All posts by Wayne Leung

Wayne is a writer, editor and corporate communications professional who is thrilled to be a part of the Mooney on Theatre team. Wayne has loved theatre ever since his aunt brought him to a production of Les Misérables at the tender age of ten . . . despite the fact that, at that age, the show’s plot was practically indiscernible and the battle scenes scared the bejeezus out of him. Wayne’s current list of likes runs the gamut from opera, ballet and Shakespeare to Broadway musicals, circus and Fringe theatre. Outside of the theatre Wayne’s interests include travel, technology and food.

Review: FELA! (Mirvish)

Mirvish presents the hit Broadway musical FELA! at Toronto’s Canon Theatre through November 6, 2011.

When Sahr Ngaujah leaps out onto the stage as the title character in FELA! and cries out, “Let me hear you say, ‘yeah, yeah’”, the audience responds with an exuberant, “Yeah, yeah!” Our instinctive enthusiasm is ultimately well placed for this heart-pounding and thrilling performance.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti isn’t exactly a household name and many of us are probably unaware of who he was. A gifted Nigerian musician, Kuti was the father of the Afrobeat jazz genre of music, a fusion of jazz, funk, rock and traditional West African music and rhythms.

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Review: HARDSELL 2.0 (Factory Theatre, Necessary Angel and WYRD)

Factory Theatre presents Rick Miller in HARDSELL 2.0 through October 23.

Make no mistake about it, Rick Miller is incredibly talented. He sings, he dances, he acts and is capable of doing about a zillion spot-on impersonations. However, HARDSELL 2.0 which follows hot on the heels of his two other solo efforts, MacHomer and Bigger Than Jesus, opening this season at Factory Theatre may not be the best showcase for the man’s many talents.

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Review: Another Africa (Canadian Stage and Volcano Theatre)

Canadian Stage opens its 2011-12 season with Volcano Theatre’s Another Africa.

Another Africa brings together a cast, crew and creative team from over a dozen countries to create a theatrical dialogue between Africa and the West, and is also an exhilarating start to the Canadian Stage season.

The production is the end-result of a series of workshops beginning in 2007 and first appeared at the 2010 Luminato Festival as The Africa Trilogy where it garnered raves from critics and audiences alike.

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Review: Spring Awakening (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre (The LOT) kicks off its new season with 8-time Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, now playing through October 8, 2011.

Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by 90s alt-rocker Duncan Sheik. It’s based on a play of the same title by German playwright Frank Wedekind.

Written in 1891, Wedekind’s story is about a group of teens in a provincial German town struggling to deal with their budding sexuality in a stifling, repressive society. The stuffy, prudish adults in their lives all but ignore them in their need for sex education and leave them to deal with the consequences of acting on their throbbing biological urges.

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Review: Come Fly Away (Dancap)

Dancap Productions presents choreographer Twyla Tharp’s tribute to Frank Sinatra Come Fly Away at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts through August 28, 2011.

I’ll admit I have a bit of an affinity for the old jazz crooners. The songs of Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin and of course Frank Sinatra are regular fixtures on my iPod playlists. Songs like “My Way” and “I’ve Got the World on a String” feature prominently in my shower concert sets, as my condo neighbors will undoubtedly attest.

The brassy big band arrangements of Frank Sinatra’s songs have the uncanny ability to make me feel nostalgic for an era in which I never even lived. That’s why I was interested in seeing Come Fly Away despite the fact that I’m not usually a fan of jukebox musicals or tribute shows.

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The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination (Birdtown and Swanville) 2011 SummerWorks Review

In The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination, writers Aurora Steward de Peña and Nika Mistruzzi explore some interesting hypothetical questions.

What if some of the most powerful and ruthless despots in the history of the world, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Oliver Cromwell, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Pancho Villa, Pope Pius XII, and Chairman Mao could meet together in a summit? What if they were pitted against each other in a game show-like contest to determine which among them would be named the strongest man who ever lived? Continue reading The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination (Birdtown and Swanville) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Review: The Glass Menagerie (Soulpepper)

Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company presents Tennessee Williams’ classic American tale of longing, disappointment and unfulfilled dreams, The Glass Menagerie at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts through September 10, 2011.

Written in 1946, The Glass Menagerie was Tennessee Williams’ breakthrough play and has since become one of the most prolific works of the American theatre. Soulpepper’s production of The Glass Menagerie is an exquisitely directed, beautifully acted and wonderfully designed tribute to the classic story.

Following up on their stunning production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman last year, Soulpepper is firmly establishing its reputation for brilliant interpretations of the classic works of the American theatre canon.

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Review: Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking (Mirvish)

Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

After a successful run on Broadway, Mirvish brings film star and author Carrie Fisher to Toronto for the Canadian premiere of her one-woman confessional show Wishful Drinking, now on stage at the Royal Alexandra Theatre through August 21.

Much can and has been said of Carrie Fisher; actress, author, mental-illness survivor, recovered alcoholic, daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, cultural icon, tabloid fodder and unwitting masturbatory aide for a generation of sci-fi geeks the world over.

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Wanda T. Grimsby Detective Extraordinaire (Little Monsters and Ax-Ent) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Wanda T. Grimsby is Toronto’s top detective-slash-adventurer. Wanda works for the mysterious Franco-Russian, Big Bittions who finds companionship in the giant eyeball she carries around with her (the “private eye”) and has a fondness for prattling on in a comically exaggerated French accent.

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