All posts by Tracey Beltrano

Review: The Skriker (Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts)

2341Toronto’s Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts takes on Caryl Churchill’s play The Skriker

The Skriker, by Caryl Churchill is no easy undertaking. In fact, I would suggest anyone who isn’t familiar with the play or playwright do a little research before attending, to get a better grasp of what you are about to see. It’s a dark and magical play that blends themes of love, revenge and loss. It’s surprising that freshly trained actors at The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts would be given the task of making sense of a very intense, imagery-driven script. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by their grasp of the text. Continue reading Review: The Skriker (Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts)

Review: Leading Ladies (Stage Centre Productions)

Toronto’s Stage Centre Productions presents Ken Ludwig’s farce Leading Ladies

Leading LadiesSadly, I did not enjoy last night’s opening performance of Leading Ladies presented by Stage Centre Productions at The Fairview Library Theatre. It’s community theatre but with the types of missteps that give community theatre a bad name. The show has a lot of heart but I definitely think it misses the mark on the essential polish and precision a farce so desperately needs to succeed. Continue reading Review: Leading Ladies (Stage Centre Productions)

Review: Boeing Boeing (Hart House Theatre)

Brandon Gillespie stars in Boeing Boeing at Hart House Theatre, Feb. 26-March 5, 2016 in Toronto, ON>

Hart House Theatre’s Classic Farce Soars

Boeing Boeing at Hart House Theatre is one heck of a non-stop , roller coaster of a farce. Written originally in French by Marc Camoletti, it was translated into English by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans. The version presented tonight was more current to the time, according to director Cory Doran, with a more palatable male/female dynamic then the original script would have had.

I absolutely love a good farce and this play definitely has all the elements that set it up for a great evening of hijinks. Bernard, “a swinging bachelor”, is engaged to three different stewardesses who never find out about each other thanks to the help of his faithful maid, Berthe. But when Bernard’s friend Robert arrives in town, things get out of whack and that’s when all the juicy stuff happens. Bernard’s once perfectly orchestrated timetable to keep each fiancée away from each other begins to falter, and they all end up in the same place at the same time. Continue reading Review: Boeing Boeing (Hart House Theatre)

Review: Threesome: An Evening Of One Acts (Minmar Gaslight Productions)

Threesome: An Evening Of One Acts plays at Red Sandcastle Theatre, Toronto ON. Feb. 16-20, 2016

Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre presents an evening of one acts with “something for everyone”

When you are experimenting with new works and going to present them in front of an audience, boy am I ever glad it’s in a one act format. Threesome: An Evening of One Acts playing at The Red Sandcastle Theatre claims to have something for everyone. This is true. Unfortunately though, everything is not for everyone.

Continue reading Review: Threesome: An Evening Of One Acts (Minmar Gaslight Productions)

Review: The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine (Soulpepper)

The Anger in Ernest And Ernestine (Soulpepper) runs January 25th-February 20th, 2016 at Young Centre For the Performing Arts, Toronto ON.Soulpepper show incorporates clowning, improv into relationship play, now on stage in Toronto

What did I just watch? I’ve never seen anything quite like The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine, playing at The Young Centre For The Performing Arts. I was expecting a simple comedic two-hander and instead got a package so stuffed with little treats and surprises, I couldn’t pull my eyes away for fear I would miss something.

This play is about the evolution of a couple’s relationship. From dating and being madly in love, to marriage and the realization that they are opposites. Continue reading Review: The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine (Soulpepper)

Review: The Last Five Years (Lower Ossington Theatre)

The Last Five Years runs January 21st-February 14th, 2016 at The Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto, ON.Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of the musical The Last Five Years is engaging

Fact: I’ve seen The Last Five Years about 42 times in various theatres around North America including the movie version starring Anna Kendrick. Also a fact: I absolutely love this little musical two-hander and never get tired of it.

I saw the original production back in NYC while it was still relatively unknown and have followed its evolution ever since. When I had the opportunity to review the Lower Ossington Theatre’s version, I naturally jumped at the chance. How can you go wrong with a beautifully written show (composed and written by Jason Robert Brown) and a talented cast? Continue reading Review: The Last Five Years (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Review: Germinal (Harbourfront Centre-World Stage 2016)

Germinal is playing Jan. 20-23, 2016 at Fleck Dance Theatre as part of Harbourfront World Stage 2016, Toronto ON.“Highly acclaimed” production Germinal plays on stage in Toronto

Tonight I caught the opening night performance of Germinal, a unique production from France, as part of Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2016 — and am I ever glad I did! I had no idea I was in for a theatrical experience of such epic proportions.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I read the show synopsis, but what I saw was pure magic. In Germinal, created by Halory Goerger and Antoine Defoort, four adventurers begin to remake the world from the beginning, right before our eyes. I was mesmerized by the section where they begin to discover voice, words, communication and social order.

Continue reading Review: Germinal (Harbourfront Centre-World Stage 2016)

Review: Love Me Forever Billy H. Tender (Videofag)

The latest show at Videofag in Toronto left our reviewer with more questions than answers

Love Me Forever Billy H. Tender, written by and starring Jesse LaVercombe is playing at Videofag in Toronto, ON. January 5th-12th, 2016Nothing pains me more than seeing a show that I struggle to understand. I felt like I could find the questions in this play but was left without the answers. Love Me Forever Billy H. Tender is a one-man show currently running at Videofag until January 12th and is written and performed by Jesse LaVercombe under the dramaturgy of award winning writer, Guillermo Verdecchia. Continue reading Review: Love Me Forever Billy H. Tender (Videofag)

Review: Domesticated (Company Theatre and Canadian Stage)


Martha Burns and Paul Gross in Domesticated by Bruce Norris, Nov. 17-Dec. 13, 2015 at Toronto's Berkeley Street Theatre

Domesticated, on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre, is full of “stellar female performances”

Domesticated, by Bruce Norris is currently getting its Canadian premiere thanks to The Company Theatre in partnership with Canadian Stage at The Berkeley Street Theatre. It’s a slick, 160 minute play that zips by so smoothly that you barely notice the length. I give all parties involved huge credit for that. Continue reading Review: Domesticated (Company Theatre and Canadian Stage)

Review: then, then (The Messy Kween Collective)

then-thenThe Messy Kween Collective presents Kyle Capstick’s play then, then in Toronto

In the words of my guest, “The author did not write a play so much as he did a lullaby.” Those are some fitting words for The Messy Kween Collective’s production of then, then by Kyle Capstick at the Majlis Art Garden.

Capstick admits to not “obey the rules of good playwriting”, and unfortunately, I would have to agree with him there. What Capstick writes is poetry and he writes it well. The imagery he manages to luxuriously unravel is clearly the workings of a talented writer. The problem is, it doesn’t work for me in theatrical form. If I was told I was coming to watch some creatively staged poetry, I might have felt less hostile toward the production. Continue reading Review: then, then (The Messy Kween Collective)