Echo Productions brings old story new life, now on stage in Toronto
Charlie: Son of Man is a new, original play from Echo Productions depicting the Charlie Manson murders and trial, with “a modern twist.” The twist, as far as I could see, was simply the interjection of cell phones into the action, but they were used powerfully. The cell phones provided humour, visual effects, and a point: that we shouldn’t write off such horror stories as distant incidents in the past. The show is also marked by inspired movement pieces, and passionate performances from all. Continue reading Review: Charlie: Son of Man (Echo Productions)
Alexander Showcase Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s classic play Pygmalion in Toronto
Alexander Showcase Theatre is currently staging George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion at Alumnae Theatre. It’s tale about a phonetics academic who bets that he can teach a low class girl to speak such that she can pass for a duchess at a royal garden party. Continue reading Review: Pygmalion (Alexander Showcase Theatre)
Manwatching explores cis men delving into sexuality from a woman’s perspective, on stage in Toronto
The concept of Manwatching, on now at Tarragon, is both simple and novel: a male comedian reads, sight unseen, a script written by an anonymous woman that reflects on sex with men. There is no doubt that the text of the monologue was not previously released to the comedian who, on opening night, was Arthur Simeon. Simeon stumbled, reread bits to get it right, had authentic expressions of incredulity and surprise, and sometimes seemed to blush — none of which detracted from his delightful stage presence. The concept demands that there be a different performer each night, and the lineup is great. Most of the names are ones I recognize from my habit of listening to CBC Radio comedies, such as The Debaters. Continue reading Manwatching (Royal Court Theatre/Tarragon Theatre)
Exploring the dark side of manhood and toxic masculinity, Daughter is on stage in Toronto
Daughter, onstage now at the Theatre Centre, dives into the dark side of fatherhood and manhood, ostensibly in a critique of toxic masculinity. It’s a compelling performance from Adam Lazarus, a well known figure in Toronto’s clown community. He’s also the writer, blending elements of autobiography into the story. The audience is supposed to be unsure at any given moment if we are hearing from Lazarus the man, or the monster he has created.
Continue reading Review: Daughter (The Theatre Centre/QuipTake)
Nightwood Theatre’s nuanced play takes to the Toronto stage
Lo (Dear Mr Wells), a Nightwood Theatre production in association with Crow’s Nest, tells the story of a sexual relationship between a high school student and a teacher. Going into it, I expected the teacher to be a “bad guy”, obviously predatory, allowing the audience to comfortably condemn him. Instead, Mr Wells is a developed character, a likeable human person. I believed that he really did love Lo. Continue reading Review: Lo (Dear Mr Wells) (Nightwood Theatre)
Toronto’s Factory Theatre opens its season with Anita Majumdar’s play The Fish Eyes Trilogy
Anita Majumdar is a force to be reckoned with in The Fish Eyes Trilogy, the one-person show she’s written, choreographed, and is performing at Factory Theatre. You’d need an oil tanker, not a fishing boat, to hold the amount of ferocity she brings to playing three teen girls (and a host of other minor characters) living in Port Moody. Told almost as much through dance as through voice, The Fish Eyes Trilogy probes into the tender places where racism and misogyny burrow into adolescent sexuality, with complex psychological repercussions.
Continue reading Review: The Fish Eyes Trilogy (Factory Theatre/Nightswimming)
Theatre artist Katie Sly has returned from Vancouver to present their play Serenity Wild at the Summerworks Festival. Sly is a significant figure in the vanguard of exploring sex and sexuality onstage.
They have produced the Two Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret series (which once featured my work), and performed in Sky Gilbert’s The Terrible Parents, and they have been featured in Summerworks previously, with their autobiographical show Charisma Furs. I had the pleasure of seeing a staged reading of Serenity Wild some years ago. Here is my conversation with Sly. Continue reading Preview: Serenity Wild (Tender Container) 2017 SummerWorks Preview
Ghost Rings, part of the Luminato Festival in Toronto, is “whimsical” and “wonderfully wild”
David Pecault Square is home to the Famous Spiegeltent for Luminato, serving as the venue for performances including Ghost Rings, from NYC company Half Straddle. Ghost Rings is a pop-punk experimental musical about girls who are close when they are young, but grow estranged as they become adults. Continue reading Review: Ghost Rings (Luminato)
The Youth/Elders Project tackles issues affecting the LGBTQIA community, on stage in Toronto
In partnership with The 519 and the Senior Pride Network, Buddies in Bad Times has put LGBTQIA people under 25 and over 55 together in a yearlong process to create this show, The Youth/Elders Project. The results are sincere and charming, if a bit patchy. Continue reading Review: The Youth/Elders Project (Buddies In Bad Times)
A troupe of five take on the many characters of the Bard’s Caesar on stage in Toronto
In a dank, creepy basement accessed via a back alley in Kensington, I sat down in a folding chair with a sense of wariness to see Wolf Manor Theatre Collective‘s take on Caesar. Happily, I need not have worried: dedicated performances from the five person ensemble carry the narrative in a tight grip. Continue reading Review: Caesar (Wolf Manor Theatre Collective)