All posts by Randy McDonald

RAGE AGAINST The Inferno (Jerusalem) (Sketch Platform Productions) 2018 Fringe Review

RAGE AGAINST The Inferno (Jerusalem), playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.RAGE AGAINST The Inferno (Jerusalem), a Toronto Fringe Festival show put on by Sketch Platform Productions–currently playing at the Robert Gill Theatre–is an unsettling play.

The audience is taken into a complex realm of dreams and nightmares, where reality blurs and questions of morality take on an importance impossible to handle, to a place where certainty is impossible. The haunting intensity of RAGE AGAINST The Inferno (Jerusalem) makes this show worthy of attention.

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Living Will (The Living Will Company) 2018 Fringe Review

Living Well, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.

As the Canadian population ages, the question of the sort of end we each might local becomes more pressing. Modern medical care may be able to ensure an extended lifespan, while not being able to guarantee a high quality of life in this extra time so given. Living Will, a show put on by The Living Will Company at the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a sensitive and always watchable dramatization of an issue relevant to us all.

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Hooked (Pepper Dance Projects) 2018 Fringe Review

Hooked, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.Different people have different habits, vices even, and judging by the contents of many bookstores’ self-help sections, everyone has at least one. Hooked, by Pepper Dance Projects, running at the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival‘s slate of dance shows, imagines what might happen if one day everyone was forced to simply stop. The answer that Hooked provides, through its talented cast and its careful narrative, is proof of the ability of dance to tell moving stories.

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RAGE AGAINST The Complacent (The Four-Penny Operation Foundation) 2018 Fringe Review

RAGE AGAINST The Complacent, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.It can be frustrating to be a person who wants to make a positive difference if you live in a society that does not make this easy to achieve. How can you stand out if you live in communities where being different is difficult? What would you being sufficiently desperate be willing to do to make that sort of difference? RAGE AGAINST The Complacent, a show put on by The Four-Penny Operation Foundation currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Robert Gill Theatre, uses the world of social media to provocatively frame this dilemma in a compelling drama hour of drama.

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Cluster Fucked (Incomplete Productions) 2018 Fringe Review

Cluster Fucked, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.A play without characters or a traditional plot but with a lot of sociological theory may not seem like obviously compelling theatre. Nevertheless, Cluster Fucked, a show put on by Incomplete Productions currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room, does just that, its talented cast taking a smart script and using it to make their audience understand important facts about our world. Namely, the power of Big Data to distort the lives of people in the early 21st century with frightening ease.

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Glorious Loser (Friendly Mallard) 2018 Fringe Review

Glorious Loser, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. Veteran Toronto comedian and actor Moniquea Marion displays her talent for characters in Glorious Loser, her one-person show starring currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. Glorious Loser is a hilarious near-hour show densely packed with unforgettably funny characters presented by a performer eager to engage with her audience, and is well worth audience attention.

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Upstream Downtown (Animacy Theatre Collective) 2018 Fringe Review

Upstream Downtown, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.The fate of salmon, doomed at the end of their legendary migrations upstream to spawn in their home waters, can be a source of great drama. Upstream Downtown, currently playing in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the St. Vladimir Institute, thanks to the efforts of the Animacy Theatre Collective, shows this. Through an inventive combination of physical humour, ingenious costuming, and a canny grasp of theatre space, Upstream Downtown emerges as an original hour of theatre well worth seeing.

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Motherland (Amber Heart Productions) 2017 Fringe Review

Photograph of Kontantina Mantelos and Erik Mrakovcic by Nicholas Porteous.

The play Motherland, a show put on by Amber Heart Productions currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, takes a hard look at the complicated relationship people in our globalized world can have with their homelands. Young Armenian actor and musician Davit finds himself faced with a hard choice, between the poor homeland he loves and the wider world with its terrifying openness.

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You Are Perfect (White Horse Theater Company) 2017 Fringe Review

Photo of Kristin Samuelson, Alexander Reed and Lindsay Danielle Gitter by John Robert Hoffman.Even almost a half-century after the killings committed by the infamous Manson Family in the summer of 1969, these murders and their perpetrators continue to haunt the popular mind. How could seemingly ordinary people be convinced to commit such horrible acts? You Are Perfect, a show put on by the White Horse Theater Company currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, aims to provide at least some answers to this vexing question.

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Alone In This Together (Not Oasis Productions) 2017 Fringe Review

Photograph of Nico Rice, Shohana Sharmin, Jennifer Ashleigh Lloyd, King Chiu, Anne McMaster, Chris O’Neill, and Katherine Fogler by Katherine Fogler.

Alone In This Together, a show by Not Oasis Productions currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace, is a smart and fun show put on by talented performers of great Toronto-centric sketch comedy. Theatre-goers who like their comedy to reflect local themes, and to do it well, will enjoy this show.

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