All posts by Jen Norman

Box – Toronto Fringe 2019 Press Release

From the Press Release:

BOX — an outrageously ridiculous and thought-provoking satire about two security guards and the meaning of work — will keep you guessing on the edge of your seat. Featuring a multicultural cast of dedicated artists including local TV celebrity and award-winning singer-songwriter Arlene Paculan. So what’s in the box? Come and see! BOX plays July 3-14 at St. Vladimir Institute Theatre as part of the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival. Tickets are available via, by phone at 416-966-1062, or at the door.

From visionary playwright and director Joel Pettigrew (Waking, Toronto Fringe 2016; The Girl in the Photograph, Toronto Fringe 2018; Mercury Man, Winnipeg Fringe 2018), comes a new, provocative satire. Journey into the absurd world of BOX, a witty, energetic and sincere glance at the meaning of work and duty. Peppered generously with delightful comedy and thoughtful introspection about the monotony of our daily lives, BOX asks what doing a job means to us. We all must work to live, but should we live to work? BOXexplores this conundrum with sharp wit and insight into the complexities of human attitude towards the workplace. The play sheds light on questions we all ask ourselves, especially during particularly tedious times: What is all this for? Am I important? Why am I doing this?

The guards are played by Fringe veteran and executive producer Lucas James (Waking) and commercial/special skills actor Justin Styles. Joining them onstage are Thomas Sarigiannidis (Waking; The Girl in the Photograph) as the mysteriously named “One” and local actress and celebrity Arlene Paculan (2019 MARTY award winner; 2018 Best Pop Artist Mississauga Music Award; Host of Striving Artist on Filipino TV) as the equally enigmatic “Two”. Playwright/Director Joel Pettigrew has been telling “outside-the-box” stories across Canada for over a decade. Production Designer Chris Coxson (Alumnae Theater, Heritage Theatre – Brampton, Toronto Fringe, Winnipeg Fringe) works extensively in Design for film, video, television, and live stage productions.

BOX is Broken English Theatre’s inaugural production, but it brings together experienced friends and collaborators with a deep commitment to good stories told well.

Performance Information for BOX:Venue: St. Vladimir Institute Theatre
620 Spadina Ave, Toronto

Wed, 3 July @ 6:00pm
Fri, 5 July @ 2:15pm
Sun, 7 July @ 8:00pm
Mon, 8 July @ 10:00pm
Wed, 10 July @ 6:15pm
Sat, 13 July @ 4:15pm
Sun, 14 July @ 1:00pm
**Please note variable curtain times.

$11 (+ $2 service fee) via , by phone at 416-966-1062, or at the door.
Tickets may also be purchased during the festival at POSTSCRIPT, (the patio at the Toronto Fringe), located in the Hockey Rink at 275 Bathurst Street.
Advance Tickets on credit card have an additional $3 per order processing fee.
Running time is 80 minutes. **Please note, absolutely no latecomers will be admitted**

Media Contact:  Thomas Sarigiannidis, 416-705-0342,

BFFs – Toronto Fringe 2019 Press Release

From Press Release

BFFs – A Drunkenly Hilarious Musical About Millennials Never Wanting to Grow Up 

Best friends Amanda and Devin are totally real adults who want to celebrate their impending 30th birthdays at The Most Magical Place On Earth. Only a few things stand in their way: money, jobs, partners, and timing. Fuelled by boxed wine and memories of their carefree youth, Amanda and Devin are determined to make this trip happen. If only real life didn’t have real responsibilities. 

BFFs is a 60 minute original musical comedy by three-time Fringe Festival award winners Bad Dress Productions. 

Bad Dress Productions in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents BFFs written by David Poon with music and lyrics by Greg McLeod directed by Jessica Kostuck starring Kimberly Dolan & Mike Wisniowski stage managed by Julia Raftery choreography by Claire Hughes lighting design by Eric Weiss 

Opens JULY 5 runs to JULY 13 

THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE MAINSPACE 16 Ryerson Avenue Toronto, Ontario M5T 2P3 


Friday, July 5th – 6:30pm

Saturday, July 6th – 10:30pm

Sunday, July 7th – 8:45pm

Monday, July 8th – 4:00pm

Thursday, July 11th – 6:00pm

Friday, July 12th – 7:00pm

Saturday, July 13th – 1:30pm 

Please note that there is absolutely no latecomer seating. 

Tickets: $11 tickets on sale now 

Purchase online: By Phone: 416-966-1062 In Person: During the festival at POSTSCRIPT, the patio at the Toronto Fringe. Located in the Hockey Rink at 275 Bathurst Street (Dundas + Bathurst). 

Toronto Fringe Communications Manager: Claire Wynveen,

Bad Dress Productions Media Contact: David Poon, (929) 452-4466 

Review: 1991 (RISER Project/Guilty By Association)

The RISER Project presents Cole Lewis’ unconventionally-staged coming-of-age play in Toronto

1991 is an inventive, intimate performance. Show creator Cole Lewis tells us a tragically all-too-common story about girlhood while eschewing traditions in theatrical performance and use of technology onstage.

