll Need a Drink

The gloves come off as three employees battle for two jobs at Toronto’s Coal Mine Theatre on the Danforth. This corporate horror called Bull will send shivers down your back: you’ll witness how the upcoming downsizing brings out the worst in two workplace bullies.

As we walk into this basement theatre (which is downstairs from The Magic Oven), we already know there won’t be much niceness to be observed: the angry music got me into fight-or-flight mode before the performance even started. To make the setting even darker, the arena-like theatre had us sitting in a U-shape around the stage, and with the mesh walls around it, the stage was like a ring. Perfect for bloody office combat. (While I didn’t mind the mesh, my guest found it a bit cumbersome to see through and questioned its necessity.)

Continue reading Review: Bull (Coal Mine Theatre)

Review (Kid +1): Snow Angel (Quest Theatre)

Snow Angel

Snow Angel, playing at Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, is a whimsical production of mime for the whole family

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow at Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, as snowflakes propel the heartwarming story of Snow Angel. Created by Nikki Loach, Snow Angel is a sweet tale about being kind and making peace.

The theatrical experience started off as soon as we were directed to our seats. The staff handed us sheets of paper, “Hold on to this until we tell you what you’re going to do with it.” My guest loved what happened next: we literally set the stage by crumpling up our papers and throwing these paper snowballs towards the front of the theatre. Hats off to the creative team for this fantastic crowd-pleaser. Continue reading Review (Kid +1): Snow Angel (Quest Theatre)