All posts by Jenna Rocca

Mr. Marmalade (Outside the March) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Outside the March presents and exciting, immersive Offsite SummerWorks production of Noah Haidle’s Mr. Marmalade. This darkly comic play sees the world through the eyes of four-year old Lucy (Amy Keating) who interprets it, as most children do, through play. This makes for a profound, reflective, and satisfying theatrical performance. Who knew watching grown-ups play children playing dress-up could be so emotionally satisfying? Or psychologically complex?

A foreboding introduction sees Lucy playing in a manner in which Ken basically rapes Barbie on their wedding night, all through the innocent lens of playtime and imagination and not without “normal” child-like aggression coupled with an alarming self-awareness. Hence the comedy. Continue reading Mr. Marmalade (Outside the March) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Review: The Winter’s Tale (Canadian Stage 2011 Dream in High Park)

Canadian Stage brings Shakespeare’s “problem play,” The Winter’s Tale, to life in Toronto in High Park

There really is something magical about visiting High Park on a warm Toronto evening to see a Shakespeare classic come to life in natural light until the sun goes down. It’s like the actors really did emerge from the trees, from some hidden community that lives in the park and just comes out to perform one special play, night after night, each summer. Like a spell has been cast on them.

Like a “Dream” has come true.

This feel and spirit has really permeated Estelle Shook’s realistic take on The Winter’s Tale. The minimalist musical accompaniment of percussion and strings weaves a strong thread through this emotional and relatable story. Performed by strong and versatile performers, the presentation is a minimalist breath of fresh air. Continue reading Review: The Winter’s Tale (Canadian Stage 2011 Dream in High Park)

Review: Driven to Score: Celebrating Canadian Musical Composers (Theatre 20)

Theatre 20 is “an artist-led, story-driven company” devoted to the development of new Canadian musical theatre works. Their Driven to Score: Celebrating Canadian Musical Composers concert promised to be a music-filled evening showcasing some of the biggest and best names in the Canadian theatre scene.

Directed by Alisa Palmer, one of our best directors, and hosted by Ann-Marie MacDonald, one of our greatest playwrights and performers, the showcase offered a veritable who’s-who of Canadian theatre. The roster of big-name performers was led by Adam Brazier (We Will Rock You), Theatre 20’s Artistic Director, and Bob Foster (currently working on Billy Elliot), the show’s Musical Director. Other founding members who performed included Ma-Anne Dionisio (Miss Saigon) and Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!).

Continue reading Review: Driven to Score: Celebrating Canadian Musical Composers (Theatre 20)

Announcement: Theatre 20’s Driven to Score, the 2nd in their 3-part Concert Series

From Press Release:

Now that the Story has Begun,

Theatre 20 is Driven to Score!

Monday, June 20, 2011

DRIVEN TO SCORE: Celebrating Canadian Musical Composers

Toronto, ON (Tuesday, May 31, 2011) – Following their critically acclaimed inaugural concert in May 2011, Theatre 20, Toronto’s newest musical theatre company, takes the stage June 20 with DRIVEN TO SCORE, the second in their three-part concert series at the Panasonic Theatre.

In keeping with their three-part mandate of celebration, creation and education of story-driven musical theatre, DRIVEN TO SCORE is an intimate celebration of Canadian composers, featuring the work of Leslie Arden, Jonathan Monro and David Warrack. Continue reading Announcement: Theatre 20’s Driven to Score, the 2nd in their 3-part Concert Series

Review: Our Town (Soulpepper)

By Jenna Rocca

The Soulpepper Theatre Company returns to its roots with its hit classic, 2006 Dora Award-winning production of Our Town, the first play performed in Soulpepper’s Toronto home, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Our Town is framed in a meta-theatrical world, guided by a character named the “Stage Manager.” Albert Schultz, Soulpepper’s Founding Artistic Director, slips into the role seamlessly, and his performance while the houselights are still on, placing the set pieces with precision, prompted my show companion to note facetiously: “I like how Albert Shultz really takes the time to make sure everything is perfectly in place; it just goes to show the care he puts in,” as if he does this for every production. Tee hee hee. We had high hopes.

The nameless narrator played by the company’s Director adds a very strong dimension to this otherwise deliberately banal play. Schultz really is a charismatic force and his moments onstage were the most electric. Continue reading Review: Our Town (Soulpepper)