All posts by Samantha Wu

Samantha is both a writer and a fan of the arts and has been able to find numerous ways to pair the two. Aside from being an editor here at Mooney on Theatre, she's a photojournalist for Been Here Done That, a travel, dining and tourism blog that focuses on Toronto and abroad and previously for  Lithium Magazine, which got her writing and shooting about everything from Dave Matthews Band to Fan Expo. She's passionate about music, theatre, photography, writing, and celebrating sexuality -- not necessarily in that order. She drinks tea more than coffee, prefer ciders over beers, and sings karaoke way too loudly. You can follow her on various social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Enjoy the Hostilities (Pressgang Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Robin Black from Enjoy the Hostilities

Do you remember Robin Black? I do. His was a name and face that was as ubiquitous to MuchMusic as Ed the Sock. With his band, he proudly proclaimed that “some of you boys and most of you girls would love me“. If being a glam punk rocker wasn’t enough, Black then immersed himself in the world of MMA cage fighting, putting his Tae Kwon Do and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills to the test before setting his goals to becoming a commentator for the UFC. At the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival, Black along with the help of writer Graham Isador, presents Enjoy the Hostilities, an in-depth look at the life of Robin Black.

Continue reading Enjoy the Hostilities (Pressgang Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Wagon Play – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

Photo of Cappellacci, Emma Banigan, Alexis Gontan, Lindsey Middleton, Brandon Gillespie in Wagon Play by Owen Fawcett

From Press Release

Theatre By Committee presents the world premiere of Wagon Play by Ben Hayward. Directed by Theatre By Committee’s Ben Hayward (Best Play, Hamilton Fringe Festival ’16) and Owen Fawcett ​(Thom Pain, Omnium Gatherum, The Food Project), Wagon Play explores media culture and contemporary worship, asking the audience to consider the fabric of their plugged-in lives. Featuring a cast of Emma Banigan, Katherine Cappellacci, Brandon Gillespie, Alexis Gontan, Brendan Kinnon, Lindsey Middleton and Jonathan Walls, ​this site-specific dark comedy inducts you into The Way and shows you the light. Opening Friday July 6, ​the show runs to Sunday July 15 as part of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival​ at Majlis Art Garden​.

Tired of easy answers and a higher power? Awaken the power within yourself and learn that you need look no higher. Amber Moon, former pop princess turned modern day guru, will take you through a whole new way to see the world and your place in it. She and The Way have rejected the old ways and are travelling the country telling people how to embrace the new. Join the movement that is about to set the world on fire.

Details

  • Wagon Play plays at the Majlis Art Garden. (163 Walnut Ave.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Audience participation; Mature language; Outdoors.
  • The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday July 6th, 8:00 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 8:00 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 5:00 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 8:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 8:00 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 8:00 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 5:00 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 8:00 pm

Photo of Cappellacci, Emma Banigan, Alexis Gontan, Lindsey Middleton, Brandon Gillespie by Owen Fawcett

F*cking Perfect – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

Photo of Jessica Bowmer, Iliana Spirakis, Adriana MoraesMendoza and Jeysa Caridad in F*cking Perfect by Jaimee Hall

From Press Release

Chocolate Kiss collective is comprised of Jeysa Caridad, Jessica Bowmer, Adriana Moraes-Mendoza and Iliana Spirakis. All recent graduates of Humber Theatre Performance they begin their foray into professional theatre with a piece entitled “F*cking Perfect.” It takes place at The Factory Theatre MainStage, in Toronto’s Fringe Festival from Saturday, July 6th – 14th. Further information on location and tickets may be found on the Toronto Fringe website. The piece aims to dismantle and explore the process that forms the female psyche through truncated narrative. It investigates themes of love, illusion, and perception of gender and personhood with an aching relevance to today’s social and political landscape. 

Details

  • Fucking Perfect plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Sexual content; Mature language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday July 6th, 5:00 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 9:15 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 6:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 12:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 11:00 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 7:30 pm

Photo of Jessica Bowmer, Iliana Spirakis, Adriana MoraesMendoza and Jeysa Caridad by Jaimee Hall

The Truth* – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

In this original comedy, hilarity and heartbreak ensue when four dictators fight to conquer new land. Using mime, clowning and vaudevillian humor, A Muse Zoo takes you on a wild ride!
The five members of A Muse Zoo met in a physical theatre master class in the mountains of Ashland, OR where they honed their craft. In AMZ’s first meeting, they decided that no one wants to see a clown show. In that same meeting, they all agreed to put on a clown show. The idea for The Truth* sparked. A Muse Zoo decided to get down to brass tacks and dedicated an entire summer to rehearsals, five days a week. What did they do during those long, grueling rehearsals, you ask? They wrote and wrote and rewrote, scrapped half their show and wrote it again. They found costumes, researched, made clown noses, sewed, hot glued, power tooled and built props. They previewed the show for friends, and finally, built a set that’s mobile and easy to set up and take down. They directed, acted, designed, built, sweat, bled and sacrificed their social lives (and a newborn goat) in order to produce this show.
Two of A Muse Zoo’s five members, Sarah Brizek and Mikey Hays, spent a season at Ashland’s renowned repertory theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Mike Dias spent 11 years in Los Angeles as a professional actor and was a founding member of the award winning sketch comedy group Monster Party.
THE TRUTH* is a skillfully eccentric physical comedy play that explores the absurdities of political power. Laughter, tears, and insanity ensue as we learn that the truth is not always relevant, but the experiences of the people always are.

