All posts by Jeremy Gardiner

Review: Sweeney Todd (Alexander Showcase Theatre)

Alexander Showcase Theatre's Sweeney Todd

The classic Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd takes to the stage at Toronto’s Al Green Theatre

Alexander Showcase Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd now playing at the Al Green Theatre is a fresh, funny take on Steven Sondheim’s classic musical about a revenge-seeking, murderous barber and his pie-making neighbour. While some of the aspects of this musical are definitely not for the squeamish or the faint of heart, this production emphasizes the musical’s comedic aspects, making it a laugh-out-loud fun night at the theatre.

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Review: My Dinner With Casey Donovan (The Cabaret Company)

My Dinner With Casey Donovan

My Dinner with Casey Donovan is a ‘hilarious gay romp’ on stage at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto

The Cabaret Company’s current production of Sky Gilbert’s My Dinner With Casey Donovan playing at Theatre Passe Muraille is a hilarious gay romp mired in the queer sexual politics of the 1970s. What else would you expect from a play in which a nerdy fan boy invites his favorite pornstar to dinner with his parents?

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Review: R-E-B-E-C-C-A (Theatre Passe Muraille)

R-E-B-E-C-C-A, on stage at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille, explores living with a developmental disability

R-E-B-E-C-C-A-268Sara Farb gives an absolutely must-see performance in R-E-B-E-C-C-A now playing at Theatre Passe Muraille. The writer-star of the show draws on real-life experiences with her sister to craft an interesting what-if look at what life might have been for the developmentally delayed title character had she been born just two months later.

Using a Fight Club-like double character, Farb tells the story of two Rebeccas: the developmentally delayed Rebecca born in May who longs to go to a summer camp and the profoundly depressed Rebecca born in July who is a camp counselor. The story starts on “May’s” 18th birthday when she gets in trouble after asking for a second piece of cake and ends on “July’s” 18th birthday when she feels like her world is going to end.

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Review: Spring Awakening (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Spring Awakening (Lower Ossington Theatre)

The Lower Ossington Theatre presents the rock musical Spring Awakening in Toronto

The current Lower Ossington Theatre (LOT) production of Spring Awakening draws heavily from the original Broadway production with varying amounts of success. The production adequately recreates most of the shows iconic moments to the delight of the audience, but its most outstanding moments are those where the production takes risks and freshly re-imagines the show. Anyone who missed the original Broadway production and the National tours but still loves Spring Awakening– like me – will leave the LOT satisfied with their experience with the show.

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Review: The Stronger Variations (Theatre Rusticle)

Stronger Variations

The Stronger Variations is “dark Christmas magic” playing at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Theatre Rusticle’s current production of The Stronger Variations is pure Christmas magic – if, like me, you like your magic to have a dark side and the potential to drive you mad. Given the range of interpretations of the play’s source text covered over the evening, there should be something to whet every audience member’s whistle.

The experimental play is a series of variations on August Strindberg’s 20 minute play The Stronger, in which two women – a wife and her husband’s mistress – meet in a chance encounter on Christmas Eve. The wife then expresses her complex feelings towards the mistress in a long monologue. In The Stronger Variations, each of the play’s five actresses alternatively plays the wife and the mistress one right after the other, running the gamut of nearly every possible interpretation of the scene. By the end of the play, I was left as mentally exhausted as the heaving, panting characters were physically — and every bit as satisfied.

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