All posts by Trevor Abes

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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Echoes (Omnika In Motion) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Picture of Maeghan Tuckey, Alex Papaconstantinou, Isabella de Almeida Aidar, and Rowynn Lloyd in Echoes.

Echoes, by Omnika In Motion, is a multi-disciplinary dance piece that reinterprets the classic trope of Jekyll and Hyde through props, shadow play, and genres as diverse as belly dance, jazz, hip-hop, and circus. Currently playing at Factory Theatre, the show represents a refreshingly plot-free, dialogue-free option compared to the more straightforward stories one might encounter at Toronto Fringe.

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Wounds to the Face (Randolph College) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Abigail Carey in Wounds to the Face.

For their production of Wounds to the Face, Howard Barker’s surreal treatise on identity, director Matjash Mrozewski and the actors from Randolph College have bitten off more than they can chew. Currently playing at the Annex Theatre, this Toronto Fringe offering relies too heavily on its amateur cast to carry a play where strong characters are the main dish.

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How to be FEARLESS! (With Roxy Roberts) (Binocular Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Ali Joy Richardson in How to be FEARLESS! (With Roxy Roberts).

How to be FEARLESS (With Roxy Roberts) — by Binocular Theatre — is a play about a firecracker of a motivation speaker and the self-defense course she creates in response to being harassed and threatened with physical violence. Currently showing at Bell Tower Coffee, this sure-fire Toronto Fringe favourite blends consistently sharp comedy, incisive drama, and a performance from Ali Joy Richardson (in the title role) that accepts nothing less than going for the fences.

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Review: Molly Bloom (Fourth Gorgon Theatre)

Fourth Gorgon Theatre explores the Ulysses character in four unique parts, playing in Toronto

The main draw for Molly Bloom — on stage at Majlis Art Garden until June 16 — is the precision and confidence that come from Fourth Gorgon Theatre having developed the show over the last five years. Seeing as we’re dealing with an adaptation of the last chapter of James Joyce’s notoriously dense Ulysses, cohesion is exactly what you’re looking for.

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Review: The ‘94 Club (Crave Productions)

Sexuality and identity are key themes in this play, now on stage at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre

Entry to The ‘94 Club—currently running at the Tarragon Theatre—grants you a gorgeously written and deeply empathetic play about a crew of fifteen-year-old girls exploring their sexualities. They devise a competition among themselves to this end, one that makes for a riveting survey of sex, gender, and consent as they grapple with these concepts for the first time.

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Review: Tell Me What It’s Called and Mr. Truth (Tell Me Theatre, Lester Trips (Theatre), Why Not Theatre)

Two challenging, unconventional works currently playing on the Toronto stage

Tell Me What It’s Called and Mr. Truth are the latest examples of the quality independent theatre that the RISER Project has built its reputation on supporting. They are also the latest reasons why The Theatre Centre remains a leading space for risk-taking on stage.

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Review: F*ck L*ve, The Dancing Man of Macklin Street, Governing Ourselves, and Oracle Jane (Alumnae Theatre Company)

Four new plays open the New Ideas Festival at the Alumnae in Toronto

The first week of the 30th annual New Ideas Festival—organized by the Alumnae Theatre Company on this its 100th year—offers four new plays. Each one disentangles different approaches to the concept of following what you feel is right, and how that can come back and haunt you.

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Review: Homewrecker (Coyote Collective/Leroy Street Theatre/Scapegoat Collective)

Photo of Blue Bigwood-Mallin and Susannah Mackay in HomewreckerHomewrecker, a new play by Danny Pagett, is now playing at Toronto’s Assembly Theatre

If a play’s purpose is to offer a take on a specific subject, I’m expecting a nuanced perspective to run through its core, and that is certainly the case with Homewrecker.

Currently running at The Assembly Theatre, the story centres on a cheating, self-loathing divorcee named Craig (Blue Bigwood-Mallin) eager to figure out where he went wrong, and Veronica (Susannah Mackay), the woman he cheated with, whose steely resolve he needs to put himself back together. Craig’s basement apartment—uncanny in its execution by set designer Chris Bretecher—sets a believable backdrop for the play’s extravagant central conceit: Craig’s $5000 offer to Veronica for a night’s company to prove to himself that he’s able to avoid seducing her again and is thus not the deviant sexual animal he thinks he is.

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