Venus & Adonis, produced by Theatre Oculus, is playing on-demand at the 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival. Based on the Shakespeare poem of the same title, the dance work runs 25-minutes. Venus, the goddess of love, attempts to seduce Adonis. Her love is unrequited, as in the original story he would rather go hunting. The company asks: What happens when the goddess of love is scorned in her own realm?
The piece opens with the sounds of birds chirping and the sight of white dresses flowing in a light summer breeze. The cast of 12 dancers moves to a recorded poem by Kelsi James. Depictions of love and desire are shown in a montage of solo shots of whimsical improvised contemporary movement set against the beautiful outdoor backdrop.
Continue reading Venus & Adonis (Theatre Oculus) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review
Late-night overthinking and intrusive thoughts… Google rabbit holes of illnesses you do not have… Insomniac, produced by Blue Glass Theatre, playing on-demand at the 2021 Virtual Toronto Fringe Festival, follows one woman’s late-night rants about her trouble sleeping and the contrasting and often unhelpful sleep aid advice found on the internet, like don’t look at your phone but use this sleep app! Or, make a cup of herbal tea, but avoid any bright lights at night… How is one to do so when pouring scalding hot water?!
Continue reading Insomniac (Blue Glass Theatre) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review
Dance of Torn Papers, produced by Nowadays Theatre, is a 360˚ experience of two short works by playwright and director Mohammad Yaghoubi, playing on-demand at the virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival. The double bill is a combined 30 minutes, with two different video options of watching in either English or Farsi, or with subtitles of each language for either video.
The 360˚ VR experience gives audiences the ability to be in the room, to choose where they want to look with the direction of the mouse, making you intimately a part of the experience. Past virtual reality shows I’ve seen leave the camera in one spot, but in this work, the actors move the camera with them to different places in the room, creating an even more lifelike ambience to the performance.
Continue reading Dance of Torn Papers (Nowadays Theatre) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review
Asylum, produced by New Story Productions, is playing on-demand at the virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival. The punchy theatre-dance work is only seven minutes in length. It follows Amir (played by Armon Ghaeinizadeh) in his process of applying for asylum in Canada. Amir first left Iran precariously on a school visa to join a dance program in Canada. This piece focuses on the middle ground of first leaving Iran and the possibility of being forced to go back to a culture that has a long and complex history with dancing, and where anything outside of heterosexual marriage is punishable by law.
Continue reading Asylum (New Story Productions) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review
School siege dramatized on stage in Mirvish’s US/THEM
US/THEM tells the tragic story of the 2004 Beslan school siege from the point of view of the children inside. Not through the naive and innocent portrayal we most often see, but through the inquisitive, creative and detail-oriented child-like personalities that we all know and love. As the program states: “Children understand everything.”
US/THEM first premiered in Belgium in 2014 and has been performed all over the world in multiple languages. The English version is brought to Toronto by the BRONKS Theatre Company, Richard Jordan Productions and Off-Mirvish Theatre in the CAA Theatre. Continue reading Review: US/THEM (BRONKS Theatre Company / Mirvish)