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/

Review: Outside Mullingar (Toronto Irish Players)

Outside MullingarThe Toronto Irish Players presents John Patrick Shanley’s generational family drama Outside Mullingar

Up until last night, my only experience of Irish theatre was seeing The Playboy of the Western World at Shaw twenty years ago. I was nineteen then and doubt I fully appreciated John Millington Synge as I remember hardly anything about the play. I am inspired to revisit it, though, because of the Toronto Irish Players‘ quite lovely production of Outside Mullingar, a more contemporary Irish play by John Patrick Shanley, currently playing at Alumnae Theatre. Continue reading Review: Outside Mullingar (Toronto Irish Players)

Review: Tire Swing (Filament Incubator/Epigraph Collective)

Nikki Haggart, Patrick Fowler, Jocelyn Adema and Francois Macdonald in Tire Swing.On stage in Toronto’s Kensington Market is a play ripe with creepy small town horror

Having grown up with both Stephen King and David Lynch, I have a deep affinity for horror stories set in small towns where strange things happen. Tire Swing, presented by Filament Incubator (in association with Epigraph Collective), is a poetic and haunting play about growing up with the shifting and unreliable memory of a traumatic event. Continue reading Review: Tire Swing (Filament Incubator/Epigraph Collective)

Review: Noises Off (Soulpepper)

Soulpepper presents the comedic meta play Noises Off at the Young Centre in Toronto

“Getting the sardines on, getting the sardines off. That’s farce. That’s the theatre. That’s life!” exclaims an exasperated director to his exhausted, confused and eccentric cast during a desperate, late night dress rehearsal. And so, right then, we get it. Those falling props and slamming doors feel like chaos, but farce only works when all the elements align with precision and focus!

Soulpepper’s production of Michael Frayn’s meta farce, Noises Off, is a well oiled machine. It is also, I am thrilled to report, hilarious and exhilarating. Continue reading Review: Noises Off (Soulpepper)

Review: The Glass Menagerie (The Howland Company & 73H Productions)

GM Publicity Shots - Yannick Anton 2A surprising production of the Tennessee Williams play is now on stage in Toronto

The Howland Company and 73H Productions have offered up an eerie and atypical production of Tennessee Williams’ classic The Glass Menagerie. If you are already in love with this play like I am, you cannot afford to miss this austere, cool, vibrant production. If you’re not familiar with the text, this is a great introduction; it honours the spirits of desperation and hope that haunt this poetic classic. Continue reading Review: The Glass Menagerie (The Howland Company & 73H Productions)

Bleeders (Watah Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review

Bleedersd’bi.young anitafrika’s Bleeders, currently playing at The Theatre Centre Mainspace as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival, is fierce and vibrant.

Packed into the lobby, the audience awaits the comfort of seats, but suddenly placards are raised and forceful chanting reverberates through the crowd. We find ourselves in the midst of a protest against the Pickering Nuclear Plant. Continue reading Bleeders (Watah Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review

Trompe-La-Mort, or Goriot in the 21st Century (Live Lobster Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review

Trompe la mortI like plays with ideas; they give my mind something to grapple with in the darkness of a theatre. While I like to think, when I’m at the theatre, I prefer to feel. I find it difficult to invest in characters and situations that are, principally, vessels for lecture and debate. Trompe-La-Mort, or Goriot in the 21st Century, currently playing at the Factory Theatre Studio as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival, is a dramatization of ideas. Continue reading Trompe-La-Mort, or Goriot in the 21st Century (Live Lobster Theatre) 2016 SummerWorks Review

Review: Thank You For Being A Friend (Joseph Patrick)

Thank You for Being a Friend blends The Golden Girls with puppets at the Al Green Theatre in Toronto

Picture it: late 80s, a small Ontario town, a ten year old boy is glued to the television, watching the antics of four elderly women living in Miami. Those four women were The Golden Girls, and that little boy…was me.

The Golden Girls was a highlight of my childhood and I miss those four ladies very much. Nostalgia aside, it really was quite a remarkable phenomenon to have appealed so strongly to such a wide demographic.

Thank You For Being A Friend, currently playing at the Al Green Theatre is intended, very specifically it seems, for people who fell in love with the hit show when it first aired. It plays like a medley of highlights from the show with puppets (by Andy Hayward) that bear an astonishing resemblance to the original cast. Continue reading Review: Thank You For Being A Friend (Joseph Patrick)

Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Joseph1This Joseph is sure to delight, now playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto

Guess who went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at Lower Ossington TheatreThis guy! Seems I never quite grew out of my love for this silly show; it still makes me giddy the way it did in my early 90s youth. Continue reading Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Review: Bug (StudioBLR & Kid Switchblade)

bug 7Bug is a “gritty, atmospheric production” now playing in Toronto

The StudioBLR & Kid Switchblade production of Tracy Letts’ Bug is an intense, trippy experience. My love of this play is fierce, though this was my first live experience of it. (I’ve seen William Friedkin’s film more than a dozen times). When I took my seat at the back of the Super Wonder Gallery and saw that trashy motel room set, out came the goosebumps! And those goosebumps stayed with me the whole time. Continue reading Review: Bug (StudioBLR & Kid Switchblade)