Shakespeare in the Ruff brings an al fresco theatre element to Cymbeline’s Reign in Toronto’s Withrow Park
There is always something special about outdoor theatre — it destroys traditional barriers as, unlike in a traditional theatre, there is very little separation from actors and audience. By virtue of the location, a show has to embrace its environment. For a Shakespearean adaptation, an outdoor venue is a return to form that can either rework the Bard for a contemporary audience or fall into the forgettable traditional style.
Shakespeare in the Ruff’s Cymbeline’s Reign — an adaptation, according to the programme — is a show that is not easily forgotten — even if you have the misfortune of being rained out three-quarters through. In fact, Cymbeline’s Reign is an example of how to do Shakespeare without ever losing an important, contemporary edge.
Continue reading Review: Cymbeline’s Reign (Shakespeare in the Ruff) →
Sonny Under The Assumption is Toronto Theatre with Vision and Purpose
Exactly how do people create social change and why do we consider some more deserving than others? These are the questions that hang over Edward Allan Baker’s Sonny Under the Assumption. Over two acts, we follow the main character Sonny Montecalvo (Nicole Cardoni) as she tries desperately to drum up last-minute funding to save her community centre—a place that is running thanks only to Sonny, her boyfriend Rennie (Sean Shannon), and a ragtag group of ex-convicts. Slowly, the characters pick away at the biases inherent in social assistance programs through scathing outbursts and personal monologues. Sonny Under the Assumption is a smart story that is willing to engage with strong moral questions without offering easy answers. Continue reading Review: Sonny Under the Assumption (Old Norman Productions/Native Earth Performance Arts) →
At my second show of the Toronto Fringe Festival I had an interesting conversation with a volunteer. Both of us were puppet show fans and both of us were struck by the sheer amount of puppetry available at this year’s festival. Not counting children’s shows, there are at least seven separate adult puppet shows—assuming adult puppet shows are rated PG and up–that indicate a resurgence in puppet popularity. Continue reading Pulling the Nostalgia Strings: Puppetry at the Fringe →
There may or may not be an underlying thematic connection between the various sketches of Dame Judy Dench’s Those Shoes That Light Up at the Toronto Fringe Festival, but as the show songs suggest, forget about it. The point here is the comedy.
Consisting of Jessica Greco, Claire Farmer, Chris Leveille, Shannon Lahaie, Gavin Pounds, team Dame Judy Dench deliver a fun night.
Continue reading Those Shoes That Light Up (Dame Judy Dench) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review →
A modern adaptation of the popular Japanese folktale Issun-Boshi, Mochinosha Puppet Company’s Oni at the the Toronto Fringe Festival delivers a visual delight with Japanese shadow lantern puppets that inspires.
The entire play is narrated by storytellers Daniel Wishes and Seri Yanai, who simultaneously work a variety of paper puppets, control their lighting, and occasionally accompany dancing puppets with recorder renditions of popular theme songs.
Continue reading Oni (Mochinosha Puppet Company) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review →