All posts by Deanne Kearney

Review: Grand Finale (Hofesh Shechter)

Canadian Stage opens 18/19 season in Toronto with introspective, apocalyptic dance

Internationally celebrated choreographer Hofesh Shechter returns to Toronto with a smoke-filled stage and a chaotic world in freefall in Grand Finale at the Bluma Appel Theatre. Grand Finale does not mark his final work, but presents a dreary yet beautiful apocalyptic world.

In this world, dancers are not distressed in a typical end-of-the-world fashion; rather they blankly move through a chaotic realm. Their movements are loose-limbed as they shuffle and shudder around the stage with supple wrists and upturned chests. They hold their mouths open in emotionless, silent screams, or fall lifeless to the ground to be carried, manipulated and dragged around.

Continue reading Review: Grand Finale (Hofesh Shechter)

Review: Older & Reckless #41 (MOonhORsE Dance Theatre)

Older and Reckless is a dance showcase for older dancers in Toronto

Older and Reckless #41 presented at Harbourfront’s Studio Theatre has everything you need, from laughs and love, to downright creepy and dark. The six work bill, curated by Claudia Moore, hosted by Tabby Johnson, is performed by some of the most celebrated older artists – as the company states, made more reckless as time goes by. Continue reading Review: Older & Reckless #41 (MOonhORsE Dance Theatre)

Review: The Pigeon (Alumnae Theatre)

Toronto playwright Chloë Whitehorn’s new play debuts at Alumnae Theatre’s Fireworks Festival

The Pigeon, presented in the Fireworks Festival at Alumnae Theatre, is a new, exciting and daring play for mature audiences. With beautiful relationships between contrasting characters, and a plot for revenge – this play will take you on a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.

Written by Chloë Whitehorn, The Pigeon follows a distressed millennial – Jegger (John Shubat), who befriends an older woman, Malone (Liz Best). Joined by a mutual hatred for Jegger’s mother, they are drawn together in a plot of revenge against her. Malone also acts as a mentor figure to Jegger, as he is about to become a young father, with his partner Amy (Marina Gomes).

Continue reading Review: The Pigeon (Alumnae Theatre)

Review: Figaro 2.0 (ProArteDanza)

A Toronto dance company re-imagines Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

ProArteDanza beautifully re-imagines ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ (Le Nozze Di Figaro) in Figaro 2.0 at the Fleck Dance Theatre. Taking on the large task of a three-hour opera, award-winning co-choreographers, Roberto Campanella and Robert Glumbek create a gorgeous and witty ninety-minute contemporary dance work.

Figaro 2.0 is based on the comic opera, composed by Mozart in 1786. The story has many twists and turns following misunderstandings, manipulations and infidelities. I highly recommend reading the program synopsis before viewing, as it is helpful with the complex storyline. Although it’s not required as the brilliant design of the show will help you along the way. In short, Suzanna, a servant to the Count, is set to marry Figaro despite her Count’s efforts to seduce her. Meanwhile, Figaro must go to trial over past debts to which the cost is marriage to a different woman, Marcellina. All the while, Suzanna works with the Countess, Rosina, to catch the Count in his infidelities.

Continue reading Review: Figaro 2.0 (ProArteDanza)

Review: Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens (Small but Mighty Productions)

Toronto’s feel-good, kinky, sci-fi musical will have you laughing the whole way home

Glitter boots, murder and a whole lot of disco made my night as I watched the raunchy and outrageous musical Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. What a fun night out with a talented cast!

How can you go wrong with numbers like “All I Need is Disco,” “Glitter Boots Saved My Life” and “Fetish Number Out of Nowhere.” The musical is campy and full of glitz and glamour as the cast interacts with the audience as if they are patrons of the futuristic club – Saucy Jacks. Meanwhile, the sexy and robust Space Vixens arrive from another planet to investigate a serial killer, which cast members continually fall victim too.

Continue reading Review: Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens (Small but Mighty Productions)

Review: Exhale (Sore for Punching You)

Photo of Julia Sasso, by Lyon Smith.Toronto dance company Sore for Punching You presents Exhale

Allison Cummings’ Exhale presented at DanceMakers Centre for Creation shows the beautiful complexities of communication through breath – reminding us of its vital and universal nature, the rhythm that it holds and the intense emotional effects it presents to others.

The beautiful sound design by Dora Award winner, Lyon Smith, brings in the audience before the show begins. The required silence of the audience, generally communicated by the universal sign of dimming the lights is forgotten, the entire audience is mute long before show time, captivated by the sound of live raindrops surrounding the stage. I could feel an added underlying rumbling sound through my whole body. Smith is present on stage, completely focused on the performers and his soundboard, amplifying the beautiful sounds of their breath with a simple yet effective soundscape.

Continue reading Review: Exhale (Sore for Punching You)