All posts by Jonathan Lavallee

Review: After the Blackout (Soulpepper and RARE theatre company)

Melanie Lepp in a red robe holding a hockey stickAfter the Blackout is “powerful”, “vulnerable”, and “poignant”, on stage in Toronto

Regardless of everything else that happens in the play, the ending is what makes the point.

After the Blackout, playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, is not a typical theatrical story. I say that beyond the fact that the stories are all about people with disabilities, and played by actors with those disabilities. The note by Judith Thompson, who wrote and directed After the Blackout, talks about how the goal of the play was to write a complex story in which the disabilities of the cast were facts, not features. That succeeded beyond measure, but it too is not why this isn’t a typical theatrical production. This story is a-typical because it’s a difficult story, not just in what it is saying but in how it is being said.

Continue reading Review: After the Blackout (Soulpepper and RARE theatre company)

Review: The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)

Henry MossToronto’s Unit 102 Actor’s Company presents Sam Shepard’s play The Late Henry Moss

There is a certain style of American theatre that has its roots in plays like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman or David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. I like to call them the “men have feelings, but can only express them through yelling and punching” style of plays. The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard fits very comfortably in that style. Continue reading Review: The Late Henry Moss (Unit 102 Actor’s Company)

Review: The Hungriest Woman in the World (Pencil Kit Productions)

Photo of Nora Williams by Magnus Berg and Pascal Lamothe-KipnesToronto’s playwright Shannon Bramer’s multi-layered play explores the theatre community

This play can be taken in so many different ways.

That’s intentional. There’s a scene in The Hungriest Woman in the World where Julie and Nathan (Tammi Freeman and Arun Varma), shout out a series of statements hinting at what this play could actually be about. They shout it out at Rob (Christopher Sawchyn) when he comes to pick up his wife Aimee (Nora Williams), who has spent the night with Julie and Nathan after going to the theatre.

But that’s ahead of the point.

Continue reading Review: The Hungriest Woman in the World (Pencil Kit Productions)

Review: Reflector (Theatre Gargantua)

Louisa Zhu - ReflectorUnique multimedia experience arrives on the Toronto stage

Reflector is Theatre Gargantua’s opening production of their 25th season, and the play is at the heart of the company’s goal of exploring compelling subjects in their multi-discipline style. You understand that goal as soon as you walk into the theatre, with various large projections of photographs that flip through a wide variety of images behind four microphone stands on the main stage at Theatre Passe Muraille. Continue reading Review: Reflector (Theatre Gargantua)