All posts by Trevor Abes

Review: Human Animals (ARC)

ARC presents a site-specific production of Stef Smith’s play Human Animals in Toronto

Stef Smith’s Human Animals, produced by ARC, presents us with a dystopian vision of neighbours hanging onto sanity as Toronto’s animal population turns crazed with disease. Staged in St. Matthews Clubhouse, this site-specific work delivers on the thrill of impending apocalypse through realistic characters, whose everyday problems don’t go away just because the world might end.

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Review: Canadian Rajah (Canadian Actors’ Equity Association)

 Unknown true story from Canadian history is rediscovered in new site-specific performance at Toronto heritage building

The beauty of Canadian Rajah is in the ambitious stakes that playwright Dave Carley sets for himself, which the cast and crew quite admirably exceed. Namely, they bring a little-known piece of Canadian history to life: a family drama, involving sex, racism, Borneo royalty, and political intrigue, with only two actors to step into the roles of this sprawling, decades-long story. The play is at the end of a run of intimate performances at the Campbell House Museum.

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2019 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: A Bear Awake in Winter (Binocular Theatre)

A Bear Awake in Winter —playing at Toronto’s Factory Theatre as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival—is an absorbing, character-driven story about a high school music class. It’s a play on a mission: that of undoing the connection between discrimination and the need for constant vigilance in a world run by entitled men, and a sense of shame that it’s one’s own fault for having to always be on guard.

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Review: The Runner (Human Cargo)

A play by Toronto’s Human Cargo explores the Arab-Israeli conflict from a unique perspective

The Runner, produced by Human Cargo, dives into the moral and psychological weight of working for Z.A.K.A., a humanitarian group in Jerusalem in charge of gathering body parts—including those of perpetrators of violent acts—to be returned to families after disastrous events. Currently on at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, the work offers a ground-level view of the difficulty of seeing every person as human in a place where some are considered lesser than.

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Review: The Monkey Queen (Red Snow Collective)

Shapeshifters, spirits and demons take to the Toronto stage in The Monkey Queen

The Monkey Queen (Red Snow Collective)—on at The Theatre Centre—is a quietly subversive play that adds childlike wonder and a female perspective to Wu Cheng’En’s fable-filled novel Journey to the West, an adventurous quest for knowledge featuring monsters, demons, and spirits galore.

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Review: The art of degeneration (DanceWorks)

Acclaimed Toronto choreographer & dancer premieres thought-provoking full-length solo on decay, rebirth and celebrity.

In his first solo dance show, The art of degeneration (DanceWorks), Louis Laberge-Côté offers up meditations on decay, immorality, and self-destruction. His endearing, mischievous sense of humour transforms The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance into a lushly-coloured romp through history, both personal and public. With moves that find the hidden grace in things falling apart, being vulnerable with your demons is the only way to survive.

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Review: The Men in White (Factory Theatre)

The Governor General’s Literary Award finalist play opens in Toronto

Anosh Irani’s The Men in White, produced by Factory Theatre, brings renewed urgency to a quintessential topic in Canadian literature—that of the immigrant’s adaptation to the space between Canada and the homeland—by focusing less on assimilation and more on what it means to live a good life in a globalized world. Continue reading Review: The Men in White (Factory Theatre)

Del Manantial del Corazón (Sa’as Tún Theatre Company)

Vignettes about Mayan womanhood take the stage in Toronto as part of the 2018 RUTAS Festival

Del Manantial del Corazón (From the Spring of the Heart), by Mexico’s Sa’as Tún Theatre Company, is a collection of vignettes about Mayan womanhood that transcends the theatrical into spiritual connection. On at Aki Studio for the 2018 RUTAS Festival, the play highlights women and Indigenous tradition by fostering deep reverence for birth, death, and the balms of ritual and community. Continue reading Del Manantial del Corazón (Sa’as Tún Theatre Company)

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Stage)

Enjoy Shakespeare as the sun sets at Toronto’s Shakespeare in High Park

The production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at this year’s Shakespeare in High Park—currently running at the High Park Amphitheatre—is a straightforward adaptation of the classic play that sets itself apart with the high volume and calibre of comedy the cast is able to maintain.

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Thousand Beginnings (Under The Umbrella) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Gulce Oral and Jewels Krauss in Thousand Beginnings.

Thousand Beginnings is a piece of performance art that combines intensely physical choreography, philosophical poetry, and visually dazzling prop work into happenings about the expectations of femininity a woman needs to shed to find peace. It’s a substantive debut from Under The Umbrella and a challenging addition to the Toronto Fringe that will leave plenty to ponder after the curtain falls.

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