Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Burn This (Gracemoon Arts Company)

Burn This is “gritty” and “intense” theatre that captivates Toronto audiences

I enjoy all kinds of theatre, from the grand spectacle of mega musicals to the gritty naturalism of kitchen sink dramas. I have a particular obsession, though, with gritty and intense productions in unconventional venues. I am also drawn to poetic narratives where the language itself takes you to a very special place. With their stunning production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, Gracemoon Arts Company has crafted a theatrical experience that seems tailored to my very specific sensibilities. Continue reading Review: Burn This (Gracemoon Arts Company)

Review: Flooded (North America)

Mind-boggling physical theatre, Flooded sets sail on the Pirate Life in Toronto

My adventure into exploring Flooded, directed by Ara Glenn Johanson, started with my desire to explore the unknown. Reading the press release for the show, I knew it would take place on board The Pirate Life ship, it involved highly physical theatre presented in a non-narrative style, and there was something about the pelvis which I perceived as this show would be raunchy. I learned just enough to find this production wacky which was all I need to want to explore further, but I still had no idea what I was walking into. I also figured that at the very least I got to hang out on a boat for an hour.

Continue reading Review: Flooded (North America)

Review: Shakespeare in High Park – Twelfth Night (Canadian Stage)

Photo of Twelfth NightCanadian Stage presents Twelth Night outdoors at the High Park Ampitheatre in Toronto

There’s always something magical about watching Shakespeare in the High Park Amphitheatre. Amid the picnic blankets and dusky summer air, the 400-year-old words of Twelfth Night leap vividly to life in this production by Canadian Stage in collaboration with the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University. Music and laughter fuel this fun, colourful adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, now wrapped in an aesthetic of tie-dye, Beatles glasses, and references to the funky chicken.

Continue reading Review: Shakespeare in High Park – Twelfth Night (Canadian Stage)

Review: She Stoops to Conquer (Guild Festival Theatre)

She Stoops to Conquer is great outdoor theatre in the Toronto east end, a summer must

She Stoops to Conquer, currently being presented by Guild Festival Theatre, embodies many of the things I love about summer in Toronto. While others may head to the cottage, I am happiest travelling around the city to watch theatre outside. Both the setting, Guild Park in Scarborough, and the company were new to me. And I was happy I got the chance to expand my theatrical and geographic horizons. Continue reading Review: She Stoops to Conquer (Guild Festival Theatre)

Review: Hogtown: The Immersive Experience (The Hogtown Collective)

Photo of Laura Larson, Karen Slater and Emma Wiechers provided by the companyImmersive play Hogtown opens its doors to the Toronto public

Hogtown: The Immersive Experience (The Hogtown Collective), now playing at Toronto’s historic Campbell House, embraces the concept of participatory choose-your-own-adventure theatre that has been so popular with audiences in such shows as Sleep No More. It’s a site-specific formula that works extraordinarily well: give the audience a set-up, and then let them roam around as stories unfold simultaneously, following whichever characters intrigue them. Hogtown delivers this intrigue in spades. Continue reading Review: Hogtown: The Immersive Experience (The Hogtown Collective)

Review: Vimy (Soulpepper)

Wesley French, Tim Dowler-Coltman, Sebastien Bertrand and TJ Riley, photo: Cylla von TiedemannSoulpepper Theatre presents Vimy, playing as part of Canada 150 in Toronto

Continuing with the celebration of Canada 150, Soulpepper presents a play written by Governor General’s Award winning playwright Vern Thiessen. Vimy explores the battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the great battles that shaped the outcome of World War I. In a gut-wrenching and emotionally tumultuous performance, Vimy is a story that will leave you stunned and speechless.

Continue reading Review: Vimy (Soulpepper)

Review: Shakespeare in High Park – King Lear (Canadian Stage)

Jason Cadieux and Diane D'Aquila in King Lear - photo by Cylla von TiedemannCelebrating 35 years, Canadian Stage presents Shakespeare in High Park, King Lear, in Toronto

If you’re a theatre lover, then you clearly know that summers in Toronto are not complete without spending an evening under the stars watching one of the Bard’s classics play out in High Park. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Canadian Stage‘s Shakespeare in High Park, the longest-running outdoor theatre event in Canada. For this momentous year, Canadian Stage presents the Bard’s tragic tale of the downfall of pride that leads to madness, King Lear.

Continue reading Review: Shakespeare in High Park – King Lear (Canadian Stage)

The Clergy Project (SOULO Theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, Reverend Shawn Newton and Father Daniel Brereton by Dahlia Katz

The Clergy Project, produced by SOULO Theatre, playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, tells us religion is theatre. Most familiar with both would probably agree. Both have narrative, thematic importance, and the whole range of human drama and emotion. Because truth can be stranger and more compelling than fiction, having a range of religious leaders tell us stories from their life’s work is rife with dramatic possibility. The project’s three clergy, Reform Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, Unitarian Reverend Shawn Newton, and Anglican Father Daniel Brereton, all trailblazers in their own right, share what calls them to the pulpit. As a very lapsed Jew, I wasn’t expecting this show to strike a major chord with me, let alone wreck me emotionally. Call me a convert, because it did.

Continue reading The Clergy Project (SOULO Theatre) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

“Am I Pretty Now?”: A musical romp through plastic surgery (Stephanie Herrera) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Stephanie Herrera in"Am I Pretty Now?": A romp through plastic surgery, playing at the 2017 Toronto Fringe

If someone asked you to go with them to see a musical about plastic surgery, you’d be forgiven for thinking “Huh?! Sounds pretty weird but what the heck, it’s Fringe, I’ll go.” And that would be the right decision! “Am I Pretty Now?”: A musical romp through plastic surgery (Stephanie Herrera), playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is wonderful. At the end of the show the man sitting next to me turned to the woman he was with and said “Wow! That was great.” which pretty much summed up what I was thinking. Continue reading “Am I Pretty Now?”: A musical romp through plastic surgery (Stephanie Herrera) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

How Did You Find Me Here? (Alchemistic Theatre Company) 2017 Fringe Review

Brendan Chandler in the show How Did You Find Me Here?How Did You Find Me Here? is a play by Alchemistic Theatre Company in the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. It is an intriguing piece of visual theatre about an Aboriginal male who confronts his cultural heritage for the first time in 25 years. Brendan Chandler, as Bear, and Jessica Bowmer, as Shadow, create a striking presence in this performance, and seem to be personifications of something much larger than themselves. Continue reading How Did You Find Me Here? (Alchemistic Theatre Company) 2017 Fringe Review