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: Lessons in Temperament (An Outside the March Film)

James Smith sitting at a piani

Lessons in Temperament has been adapted into a feature film by Writer James Smith and Director Mitchell Cushman. It started life as a play that Smith first performed as part of the 2016 Summerworks festival. Outside the March produced it in 2017. Also in 2017 Smith was invited to present it in New York as part of Soulpepper’s New York residency.

Smith is a piano tuner as well as a performer and a playwright. Unemployed during the pandemic he decides to visit the dozen pianos he normally takes care of and “give them some love”. Pianos go out of tune whether they’re played or not. Continue reading Review: Lessons in Temperament (An Outside the March Film)

Review: Albertine in Five Times (Alumnae Theatre)

Anne Shepherd sitting in chair. Versions of herself at earlier ages are projected behind her

Deciding to produce Michel Tremblay’s play Albertine in Five Times is fairly straightforward. Deciding how to stage it isn’t. Alumnae Theatre has made a bold choice for its current production.

Director Cassidy Sadler presents Albertine in Five Times as an integrated virtual/live production. Two actors are live on stage, four are performing from home and are projected into the theatre. It’s presented digitally. The audience watches from home – or wherever they want. Continue reading Review: Albertine in Five Times (Alumnae Theatre)

Review: Djinn Joint (Velvet Duke Productions – Primetime Festival)

Velvet Wells as dJerald the Djinn standing in front of bushes

Velvet Wells is dJerald the Djinn, a wish granting genie, in Djinn Joint, part of the Primetime Festival, an online performance festival. They’re also a lovely person… or the world’s greatest actor.

Djinn Joint is essentially an improv show. The audience submits wishes, some in advance, some during the show, and dJerald either grants them or doesn’t. Sometimes the audience votes on whether to grant the wish. Voting isn’t always as straightforward as giving a thumbs-up or raising a hand, it can be very creative. Continue reading Review: Djinn Joint (Velvet Duke Productions – Primetime Festival)

Review: With Love and a Major Organ (The Audio Play) (QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre Primetime Festival)

cast - With Love and a Major Organ

With Love and a Major Organ (The Audio Play ) is part of the Primetime Festival, an online performance festival. It was live on November 3 and is now available on demand. That’s a really cool thing about digital performances, they create archives and can be presented again.

With Love and a Major Organ is a love story about love,  an adult fairy tale about giving your heart to someone. Literally, your actual heart. It’s about waking up and realizing that you have a heart and waking up and realizing that you don’t have a heart.  It’s about opening your heart to feeling. It’s about GoogleShrink and online speed dating. Continue reading Review: With Love and a Major Organ (The Audio Play) (QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre Primetime Festival)

Review: My Own Private Shakespeare (Modernclassic Theatre Company)

Justin Hay on a darkened stage next to a throne

Modernclassic Theatre Company’s production of Justin Hay’s My Own Private Shakespeare is playing at the Assembly Theatre. The small space, with seats removed to allow social distancing, adds a layer of intimacy to the evening.

My Own Private Shakespeare is a one-person play performed and written by Hay, who is a Shakespearean actor. Although it’s not stated anywhere, the play feels autobiographical. It’s about a Shakespearean actor whose life is imploding. He sees parallels between the things happening in his life and some of Shakespeare’s texts and weaves them into his story. It’s wonderfully effective.  Continue reading Review: My Own Private Shakespeare (Modernclassic Theatre Company)