All posts by Chris Klippenstein

Review: BARAM & SNIECKUS: Still Figuring It Out (The National Theatre of the World)

Performers Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus

BARAM & SNIECKUS deliver expert-level humour at Toronto’s Second City Theatre

The National Theatre of the World‘s BARAM & SNIECKUS: Still Figuring It Out is a sketch comedy show of the highest quality: thoroughly entertaining, expertly structured, and unceasingly funny. As my friend Jenna said, only true experts can make it look so easy.

Performers Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus — who are married in real life — deliver a deliciously varied set of sketches exploring love, dating, marriage, and various facets of everyday life. The show was sold out on the night I attended, and it was easy to understand why.

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Review: THIS (Alumnae Theatre)

Performers Audra Gray and Amanda Jane Smith discussing life in THIS.Inventive staging and strong performances feature in THIS, now on stage in Toronto

Alumnae Theatre’s THIS offers a complex, contemporary drama bolstered by clever staging, a well-structured script, and excellent performances by its five cast members. I was impressed by the quality of stagecraft on every level — if you enjoy relationship-based dramas with a contemporary feel, this isn’t one to miss.

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Review: MorbidAbnormalMe (The Figgy Figs)

MorbidAbnormalMeThe Figgy Figs stages a play dealing with anxiety and paranoia at The Box in Toronto

The Figgy Figs’ MorbidAbnormalMe manages a tricky thing: it tackles the subjects of anxiety and paranoia without feeling heavy. I admired the performers’ wide variety of stage images and creative use of song, movement, and audioclips. Overall, however, this play wasn’t for me.

I believe that mental health is a very important topic, and I admire the performers’ courage in putting something so personal on stage, but I was simply underwhelmed by the play as a play. I found it amusing at times, but not hilarious; mildly interesting, but not fascinating. In summary, I thought it was okay.

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Review: The Taming of the Shrew (Driftwood Theatre)

Two performers interactToronto’s Driftwood Theatre boldly reinterprets Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew

Driftwood Theatre’s bold reinterpretation of The Taming of the Shrew, set during the 1989 Toronto Pride Festival, manages to turn Shakespeare’s most problematic comedy into an enjoyable night at the park.

I love Shakespeare, but I only love modernized Shakespeare when there is a clear artistic purpose behind the modernization. Fortunately, that’s exactly the case in Driftwood Theatre’s production. Bring a jacket for the evening chill, a blanket or a lawn chair for the dusty grass, and an open mind.

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