The truth of the matter is I had a hard time focusing during Gravestone Posse. My mind went on a walk-about, straying to supper decisions and weekend diversions.
Perhaps this has more to do with the format of the work than the substance. This is not a play, but rather a radio faux-drama that was recorded live for future broadcast. The performers wore costumes appropriate to their caricaturized roles but the script was read into microphones. Continue reading Gravestone Posse (The Canadian Space Opera Company) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
The thing I enjoyed the most about Remember, Maggie? is that extraordinary mother-son writing duo Carol Anne and Matt Murray did not feel obliged to tie off all the loose ends at the show’s conclusion.
Remember, Maggie? was a lot like real relationships: painful, funny, unresolved, disquieting and beautiful. In this performance, a sister learns that loving someone does not make them a good person, and that a blood connection does not a sister make. Continue reading Remember, Maggy? (Maggy Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
A recently widowed Bubby and a mystical young man meet ostensibly by chance in a tulip garden. His mysterious connection to the flowers helps to ease her grief and their instantaneous connection eases her weariness with the onerous imposition of familial obligations at the shiva.
Continue reading Through the Tulips (Branch Out Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
Grandma Word (Diane L. Johnstone) greets you at the door with cookies and a dish of gossip. I am inclined to give any production that begins by feeding me cookies a warm reception (I really love cookies).
I have to confess though, one-handers have always been a tough sell for me. There are notable exceptions of course (d’bi.young’s Dora award winning performance comes to mind) but in general, I think holding an audience’s attention all by your lonesome for an hour is an ambitious undertaking.
Continue reading Desperate Church Wives (Under the Blood Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
What is the difference between love and attachment? I’m sure neither Mona (Sarah Tilley) nor Rita (Ruth Lawrence) would purport to be able to answer that old chestnut, but they certainly take you through a very visceral, relatable emotional journey while contemplating the question.
In MonaRita two women, beset by various social and emotional pitfalls, learn to lean on each other in way that eludes the concept of boundaries. The crayon-bedecked flyers distributed at the end of the show announce that the show is particularly suited to moms. I would say that it is less well suited to those considering becoming moms.
Continue reading MonaRita (White Rooster Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
The first thing you need to know about I Spy is that the show is happening outdoors, on the courtyard beside Central Tech High School, NOT anywhere inside Central Tech. If you ask anyone within Central Tech where the show might be located, you will likely find yourself explaining the concept of the Fringe Festival to a bemused high school student.
Location is key with this production since the site was chosen before the cast; and before the show was “written” actually. Perhaps “crystalized” would be a more appropriate word.
Continue reading I Spy (Urban Jungle Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
I wish I had had the opportunity to see The Sparrow and the Mouse: Creating the Music of Edith Piaf, prior to visiting Piaf’s grave in Père Lachaise cemetery, Pairs, France in 2009. The significance of her location amongst kings, noblemen, and the elite in every arena from politics to literature would have had more impact had I known of her brothel upbringing as the “illegitimate” daughter of a street singer and a street acrobat turned soldier. Continue reading The Sparrow and the Mouse: Creating the Music of Edith Piaf (A Sisterscene Production) Toronto 2011 Fringe Review
Frank (Alex Kazam), a circus character in white face paint and a sombre grey suit, is pre-set and the fourth wall of the stage is lined with mason jars, filled with assorted knick-knacks, when the lights come up on Circus. John (Dylan Mawson) has been holed up at home in his bathrobe for the last two months subsequent to the death of his fiancée Lila (Gillian Fournier). He is deaf and blind to the concerned protestations of his best friend Kayla (Cassandra Van Wyck).
Circus, written and directed by Nathan Tanner Mac Donald, is a surrealist exploration of coming to terms with death and dying. Clowns Poe and Doe (Geoffrey Heaney and Alex Best), Lila returned as Gaia and Frank accompany John on his journey from despair to acceptance. Continue reading Circus (A Moment by Moment Production) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
While fat has never been a laughing matter for me, Alexandra Hurley and Laura Bonang kept me chortling for 45 solid minutes at Fatastrophe on Wednesday July 6 at George Ignatieff Theatre. Both women are recent graduates of the Acting for Film and Television program at Humber College. The show was confessional and honest without ever once descending into cringe-worthy territory.
Continue reading Fatastrophe (A Same Brain Production) 2011 Fringe Review
Clay and Paper Theatre created an idyllic, delightfully kid-friendly festival for a sunny afternoon on Sunday, June 19. The day of performances and happenings was themed around the real, public wedding of Ben and Leanne and the activities were love, relationship and matrimony-themed.
Continue reading Review: The ninth annual Day of Delight: A celebration of love, courtship and desire! (Clay and Paper Theatre)