All posts by Keira Grant

Review: The Jazz Singer (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company/Dancap)

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)

Review: Oksana G. (Tapestry Opera)

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)

Review: Tosca (Canadian Opera Company)

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)

Review: Medea (Opera Atelier)

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)

Review: Penelopiad (George Brown Theatre)

The Penelopiad tells the story of The Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective, on stage in Toronto

We think we know the story of Odysseus, whose journey home following the battle of Troy took him ten long years, but we do not. George Brown Theatre’s production of Margaret Atwood’s play The Penelopiad–an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope, Odysseus’s faithful wife–embraced the feminism and lyricism of this retelling of a truly timeless story. Continue reading Review: Penelopiad (George Brown Theatre)

Review: Jack Charles V the Crown (Canadian Stage Company)

Canadian Stage presents Jack Charles’ powerful show in Toronto as part of Spotlight Australia

I had never hear of Jack Charles before seeing Canadian Stage Company’s production of Jack Charles V. the Crown. Now, I will never forget him. Charles is a 74-year old famous and infamous Australian Aboriginal actor. He is famous for his award-winning film and television career that has spanned over four decades. He is infamous for an almost equally lengthy career of thievery in support of a severe heroin addiction. Continue reading Review: Jack Charles V the Crown (Canadian Stage Company)

Review: Radiant Vermin (Precisely Peter Productions)

Radiant Vermin is a surprising, dark tale of real estate dreams, on stage in Toronto

I was a bit surprised when I arrived at what appeared to be a storefront in Kensington Market to see Precisely Peter Productions’ performance of Radiant Vermin by British playwright Philip Ridley. It transpired that the theatre space, Dirty Talk, is in the store’s basement, where we were welcomed warmly by director John Shooter offering cupcakes and fancy, fruity drinks.

Continue reading Review: Radiant Vermin (Precisely Peter Productions)

Review: Götterdämmerung (Canadian Opera Company)

“Magnificent” Wagnerian opera returns to the Toronto stage

Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Götterdämmerung, the final installment of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, is a remount of their 2006 production. When I saw it 10 years ago, the modern reimagining of this epic legend, in which suited captains of industry stand in for Norse gods and demigods, did not grab me. I am not sure if it’s me or the times that have changed, but I was absolutely entranced by the current production. Continue reading Review: Götterdämmerung (Canadian Opera Company)