The Debacle by Susan Leblanc-Crawford and Anne-Marie Kerr is a one woman show about a woman on the brink of losing everything. Directed by Anne-Marie Kerr and starring Susan Leblanc-Crawford, the play is part of The New Groundswell Festival presented by Nightwood Theatre.
Throughout the performance, the protagonist, Margaret is ensconced in a makeshift wooden structure, surrounded by symbols of her relationship with her dying sister, preserved in jars. The items are used to tell the story of her life with her sister, both the joys and the failures. Her reminiscences are repeatedly disrupted by the persistent ringing of the phone, which she is unable to answer. Continue reading Review: The Debacle (Nightwood Theatre)
Many people with whom I have discussed my love of opera have expressed surprise there are new operas currently being written, apparently believing that opera’s history stops abruptly at the end of the 19th century. This perception is especially tragic in light of the fact that Toronto is home to an opera company entirely devoted to new works. Tapestry New Opera Works’ current production, Pub Operas, was everything I hope to see in a new work. The work gently pushes the boundaries of musical and staging tradition, while still bringing richly textured, beautiful music to the listener’s ear. Continue reading Review: Pub Operas (Tapestry New Opera Works)
I suspect that one of the many reasons for Don Giovanni’s enduring popularity is the brilliance of the overture. In the first few bars Mozart, in his infinite genius, manages to capture all the themes of the piece. The overture is at once sensual, sinister and playful, three excellent adjectives to describe this opera. The orchestra did a wonderful job of setting the tone and exposing all of these themes before the curtain ever came up. Continue reading Review: Don Giovanni (Opera Atelier)
Super Villains (Against the Grain Theatre) was a comedic revue of villainy in opera and musical theatre. Four exceptionally talented singers performed arias and duets from works such as Don Giovanni (Mozart), Sweeney Todd (Sondheim) and Carmen (Bizet). Continue reading Review: Super Villains (Against the Grain Theatre)
The Canadian Opera Company’s 2011 production of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi was one of the most spectacular operatic productions I have seen to date. Everything from set to symbolism was carefully considered and brilliantly executed. Continue reading Review: Rigoletto (Canadian Opera Company)
The Canadian Opera Company’s
production of Iphigenia in Tauris
by Christoph Gluck
was a bold experiment in the use of minimalism in opera. I say bold because most seasoned opera-goers are more accustomed to over-the-top rather than understated. The curtains come up on a completely black stage, the only contrast added by black-clad dancers writing the names of the members of the House of Atreus on the wall in white chalk.
Continue reading Review: Iphigenia in Tauris (Canadian Opera Company)
There is no such thing as “the audience” in Machina Nuptialis (Corpus). The dancers are the wedding party and we are the wedding guests. If you are terribly bashful and would balk at being invited to dance or provide a light to a man wearing only white boxer briefs, this show is not for you. However, if you are like me and love the opportunity to ham it up with the officially retained performers and also enjoy scantily clad men, you will be in your element and have a great time. Continue reading Review: Machina Nuptialis (CORPUS)
Written in 1984, White Biting Dog is a psychologically complex modern day classic. Canadian Playwright Judith Thompson cunningly reels us into a world of social travesty and irreconcilable emptiness. Based on the comments we heard behind us from certain ladies of a certain age, I don’t think this show is appropriate for sensitive audiences. Continue reading Review: White Biting Dog (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
I must confess I was woefully ignorant about the civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002 and the exploitation of child soldiers during the conflict prior to seeing Nkkami.
Continue reading Nkkami (Soothemysisters Productions) 2011 SummerWorks Review
The Particulars and in General opened with a pipe organ recording of the hymn “God Who Fills All Life with Goodness”, often sung during morning prayers at my Anglican high school. It closed with a recording of Pygmy yodeling. The play is comprised of two monologues back-to-back, telling the stories of lives weaving around one another but never connecting.
At first, the second monologue appeared a total non sequitur to the first. The connection was soon revealed however, to quite humorous effect.
Continue reading The Particulars and in General (Pyretic Productions) 2011 SummerWorks Review