Details

  • The Truth* plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warning: Mature language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday July 6th, 4:45 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 8:45 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 6:15 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 7:45 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 12:00 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 11:00 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 1:45 pm

Photo of Alice Glass, Sarah Brizek, Mikey Hays, Mike Dias, and Kenzie Bizon by Michael Bryant

Restless Spirit – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

Do you believe in ghosts?

Nell has a secret. Ghosts have been talking to her all of her life. And after years of being ignored, they no longer want to stay quiet.

Restless Spirit is inspired by the lives of the Fox Sisters, who were born in Consecon, Ontario in the early 1800’s and are considered to be the first Mediums. They began speaking to ghosts through a series of knocks or “rappings”. By the late 1800’s, Spiritualism, the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living, a phenomenon that had over eight million followers. And it all started with a knock…

Restless Spirit lets you return to a time where communicating with a departed loved one was a miraculous experience and the chance to be a part of a live séance was not to be missed.

Details

  • Restless Spirit plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. (16 Ryerson Ave.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Fog or haze effects; Audience participation.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the very front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday July 6th, 4:00 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 11:00 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 9:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 8:00 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 5:15 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 12:00 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 6:45 pm

Photo of Catherine Meyer and Nicole Marie McCafferty by Richard Burdett

Living Will – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

The Toronto Fringe Festival presents the premier of Living Will by Helen-Claire Tinglingdirected by Jillian Rees-Brown.

Living Will introduces siblings from a middle-class family who are called to a family meeting by their father, Wilfred to discuss his last wishes. Wilfred is in good health, and since he has never been in the hospital, he anticipates that he will likely die in his sleep. On the other hand, he is 79 years old and would like to get his affairs in order.

Crisis occurs when Wilfred suddenly becomes ill, and his children do not agree upon a course of action for his care. Wilfred’s son Jake tries to uphold his father’s wishes for no interventions, while other family members fight to keep him alive at any cost.

Living Will marks the return to the stage of film and TV actor Bill MacDonald (Traders, Rookie Blue, A History of Violence, Hush Little Baby). Mr. MacDonald heads a seasoned cast who have collectively amassed numerous stage, TV and film credits. Many of the cast have also starred in previous Fringe productions.

Details

  • Living Will plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Mature language; Smoking.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday July 6th, 1:00 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 1:45 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 3:30 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 8:45 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 11:00 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 7:00 pm

Photo of Andrea Davis by Helen Tansey

The Gentle Art of Punishment – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

Montreal-based collective, Daughter Product, presents a dystopic + darkly-comic interdisciplinary performance about obsession.
Three women unravel their girlhoods, idols and ideals in a dream-like and nostalgic narrative. THE GENTLE ART OF PUNISHMENT is for anyone who has ever had a crush on their therapist – or thinks that Drew Barrymore is under-appreciated in her dramatic roles.
Through an interdisciplinary performance of contemporary dance, striking sound design, and theatre, this piece presents a visceral experience of trauma theory, crisis, and obsession from the all-femme/queer artists that make up the collective: Daughter Product.
Details

  • The Gentle Art of Punishment plays at the Robert Gill Theatre. (214 College St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Sexual content; Mature language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through usage of a painfully slow elevator. We recommend making sure you arrive a few minutes early.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Thursday July 5th, 6:00 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 7:30 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 8:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 6:15 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 9:15 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 1:45 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 3:15 pm

Photo of Lucy Fandel by Jules Bédard

Thousand Beginnings – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

Thousand Beginnings follows two women on their cyclical quest for freedom from ancient behavioural patterns. Interweaving rigorous physicality with poetic text, the two performers explore the rites of passage in the life of a woman and her quest for stillness within. Under The Umbrella Collective’s debut Thousand Beginnings is an intimate, evocative meditation on womanhood, sisterhood, and coming of age, as we begin again and again as a means of survival.

Our collective is an umbrella under which female artists come together and create new works. As a process oriented collective we strive for honesty and aesthetic risk-taking. We yearn to explore the richness of our linguistic and cultural ways of story telling through physical theatre making. All three creators have a strong background in devised, improvisation-based theatre creation. We started this process by asking the following questions: What does it mean to turn 30? As we evaluate our lives so far, what are we noticing about ourselves? Moving through the world as women, carrying not only our thoughts and patterns but also those of our parents and grandparents, how can we step into this next phase with awareness and self-actualization? What needs to end first so we can fully begin again?

