All posts by Chris Klippenstein

Review: Peace River Country (Tarragon Theatre)

The cast of "Peace River Country."Environmentalism and Faith feature in Peace River Country, now on stage in Toronto

Tarragon Theatre’s production of Peace River Country takes to the stage with the story of a rural Albertan family whose life is progressively destroyed by incoming gas-mining companies. The family fights back, the situation escalates, and the result is a suspenseful, well-crafted drama that resonates with today’s ongoing environmental struggles.

I loved Peace River Country; I thought the performances were superb, the production design thoughtful and creative, and the dialogue believable and well-written. But Peace River Country also has a very strong theme of Christianity, and I can imagine the centrality of this theme might be off-putting to some audience members.

Continue reading Review: Peace River Country (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Kim’s Convenience (Soulpepper)

Performers in "Kim's Convenience"Kim’s Convenience is at times funny, emotional, and heartfelt, on stage in Toronto

Kim’s Convenience returns to the stage in Soulpepper‘s funny, heartfelt, and timely production. The members of the Kim family rise to meet their challenges — whether in the form of interpersonal tension or the gentrification of their neighbourhood — with an admirable combination of humour and heart. It’s surely impossible not to laugh all the way through, and perhaps shed a tear at the end.

Kim’s Convenience was extremely funny; in particular, Appa (the delightful Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) displayed a winning zest for life that was the source of many comedic moments. At the same time, much of the humour stemmed from serious social issues: Appa’s Korean accent, the racial profiling of thieves, and relationships between people of colour and the police. It is a true testament to the quality of this play that it made me laugh, feel, and think at the same time.

Continue reading Review: Kim’s Convenience (Soulpepper)

Review: Measure for Measure (Groundling Theatre Company)

Two performers in "Measure for Measure."

Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is often considered a “problem” play for the way its central story—Isabella’s quest to free her brother Claudio from a death sentence—shifts between comedy and tragedy.

I’m happy to report, however, that Groundling Theatre Company‘s production of Measure for Measure is a funny, sophisticated, moving, and simply wonderful modern-dress adaptation.

Continue reading Review: Measure for Measure (Groundling Theatre Company)

Review: Infinity (Tarragon Theatre and Volcano Theatre)

Tarragon_Infinity
Tarragon_Infinity

Infinity is “memorable, compelling drama” on the Tarragon stage in Toronto

Tarragon Theatre and Volcano Theatre’s co-production of Infinity is a stirring philosophical drama that stays mostly grounded in the humanity of its characters — a play about the messiness of careers, relationships, and the troublesome notion of passion. I had high expectations of playwright Hannah Moscovitch, and I’m happy to say that Infinity did not disappoint.

Infinity offers an ambitious mixture of philosophy, physics, and music. For me, a particular highlight of the production was the beautiful series of performances by violinist Andréa Tyniec, who haunts the background of this play through the semitransparent back wall of the set.

Continue reading Review: Infinity (Tarragon Theatre and Volcano Theatre)

MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS (Rock Bottom Movement) 2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review

Rock Bottom Movement’s production of MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS was my first experience of absurdist dance, and it was a ton of fun: energetic, frequently very funny, and extremely strange. Overall, this Next Stage Theatre Festival show is an exuberant, colourful exploration of — well, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s certainly exuberant and colourful.

Continue reading MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS (Rock Bottom Movement) 2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review