What if you got the opportunity of the lifetime but you had to play up every stereotype you’ve spent your life battling? Bobby Del Rio’s Professionally Ethnic playing at the Toronto 2017 SummerWorks Festival explores the consequences of that decision and has a little fun on the way.
Continue reading Professionally Ethnic (Bobby Del Rio) 2017 SummerWorks Review
“What year is it?” The innocuous questions opens Erased: Billy and Bayard by Queer Songbook Orchestra playing at the Toronto 2017 SummerWorks Festival.
Its the uncertainty in the answer that is at the heart of the show as it digs into the lives and accomplishments of musicians and Civil Rights activists Billy Strayhorn and Bayard Rustin.
Continue reading Erased: Billy & Bayard (Queer Songbook Orchestra) 2017 SummerWorks Review
You are invited into a maze where you wander freely, encountering the four elements, their environments, and tiny art installations depicting anything from police brutality to pollution.
Welcome to the Eldritch Designs Collective’s Paths, playing at the Artscape Youngplace Studio 109 as part of the Toronto 2017 SummerWorks Festival: a fully immersive live art performance.
Continue reading Paths (Eldritch Designs Collective) 2017 SummerWorks Review
The Lavender Railroad has “incredible chemistry” in a “tense little play”, on stage in Toronto
The question of who we save, and why we save them haunts In-The-Moment Theatre’s The Lavender Railroad, playing at The Box Theatre. Despite its heavy-handed title, this is not a show that takes its subject matter lightly, but instead tries to understand how a dark-mirror world could or would inform the traditional values people hold dear.
Continue reading Review: The Lavender Railroad (In-The-Moment Theatre)
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)