All posts by Tavish McGregor

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Petrichor (Kitchenband) SummerWorks 2012 Review

Few people head out to a Mennonite homestead in pursuit of riveting drama. Bear this in mind as you watch Petrichor, staged by Kitchenband at Factory Theatre during SummerWorks, and you’ll do just fine. A unique aesthetic experience that’s more about exploring the rhythms of farm life than the intricacies of its characters, Petrichor delivers on Kitchenband’s promise of stories “inspired by the Canadian landscape and history.”

Continue reading Petrichor (Kitchenband) SummerWorks 2012 Review

Review: We’ve Only Just Begun (The Weaker Vessels)

The Weaker Vessels offer comedic styles of surprising scope and depth.

Should you, for the price of a pint, head over to The Annex Live and check out The Weaker Vessels’ We’ve Only Just Begun? The answer is yes, but for the theatergoer of discerning comedic tastes, a few issues to consider:

Do you enjoy a snifter of fine cognac – Courvoisier, say – and are you insulted when it’s made light of? You might want to think twice. Same goes if you’re offended by horny widows, Nazi beekeepers, or watching a young Winston Churchill try his hand at a few yo’ momma jokes. Continue reading Review: We’ve Only Just Begun (The Weaker Vessels)

Best of Fringe Uptown: The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare BASH’d)

If you’re like any other theatre fan in Toronto, you have serious Fringe withdrawal right about now, and wish you’d seen at least one more show. Take heart: Shakespeare BASH’d performs its raucous, inventive take on The Taming of the Shrew three more times over the next few days during the Best of Fringe. Continue reading Best of Fringe Uptown: The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare BASH’d)

Buffering… (Jamsammy) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Buffering… skewers modern intellectual property laws by “working with the scraps of the public domain: a princess, a witch, and a live audience.” The play, staged at Theatre Passe Muraille, during Toronto Fringe opens in a mythical realm faced with impending financial doom (it’s not the EU). A rhyme-happy “Fool” (AJ Vaage) functions as the accountant for the land, and takes stock of its grim fiscal prospects:

“Since we’re balls-deep in debt, and nothing is free, I hereby beget these austerity measures three.”

Continue reading Buffering… (Jamsammy) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Fake News Fangirl (Third Beat Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Arrive at Fake News Fangirl knowing what to expect, and you’ll walk away impressed. Sharilyn Johnson (Third Beat Productions) puts on one-woman show at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace that’s part memoir, part exposé, and peppered here and there with comedy and the awkward anecdotes of adolescence and early career.

Continue reading Fake News Fangirl (Third Beat Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Speare – Part II (Bear Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

There’s no sure-fire formula for success at Fringe, but the festival’s best plays have at least two things in common: they prize character over plot, and they deliver on whatever promises they’ve made the audience.

Bear Production’s Speare at the Factory Theatre Mainspace is an intelligent, ambitious idea – an interesting thought experiment given life by a talented cast. But it fails on both these counts. Continue reading Speare – Part II (Bear Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

The Enchanted Crackhouse (the Enchanted Collective) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

In the back corner of the Fringe Club lies an enchanted crackhouse. Hand the creative reins of Fred Penner’s Place over to Seth Macfarlane, and you’ll get a rough approximation of the Enchanted Collective’s inventive, sometimes cringe-worthy work of genius.

The play stars Virginia (Kristin Mueller-Heaslip), a virtuous young woman with the innocence and vocal chords of a seasoned soprano, on a quest to rescue her sister – “Well, she’s my twin sister, only she’s a prostitute addicted to crack” – from the clutches of the Kralk (Daniel Krolik), a greaseball human-rodent hybrid. Continue reading The Enchanted Crackhouse (the Enchanted Collective) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Speare – Part I (Bear Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

If you liked the way The Avengers grabbed every Marvel superhero under the sun and thrust him into a two-hour, story-arc-be-damned battle royale, but you felt the film needed a dash of literary pretension, you’re in luck. Bear Productions’ Speare, staged in two parts during Fringe at the Factory Theatre, invites you to dust off your Spark Notes and get your nerd on.

Continue reading Speare – Part I (Bear Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: Staging a Rebellion (Docket Theatre)

A reenactment of the Occupy Toronto events in Rosamund Small's "Performing Occupy Toronto," which forms the second half of Docket Theatre's "Staging a Rebellion."

 A Farewell Party and Performing Occupy Toronto make up an exciting double-bill from Docket Theatre.

Staging a Rebellion combines two plays well worth viewing in their own right, but the double-bill is best enjoyed if you allow yourself to forget this. A tragicomic night of rebellion in different contexts, Docket Theatre’s offering questions the ambition and capability of younger generations in fresh, surprising ways. Continue reading Review: Staging a Rebellion (Docket Theatre)