Next Stage Review

Reviews of shows in the Toronto Next Stage Festival

Morro and Jasp: Save the Date (U.N.I.T. Productions) 2020 Next Stage Review

Photo of Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee in Morro and Jasp: Save the DateMorro and Jasp: Save the Date is being presented by U.N.I.T Productions as part of the 2020 Next Stage Theatre Festival. The show was originally performed as part of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. It’s the latest installment in the on-going adventures of two clown sisters. I had never seen any of their previous shows, and I was glad to finally be able to catch one. I found it gentle and charming – a perfect antidote to all the bad news out there.

Continue reading Morro and Jasp: Save the Date (U.N.I.T. Productions) 2020 Next Stage Review

Every Silver Lining (Silver Lining Productions) 2020 Next Stage Review

Photo of Allison Wither and Laura Piccinin in the promo photo for Every Silver Lining

Returning to the Next Stage Festival after a hugely successful run at the 2019 Toronto Fringe is Every Silver Lining, a refreshing new musical that is both light and youthful and a downright tearjerker. The story and music hit at just the right level; these characters sound like teenagers living through teenage lives, and as we’ve all lived through these years, you are bound to laugh, cry, and relate.

Continue reading Every Silver Lining (Silver Lining Productions) 2020 Next Stage Review

49th Day (Theatre ARTaud) 2020 Next Stage Review

Photo of athena kaitlin trinh in 49th Day by Tanja Tiziana

In 49th Day by athena kaitlin trinh, produced by Theatre ARTaud at the 2020 Next Stage Theatre Festival, a young woman (trinh) travels from Canada to Vietnam to fulfill the ritual requirements for her deceased grandmother (Diana Tso). The titular number of days refers to the length of time rice and offerings are brought to the altar for the dead.

Swearing up a storm and wrecking the ritual order, granddaughter is torn between a desire to honour her grandmother and to rage at her for her departure. She’s desperate to have one final, parting moment of connection with a woman and a culture both ever-present and distant to her. Highly specific yet universal, her story is a familiar one to many grandchildren of immigrants: she has Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, but admits her limited knowledge of those cultures’ languages and histories runs from rudimentary to almost non-existent, respectively.

Continue reading 49th Day (Theatre ARTaud) 2020 Next Stage Review

Literally Titanium (Ophira Calof) 2020 Next Stage Review

Photo of Ophira Calof in Literally Titanium by Tyra SweetWhen the temporary technical battles of the very first show of the  2020 Next Stage Theatre Festival had been won, Ophira Calof’s opening night of Literally Titanium presented us with another war: one waged between her own mind and body.

Troublesome DNA has left her with titanium in her spine to help hold her head up. She also uses a seriously cool power chair to transport her around the stage, making loops with vigour and grace.

Continue reading Literally Titanium (Ophira Calof) 2020 Next Stage Review