This weekend will be an exciting time for all dancers and dance-lovers, because this Friday is the beginning of Dance Ontario’s annual event Dance Weekend. Dance Weekend is a virtual smorgasbord of dance. Contemporary, urban, and flamenco are just a sampling of what the weekend will bring. The stage will be graced by multiple performers over the course of the day, switching styles as often as the dancers switch partners.
Attendees of this year’s weekend are lucky to have exciting new additions to the program, like talk-backs with choreographers and an urban dance battle. The Dance Weekend takes place at the Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre.
Continue reading Preview: Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend 2016
The Christmas Tree, on stage in Toronto, is a “sweet way to start off the holidays”
Lately, it’s been hard for me to get into the holiday spirit. Maybe the snowless streets make me forget that it’s even December. Maybe it’s that I have a bitter heart that can’t be swayed by eggnog and silver bells. I’m not too sure what it is, but I still decided to take a chance on seeing The Christmas Tree at the Red Sandcastle Theatre.
My heart didn’t grow a few sizes today, but it was shockingly warmed by the music and merriment provided by Baby Gumm Productions.
Continue reading Review: The Christmas Tree (Baby Gumm Productions)
Second City’s Unwrapped Made Our Yuletide Bright
The Second City Theatre is packed to brim with people. I wonder how they could squeeze in so many people, as more attendees slip around me. The theatre is roaring with the sound of people laughing, talking and ordering drinks. It’s organized chaos, if I’ve ever seen it. The noise dies down with the lights, and the stage is lit in frosty blue. The Second City troupe files on stage and starts to sing a catchy tune.
This song is more relatable than cheery. It’s about how winter is terrible and you’d be better off at home, which in retrospect is a bit of a mixed message. The singers warn you of the horrible seasonal dangers like blizzards, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and something known as the “Winter Man”. The beat is still stuck in my head, even if the words are a little too dramatic to repeat aloud.
Continue reading Review: Unwrapped (The Second City Toronto)
Robin Hood is full of slapstick humour, playing at the Papermill Theatre in Toronto
Robin Hood by Amicus Productions is currently playing at the Papermill Theatre. I have seen the tale of Robin Hood done in various ways. I’ve seen action versions of the story, comedies, and even an animated version with a dashing fox. I was excited to see a brand new twist on the man who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.
This Robin Hood, written by Don Nigro and directed by Chris Coculuzzi, began with two young minstrels standing in front of the curtain.Their song transported us to the Sherwood Forest. The tone was sad, as if Robin Hood was a tragic hero from long ago, and they were the bards who kept his legend going. I was surprised to see once the actors on stage started speaking that the tone wasn’t serious at all. The play had immediately switched into a comedy.
Continue reading Review: Robin Hood (Amicus Productions)
We review a new Toronto production of Caryl Churchill’s play Objections to Sex and Violence
Objections to Sex and Violence by The Sex + Violence Collective, with the support of Fevergraph and Praxis Theatre, takes place at the Artscape Sandbox. The theatre’s name was more literal than I anticipated, because when I walked to my seat I saw that the middle of the room was a blanket of rough brown sand. I could faintly hear wind and the crash of waves, but I had the feeling that I wasn’t meant to be relaxed. Goosebumps rose on my arms and I waited for the lights to dim. Continue reading Review: Objections to Sex and Violence (The Sex + Violence Collective)
A spooky brew of Winnie-the-Pooh and Edgar Allan Poe haunts Toronto theatre audiences
I chose to attend The House at Poe Corner by Eldritch Theatre playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre because I absolutely love Halloween. I haven’t read all of Edgar Allan Poe’s or H.P Lovecraft’s work, but I know that any play associated with their names was guaranteed to be dark and/or dreary. What better time is there to think of ghosts and your impending doom than Halloween?
The House at Poe Corner is a creative mixture of the works Edgar Allan Poe, H.P Lovecraft, and A.A. Milne. One of those writers is unlike the other! In case you don’t want to click the link, A.A. Milne is the creator of the children’s tales of Winnie-the-Pooh. Playwrights Eric Woolfe and Michael O’Brien managed to combine these works together into a shocking entertaining show. Although, I would not recommend bringing young children to see this. This Winnie-the-Pooh is not as cuddly as you’d expect.
Continue reading Review: The House at Poe Corner (Eldritch Theatre)
Stage Centre Productions presents the thriller Gaslight at Fairview Library in Toronto
The stage at Fairview Library Theatre is adorned with luxuries of a Victorian home in London. Portraits line the walls, a grand piano sits by the window, and gaslights are in every corner of the room. It’s a peaceful scene, but I know the peace won’t last long. This production of Gaslight is an adaptation by David Jacklin of the dark thriller written by Patrick Hamilton. I sit in my row, and wait for the peace to be broken.
Continue reading Review: Gaslight (Stage Centre Productions)
Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse, a play by Hannah Rittner is now playing at Toronto’s Theatre Centre
Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse by Old Norman Productions opened in the ever-versatile Theatre Centre at 1115 Queen St. West. The set was a large brick room with sparse furniture. There were chalk lines on the wall, marking the days the two inhabitants have been there. In the background, I could hear the persistent sound of whirring, like a generator. At that moment, I wondered if the room was a bunker or a prison. Were they there for protection, or for punishment? Continue reading Review: Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse (Old Norman Productions)
Theatre la Tangente presents Claude Guilmain’s play Americandream.ca in Toronto
Americandream.ca by Theatre la Tangente begins on an empty stage at the Glendon Theatre at the York University campus. The stage is surrounded by three white walls. Music begins and panels of the walls open up like doors. Actors walk from the darkness and onto the stage, their shadows plastered on the white panels. Their entrances are mysterious, giving the audience the work to figure out the context of the scene through images and videos rippling against the walls. It’s a confusing start, but it kept me waiting to find the other pieces to the puzzle. Continue reading Review: Americandream.ca (Theatre la Tangente)
Toronto’s Loose Tea Music Theatre Dissociative Me is an updated take on Gounod’s opera Faust
Dissociative Me by Loose Tea Music Theatre opened at the luxurious RED nightclub. My guest and I opted for a leather couch bathed in red light. Everything around us was dark and dripping with drama. It may not have been a grand theatre, but this location was striking enough for an opera. Especially for a show that describes itself as “not your grandfather’s opera”.
The show is based off of Gounod’s Faust, in which a scholar makes a deal with the devil for success and pays a heavy price for it. A more modern understanding of this tale would be in The Little Mermaid, when Ariel signs a contract with the seawitch Ursula. Whether you prefer Gounod or Disney, the cautionary tale is universally understood: don’t make a deal that you can’t pay for.
Continue reading Review: Dissociative Me (Loose TEA Music Theatre)