All posts by Gian Verano

Gian has been a contributor to MoT since June 2013. Other than a couple of theatre history electives in university, Gian’s main theatre experiences date back to his childhood days when he would accompany his parents to shows at the Elgin Theatre or Princess of Wales Theatre. His fondest memory is seeing Les Mis as a child and being in awe of the larger-than-life costumes and musical numbers. When seeing a show, he loves pieces that come from a sincere place of truth – that tell a heartfelt story. During the day, he’s a Toronto Copywriter and Search Marketing Specialist. You can connect with him on both LinkedIn and Twitter. Twitter: @gian_verano

Review: Berni and Amy Rises Up: The Importance of Being Foolish (Berni Stapleton and Amy House)

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Comedians Berni Stapleton and Amy House take the Tarragon Theatre Stage in Toronto

How many Newfoundland comedians does it take to entertain a Toronto audience? Well, apparently the answer is two. Taking a hilarious look back at their careers and their 35-year long friendship, comedy veterans Berni Stapleton and Amy House performed their sketch revue show, Berni and Amy Rises Up: The Importance of Being Foolish, to a packed house of eager spectators Wednesday night.

This dynamic duo dished out an eclectic brand of off-the-cuff comedy complete with the dirtiest of limericks and Shakespearean soliloquies thrown in for good measure.

Continue reading Review: Berni and Amy Rises Up: The Importance of Being Foolish (Berni Stapleton and Amy House)

A Wake for Lost Time ([elephants] collective) 2015 SummerWorks Review

A Wake for Lost Time SummerWorks

Time is many things. It’s fluid. It’s infinite. And it’s the one thing we all wish we had more of. A Wake for Lost Time, playing as part of this year’s Summerworks Festival Live Art series, is a non-stop, multi-disciplinary performance that explores the question: what is time really worth?

The material consists of approximately 2.5 hours’ worth of various vignettes, which are looped over and over throughout a 24-hour period. It’s an interesting experiment that studies how the physical and mental state of an actor can completely dictate the method and mood of how a narrative unfolds.

Continue reading A Wake for Lost Time ([elephants] collective) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Desiccated (Aria Evans – The Go To Company) / LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 (Alicia Grant) 2015 SummerWorks Review

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One of the best things about SummerWorks is the chance to experience various types of theatre for a reasonable admission price. Even better, is the fact that there are quite a few double bills on this year’s playbill. That’s right, two shows for the price of one. I had the chance to see Desiccated and LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 Saturday afternoon.

And although both productions shared the same ticket, they could not have been any more different.

Continue reading Desiccated (Aria Evans – The Go To Company) / LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 (Alicia Grant) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Are You Still Coming Tonight? (Disorganized Productions) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Are You Still Coming TonightExploring the notions of relationships and what it means to meaningfully connect with another soul, Are You Still Coming Tonight? made its SummerWorks Festival debut Saturday afternoon.

Conceptually, I found the premise intriguing: to explore “the idea of audiences not seeing dancers as relatable but rather as highly skilled technicians who can do things with their bodies that most people can’t”.

Continue reading Are You Still Coming Tonight? (Disorganized Productions) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Stupidhead! A Musical Cmoedy (Disorganized Productions) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Stupidhead a Musical Comedy

Part stand-up, part musical, but entirely off-the-wall, Stupidhead! A Musical Cmoedy premiered Friday night as part of the 2015 SummerWorks lineup.

This hilariously insightful one-woman show – written and performed by Katherine Cullen – not only chronicles her experience growing up with dyslexia, but also makes quite a few poignant observations on her struggle learning how to finally be comfortable in her own skin. Continue reading Stupidhead! A Musical Cmoedy (Disorganized Productions) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Review: Gimme Shelter (Why Not Theatre/ Panamania)

Gimme Shelter is a one man play by Ravi Jain as part of Panamania

Toronto PANAMANIA play blends climate change concerns with Sankrit epic

Making its debut at PANAMANIA – the 35-day arts and culture festival that’s part of the 2015 Pan Am Games – Gimme Shelter asks us to think beyond our immediate surroundings. It beckons us to consider what it means to be a global citizen, and also the collective responsibility we all bear as members of the human race.

This visually compelling work of theatre shows us that more so than ever before, the actions taken by one country, one city or even one individual are able to have a real and immediate impact on people living half a world away.

Continue reading Review: Gimme Shelter (Why Not Theatre/ Panamania)

Review: Love Letters (Stage Centre Productions)

A relationship plays out in a series of letters at the Fairview Library Theatre in Toronto

In Love Letters, the critically acclaimed play by American playwright, A. R. Gurney, two childhood friends take to the stage and read aloud the letters they have written to each other over the span of half a century. Throughout this dialogue-driven production, we learn of their long history of friendship, loss and missed opportunities. Together, this couple shows us the power in the written word and that it’s our first love that’s often the hardest to forget.

The Stage Centre Productions‘ adaptation, currently playing at the Fairview Library Theatre, features four pairings performing on stage for a nine-show run. I had the privilege to attend the June 12 screening, with Judy Gans and Roger Kell. Continue reading Review: Love Letters (Stage Centre Productions)

Review: The Jurassic Games (Queen’s Players Toronto)

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The Jurassic Games, now playing on stage in Toronto, is a rowdy good time

They mayor of Toronto has really messed up this time. Instead of bidding for the Pan Am Games, he bid on the Panem Hunger Games, a battle royale born from the hybrid of perennially popular franchises “The Hunger Games” and “Jurassic Park.” As the characters from both worlds come together, they must fight for survival against seemingly insurmountable odds.

That’s the premise of Queen’s Players Toronto‘s new show, The Jurassic Games, currently playing at the Tranzac Club.

Part sketch comedy, part keg party, The Jurassic Games is a brilliant parody of politics and pop culture. It’s fresh. It’s interactive. And it’s all for a good cause, with some of the proceeds going to support The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Camp OOCH and Femme International.

Continue reading Review: The Jurassic Games (Queen’s Players Toronto)

Review: Fever/Dream (Seven Siblings Theatre Company)

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Seven Siblings Theatre’s Fever/Dream is a random workplace comedy playing in Toronto

When the illegitimate son of a business tycoon is suddenly handed the reins to his father’s multi-billion dollar enterprise, he must prove his worth despite having zero business acumen and virtually no real world experience. Having been kept as a secret prisoner in the company’s basement for most of his life, this would-be heir to an empire must learn not only how to run his father’s company, but also how to have normal human interaction with the outside world.

Currently playing at The Jumblies Ground Floor, Fever/Dream is a wacky, tacky look at corporate ladder climbing, unbridled ambition, bureaucratic nonsense and, yes, even love. To say this play is random, would definitely be an understatement. Continue reading Review: Fever/Dream (Seven Siblings Theatre Company)

Review: Half a League (Rarely Pure Theatre)

Half a League - Rarely Pure Theatre Review

Dystopian drama Half a League brings trash and trauma to the Toronto stage

When I was a kid, I used to play soldier with my friends, not really knowing what any of it meant. When we grew tired of the game, we’d all go back to the comfort of our homes. I now realize that this sense of security is something my friends and I, like most children, took for granted.

Half a League, currently playing until May 31st at Fraser Studios, follows the dystopian tale of three young men as they engage in pretend war games in an abandoned trash dump. Like the garbage that surrounds them, they too have been discarded by society. Continue reading Review: Half a League (Rarely Pure Theatre)