El Retorno/I Return is “a stroke of beauty” on the Toronto stage
The fight for justice and freedom is not easily defined for families fleeing conflict. In El Retorno/I Return, part of Why Not Theatre’s Riser Project playing at the Theatre Centre, tells the semi-autobiographical story of a family reflecting on their decision to remain in Canada instead of returning to Chile as part of The Return Plan—an international push against Chilean dictator Pinochet.
El Retorno/I Return personalizes the struggle of political refugees, making a complex question—how do you fight for the freedom and peace of your country— into a simple, but hard-hitting, family drama.
Continue reading Review: El Retorno/I Return (The RISER Project and Why Not Theatre)
The Cabaret Company presents Sky Gilbert’s newest play It’s All Tru in Toronto
I don’t envy Sky Gilbert’s attempt at creating an honest and open-ended discussion of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada. The Cabaret Company’s It’s All Tru playing at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre lays important creative groundwork in discussing poorly defined laws around unprotected sex and HIV, systemic limitations on enforcing these laws, and the consequences of such enforcement.
While there’s clearly a purpose to the play—to challenge our perspective on these laws, It’s All Tru suffers from unbalanced characters whose behaviour undermines Gilbert’s point of view.
Continue reading Review: It’s All Tru (The Cabaret Company)
The Millennial Malcontent plays on the Tarragon stage in Toronto
What do you get when an apathetic woman, a vainglorious, misogynistic and self-absorbed youtuber, and a performance studies academic go out on Nuit Blanche? Shenanigans ensue in Tarragon Theatre’s The Millennial Malcontent playing at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace.
A raunchy, contemporary, Restoration style play, The Millennial Malcontent tries to unpack (and fails to understand) ‘millennial culture’ while still managing to be a laugh-out-loud night at the theatre.
Continue reading Review: The Millennial Malcontent (Tarragon Theatre)
Smyth/Williams brings cold, hard facts to Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille
In 2010, Russell Williams was arrested for two rape-murders, and other counts of sexual assault, confinement, and breaking and entering. One Little Goat Theatre Company’s Smyth/Williams playing at the Theatre Pass Muraille Backspace is a dramatization of the transcript of Williams’s interrogation by—and subsequent confession to—OPP Detective Jim Smyth.
It is infuriating, nausea-inducing, and exhausting, sitting on the uncomfortable line between a necessary performance and giving an unnecessary platform to a man who doesn’t deserve our attention.
Continue reading Review: Smyth/Williams (One Little Goat Theatre Company)
Storefront Theatre presents a tale of discovery in the new world, on stage in Toronto
The ‘new world’ is more than just a struggle to survive, it’s also a struggle to let go of who you really are in the wilderness. The Storefront Theatre’s Deceitful Above All Things — done in association with Favour The Brave Collective — playing at the Factory Theatre Studio attempts to strip away historical veneers of Canada in the 1600’s to get at the humanity underneath.
While there’s a wealth of material, I can’t help but think all that focus on humanity also lost some of the plot.
Continue reading Review: Deceitful Above All Things (The Storefront Theatre and Favour The Brave Collective)
Stephen King’s horror classic comes to the Toronto stage
Hart House Theatre’s production of the named Carrie: the musical seems like a good choice for a young cast and an inter-generational audience. Bullying is a great theme, it’s got great visual possibilities because of its story, and the audience will have fans of the book and films offering a little leeway for younger performers.
A good idea does not, however, a good production make.
Continue reading Review: Carrie: the musical (Hart House Theatre)
WinterSong graces Toronto stages with a somewhat alternative Holiday experience
There’s nothing better than than a little change in pace for the holiday season. Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre presents a night of dance in WinterSong at the Fleck Dance Theatre.
It’s a lovely evening that offers up something a little different for those who are tired of the same old December songs.
Continue reading Review: WinterSong (Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre)
Toronto’s Echo Productions presents a grown-up Peanuts gang in the play Dog Sees God
The Peanuts gang has grown up in Echo Production’s Dog Sees God Confessions of a Teenaged Blockhead playing at the John Candy Box Theatre. This dark dramedy/parody, playwright Bert V. Royal presents the changes from childhood to adolescence wrought by life happening.
As a play, it’s a paint by the numbers coming out piece, but in the hands of director Victoria Fuller and an amazing cast, it manages to overcome any shortcomings.
Continue reading Review: Dog Sees God (Echo Productions)
Eva Barrie play, on stage in Toronto, is a fascinating character study
Actions born out of dire situations can come back to haunt us. In Yell Rebel Theatre’s Agency, playing at the Theatre Centre Incubator Space until November 20th, the consequences of past actions becomes a living, breathing thing.
A disturbing script delves into questions of self, histories, and the point at which a person can, or can’t, let go.
Continue reading Review: Agency (Yell Rebel Theatre)