All posts by Sam Mooney

Always a theatre lover Sam realized in middle age that there's more to Toronto theatre than just mainstream and is now in love with one person shows, adores festivals, and quirky venues make her day.

Review: Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes (Tarragon)

Image - Alice Snaden and Matthew Edison sitting on a rug talking in Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes

Normally I see plays on opening night, but for a variety of reasons, I saw Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes at a Saturday matinee at Tarragon. It’s a different feeling, a different audience; a lot more people my age (middle-aged plus). The standing ovation felt genuine rather than obligatory. It was certainly well deserved.

The plot is familiar, even clichéd. It’s 2014. Jon (Matthew Edison), a 42 year old professor and best-selling author, has an affair with Annie (Alice Snaden), a 19 year old student. We can predict the story. Right?

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Review: Cash Me If You Can (Horse and Hound Productions)

Picture of Patrick Combs at ATM in Cash Me If You Can in Toronto

Cash Me If You Can is a ‘fun evening’ of a one-man performance full of self-deprecating humour

Patrick Combs took on a bank and won. Cash Me If You Can is his story and he’s telling it at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre. It’s a great story and he tells it well. Which is to be expected; he’s been telling it to a lot of people for a while now.

When Combs was 29 he got one of those junk mail cheques in his mail. The kind we’ve all received, part of a ‘you can get rich too’ pitch. It was payable to him in the amount of $95,095.33, drawn on a real bank, signed, and had “NOT NEGOTIABLE FOR CASH” printed in the top right corner. He decided to deposit it as a joke. The show is the story of what happened after that.

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Review: The Election (Theatre Passe Muraille presents a Common Boots Theatre Production in Association with Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Direct)

Photo of the cast of The Election, timely play about election campaign volunteersYou can’t vote at The Election at Theatre Passe Muraille, but you’ll laugh

The Election opened at Theatre Passe Muraille on Friday. “Huh?” I can hear you thinking, “I’m pretty sure the election is on October 21st.” Yes, the Federal Election is on Monday, October 21st. That’s not the election I’m talking about. This is a play is about volunteering for federal candidates in the 2015 election.

My friend Patricia has a lot of experience working on federal political campaigns, both as a staffer and a volunteer. It made sense for me to ask her to come with me, I don’t know anything about volunteering for a campaign. She said that the campaign office parts of the play were true to life. It reinforced why I don’t volunteer to work election campaigns.

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Review: Girl From the North Country (David Mirvish)

Photo of Katie Brayben and Shak Taylor dancing together in Girl from the North CountryBob Dylan musical is “dramatically beautiful,” now on stage in Toronto

It’s a mistake to expect Girl from the North Country — playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre — to be a musical. It’s a play with singing and some dancing. With a couple of exceptions, the songs are sung to the audience, not by one character to another the way they usually are in musicals. Playwright Conor McPherson says it’s “a conversation between the songs and the story.”

Simon Hale’s superb arrangements of 20 Bob Dylan songs — or sometimes parts of songs — as solo and ensemble pieces bring new depth to old favourites like “Slow Train”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, and “Forever Young.” And the music is just part of what makes the play terrific.

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Review: The Rocky Horror Show (Hart House Theatre)

Photo pf cast of The Rocky Horror ShowRocky Horror is a rollicking good time, complete with audience participation and inclusive casting

I wasn’t sure what to expect Friday evening when I arrived at Hart House Theatre to see The Rocky Horror Show. I was a Rocky Horror virgin!

Yes, I saw the movie, but that was years ago. It was also before the rituals: throwing toast, confetti, and rice; the water guns; the callbacks; and the audience costumes. I’m not a costume girl. No projectiles or water guns were allowed at this performance, but callbacks were encouraged, and there were lots of other people not wearing costumes. Great! I could relax and enjoy.

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