All posts by Vance Brews

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Review: Click Bait & Switch (The Second City Toronto)

SC - CLICK BAIT & SWITCH - Photo 005Second City Toronto debuts its Fall mainstage sketch comedy revue Click Bait & Switch

It’s that time of year again; as the leaves start feeling the icy grip of fall approaching and start changing colour in some desperate attempt to give their short lives meaning, Second City has opened up their Fall Revue, Click Bait & Switch, for sketch comedy and improv fans alike to enjoy in the Second City mainstage theatre.

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Review: Stories from the Generation Gap (Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies University of Toronto)

University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies presents Stories from the Generation Gap 

Promotional image for Stories from the Generation GapIt’s always a bit of a challenge when first getting involved in a community of any kind, from a subculture to just your local neighbourhood. The LGBT community is no different with its wide array of networks and organizations and incredibly diverse population in Toronto alone. In Cameron Crookston’s Tales from the Generation Gap these challenges are placed under the spotlight, highlighting not only the varied experiences of a variety of individuals within the community but also showcasing a glimpse of not only Toronto’s LGBT history but North America as a whole through a verbatim script adapted from years of interviews.

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Feature: Second City Training Centre Expansion


The Second City Training Centre in Toronto expands their facilities for more classes and students

Since its doors opened in 1973, The Second City has been a mainstay of the comedy and performance landscape of Toronto. It’s hard to take transit at all in the city without seeing at least one poster for the organization’s Mainstage shows and it seems at times that every other comedian or improviser in the city has taken at least one class from the organization. That’s not just a sweeping statement mind you, it’s also playing the odds.

The current Second City Training Centre has over 1100 people coming in at least once a week for classes, a number that has doubled over the past five years. It’s been an impressive growth for the company and now they’re looking to grow even more, with an expansion of not only their class options but also a physical expansion of their training facility.

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Review: The Art of Being Alone (Moose + Moa Theatre Company)

This one-man show is a “fine debut” for Moose + Moa, a new Toronto-based theatre company.

We all have to deal with loneliness at some point in our lives. For some it’s merely a road bump that we work through and move on from, but we’ve all known that crushing bout of isolation that leaves us curled up in bed listening to the same song over and over again in a twisted spiral of depression and romanticism.

In The Art of Being Alone, Moose + Moa Theatre Company explores this experience in a solid 50 minutes that’s equal parts poignant and hilarious.

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