All posts by Mara Gulens

Review: pomme is french for apple (Young Centre for the Performing Arts)

pommeisfrench

Toronto theatre becomes the pum in Pomme is French for Apple

pomme is french for apple is racy, fun and definitely ooh la la for Toronto the Good. Listen up when they warn of “mature content.” Judging by the audience reaction, it wasn’t just me that thought so.

The title is a slipcover for a no-holds-barred exploration of womanhood. The pum (pun on pomme), which is West Indian slang for a woman’s private parts, is the topic of focus.

I haven’t yet seen Vagina Monologues. But from what I remember, these actresses may be going one step beyond. They don’t just talk from the pum, they become it. Continue reading Review: pomme is french for apple (Young Centre for the Performing Arts)

Review: Help Yourself (The Falling Baby Co-op)

Best of Toronto Fringe returns with Help Yourself, playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre

“You really didn’t see that coming?” demanded my companion as the house rose to applause.

I did not.

A few minutes before the end of Help Yourself I did have an aha-this-is-a bit-of-a-Greek-tragedy moment. And the nether regions of my brain registered that the instrumental item on stage – Chekov’s gun, so to speak – should go off.

But the morality was all wrong. Donny (Daniel Pagett) said the gun wasn’t loaded. And why should I have assumed anything about anything in this fast-paced 2012 Best of Fringe play?

Continue reading Review: Help Yourself (The Falling Baby Co-op)

Review: Fiddler On The Roof (CATS Mainstage Theatre Company)

CATS Mainstage Theatre Company presents a polished production of Fiddler On The Roof at Toronto’s Randolph Theatre

Watching the CATS production of Fiddler On The Roof I thought: my kids could so get into this. A show put on by a cast of energetic, arts-loving teens and pre-teens. It’s the perfect opportunity to pretend you’re belting it out on Broadway, and dream that someday you’ll make it.

So it’s no surprise that more than a few of the triple-threat performers were students from Toronto’s Etobicoke School of the Arts. Or have played a part in a Canadian Children’s Opera Company production. Or have danced in the Nutcracker’s Battle Scene.

CATS Mainstage Theatre Company is another great opportunity for Toronto artists aged 11 to 21 to put their dreams to the test. And one or two of them, possibly, we’ll see someday on stage in Toronto or elsewhere.

Continue reading Review: Fiddler On The Roof (CATS Mainstage Theatre Company)

Review: The 3 Exiles of Christian E. (A co-production of Theatre Sortie de Secours and Theatre de L’Eascaouette)

Captivating one-man show inspires Toronto audiences at the Théâtre Français de Toronto

Given my kids have a combined 27 years of French Immersion, it’s amazing The 3 Exiles of Christian E. was my first visit to Théâtre Français de Toronto. But it won’t be my last.

Christian Essiambre’s one-man show was captivating and thought-provoking, with a bonus. Although my years in a French classroom are long ago, I had absolutely no problem understanding the play because the theatre offers performances with English surtitles during the runs of their shows.

Continue reading Review: The 3 Exiles of Christian E. (A co-production of Theatre Sortie de Secours and Theatre de L’Eascaouette)

Review: Cinderella (a RATical retelling) (Young People’s Theatre)

 

Young People’s Theatre inspiring Toronto’s children to think creatively with their RATical retelling of Cinderella

Good children’s theatre is transformative. Since experiencing Cinderella (a RATical retelling), I’ve been twitching my nose. That is to say, who would have thought a tale heard so many times could be moving, or – I have to say it – ratical?

Telling stories from a new angle is nothing new (think Wicked), nor is handing the storytelling to animals (Charlotte’s Web). In this Young People’s Theatre production, it’s the rats who usually morph into Cinderella’s horses, carriage and footmen narrating the tale. Indeed, one song seems a nod to that tradition and Cats specifically. Continue reading Review: Cinderella (a RATical retelling) (Young People’s Theatre)