All posts by Istvan Dugalin

Apart from his (pathological?) obsession with airplane disasters, Istvan is a filmmaker and film enthusiast, but began his creative adventures in theatre. Starting out as an actor, he soon discovered a preference for life behind-the-scenes. He has experience in lighting design, stage management and production management, but his passion is writing and directing. With several short films and an indie feature under his belt, film has been his focus in recent years, but theatre has been calling him back. You see more of his critical writing at his film reflection blog: http://captiveviscera.wordpress.com/

Handle With Care (Tangled Web Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

HandleWithCare (Tangled Web)

Tangled Web Theatre’s Toronto Fringe Festival debut of their inspiring FringeKids! show Handle With Care is remarkable theatre! When you first walk into the Palmerston Library stage you are greeted by a charming woodland scene. It was so much fun to see the children discover the flitting butterflies and the caterpillar inching its way along a branch!

And then the show begins, and you are swept away on a whimsical journey. Bonnie Thomson’s script is full of natural childlike banter, and the three cast members (Bonnie Thomson, Helen Juvonen and Tyler Seguin) are spirited as three kids who stumble upon a mysterious box labeled “Handle With Care.”

Continue reading Handle With Care (Tangled Web Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Stay With Me (Skylark Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Stay With Me (Skylark Productions)

This review was painful for me to write. So much passion and effort goes into a theatre production; my awareness of this makes it difficult to break the news that a show has failed to satisfy the needs of its target audience. I wanted to like Skylark Productions’ Stay With Me at the Palmerston Library. M.J. Kang’s play (which she has written and is performing) is part of FringeKids!, and I was very much looking forward to it.

When you walk into the venue, one problem is immediately apparent—the stage is bare. There is little to attract the attention of the youngest audience members. (The show’s page on the Fringe website suggests that it is suited best for children 4 to 12.) Continue reading Stay With Me (Skylark Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Tales of Whoa! (Not Bad Abe Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Tales of Whoa! (Not Bad Abe Productions)

Comedy is not just about timing. Y’know what’s an equally important ingredient?—energy! Tales of Whoa! presented by Not Bad Abe Productions at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse is all about perfect energy, and it never falters—not once! If high energy sketch comedy is your thing, this is one show not to miss at Toronto Fringe 2013!

The set-up is fairly sophomoric, but that’s really not the point. Sketch comedy needs to be framed—it’s just a structural thing. The frame is just a necessary evil, much like the prep-work required before a big party; it must be done so that you can then relax and have a good time with your friends, knowing your house won’t fall apart while you’re acting like crazy people. Continue reading Tales of Whoa! (Not Bad Abe Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Just Lift Your Feet (It’s Just A Stage We’re Going Through) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Just Lift Your Feet (It's Just A Stage We're Going Through)

I am wary of one-person shows for I fear the all-too-common phenomenon of an actor desperately trying to show me his or her range. Granted, there is a decidedly actor-ly vibe to It’s Just a Stage We’re Going Through Theatre Company’s production of Just Lift Your Feet at the Robert Gill Theatre. And there is desperation too, but not of the sort I feared. Here is the naked vulnerability of a character who desperately wants to connect to herself and the world in some meaningful way. Continue reading Just Lift Your Feet (It’s Just A Stage We’re Going Through) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Comedy Brawl 2013 Round One (Empire Comedy Live)

ComedyBrawl-jessbeaulieu 2

Some good laughs are waiting for Toronto at Empire Comedy Live’s Comedy Brawl 2013

I am wary of stand-up comedy, and I rarely seek it out, but I am very glad I caught some of Empire Comedy Live’s Comedy Brawl 2013, held at their new venue—Johnny Jackson. The venue is intimate and, much to my relief, above ground! I’m used to those dank and subterranean places where one usually sees stand-up.

The menu at Johnny Jackson is standard pub fare and the service is friendly and efficient. The air conditioner took a while to work its magic. You may find yourself feeling a little moist. Personally, I enjoy being in the midst of sweaty, beer-swilling hilarity. But seriously, it does get quite warm. Continue reading Review: Comedy Brawl 2013 Round One (Empire Comedy Live)