A large, translucent golden sphere lashed between two trees was visible well away from the seating area for Shakespeare in the Ruff’s 2017 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I am always amazed by the level of spectacle this small company is able to produce with minimal props and set. I have been a patron of Withrow Park Shakespeare in both its incarnations. In the late 90s, I attended productions of the original “Shakespeare in the Ruff”, which became defunct in the early 2000s after a 25-year run. Inspired by the original company’s efforts to create a community centred, accessible outdoor theatrical culture in Toronto, Shakespeare in the Ruff re-emerged in 2012. Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Ruff)
In Sundry Languages produced by Toronto Laboratory Theatre playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival is a creative collaboration that explores themes of belonging, exclusion, language, culture, and race. The six cast members speak six different first languages and come from six countries of origin. They are all now “Canadian”, but this identity does not come without complexities, tensions, and pain. Continue reading In Sundry Languages (Toronto Laboratory Theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review
Weirder thou Art produced by Physically Speaking playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival emerges from the Bouffon school of theatre. Bouffon, the French word from which the English word “buffoon” originates, is a form of clowning that emphasizes jester-style mockery of human foibles, and can include slapstick comedy, exaggerated bodily features, farce, burlesque, and satire. Continue reading Weirder Thou Art (Physically Speaking) 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival
Jay & Shilo’s Sibling Revelry by Triplets Theatrical playing at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival is a great opportunity to expose your youngest family members to the theatre. Fun, short and sweet, my 5-year-old perpetual motion machine stayed engaged the whole time and was actually a little bit disappointed when the musical comedy ended as soon as it did. Continue reading Jay & Shilo’s Sibling Revelry (Triplets Theatrical)
Sam Khalilieh is not kidding when he says Palestineman, produced by symbols and details theatre playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a lecture no one asked for. Although he gets behind a podium with water and lecture notes, from there the show really doesn’t resemble your undergraduate sociology class.
Continue reading Palestineman (symbols and details theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival
The premise of SNAP!, produced by NightShift Theatre playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is simple: a group of strangers convene for a court-ordered anger management workshop. Over the course of the hour long session, we learn why each participant is there with stories ranging from absurd to grotesque. Continue reading SNAP! (NightShift Theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review
Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company and Dancap’s reimagined production of The Jazz Singer is an extremely savvy example of social justice storytelling at the theatre, which deftly preserves the timeless and meaningful points of the original story, while shedding that which no longer serves it.
The original 1920s musical is loosely based on the real life of legendary 20s crooner Al Jolson, who made his name on stage performing in minstrel shows in blackface. Continue reading Review: The Jazz Singer (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company/Dancap)
Complex and compelling opera takes to the Toronto stage
Rape, sexual exploitation, murder — I could be describing the salient events of Rigoletto (1851), but I am actually describing the world premiere of Oksana G. by Aaron Gervais. The centrepiece of Tapestry Opera’s 16/17 season, this opera features full orchestra, chorus, and a dozen roles. Tapestry Opera is a small, well established Toronto-based Company that produces new opera. They can take a bow and a vacation next week for acquitting themselves well with this ambitious undertaking. Continue reading Review: Oksana G. (Tapestry Opera)
The Canadian Opera Company brings the Puccini classic Tosca back to the Toronto stage
It is easy to understand why Tosca by Giacommo Puccini is one of the most beloved and exciting operas in the cannon. The cast and orchestra in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2017 remount of their 2012 production of Tosca clearly immersed themselves in this larger-than-life melodrama. The overture begins with the villain Scarpia’s darkly intense leitmotif. From the first dense cord, the orchestra drew us into the ruthless and desperate world of Rome during the Napoleonic wars and kept us engrossed in the downward spiral until the story’s bitter conclusion. Continue reading Review: Tosca (Canadian Opera Company)
Medea is Toronto’s Opera Atelier at its finest
As the overture of Opera Atelier‘s 2017 production of Medea began, the image of the Golden Fleece emblazoned on a black backdrop belied the carnage about to descend. The orchestra’s performance of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s mood-setter for this classic Greek tale did not. From the first note, the overture was writhing with insatiable blood lust and ruthless precision. Continue reading Review: Medea (Opera Atelier)