All posts by Tavish McGregor

On Twitter @tavishmcgregor

Review: Girl in the Goldfish Bowl (UC Follies)

UC Follies brings forth an interesting attitude toward life and toward character at Toronto’s Glen Morris Studio Theatre

It’s pretty hard to screw up a play like Morris Panych‘s Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, which wrapped up a short run with UC Follies last week.

The GG’d script of Panych is one of those rare absurdist comedies that shares an aesthetic kinship with films like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – especially in its ability to render the endless defeat of every day life with humour, and with that tireless, subtle arrogance that keeps us all moving forward. Continue reading Review: Girl in the Goldfish Bowl (UC Follies)

Back to work at the Factory

Behind-the-Toronto-scene peek at Factory Theatre’s new post-drama dramatic direction

Early next year, Toronto’s Factory Theatre will launch its first season following a year of turmoil that rippled out across Toronto’s theatre community. In case you missed any of the drama that engulfed Factory this year, here’s a brief recap of some recent episodes:

Last June, Factory’s board of directors dismissed artistic director and founder Ken Gass over a renovation dispute; prominent playwrights withdrew their performances from its upcoming season in protest and called for a boycott of the theatre; Ken Gass called his relationship with Factory Theatre history; and prominent Toronto theatre artists Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams decided to rise to the challenge of keeping the Factory humming as interim co-artistic directors. Continue reading Back to work at the Factory

Review: Concord Floral (Suburban Beast)

Actor, stage and projections fuse perfectly in Concord Floral playing at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille

High school was a horror show for just about everyone. Suburban Beast’s Concord Floral, a masterfully staged ninety-minute rehash of the worst years of our lives, offers a chance to relive the nightmare in style. (Bonus: it’s set in Vaughan.)

The gist: a group of suburban high school students come to grips with the murder of Christina, a school outsider. The murder takes place before the play begins, during a party at Concord Floral – a massive, abandoned greenhouse north of Toronto. The play’s namesake hangs ominously over every conversation. Continue reading Review: Concord Floral (Suburban Beast)

Review: Dinner with Goebbels (Act2studio)

Dinner with Goebbels brings the bad boys of propaganda together for a lively meal at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre

With his surprisingly human piece of political theatre, Dinner with Goebbels, playwright Mark Leith invites you to pull up a chair at what would surely be the Thanksgiving dinner from hell. Edward Bernays (the father of propaganda), Joseph Goebbels, and Karl Rove gather together for a glass of wine and a chat on what each of them has done to ruin humankind.

And like any dinner gone awry, what begins as a collegial back-patting session descends into mutual revulsion and a back-and-forth over which of them is the ugliest monster of man.

Staged in the tiny Red Sandcastle Theatre on Queen East (Bernays would call it “cozy”), the play makes the most of its venue with simple, subtle, effective direction and a wonderfully balanced cast. Continue reading Review: Dinner with Goebbels (Act2studio)

Review: Saucisse – A Foo Musical (Foo Productions)

Saucisse a Foo Musical Photo credit Neil Muscott Helen Donnelly as Foo

Get lost in the magic of Helen Donnelly’s Saucisse – A Foo Musical at Toronto’s Pia Bouman Scotiabank Theatre

The bare bones:

With humour and humility, seventy-five minutes and a pig puppet, Helen Donnelly one-ups just about any other comedy staged in Toronto this year.

Saucisse, playing at the Pia Bouman Scotiabank Theatre, explores friendship, fate and the pursuit of happiness; it manages, even, to lampoon the perversions of authority to which human beings are so disastrously prone. All this while delivering expertly timed comedy, merciless caricature, six professionally orchestrated musical numbers and a botany lesson.

Oh, and it’s not even written in English; it’s written in some kind of clown gobbledy-gook. Continue reading Review: Saucisse – A Foo Musical (Foo Productions)