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: The Election (Common Boots Theatre Production in Association with Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Direct)

Photo of the cast of The Election, timely play about election campaign volunteers

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 federal political campaigns, both as a staffer and as 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.

Continue reading Review: The Election (Common Boots Theatre Production in Association with Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Direct)

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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Review: No Foreigners (Hong Kong Exile and fu-Gen Theatre Production)

photo silouette of 2 artist mannequins advertising No Foreigners playing at The Theatre Centre Toronto

“No Foreigners” is an innovative work with a beautiful dreamlike quality.

No Foreigners could be the exemplar for theatre collaboration; presented by The Theatre Centre, it’s a Hong Kong Exile and fu-GEN Theatre Production created by Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Milton Lim, Remy Siu and David Yee with April Leung and Derek Chan credited as co-creators.

The multimedia performance is set in a Chinese mall – like the Pacific Mall – and is a series of vignettes that are made by projecting small models through cameras onto a large screen. The dialogue is in Cantonese and English with English text at the top of the screen. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.

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Review: The Ends of the Earth (Don’t Look Down Theatre Company)

Man in jeans and blue shirt standing in front of ocean from Don’t Look Down Theatre Co’s. excellent The Ends of The Earth at Alumnae Theatre

Acting takes centre stage in this many-charactered play

The Ends of the Earth – playing at Alumnae Theatre – is a bold choice for Don’t Look Down Theatre Company’s first on-stage production of 2019. Written by Morris Panych and first produced in 1992, it’s a Canadian play that isn’t particularly Canadian. The setting isn’t specified; it could be anywhere with a coastline. This production is set in the present, but it could as easily be set in the early 1990s when it was first produced, or in the 1950s or even the 1920s.

There are a couple of things that date the play. It’s two hours long, 2 hours and 15 minutes with an intermission. In this day of 60 to 90 minutes plays and short attention spans (mine included), that’s a long play. There are 20 characters with lines in the play; 20! That’s a lot of characters.

Continue reading Review: The Ends of the Earth (Don’t Look Down Theatre Company)