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:

Review: Rabbit Hole (Deelen with Trouble)

Rabbit Hole is an “astonishing” and “real” story about family loss, on stage in Toronto

Deelen with Trouble’s production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Rabbit Hole, currently playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre, is an astonishing piece of theatre. In it, a family deals with the loss of a child. Stated plainly, the premise sounds banal and depressing but this play is funny, intelligent and deeply moving without ever becoming trite or saccharine. Continue reading Review: Rabbit Hole (Deelen with Trouble)

Review: Closer (Mortar & Pestle Productions)

CloserMortar & Pestle Productions presents Closer on the Toronto stage

Mortar & Pestle Productions is currently presenting Patrick Marber’s play Closer at the Gerrard Art Space. With only four characters and very intimate action, the exceptionally small venue feels appropriate; it puts you into a suitably discomfiting proximity to the actors.

Set in London, the story follows two men and two women as they fall in and out of… love? Lust? Despite some very sexy and tender moments, their situation is quite muddy, bewildering and—occasionally—ugly. Continue reading Review: Closer (Mortar & Pestle Productions)

Review: Measure for Measure (Thought for Food)

deborahdrakefordToronto’s Thought for Food re-imagines Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure as a Weimar era cabaret

For Thought for Food’s stylish and passionate, all-female production of Shakespeare‘s Measure for Measure, the Red Sandcastle Theatre has been transformed into a Weimar Republic era cabaret. The ladies—of all ages, shapes and sizes—ply you with offers of song and drink, which they provide, and prime your senses for a tale of corrupt politics and lust. Continue reading Review: Measure for Measure (Thought for Food)

Review: Pomona (ARC)


ARC’s Pomona is dark, terrifying, and satisfying theatre, on stage at Toronto’s Geary Lane Theatre

ARC’s North American premiere of Pomona is a dark and exhilarating nightmare that seems tailor-made for me. Everything—every single thing—about this show appeals directly and forcefully to my specific sensibilities.

My experience began as I made my way to the venue: a converted, industrial space called Geary Lane, at the end of a dark and lonely street. (Some of my favourite theatrical experiences have occurred in obscure, out of the way spaces.) Continue reading Review: Pomona (ARC)

Review: Titus Andronicus (Seven Siblings Theatre)


Titus Andronicus treats Toronto audiences to a “horrific, ridiculous” take on Shakespearean revenge

At The Citadel, Seven Siblings Theatre has given me my first live experience of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and they have surprised and impressed me. I reread the text (for the first time since my early twenties) in preparation for this production, but I still found myself caught off guard by just how perfectly horrific, ridiculous and occasionally tender this play is. Continue reading Review: Titus Andronicus (Seven Siblings Theatre)

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