Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: A Very Leila Christmas (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Get into the Christmas spirit with Leila in this Toronto show

Through a Persian princess’s eyes, Christmas begins when the Starbuck’s cups turn red, sugar walking sticks are sold, and the arguing begins about when it’s appropriate to play the music with the bells in it. A Very Leila Christmas, presented by Theatre Passe Muraille and A Bad Girl Leila, is the best way to get into the REAL Christmas spirit. Continue reading Review: A Very Leila Christmas (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Review: From The Water (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Photo of Will King by Will KingPlay balances speculation with comedy in Toronto

Believable science fiction is difficult to achieve on stage, a fact acknowledged by Eric Helle, director of Seven Siblings Theatre’s production of From The Water, which is now playing at the Tarragon Extraspace. Much of science fiction relies on the ability to create believable worlds and advanced technology, something that tends to require an enormous effects budget. Low-budget theatre knows it can’t really compare, so it has to concentrate its efforts elsewhere. Anyone who’s a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series and its cardboard sets, however, knows that it’s the characters and ideas that really matter in the long run. In these ways, From The Water largely succeeds in captivating our imaginations.

Continue reading Review: From The Water (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Review: Reversible by The 7 Fingers (Mirvish)

Photo of Hugo Ragetly, Natasha Patterson, Vincent Jutras, Émilie Silliau, Julien Silliau, Maria Del Mar Reyes, Emi Vauthey and Jérémi Lévesque by Jerome Guibord
Mirvish presents the theatrical circus troupe 7 Fingers’ show Reversible in Toronto

Les 7 doigts de la main (the 7 Fingers), the scrappy Montreal-based contemporary circus arts collective has been steadily building its reputation in Toronto for its brilliant, wildly creative, artist-driven performances. Following recent runs of their shows Traces and Cuisine and Confessions, Mirvish has brought the company back to present Reversible.  Continue reading Review: Reversible by The 7 Fingers (Mirvish)

Review: Corteo (Cirque du Soleil)

Photo: Lucas Saporiti Costumes: Dominique Lemieux © 2015 Cirque du SoleilCirque du Soleil brings its show Corteo to Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena for the Holidays

The Canadian entertainment juggernaut Cirque du Soleil is back in town with their classic show Corteo—playing a short run this week at the Scotiabank Arena (formerly the Air Canada Centre)—just in time for the holidays!

Corteo originally played a longer run in Toronto back in 2005. Cirque du Soleil has taken to adapting their older shows—ones which have already toured the world in their signature tent—to enable them to play in arenas allowing them to profitably run in smaller markets and in cities like Toronto during the cold winter months. Continue reading Review: Corteo (Cirque du Soleil)

Review (Kid+1): The Wizard of Oz (Ross Petty Productions)

The Wizard of Oz - Ross PettyAn annual holiday tradition, Ross Petty Productions’ panto takes the stage in Toronto

This year’s Ross Petty holiday production at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre is a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, and it does not disappoint, thanks to the endearing characters, brightly coloured costumes and set, and jabs at politicians. We’re happily taken along the yellow brick road, while we watch Dorothy (spirited Camille Eanga-Selenge) make the world a better place.

Continue reading Review (Kid+1): The Wizard of Oz (Ross Petty Productions)

Review: If on a Christmas Night (DopoLavoro Teatrale/Villa Charities/The Columbus Centre)

Photo of Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, Rory de Brouwer, Raylene Turner, Danya Buonastella, and Franco Berti provided by the companyExperience an immersive theatre celebration of Christmas through the lens of Italian culture in Toronto

For the second year in a row DopoLavoro Teatrale (DLT), one of Toronto’s leading immersive theatre companies, has created a Christmas-themed show. Following last year’s An Italian Christmas Carol, a reimagining of the Dickens story performed for a solo audience member, the company is presenting If on a Christmas Night, an immersive theatre experience designed for a larger audience, written and directed by DLT’s Artistic Director, Daniele Bartolini. Continue reading Review: If on a Christmas Night (DopoLavoro Teatrale/Villa Charities/The Columbus Centre)

The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Holiday Improv arrives on the Toronto stage

The Wonder Pageant isn’t the Coal Mine Theatre’s (1454 Danforth Ave.) typical kind of production, and the cast jokes about this early into the show. This is hilarious improv show taking place in Toronto’s East End, and I highly recommend checking it out this holiday season.

While the company is known for its more serious theatrical productions, this evening of improv is anything but. What it does manage to be is exceedingly charming. The set is a homey little living room, and when you sink into your chair it really feels like you’re over at a friends’ holiday party. Continue reading The Wonder Pageant (Coal Mine Theatre)

Review: Slava’s Snowshow (Show One Productions/Civic Theatres Toronto)

Photo of Slava’s Snowshow by Vladimir MishukovAfter 25 years on tour Russian clown Slava Polunin’s acclaimed show returns to Toronto

Winter can be a pretty depressing time in the city; tall buildings turn our roads into wind-tunnels channeling the bitter cold into our faces, the sidewalks are covered with brown slush, and the days are so short we seem to live in perpetual darkness. Even so, every year when that first snow flurry blankets everything in a fluffy, white coat, it still feels like magic. Now, if you could take that mix of emotions, bundle it together and put it on stage, you’d have something akin to Slava’s Snowshow. Continue reading Review: Slava’s Snowshow (Show One Productions/Civic Theatres Toronto)

Review: Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover (Onelight Theatre)

Shahin Sayadi brings Persian mythology to life in his play, now on stage in Toronto

Persian mythology is brought into modern day storytelling in Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover. The fully immersive multi-media work is created with boundless cloth and a single performer who takes on multiple roles at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Created by Shahin Sayadi of Onelight Theatre, the performance explores the struggles of tradition within a small community.

In a small fishing village on the Persian Gulf, Farhad loses the love of his life to childbirth, resulting in a lifetime hatred of his son, Manoo. The son grows up and falls in love with an outcast woman, defying his father’s wishes and disgracing the family name. Believing Manoo must be under the influence of evil spirits, the village elders call for a ‘Zar’ exorcism.

Continue reading Review: Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover (Onelight Theatre)

Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Canadian Opera Company presents a kid-friendly take on Cinderella, on stage in Toronto

Not everyone knows about the excellent programming the Canadian Opera Company produces for children, youth and families. This year’s iteration of Opera for Young Audiences‘ annual kid’s opera, Wow Factor, was a modernized version of Rossini’s masterpiece La Cenerentola. Based on Cinderella, one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time, the opera is a great candidate for a kid-friendly reimagining. Wow Factor is in English and set in a middle school. Continue reading Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)