All posts by Jennifer Enchin

Review: Cake (New Harlem Productions/Theatre Passe Muraille)

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard’s play Cake, now playing in Toronto, studies the human condition

Cake is an interesting study of the human condition as it relates to money, power and manipulation.

In the first few moments of Cake, we see Femi (Yolanda Bonnell) come forward into the light. She has a solemn energy and dark, depressing eyes that stir up my own sadness the second she looks my way. Out comes Mabo (Tsholo Khalema), who’s quiet focus is garnished with an endearing sort of twinkle in his look.

The two engage in a sort of replay of what I gather is a traumatic memory of an earthquake. Holding their stomachs in, they’re in pain… I’m not so sure what’s going on yet and twenty minutes later… I’m still not completely sure…

Continue reading Review: Cake (New Harlem Productions/Theatre Passe Muraille)

Review: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Sweater (Second City)

Second City Brings Christmas Show to the Toronto Stage

Second City strikes again with it’s raging Christmas show, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Sweater. I remember seeing a sketch show at Second City about 5 years ago when I first moved to Toronto. It was like an initiation into the city. It was fresh, hilarious and chock full of all the Canadian pop culture references I could handle. The comedy mecca’s current Christmas-y instalment is everything you would expect from a Second City show…and dare I say…and then some?

Continue reading Review: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Sweater (Second City)

Review: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Hart House Theatre)

Photo of Erin Humpfrey, Vanessa Campbell, Braelyn Guppy, Amy Swift, Hugh Ritchie, Kevin Forster, John Wamsley, Hart House Theatre’s rendition of this campy musical is “imaginative” and “unique”, on stage in Toronto

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is now in session at the Hart House Theatre and after personally seeing four productions of this campy musical comedy in my lifetime, I’ve decided that Hart House’s rendition is by far the most imaginative and unique I’ve ever seen.

Continue reading Review: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Hart House Theatre)

Review: Matt and Ben (Radioactive Ladybird Productions)

A hilarious look at Hollywood’s favorite best friend duo, Matt and Ben took the stage in Toronto

Photo of Laura Salvas and Seema LakhaniOnly someone like Mindy Kaling can write something as outrageous and wonderful as Matt and Ben and Radioactive Ladybird’s production of this trying tale on how Matt Damon and Ben Affleck actually wrote Good Will Hunting is exactly the kind of wacked-out comedy I was hoping for.

Continue reading Review: Matt and Ben (Radioactive Ladybird Productions)

Review: The Valley (East Side Players)

Photo of Janice Hansen and Nathan CostaThe Valley is topical and well-told, now playing on the Toronto stage

Mental illness can sometimes feel like a runaway train, but The Valley harnesses it’s softer moments into a deeply emotional and touching story. Written by Canadian playwright Joan MacLeod and produced by East Side Players, it explores the misunderstood–and frankly, unexplored–relationship between law enforcement and mental illness. Continue reading Review: The Valley (East Side Players)

Review: Salt-Water Moon (Mirvish)

Photo of Kawa Ada and Mayko NguyenSizzing performances in David French’s play Salt-Water Moon presented in Toronto by Mirvish

Salt-Water Moon, written by Canadian playwright David French follows two lovers in Mary and Jacob as they fight for one last chance at a relationship set under a blanket of stars in 1920’s Newfoundland.

Factory Theatre‘s version of Salt-Water Moon feels like the type of show you would come across in a small studio space off some alleyway somewhere, yet it manages to work beautifully on the bare, Panasonic stage with nothing but a smoky haze and flickering candles as a back drop. Continue reading Review: Salt-Water Moon (Mirvish)

Review: The Adventures Of Tom Shadow (Theatre Lab)

Photo of Mark Little, Natalie Metcalfe, Christian Smith, Kevin Vidal and Lisa Gilroy.Tom Shadow  is “charming” and “outrageous,” now on the Toronto stage

As I read through the program for Theatre Lab’s recent venture—The Adventures of Tom Shadow—I notice that they chose to title it a “comedy musical” and not a “musical comedy.” Smart move, because the musical theatre geek in me may have been disappointed with the lack of kick lines. No worries though, because The Adventures of Tom Shadow was everything I could have wanted and more in a “comedy musical,” if those are a thing? Are they a thing? Let’s make them a thing now.

Continue reading Review: The Adventures Of Tom Shadow (Theatre Lab)

Review: Let’s Go: A G_dot Prequel (DMT Productions)

Photo of Brian Haight and Tony Ofori.Robert Fothergill’s playa prequel to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, is now playing in Toronto

Let’s Go: A G_dot Prequel is a play about everything that happens before Estragon and Vladimir of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot start well, waiting for Godot. The concept itself is genius, however; the pieces didn’t come together as nicely as I would have hoped.

Continue reading Review: Let’s Go: A G_dot Prequel (DMT Productions)

Review: The Seat Next To The King (Minmar Gaslight)

Photo of Kwaku Okyere and Connor LingSteven Elliott Jackson’s transcendent new play The Seat Next to the King is remounted in Toronto

The Seat Next To The King, a new play by Steven Elliott Jackson and directed by Tanisha Taitt, is a powerful piece of theatre exploring race, sexuality and the “differences” that make us all the same.

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about The Seat Next To The King recently especially after it’s successful run in the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. I had really high hopes for it’s new incantation at The Theatre Centre, produced by Minmar Gaslight and can safely say that my hopes were met last night — perhaps even exceeded. Continue reading Review: The Seat Next To The King (Minmar Gaslight)

Review: Gray (Theatre Inamorata)

Toronto playwright Kristofer Van Solen updates Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray in his new play

Photo of Tenille Read and Ximena Huizi Theatre Inamorata‘s Gray, a daring, original play written by Toronto native Kristofer Van Solen, is about the struggle of complacency and failure in this modern age of hustle.

The performance takes place in a secret backspace above a convenience store on College street. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect upon entrance, but to my surprise, I ended up with an expertly crafted production that made for an awesome, thought-provoking night of theatre.

Continue reading Review: Gray (Theatre Inamorata)