All posts by Jen Norman

Review: Evil Dead: The Musical (Starvox Entertainment)

The cult-classic horror/comedy musical dazzles Toronto audiences again

Currently touring across North America, Evil Dead: The Musical is currently on its stop in Toronto. This marks a triumphant return to the city in which the musical first debuted in 2003, and it’s hardly slowed down since. As much fun as I had at this show, it makes me wonder if my job as a theatre critic isn’t a wee bit redundant. I am supposed to unpack this production, and explain its quality in layman’s terms, and whether you, dear readers, should see it. The thing is, this show speaks pretty well for itself.

Continue reading Review: Evil Dead: The Musical (Starvox Entertainment)

Review: Flashing Lights (Bad New Days/Ahuri Theatre)

Photo of Dan Watson by Francesca ChudnoffFlashing Lights delivers a heavy dose of theatre realism on stage in Toronto

Science fiction is a very tricky genre to pull off in a sphere such as independent performing arts. This is something that the creators at Bad News Days and Ahuri Theatre must have been aware of, given their bold, “challenge accepted” attitude in the concept and execution of Flashing Lights.

Continue reading Review: Flashing Lights (Bad New Days/Ahuri Theatre)

Review: Two Gentlewomen of Verona (Dauntless City Theatre)

Photo from Two Gentlewomen of VeronaDauntless City Theatre presents an al fresco gender-bent Two Gentlewomen of Verona in Toronto

Theatre’s greatest triumph as a medium is getting us to engage in dialogue and ask questions. Dauntless City Theatre‘s latest production poses an age-old question: would it be awesome to do a gender-bent, inter-sectional feminist, immersive adaptation of Two Gentlemen of Verona with a dog wearing a tiny cowboy hat? Yes, yes it would.

Continue reading Review: Two Gentlewomen of Verona (Dauntless City Theatre)

Review: Girl Crush (Musical Stage Company/CanStage)

Sharron MatthewsOne-person show takes to the Toronto stage with hopeful and funny messages

Just in case Shakespeare isn’t your jam (we won’t judge), Toronto’s High Park Amphitheatre provided a quick break from the Bard this week for local funny lady Sharron Matthews and her cabaret show Girl Crush. Co-produced by The Musical Stage Company and Canadian Stage, Sharron spends a delightful hour with us dishing out personal stories interwoven with melodic covers of old favourite tunes about heartbreak and insecurity.

Continue reading Review: Girl Crush (Musical Stage Company/CanStage)

Lysistrata (how.dare.collective.) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

The female cast of Lysistrata. L to R: Amanda Lundgren, Brittany Cope, Stella Saint, Amanda McKnight, Jenna FC

Burlesque, Greek Theatre, and Resistance collide in how.dare.collective’s adaptation of Lysistrata, performing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. First written and performed in ancient Athens by playwright Aristophanes, it is commonly found on the required reading list for most theatre undergrads. This production, however, is anything but a snoozer.

Continue reading Lysistrata (how.dare.collective.) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters (The Coincidence Men) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

photo of Patrice Goodman Ralph MacLeod, Kerry Griffin, Tim Blair, Rob Hawke, Marcel St.Pierre, Gord Oxley, Jessica Perkins

What light from yonder window breaks? Slimer? Or so it goes in Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters, a retelling of the 80’s classic in Shakespearean verse put on by The Coincidence Men. Playing as part of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival, it is a show that, for all its poetry, pretty well speaks for itself.

Continue reading Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters (The Coincidence Men) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Romeo and Juliet (Bard in the Park)

Bard in the Park tackles classic romance with wit and humour in Toronto’s Kew Gardens

Now in their 11th Season, Bard in the Park are community-based players that liven up Toronto’s Kew Gardens every summer with their performances. This year’s outing, Romeo and Juliet, is a well-rounded production with the courage to give the star-crossed lovers a little​ more life. While it is Shakespeare’s most famous romantic tragedy, Bard in the Park have staged a Romeo and Juliet that addresses the politics, comedy, and even hatred lurking within the antique text. It is a heartfelt performance, but with the cajones to veer into dark comedy. Shakespeare in the Park can often be harder than it looks. Continue reading Review: Romeo and Juliet (Bard in the Park)