All posts by Vance Brews

King of the Castle (House of Rebels Theatre) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

KOTCKing of the Castle is a subversive piece of psychological theatre by House of Rebels Theatre that explores childhood trauma and abandonment in an emotionally draining, yet cathartic, hour at 2016’s Toronto Fringe Festival.

When you read King of the Castle’s synopsis, there’s a sense of what I would describe as whimsy attached to it; a young man finds one of his imaginary friends murdered and must reconnect with the other figments in his mind in order to solve the mystery. It’s a concept that made me imagine a brightly coloured set contrasted with a hard boiled detective story. King of the Castle is nothing like that.

Continue reading King of the Castle (House of Rebels Theatre) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Review: The Fairy Queen (Toronto Masque Theatre)

highres_450415369 by Michael Ruscigno (640x457)

Toronto Masque Theatre’s Fairy Queen is a New Experience

17th century theatre has always been a passion of mine, but I must admit the courtly masque style slipped past my radar. Without knowing anything about what I was getting into I was unsure as to what to expect when attending Toronto Masque Theatre’s production of The Fairy Queen. What I experienced was a fun and creative blend of the past and modern experience. Continue reading Review: The Fairy Queen (Toronto Masque Theatre)

Review: Scarberia (Young People’s Theatre)

Scarberia, YPT

YPT’s Scarberia is One of the Best Shows of 2016

With Scarberia, Young People’s Theatre have produced a play that not only explores the desperation and confusion of growing up but also goes far deeper into issues that transcend the traditional view of youth oriented theatre.

So often we assume that when something is aimed at the under 18 crowd that it’s going to be simplistic or even worse patronising. Writer Evan Placey has avoided both of these pitfalls and created a powerful script that YPT took and ran with, creating one of the best things I’ve seen in 2016.

Continue reading Review: Scarberia (Young People’s Theatre)

Review: The Beaux Stratagem (George Brown Theatre)

George Brown Theatre students bring The Beaux Stratagem to life in Toronto

I personally get a thrill whenever I have the opportunity to see live Restoration Comedy. It was the subject of one of my term papers in University and I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural importance that the style had over the citizens of England during Charles II’s reign. Getting a chance to see a production of George Farquhar’s The Beaux Stratagem was a real treat for me and I was really excited to see what the students of George Brown would bring to the material.

Continue reading Review: The Beaux Stratagem (George Brown Theatre)

Review: The Bitch of the Baskervilles (Socratic Theatre Collective)

Bitch promo photoToronto’s Socratic Theatre Collective presents a gender-swapped take on Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a character that gets a lot of interpretation, from the BBC’s Sherlock, to the CBS procedural Elementary to the films starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law (Just to name some adaptations from recent history), when a writer needs a hyper-intellectual detective with barely functioning social skills the resident of 22B Baker street is a go-to choice.

The Socratic Theatre Collective have followed suit with their latest production, putting their own spin on the classic detective by genderswapping almost every character from the Holmes canon and sending them to run amok in a metafictional examination of the classic stories.

Continue reading Review: The Bitch of the Baskervilles (Socratic Theatre Collective)

Review: The Winter’s Tale (Groundling Theatre Company)

233 - Tom McCamus and Lucy Peacock in the Groundling Theatre Production of The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare, at the Coal Mine Theatre. Director Graham Abbey, Set and Lighting Designer Steve Lucas, Costume Co-designers Michael Gianfrancesco and Jenna McCutchen, Photo: Michael CooperToronto’s Groundling Theatre Company presents Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale

For many people, the famous stage direction “Exit, pursued by a bear” is the only thing they know about Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. This is understandable as the tonal dissonance between the play’s first three acts and the last two makes it a difficult play to explore when we’re first learning about Shakespeare in school, but it’s unfortunate because it’s also one of the more interesting of Shakespeare’s plays for that exact same reason.

It’s also a fantastic choice for Groundling Theatre‘s debut piece in their new home at the Coal Mine Theatre.

Continue reading Review: The Winter’s Tale (Groundling Theatre Company)

Review: Avaricious (Theatre Gargantua)


Photo of Avaricious Ensemble by Michael Cooper

Theatre Gargantua presents Avaricious on stage at the Passe Muraille in Toronto

Greed is a concept that seems to haunt our society constantly. With the rise of wealth disparity to the constant debate about the place of corporations and their role in society’s guidance and development, the subject of greed is fine fodder for theatrical exploration. Theatre Gargantua’s new production, Avaricious, dives into the material with a great deal of glee and creativity.

Continue reading Review: Avaricious (Theatre Gargantua)

Review: Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show (Eldritch Theatre)

Doc Wuthergloom kicks off the Halloween season at the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto

Eric Woolfe in Doc Wuthergloom's Haunted Medicine ShowIt’s October, and that means it’s time for those theatrical productions of the more macabre variety to crawl out from under the floorboards and regale Toronto with all the creepy crawly goodness of the Halloween season. One such production you’re not going to want to miss is Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show from Eldritch Theatre.

Continue reading Review: Doc Wuthergloom’s Haunted Medicine Show (Eldritch Theatre)