All posts by Keira Grant

Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Canadian Opera Company presents a kid-friendly take on Cinderella, on stage in Toronto

Not everyone knows about the excellent programming the Canadian Opera Company produces for children, youth and families. This year’s iteration of Opera for Young Audiences‘ annual kid’s opera, Wow Factor, was a modernized version of Rossini’s masterpiece La Cenerentola. Based on Cinderella, one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time, the opera is a great candidate for a kid-friendly reimagining. Wow Factor is in English and set in a middle school. Continue reading Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Preview: Canoe/Shawnadithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon/Weesageechak31)

Weesageechak31 explores new Indigenous works including a new opera debuting in Toronto in 2019

Weesageechak Begins to Dance is akin to a festival of extended, live trailers of Indigenous performing arts in development. It is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of what’s up and coming and the breadth of Indigenous creative ingenuity. This year’s festival, Weesageechak31, gave me the opportunity to see previews of two operas in development that explore themes of celebrating Native culture and mourning cultural genocide. Beyond Butterfly, the panel that followed excerpts from Canoe and Shawnadithit, asked “how do we bring more diversity into opera without perpetuating the stereotypes and exoticization that are part of the genre’s history?”

Continue reading Preview: Canoe/Shawnadithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon/Weesageechak31)

Review: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mirvish Productions)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dazzles Toronto audiences of all ages with a musical sweet treat

My 6-year-old son and I had a blast at Mirvish ProductionsRoald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, currently on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre until January 6, 2019. It was a very late school night for a little kid and sitting still for over two hours isn’t his strong suit at the best of times. There were certainly enough lights, sound, action and stage effects to hold his attention and he was still captivated when the final curtain went down at 10 PM. Continue reading Review: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mirvish Productions)

Review: Her Inside Life/Kill the Poor (Low Rise Productions/Leroy Street Theatre)

A double bill of George F. Walker’s plays is now on stage in Toronto

Her Inside Life and Kill the Poor, presented by Low Rise Productions and Leroy Street Theatre respectively is curious as a double bill. The two plays are from The Parkdale Palace Trilogy by celebrated Canadian playwright George F. Walker and have the right mix of contrast and similarity for the juxtaposition to be interesting. Both works are also substantial enough to be standalone pieces. Playgoers have the option of seeing the show as a double bill or independently. Continue reading Review: Her Inside Life/Kill the Poor (Low Rise Productions/Leroy Street Theatre)

Review: Actéon and Pygmalion (Opera Atelier)

Toronto’s Opera Atelier presents a double bill: Charpentier’s Actéon and Rameau’s Pygmalion

Opera Atelier’s 2018 fall production Actéon & Pygmalion is a Greek mythology double feature presenting Charpentier’s rendering of Actéon and Rameau’s interpretation of Pygmalion. Premiering over 50 years apart in 1684 and 1748 respectively, both works are quintessential examples of early French opera and staple fare for Opera Atelier. This production branched out from the company’s usual wheelhouse by introducing Pygmalion with their first commissioned new work. Continue reading Review: Actéon and Pygmalion (Opera Atelier)

Review: Hadrian (Canadian Opera Company)

Thomas Hampson and Isaiah Bell in Hadrian at Canadian Opera Company

Hadrian, on Stage at the COC in Toronto is one for the history books

The world premiere of Hadrian by Rufus Wainwright, currently being produced by the Canadian Opera Company, has nothing to do with a guy building a big wall. Since I really didn’t know anything else about Hadrian going into this performance, I had very few expectations plot-wise.

Being familiar with Wainwright’s singer-songwriter style, I had more expectations about the music. Still, I wasn’t sure how this would translate to the operatic form. It transpired that I was entranced by both the compelling story and the towering score. Continue reading Review: Hadrian (Canadian Opera Company)

Kitchen Sink Drama (Kitchen Sink Productions) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Mladen Obradović and Kelly Marie McKenna in Kitchen Sink DramaKitchen Sink Drama, by Kitchen Sink Productions is playing at Ralph Thornton Centre until July 14 as part of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.

The performance is comprised of four short plays, each inspired by one of four tastes: Salty, bitter, savoury and sweet. Food and cooking are involved in each play in some way, and the dramas unfold in a kitchen at Ralph Thornton Centre.

Continue reading Kitchen Sink Drama (Kitchen Sink Productions) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Oklahoma! (Civic Light Opera Company)

Civic Light Opera Company brings the classic musical Oklahoma! to the Toronto stage

Oklahoma! is an excellent choice for the Civic Light Opera Company. The North York-based company specializes in frothy musical comedies, and there are few shows frothier than Oklahoma! The 1943 Rogers and Hammerstein classic is a sweet coming of age story about Curly, a happy-go-lucky young rancher and Laurey, a beautiful farmer’s daughter. Continue reading Review: Oklahoma! (Civic Light Opera Company)

Review: Orphee (Against the Grain Theatre)

Cabaret and burlesque meet opera in Against the Grain’s take on Orphee, on stage in Toronto

I did not know what to expect from “an electronic, baroque-burlesque, descent into hell” when I took my seat at Against the Grain Theatre’s production of Orphée. I knew what to expect from the work, having seen Opera Atelier’s interpretation of the same work in 2015, but I couldn’t really imagine how an electronic, burlesque aesthetic would fit in. Continue reading Review: Orphee (Against the Grain Theatre)