Secrets are revealed when a couple discovers a body in Une Vie Pour Deux on stage at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre
Every so often a production takes a difficult discussion and uses it to reveal the flaws in our way of thinking. Une Vie Pour Deux (Love and Other Fragments) is a joint project by Espace GO and Theatre Francais de Toronto at the Berkeley Street Theatre is a work that dives into its subject and delivers a solid night of theatre.
Continue reading Review: Une Vie Pour Deux/Love and Other Fragments (EspaceGO and Theatre Francais de Toronto)
Teatron Theatre explores oppression in Harvey Ostroff’s play Delimax at Toronto Centre for the Arts
Teatron Theatre’s Delimax playing at the Toronto Centre for the Arts‘s Studio Theatre is not the easiest play to watch. Following the enforcement of Bill 101 in Montreal, Harvey Ostroff’s play questions the meaning of oppression and how questions of sovereignty, independence, and power reveal darker truths.
While the subject is timely after recent events in Quebec, we actually travel back in time to confront an earlier vision of the province post-FLQ crises, after the rise and fall of the Parti Quebecois in the late eighties/early nineties.
Continue reading Review: Delimax (Teatron Theatre)
A Christmas party gone awry lights up Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works in Theatre Columbus’ The Dog and the Angel
What exactly is the point of Christmas when your yearly party turns into a disaster, you find out the family dog destroyed your heirloom tree-topper angel, and your husband has never heard of glue? Theatre Columbus’s The Dog and the Angel by Martha Ross takes its audience through an evening of emotional chaos in the site-specific location of Evergreen Brick Works.
Rozel (Jennifer Villaverde) discovers her husband Barker (Courtenay Stevens) disposed of her family’s angel after it gets torn up by the dog. She goes on a quest to retrieve the tree-topper from the dump. Meanwhile her daughter tries to take the ailing dog to the veterinarian. Rozel’s parents Sampson (Paul Rainville) and Claire (Leah Cherniak) follow along in an attempt to help.
Continue reading Review: The Dog and the Angel (Theatre Columbus)
Opera Luminata defies opera stereotypes in its run at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre
Opera Luminata sets itself a challenge in its Toronto premiere at the Harbourfont Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre: presenting opera not as an aloof and complicated performance trapped by formality, but rather as a musical and theatrical spectacle. The end result is to change the perception of opera as an art form by making it accessible, exciting, and new.
Such an ambitious goal presents interesting questions about the future of historical genres on the stage, and whether the performance status-quo needs to evolve to capture a new audience. For opera, specifically, what happens when we remove the context of the opera to focus solely on the individual moments of the whole? What does it mean if there is no need for context to listen to operatic songs? And, if opera becomes more accessible by removing the conventional structure, how do we reconcile the traditional with the new?
Continue reading Review: Opera Luminata
Drink With Death: a morbid cabaret brings the songs of the dead to Cameron House in Toronto
When the dead decide to have a drink with the living, it quickly turns to revealing personal truths in song. Or at least it does in Drink with Death: a morbid cabaret, presented by Romana Soutus and Christopher Weatherstone.
And what songs they are.
Continue reading Review: Drink with Death: a morbid cabaret (Romana Soutus and Christopher Weatherstone)
Waving is Funny, a dance piece on stage at Toronto’s Ralph Thornton Centre, is unfortunately anything but
Tina Fushell’s Waving is Funny, a collaborative movement piece that “began as a joke” before becoming “a very real performance idea” sounds pleasantly kooky. There is something about examining the act of waving that appeals to me, a comedy goldmine just waiting to be explored.
I was curious about the subject matter. How do people wave? What do we look like when we do? How does our environment impact this greeting? And how does this small act relate to other types of waves? The title suggests a wealth of material that could go just about anywhere.
Continue reading Review: Waving is Funny
Shelley Marshall performs her play Hold Mommy’s Cigarette in Toronto for Mental Illness Awareness Week
When Shelley Marshall suggested the interview take place at her Full Bawdy Loft, I didn’t realize until I arrived that it was, in fact, her loft; a lived-in space that she was inspired to adapt for the October run of her show Hold Mommy’s Cigarette.
The eclectic 1970’s inspired set dominated the room. She gave me a tour, showing me some props and describing the lighting design for her show, opening tomorrow. I felt like I was invited into her home, shown family trinkets, and invited to ask my questions. It’s not surprising Marshall has inspired others to open up about mental illness.
Continue reading An Invitation to Hold Mommy’s Cigarette: an interview with Shelley Marshall
Opera 5 brings two rarely performed operettas, L’île du rêve and Le Ba-ta-clan, to the Toronto stage
When a production is advertised as “rarely performed,” I can’t help but be curious. I have a passion for unusual plays, operas, and dances that rarely, if ever, sees the contemporary stage in Canada, so Opera 5’s double bill of Reynaldo Hahn’s L’île du rêve and Jacques Offenbach’s Le Ba-ta-clan, immediately got my attention.
These productions, performed back to back over the course of an evening, suggest some interesting questions regarding how and why smaller companies like Opera 5 choose their seasons. There is always a risk associated with the less-familiar productions where failure can be dramatically highlighted and where success still begs the question of whether specific works should ever make it to a contemporary stage.
Continue reading Review: Offenbach & Hahn (Opera 5)
Improv meets burlesque meets murder mystery playing at The Social Capital Theatre in Toronto
Dames, private eyes, a dirty business, and a Red Herring, all in one burlesque club! What else can you expect from an improv sketch burlesque show? Willing to take unexpected philosophical side-trips into the nature of fish and man, Murder at the Burlesque: Episode 1: The Mal-Tease Falcon at The Social Capital Theatre/Black Swan Comedy is always ready to have fun with their material. Before I continue in this review, I will outright admit my bias: I love burlesque and I love murder mysteries. Therefore I am excited to report that the combination works (for the most part, anyway). Continue reading Review: Murder at the Burlesque, episode 1: The Mal-Tease Falcon
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)