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: Cabaret brise-jour – L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres (The Theatre Centre)

L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

Music, art, theatre and chaotic dissonance collide in Cabaret brise-jour at Toronto’s The Theatre Centre

I’ve really been looking forward to seeing L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres at The Theatre Centre. The last time I saw LODHO in Toronto was three years ago and they were playing the music of Tom Waits. I’ve been waiting ever since to see them again.

It was worth the wait. Cabaret brise-jour features the music of Kurt Weill and the inimitable style of LODHO – an unexpectedly beautiful match. LODHO makes music that you have to watch and there’s so much happening on stage that it’s impossible to see everything. It’s like an art exhibit that you want to see more than once. At one point I thought that I was looking at a surreal painting. And then there were times that I felt I was watching choreographed pandemonium.

It was wonderful. Continue reading Review: Cabaret brise-jour – L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres (The Theatre Centre)

Review: 6 Essential Questions (Factory Theatre)

Cast of 6 Essential Questions

6 Essential Questions explores a strained reunion between a mother and daughter at Toronto’s Factory Theatre

Last night was the world premier of 6 Essential Questions by Priscila Uppal at Factory Theatre. The play is based on her 2013 memoir Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother, a book that I’ll definitely be reading soon.

Renata (played by Mina James) travels from Canada to Brazil to meet the mother who abandoned her when she was five.

My friend Pat and I both thought that Elizabeth Saunders was fabulous as Mother; she’s flamboyant, completely self-centred, and unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. In her head she has a numbered list of things that she likes about her and – sometimes apropos of nothing in particular – will trot something out. “The 547th thing I like about myself is…”.

Continue reading Review: 6 Essential Questions (Factory Theatre)

Review: The Two Worlds of Charlie F. (Mirvish)

The stories of wounded war veterans come to life in The Two Worlds of Charlie F. at the Princess of Wales Theatre

The Two Worlds of Charlie F. is part of the 2013/2014 Off-Mirvish season. The first thing I noticed last night when I arrived at the Princess of Wales Theatre were a lot of military brass in dress uniforms, milling around and chatting in the lobby. Not your usual opening night theatre audience.

The second thing I noticed were the cast bios in the program. Name, rank, company, and injury. Definitely not your usual cast. Continue reading Review: The Two Worlds of Charlie F. (Mirvish)

Review: The Last Seven Steps of Bartholomew S. (Bata Shoe Museum)

The Last Seven Steps of Bartholomew S.

Interactive site-specific theatre at the Bata Shoe Museum – Is this the face of Bartholomew S?

I can’t tell you. I saw The Last Seven Steps of Bartholomew S. at the Bata Shoe Museum on Friday evening and I still don’t know. And it doesn’t matter.

It isn’t really accurate to say that I saw the show. I was part of it, along with seven others. Eight if you count the person who led us through the story.

Although The Last Seven Steps of Bartholomew S. is billed as a play it isn’t a play in the traditional sense with the audience sitting and watching the actors. The audience is an integral part of the play. And it’s a very small audience. It’s audience participation to the nth degree, almost participating in a mini adventure, and it was lovely.

Continue reading Review: The Last Seven Steps of Bartholomew S. (Bata Shoe Museum)

Review: Idiot’s Delight (Soulpepper)

Idiot’s Delight is a comedic anti-war drama playing at Toronto’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts

Soulpepper opened their 2014 season last night with Idiot’s Delight, Robert E. Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize winning play written in 1936. Theatre was different then, casts were big. It’s not often anymore that you have an opportunity to see a play with a cast of 20 talented actors.

Idiot’s Delight is set at a resort in the Italian Alps. Initially, aside from the staff, the multicultural hotel has only one occupant: a phlegmatic German scientist who wishes nothing more than to leave. But as one would expect in Europe in 1936, tensions escalate rapidly between world powers, borders are closed, and when a train is unexpectedly stopped, guests begin streaming in the doors: a couple of English honeymooners; a whole troupe of song-and-dance blondes from America; a harried showman-cum-manager; a French communist and rabble-rouser; a notorious and well-connected arms dealer; and a dangerous Russian woman who has never, in her life, told anyone the complete truth–about herself, about the world, about anything.

Continue reading Review: Idiot’s Delight (Soulpepper)