We follow the account of 12-year-old Nicole, whom we soon realize is a younger, memory-distorted version of the playwright and creator. She spends a summer with her ill-tempered father in Delaware, ostensibly to protect her from the murders plaguing Southern Ontario. Although not stated explicitly, the lingering threat of a killer does seem to allude to notorious Canadian criminals Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, as well as one of their many victims Leslie Mahaffy. While Nicole survives her journey, we feel every bump and bruise she endures along the way.

Continue reading Review: 1991 (RISER Project/Guilty By Association)

Review: Four Chords and a Gun (Starvox Entertainment)

Canadian premiere of punk rock memory play brings noise to Toronto

Four Chords and a Gun is a performance that we hear before we see. Fitting, considering it takes us behind the scenes of the iconic punk rock band the Ramones. After a rousing drum solo and some brief narration by sometime band member Marky Ramone (played by James Smith), we get to business. At least as much as a group of angry, self-medicating punks from Queens can.

The play is penned by comedian and actor John Ross Bowie, best known from roles on TV shows The Big Bang Theory and Speechless. This may cause trepidation for non-lovers of sitcoms, but untethered of television’s formulaic structure, Bowie proves himself a capable storyteller. He weaves a passionate, sharp, and informative account of the band, focusing on their trials and tribulations around recording the 1980 album End of the Century with flamboyant gun-toting producer Phil Spector.

Continue reading Review: Four Chords and a Gun (Starvox Entertainment)

Review: William Shakespeare’s Shakespeare (Now I Am Dead Productions)

Intimate, thought-provoking biography of Shakespeare performs in east-end Toronto

After 400-odd years, we have a new Shakespearean play, thanks to Now I Am Dead Productions‘ innovative approach to The Bard’s work. Based on his writings and the (albeit limited) records of his life, this Toronto-based company present a new tragicomedy about the man behind many plays we now call classic.

The Most Humourous and Tragic Tale of William Shakespeare’s Shakespeare is a pseudohistorical drama that strips away the legacy and accolades of the playwright and looks at his life through lenses such as friend, lover, husband and father. In particular, the story is based on his creative process in staging Taming of the Shrew, his courtship of Anne Hathaway, and the deaths of loved ones such as his son Hamnet and his friendly rival Christopher Marlowe.

Continue reading Review: William Shakespeare’s Shakespeare (Now I Am Dead Productions)

Review: The Woods are Dark and Deep (Pulse Theatre)

A story from the dark side of Canada’s past told in a new ensemble-driven historical drama, onstage at Toronto’s Factory Theatre

At a time when our media is flooded with news reports on atrocities, political scandals, and war from our nation’s allies, it is easy to forget that Canada has a grim history of its own. The Woods are Dark and Deep is a reminder of what we must atone for, and how the actions of past generations linger today,

Set during World War I, this new play is based on the seldom-acknowledged internment camps that ran during wartime. Deemed enemies of the state, immigrants from countries Canada was at war against were treated as suspect and interned in labor camps.

Continue reading Review: The Woods are Dark and Deep (Pulse Theatre)

Review: Jersey Boys (Mirvish)

Mirvish brings retro pop to the stage starring Canadian-born talent in this true-enough story of Jersey’s own Four Seasons.

Mirvish plays host to a bit of sweet nostalgic comfort with a limited run of Jersey Boys, performing at the Ed Mirvish theatre for the next two weeks.

This jukebox musical tells the story of the American 1960’s group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, delving into the previously-unknown history of the band members, particularly the scandals that surrounded their personal lives. Each member of the quartet takes a turn narrating events, with each their own version of how things really happened.

Continue reading Review: Jersey Boys (Mirvish)

2019 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Cannibal (Scrap Paper Theatre)

In this new drama by Scrap Paper Theatre, Cannibal is a metaphor — barely. This is a visceral piece that captures the ugly side of fear, loss, and love with surgical precision, and the anesthesia we are given is fleeting. It performs at the Next Stage Theatre Festival, filling a modest studio setup with a staggering cocktail of emotions.

Continue reading 2019 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Cannibal (Scrap Paper Theatre)

2019 Next Stage Festival Review: Dinner with the Duchess (The Duchess Collective)

Fame. Power. Sexism. Dinner with the Duchess explores a lot of subject matter that usually doesn’t fly at the dinner table, but it’s delivery is so unflinching that you may not even blink during this 90-minute show. On as part of the 2019 Next Stage Theatre Festival, The Duchess Collective presents a thought-provoking and layered story about artistic passion, and its cost.

Continue reading 2019 Next Stage Festival Review: Dinner with the Duchess (The Duchess Collective)

Review: The Penelopiad (Hart House)

Herstory takes on classic mythology in this Canadian-penned theatre epic onstage in Toronto

Mythology gets modern in The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood’s alternate take on Homer’s Odyssey epic. Based on the 2005 novella of the same name, this pitch-black comic tragedy at Hart House theatre examines the life of Penelope, famed for holding court at Ithaca in her husband Odysseus’ twenty-year absence. In this version of events, she is much more than a dutifully waiting good wife.

Continue reading Review: The Penelopiad (Hart House)