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.

Review: Dracula: A Love Story (Brant Theatre Workshops)

Casa Loma makes a perfect setting for Brant Theatre’s re-imagining of Dracula

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – a love story that “has crossed oceans of time to find you”, set in no better backdrop than Toronto’s own castle, Casa Loma. It is dark, gothic and eternally beautiful; it is the story of Dracula re-imagined by Sharyl Hudson for Brant Theatre Workshops. Hudson takes the classic Bram Stoker masterpiece and brings it to life utilizing the stunning rooms of the first and second floor of Casa Loma.

Continue reading Review: Dracula: A Love Story (Brant Theatre Workshops)

Review: My Heart is a Spoon – First Incarnation (Across Oceans)

My Heart is a Spoon is a work in progress in development at The Theatre Centre in Toronto with its first incarnation showing January 19 – 22.

What is rage? How do you express it and where does it come from? How does it affect you? Where does it affect you? This is what My Heart is a Spoon (produced by Across Oceans) explores through the use of dance and movement, music, vocalized sound, lights and projected manga imagery on the walls and floor. Continue reading Review: My Heart is a Spoon – First Incarnation (Across Oceans)

Review: UnEarth – In Search of Self (Helix Dance Project)

Unearth. Unravel. Unveil. These are the three layers that are explored and stripped away in Helix Dance Project’s hour-long production showcasing at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. Being a huge fan of dance (as testament to my previous dance experience during this summer’s Fringe Festival), I was eager to check out UnEarth – In Search of Self.

Having spent the day exploring Toronto with my boyfriend, Bob, along for the ride, an exploration of movement and dance seemed like the best way to cap off the evening. As we took to our seats, escorted to box seats but opting for top row instead, we settled in for the show.

Continue reading Review: UnEarth – In Search of Self (Helix Dance Project)

Review: 2000 Candles (The Arts Engine)

‘Tis the season for the fat man in the red suit to descend upon millions of homes across the globe while riding a sleigh propelled by reindeer travelling faster than the speed of sound. How else is he supposed to visit every home in the span of one night?

‘Tis the season for Christmas pageants gone awry complete with mini-prima donnas playing Mary and that awkward kid chewing
on the ear of his sheep’s costume. ‘Tis the season for 2000 Candles,
a delightfully hilarious set of vignettes celebrating the many ways Christmas is celebrated. Continue reading Review: 2000 Candles (The Arts Engine)

Review: Uncharted Zones – A Sequence of Four (Monkeyman Productions)

It’s like watching The Twilight Zone – four episodes exploring the human connection with the unknown and the unexpected and how we cope with what we will never know. Each piece is a rest stop along a galactic highway of past and future. This is what you can expect when sitting down to experience Uncharted Zones by Monkeyman Productions.

Directed by Martin Chodorek, written by D. J. Sylvis, and featuring the performances of Martha Girvin, Jennifer Kenneally, Michael Mackinnon, Amanda Ives, and Leeman Kessler as The Tour Guide, these four mini plays provoke the audience to ponder life in ways many have not considered. Continue reading Review: Uncharted Zones – A Sequence of Four (Monkeyman Productions)

Review: The One – Love and Obsession Theatre (Good Humour Productions)

What is it to fall in love? And while we’re at it, what does it mean to find The One? How about multiple ones? How many “ones” are there for a single person? And if one chooses to limit themselves to a single “one” how many other possible “ones” are we then closing ourselves off to? June Morrow explores the act of loving and finding love in her one-woman show aptly titled The One. Continue reading Review: The One – Love and Obsession Theatre (Good Humour Productions)

Review: Cabaret Enchanté (Les Coquettes)

It’s the Sunday before Halloween Monday and after a long month of new job stress, is it so much to ask for an evening with gorgeous nearly naked girls (and guys)? I sure hope not. I harbour a distinct admiration for the art of burlesque and when I read about Les CoquettesCabaret Enchanté show of fairy tales gone awry, I jumped at the opportunity.

When my date, Bob, and I arrived at the Revival club, we were pleasantly surprised by the huge crowd filing through the doors – a sea of beautifully adorned people: fascinators, pin-curls, glitz, glitter and costumes galore. The crowd took their seats and when the lights dimmed and the music started, our gaze wasn’t captured by the stage up front but by the spotlight focused to the back of the club as the cast of stunningly dolled up performers took to the stage through the crowd. Continue reading Review: Cabaret Enchanté (Les Coquettes)

Review: I Send You This Cadmium Red (Canadian Stage and Art of Time Ensemble)

It’s not a play; it’s not a standard story that you can easily follow along. It has elements of dance, movement and spoken word against bright colourful projections all set to live orchestrated music. Different is an understatement, you have to see it to really understand it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first walked into the Berkeley Street Theatre to witness I Send You This Cadmium Red so I simply allowed myself to be taken where the performance was going to take me. It turned out to be a rather unexpected ride. Continue reading Review: I Send You This Cadmium Red (Canadian Stage and Art of Time Ensemble)

Review: A Fool’s Life (Ahuri Theatre in Association with Why Not Theatre)

I’m beginning to see a theme in the recent plays I’ve seen on behalf of MoT. I’m drawn to stories driven by intense emotion – passion, rage and obsession – yet still maintaining a sense of whimsy, of humor and also the macabre. Something that is in essence beautifully grotesque. The show I was asked to review last night covers all of that. Just in time to draw in a month of horror comes A Fool’s Life presented by Ahuri Theatre and Why Not Theatre based on the works of Akutagawa Ryunosuke.

The play is comprised of three short stories The Nose, Horse Legs and Hell Screen commonly narrated by Julian DeZotti portraying Akutagawa himself. In a series of flashbacks and memories, the production reflects the writer’s chaotic life and his battles with mental illness that ultimately lead to his suicide. Continue reading Review: A Fool’s Life (Ahuri Theatre in Association with Why Not Theatre)

Review: Pains of Youth (WORKhouse Theatre)

“Bourgeois existence or suicide.” I can’t find a better way of describing Pains of Youth, an adaptation by Martin Crimp based on the play Krankheit der Jugend (The Sickness of Youth) by Austrian playwright Theodor Tagger writing under the pseudonym Ferdinand Bruckner and directed by Richie Wilcox. “Warning: Contains scenes of sexual and emotional violence” also serves as a great description. This production is not for the faint of heart. Continue reading Review: Pains of Youth (WORKhouse Theatre)