All posts by Dana Lacey

Review: Potted Potter (Potted Productions)

Potted Potter at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre offers laughs for fans and non-fans of all ages

Potted Potter is a goofy, fast-paced celebration of character acting – one actor plays Harry Potter, another plays the other 300 characters from J.K. Rowling’s imaginary world.

The story: a pair of Brit playwrights embark on the ambitious goal of performing all seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes. There’s Jeff (Jefferson Turner), the straight man and Potter devotee that must overcome his dream of a high-quality production complete with fire-breathing dragons and full-blown Hogwarts sets. And then there’s Dan (Daniel Clarkson), who’s a lot less worried about accuracy: he hasn’t read the books.

Continue reading Review: Potted Potter (Potted Productions)

Review: The Play’s the Thing (Stage Centre Productions)

Famous playwright Sandor Turai has just overheard his nephew’s fiancée cavorting with another man. So has his nephew. This isn’t good for business, since Turai’s nephew composes the sugar-coated melodies that accompany his words on stage. In other words, the playwright has a vested interest in keeping his composer happy.

So, as any reasonably vain man would do, he concocts a plan to save his nephew’s upcoming nuptials with his playwrightfulness. The task: incorporate the cheating pair’s pillow talk to help float a story that the affair was merely rehearsal for an ancient French play that nobody had heard of that would be performed that very night. And so truth becomes a lie and lies become truth. Still with me?

Continue reading Review: The Play’s the Thing (Stage Centre Productions)

The Demonstrator (GITA Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

A demonstrator is a marketing gimic — the name given to a clear plastic display pen that reveals all the internal bits. In The Demonstrator, by GITA Productions, the pen plays a major role. It’s a tool that condemned a journalist, and the one she hopes will set her free. The play promises to explore the “motives and morals behind a mysterious article” that has the town crying foul. Continue reading The Demonstrator (GITA Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Abra-Cadaver (The Deep End) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

“Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.”
-Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker was a professional wit. She was a poet, satirist, playwright and (first female) theatre critic. She was invited to parties in hopes she’d utter one of her dark-tinted turns of phrase (“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”) Dorothy Parker was also a professional suicidalist. Her numerous attempts at the afterlife were well-documented and lampooned by polite society, from which Parker kept a comfortable distance. Continue reading Abra-Cadaver (The Deep End) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

The Cage (Voices on the Wind) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Welcome to The Cage. Our host for the evening is one Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper — his likeness captured, humour-less smile and all, in a ginormous papier-mâché head worn by an actor clad in a cheap suit. He’s pissed that the country has turned on him in the wake of Toronto’s riotous g20 summit. “Everyone hates me,” he says, “Even the Toronto Sun. And they love me.” Continue reading The Cage (Voices on the Wind) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

CHAOTICA (Dutch Girl Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Christel Bartelse has woken up inside a board game. A disembodied voice directs her how to play — choose a card, open a box, wear a costume. You can’t leave ‘til you’re done. The play’s moniker, CHAOTICA, is a perfect description for the chaos that ensues once the stage lights go up. We experience Bartelse’s life in hilarious little snippets — here she’s tap-dancing as she waits tables, there she’s performing a sultry piano ballad about self-mutilation, then she’s imagining her life had she followed her parents’ wishes and become a lawyer instead of a performance artist (I, for one, am thankful she didn’t). Continue reading CHAOTICA (Dutch Girl Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Breaking News (Triangle Pi Productions) St. Vladimir Theatre 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

There is no frustration quite so pure as a town hall meeting. Fuelled by each others’ anger, regular folk let their true prejudice shine through, and even the most civil conversationalists succumb to turd-hurling.

Now, imagine the crowd that gathers after a breaking news broadcast interrupts their regularly-scheduled programming. It’s the war of the worlds, and earth isn’t battle ready. On the air: sounds of screaming, then radio silence. The room ignites, townsfolk panic and quickly turn on each other. But don’t worry, the mayor has a solution; human sacrifice. Preferably female, definitely virgin. Any volunteers? Continue reading Breaking News (Triangle Pi Productions) St. Vladimir Theatre 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Video-games: The Musical (Izak Anger Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Imagine a world where Goombas are smushed and green pipes can take you wherever your pixelated heart desires. A world where you can finish your opponent with a bicycle kick or a well-placed fireball. A world where the Princess is always in another castle. Welcome to Video Games: The Musical.

You don’t have to love video games to love this show, but it definitely helps.

Continue reading Video-games: The Musical (Izak Anger Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

I, Marcus Garvey (Theatre Archipelago/b current)

By Dana Lacey

Who knew Marcus Garvey had a great sense of humour?

Marcus Garvey was a journalist, publisher and professional public speaker: the Jamaican activist was an avid proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements and founder of Garveysim: a global mass movement to empower Africa.

I, Marcus Garvey, is a play written by Edgar Nikosi White and produced by Theatre Archipelago and b current that follows the life and activism of the famous Jamaican. Continue reading I, Marcus Garvey (Theatre Archipelago/b current)