Well-Born tackles the anxieties of pregnancy, now playing in Toronto
Even those of us who have never had children are acutely aware that pregnancy is difficult. It’s never all Facebook “likes” and warm, familial love; it’s hard work, fear, and even despair at times. This is particularly true in the face of the unknown: before everything is okay, all manner of things might happen. The more unknowns, the worse the fear, particularly with a missing family health history and inconclusive but worrying test results. It’s no wonder there’s a tendency to Google oneself into oblivion.
This is the premise behind Well-Born, a new play by Celeste Percy-Beauregard, presented by SoCo Theatre in association with Truth’n’Lies Theatre at Artscape Youngplace. The play is raw and frantic, sometimes very funny and sometimes deeply unsettling, much like the process of pregnancy itself.
Continue reading Review: Well Born (SoCo Theatre)
“Searing” play, Dalton and Company, takes on universal issues, now on stage in Toronto
What is the sound of one office door slamming? It’s a sound you’ll hear a lot in Dalton and Company, Paul Dunn’s gripping new play about the loneliness of academia and office politics, presented by Cart/Horse Theatre at The Theatre Centre.
Continue reading Review: Dalton and Company (Cart/Horse Theatre)
Fun and “entertaining” tap play takes to the stage in Toronto
Stepping Out, Richard Harris’ 1984 play currently running at the Alumnae Theatre, is what I’d call a “hangout” play. It’s low-stakes, with only mild conflict and very little resolution. Its charm, much like a sitcom, lies in spending time with a group of people over the course of a year or so, told in vignettes from a slowly-progressing amateur tap class attempting to work towards an actual performance. This means the play lives or dies based on how invested you are in the characters and their relationships, and the snappiness of the dialogue. The script’s a bit hoary, but overall it’s fun to step in and hang out for a while. Continue reading Review: Stepping Out (Alumnae Theatre)
Century Song is a unique experience, on stage now in Toronto
There are no words.
Referring to Volcano Theatre‘s Century Song, now playing as part of the Progress Festival at The Theatre Centre, I mean this literally. Other than a few disparate syllables, the piece, a “music recital” study of ephemeral aspects of the Black Canadian experience over the past century, is completely wordless.
I also mean it figuratively. There are parts of Century Song that are beautiful, challenging, and stunning, and just might leave you speechless.
Continue reading Review: Century Song (Volcano Theatre)
Red Light Winter, on stage at Unit 102 in Toronto, features engaging writing, strong performances
Red Light Winter, a play by Adam Rapp that was shortlisted for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (no prize was awarded that year), gets a powerful, stylish and heartfelt Toronto production at Unit 102, directed by Anne Van Leeuwen. The show features engaging writing and strong, even outstanding performances. It also sometimes mistakes bleakness for depth.
Continue reading Review: Red Light Winter (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)
Disney-themed show playing in Toronto is “a welcome spoonful of sugar”
Theatre in Toronto is a largely downtown enterprise, but I was happy to make the trek uptown to a venue I’d grown up five minutes away from and always wondered about, the Zion Cultural Centre, to see the Civic Light-Opera Company perform “A Disney Spectacular!”
The show, performed in a small, historic former church, chronicles Walt Disney’s involvement with the company’s productions, from the very beginnings of Steamboat Willie to Mary Poppins, the last film he oversaw before his death. Continue reading Review: A Disney Spectacular! (The Civic Light-Opera Co.)
Armstrong’s War avoids the typical clichés, now playing on the Toronto stage
When I first heard the premise of Armstrong’s War (Canadian Rep Theatre) — a 12 year old, paraplegic Pathfinder scout attempts to earn a badge by reading to a 21-year-old Afghanistan War veteran in a rehab hospital — I feared it would be Lifetime Original Movie-style saccharine, ending with hugs and tears and life lessons learned.
I shouldn’t have worried. The play comes with some serious pedigree (playwright Colleen Murphy is a Governor General’s award winner, and it’s directed by Ken Gass), and though it does feature some tears and maybe even a lesson, it’s more unflinching than saccharine, and leaves us with questions rather than comforts.
Continue reading Review: Armstrong’s War (Canadian Rep Theatre)
This week, The Room Temperature Collective and The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies premiere a workshop presentation of Arthur Milner’s play, Getting To Room Temperature, at the Robert Gill Theatre. The play, about end-of-life issues in Canada and the right to die, is based on a true story and promises audiences laughter through tears. We caught up with playwright and director Milner, assistant director Jenny Salisbury, and Maureen Labonté, production dramaturg, to ask a few questions about the upcoming show. Continue reading Preview: Getting to Room Temperature (The Room Temperature Collective)
Butcher is a “fascinating” dive into unanswerable questions, now on stage in Toronto
Must revenge be a never-ending cycle? Are revenge and justice mutually exclusive, or are they one and the same? What do you do to raise your voice in a world that is bored with suffering? The Theatre Centre, in a co-production with Why Not? Theatre and Butcher’s Block Collective, presents Nicholas Billon’s explosive play Butcher, a thrilling, taut and harrowing 80 minutes of theatre that raises these uneasy, unanswerable questions.
Continue reading Review: Butcher (Why Not Theatre/Butcher’s Block)
Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre remounts their Dora Award Winning play Baobab
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than sitting back and watching a crowd of kids be enchanted by theatre. Of course, it helps when the show manages to be enchanting to the adults in the audience as well. Baobab, a remount of the Dora Award-winning 2012 production for children 4-8, comes back to the Young People’s Theatre Studio from October 13-23. Watching it, I saw an audience captivated by a combination of skillful puppetry and visuals, lovely harmonies, and a gentle myth.
Continue reading Review: Baobab (Young People’s Theatre)