All posts by Madeleine Copp

Madeleine Copp saw her first show when she was four years old and it was love at first sight. She pursued a bachelor’s in theatre production and design and English literature, culminating in a love for flexible, innovative, and diverse theatre artists that challenge all our preconceived notions of the stage. Her thesis, Printed Voices: Women, Print, and Performance pushed for new interpretations of closet drama from the early modern to modern period in the hopes of seeing more female playwrights included in the performance canon. Since graduating, Madeleine continues to seek out unexpected, startling, and challenging works that leave her angry, speechless, and wonderfully confused.

Review: Mockingbird Close (Inpulse Theatre)

Photo of Mockingbird CloseMockingbird Close is a quick-witted dark comedy playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto

It never matters how much people care or love or even feel about another person, memories are always full of holes that get eaten away by preferred fictions. Eroding memory in the face of tragedy is the core of INpulse Theatre’s Mockingbird Close playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

There is no closure to be found in this show, just an uneasy, reflection on the nature of community, family, and what we want to be true.

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Erased: Billy & Bayard (Queer Songbook Orchestra) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Erased Billy and Bayard“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.

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Paths (Eldritch Designs Collective) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Photo of 2 casts members from Paths

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

Review: The Lavender Railroad (In-The-Moment Theatre)

Photo of Judith Cockman and Jennifer ValianceThe 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.

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Review: El Retorno/I Return (The RISER Project and Why Not Theatre)

Photo of Ximena Huizi and Augusto Bitter 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.

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Review: It’s All Tru (The Cabaret Company)

Photo of David Coomber and Tim PostThe 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.

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Review: The Millennial Malcontent (Tarragon Theatre)

Photo of Frank Cox-O'Connor in The Millennial MalcontentThe 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.

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Review: Smyth/Williams (One Little Goat Theatre Company)

Photo of Kim Nelson, Deborah Drakeford, and Lynette Gillis

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.

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