Shadowplay offers a short and delightful taste of experimental Toronto Theatre
If you had the power to choose, would you grow up? This is the main theme that Shadowplay is centred around. The Humber Theatre presents Third Panel’s Shadowplay: The Peter Pan Variations, a theatrical piece developed by Production and Performance students. Inspired by Peter Pan, this production combines acting, dancing, singing all through the eyes of young children.
I read in the program that the play began without a script, something that was apparent as I watched this performance. It felt very disjointed but the actors were mostly able to make it work since they were portraying children, who by nature are flighty, volatile, indecisive and fragile. Through costumes and hair and makeup, each actor really did look like a child, something that generally proves difficult for a group of 20-somethings to do. And most actors nailed the childish voices and mannerisms that used to come second nature to all of us. Continue reading Shadowplay: The Peter Pan Variations (Humber Theatre Third Panel)
It’s Toronto’s chance to get on stage with the Canadian Opera Company with an open casting call for supernumeraries
I’m happy to say that I attended my first opera not too long ago when I saw Tristan & Isolde on opening night at the Four Seasons Centre. As much as I loved it, I still felt like I had so many questions about the opera and the mechanics of creating such an intense production. For a show that was as minimalist in terms of set, costume and sheer number of bodies on stage as Tristan was, I wondered how even bigger productions function.
Enter the leaflet for the open casting call for supernumeraries at the Canadian Opera Company. I saw it at nearly the same time that my editor asked me if I would be interested in developing a story about the supernumeraries, or “supers”, of the opera world. Continue reading The World of Supernumeraries
Love and war get hairy at Toronto’s Papermill Theatre
If you’re anything like me, you assumed that Hair: The American Tribal-Love Rock Musical was going to be about heavy metal rock bands in the 1980s. I couldn’t have been more off. The title Hair represents the subculture of young men and women who grew their hair long, rejecting mainstream society and everything their parents’ generation stood for. The musical debuted as an Off-Broadway production in 1967 and has such a fun time highlighting the counterculture and free love movements that the 1960s have long become associated with. Continue reading Review: Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (First Act Productions)
Real Christmas magic with Opera Atelier’s Magic Castle at Toronto’s beautiful Casa Loma
Mozart’s Magic Castle is put on in the beautiful Casa Loma and features several interactive activities and performances that are inspired by Mozart’s famous opera, the Magic Flute. The actual opera performance is a short snippet of three arias that is more like a preview for Opera Atelier’s upcoming spring performance of the Magic Flute.
The performance took place in the Great Hall, a huge room with a gigantic Christmas tree that would surely astound Buddy the elf. It was filled with dozens of children; Girl Guides with their leaders, kids with their parents and a just few adults without children. The children somehow knew -or perhaps I missed the instructions- to form a large circle on the floor so that the two performers could leap into the centre to sing their songs as close to their audience as possible. Continue reading Review: Mozart’s Magic Castle (Opera Atelier)
Masterful performances in Lord of the Flies at Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre
I’m sure most of us can say we were forced to read Lord of the Flies in our high school English class at some point. But whether or not you enjoyed it back then – and I’m trying desperately to remember if I even liked it or not! – you’re sure to love this theatre adaptation of the time-tested classic by Nigel Williams. Continue reading Review: Lord of the Flies (Lower Ossington Theatre)
My Name is Not Carmen! offers catchy flamenco music and talented dancing
When I heard that My Name is Not Carmen! was a fusion of flamenco, poetry and music, this was not what I expected. If you’re like me, when you think of flamenco music, you think of bright colours, catchy music and the kind of dancing that you’d love to join in with, if only you didn’t have two left feet. But this show was anything but.
The production features Yana Maizel and tells her story of her journey from Russia to Toronto and then to Spain, although the audience is never told why or how. She begins the show tap dancing and then moves on to flamenco dancing as the show progresses and the music starts to pick up. Parts of the poetry components were in Russian and French, which I found to be confusing since most people in the audience probably weren’t trilingual. Continue reading Review: My Name is Not Carmen! (Show One Productions and Toronto International Flamenco Festival)
C-words abound in Toronto’s Theatre Bassaris’ production of a one-man comedy about a fellow’s secret cancer struggle
I went into My Second Smile not knowing what to expect, other than that it was a one-man show. It turned out to be a one-man show about the c-word (cancer, to clear up any confusion for those with minds in the gutter) that was a really good time. Excellent comedic timing, acting and even dancing come together in this hour-long production about a 16 year old boy’s secret struggle with cancer. Continue reading My Second Smile (Theatre Bassaris)
You’re almost guaranteed to have a light-hearted, good time at The Big Bang, playing at the York Woods Library Theatre. This silly, funny production tells the history of the human race with musical numbers in the same sketch-like format that you’d see on a variety show or on Saturday Night Live.
The cast is comprised of two characters, Boyd (played by David Haines) and Jed (played by Joe Cascone), two men whose on-stage chemistry makes it a delight to watch. They are joined by Aunt Rivka (played by Susan Sanders) at the piano along with the occasional cameo appearance by Schatzi (played by Flicka), the dog. Continue reading Review: The Big Bang (Civic Light Opera Company)
Confronting constructions of past, memory, and history in Solferino at Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre.
Written by Emily Johnson, Solferino picks up two years before Red Cross founder Henry Dunant’s death. Dunant is forcefully persuaded by nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale to finish writing his memoirs and must confront his past: both the good and the bad.
Solferino’s portrayal of Dunant’s struggle to write his memoirs and confront the ghosts of his past seems to be something that many people can identify with. Dunant finds it difficult to reconcile what actually happened with how he would prefer to remember the past as happening, portraying himself in a rosy tinted haze. Nightingale scolds Dunant for refusing to remember things as they actually occurred and ultimately helps him be honest with himself in the years before his death. Continue reading Review: Solferino (Rogue & Peasant Theatre)
Theatre in Toronto gets interactive with this darkly comedic production from the Templeton Philharmonic.
If you’re looking for a laugh-filled evening and interactive theatre experience with the added luxury of air conditioning, get yourself to Sockdolager before it’s too late! Hilariously funny with a touch of twisted macabre, this performance offers each audience something a little different every time.
Boasting a different ending at every performance, audience members are invited to bring their ticket back and see the performance as many times as they’d like (space permitting!).
Created by the Templeton Philharmonic (the spectacular duo of Gwynne Phillips and Briana Templeton), this dark comedy is performed at the historic Campbell House, a beautiful historic home that seems out of place in downtown Toronto. Continue reading Review: Sockdolager (The Templeton Philharmonic)