Under The Umbrella is made up of theatre artists Gulce Oral, Jewels Krauss and Margaret Muriel Legere. Jewels Krauss is a performer originally from Stuttgart who was last seen on Crows Theatre stage in Anton Piatigorskys play Breath in Between. Margaret Muriel Legere is a Halifax artist, currently doing a Masters in Directing at York University. Gulce Oral is a performer from Istanbul currently doing a Masters in Performance/Creation at York University.

This show supposes awareness is our super power. As we discover our patterns, we are simultaneously in a state of struggle and revelation, each opposing and feeding the other, as we journey toward transformation.Thousand Beginnings is a physical exploration of that journey and the realization that transformation is not a destination.

Details

  • Thousand Beginnings plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warning: Mature language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early for evening shows.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Thursday July 5th, 6:30 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 11:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 8:30 pm
  • Thursday July 12th, 12:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 9:15 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 5:15 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 1:00 pm

Photo of Gulce Oral and Jewels Krauss by Lucas Olscamp

JOSEPHINE, A BURLESQUE CABARET DREAM PLAY – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

Dynamite Lunchbox Entertainment of Orlando will be presenting Josephine, a burlesque cabaret dream play across Canada and The United States on a tour of 7 cities in over 3 monthsThe tour begins in Ottawa and then heads to Toronto for the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. Josephine is a one-woman biographical musical that combines cabaret, theatre and dance to tell the story of the iconic Josephine Baker, the first African-American international superstar and one of the most remarkable figures of the 20th Century.

After debuting at the 2016 San Diego Fringe Festival and winning the distinctions of “Outstanding Solo Performance” and “Best Show”, Josephineplayed three sold out runs to rave reviews in hometown Orlando Florida before starting a 2017 North American tour. The first stop was the second largest Fringe Festival in North America, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, where it was touted as the “breakout hit” of the Festival, selling out the entire run and receiving 5-star reviews from both major publications. The show then went to Indianapolis Fringe where it won “Best National Production”, “Outstanding Female Performance”, “Audience Choice” and “Festival Top Seller”.  From there, the show was selected by The Soho Playhouse in New York City to be part of the 2017 Fringe Encore series in October, 2017. Josephine was then awarded the honor of the encore series “Outstanding Production” award, and in early 2018 was offered a limited 5-week off-Broadway run at Soho Playhouse, where it sold out shows and received high critical acclaim.

About Josephine Baker- Born in St. Louis in 1906, Josephine Baker achieved only moderate success in the United States, but became an international superstar after moving to France in the early 20’s. She starred alongside white romantic leading men in films in the 30’s, had multiple interracial marriages and homosexual relationships, and performed in men’s clothing before the term “drag” existed in the lexicon. She was also a spy for the French Resistance, a civil rights activist, and the mother of 12 adopted children from 4 continents. Her success in France and Europe often gave her the opportunity to live freely without the racial oppression of her home nation, though she never stopped yearning for acceptance in America.

Producer/Director/co-Creator Michael Marinaccio notes: “In a period of profound division in the world, we are excited to present the story of a woman who broke boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality in a time before America had begun coming to terms with the concept of diversity. You would be hard pressed to find a more remarkable human being than Josephine Baker, and it’s about time that extraordinary women of color like her have their stories known.”

Performer/co-Creator Tymisha Harris adds: “I am thrilled to bring the story of one of the most impactful yet often overlooked figures of the 20thCentury to North American audiences. I hope Josephine’s story brings people together, but telling it has made me realize not only how far we have come, but also how far we have left to go as a society with regards to racial inequality.”

Details

  • Josephine, a burlesque cabaret dream play plays at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Mature language; Unsuitable for minors; Sexual content; Audience participation; Nudity.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. We recommend checking in with the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 4th, 10:30 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 5:45 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 3:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 8:45 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 7:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 12:00 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 1:45 pm

Photo provided by the company

Cluster Fucked – Toronto Fringe 2018 Press Release

From Press Release

Cluster Fucked is a fast-paced, angry, hilarious and unnerving romp exploring the industrial production of social identities. Who do they think you are? The show uses verbatim excerpts from industry publications to explore how people are assigned to manufactured social groups (“Asian Sophisticates” for example, or “Urban Digerati” or “Arts and Affluence” or “Silver Linings”) in order to manage and persuade populations.

How does it actually work? Who does it? How is money made? What difference does it make? How do these algorithmic identities influence our own sense of ourselves?

Join us as we play in a world where we are coerced to produce the data that is used to structure our lives in the interests of the largest corporations the world has ever known!

Details

  • Cluster Fucked plays at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Mature language; Audience participation; Sexual content.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. Check in at the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime, and a staff member will escort you to the venue. Accessible seating is in the front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 4th, 8:15 pm
  • Friday July 6th, 4:45 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 6:45 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 8:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 10:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 5:15 pm
  • Sunday July 15th, 5:45 pm

Image provided by the company