Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: The Boy in the Moon (Crow’s Theatre)

“Deeply moving” The Boy in the Moon graces the Toronto stage

Crow’s Theatre’s production of The Boy in the Moon, currently playing at their stunning new venue Streetcar Crowsnest, opens with a father leading us through a late night struggle to put his son to back to bed. He describes the scene with an off-the-cuff rhythm that makes it seem commonplace, but we soon discover that the scene is anything but. His son Walker has a myriad of disabilities caused by a rare genetic disorder (CFC), turning this standard domestic task into an adventure full of humour and horror and love. Continue reading Review: The Boy in the Moon (Crow’s Theatre)

Review: Oksana G. (Tapestry Opera)

Complex and compelling opera takes to the Toronto stage

Rape, sexual exploitation, murder — I could be describing the salient event of Rigoletto (1851), but I am actually describing the world premiere of Oksana G. by Aaron Gervais. The centrepiece of Tapestry Opera’s 16/17 season, this opera features full orchestra, chorus, and a dozen roles. Tapestry Opera is a small, well established Toronto-based Company that produces new opera. They can take a bow and a vacation next week for acquitting themselves well with this ambitious undertaking. Continue reading Review: Oksana G. (Tapestry Opera)

Review: The Play About The Baby (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Intimate production of Edward Albee play takes to the Toronto stage

If you’re in the mood to grab a few drinks at a fine Queen West establishment, have a some hearty laughs, and then seriously question the fabric of your reality, then boy have I got a play for you: Toronto Indie theater company Seven Siblings Theatre‘s production of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer-nominated show, The Play About The Baby.

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Review: Onegin (The Musical Stage Company)

The Musical Stage Company presents the new Canadian musical Onegin, on stage in Toronto

I had never heard of the musical Onegin, now on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre produced by The Musical Stage Company, until I saw a flyer for the production stuffed in the program of a show I saw last month. The musical is based on the poem Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky and is a tale of pride, love, and scorn set in wintry Russia. This musical is fun and lively, the cast is remarkable… but it just didn’t pull on all the right heart strings for me.

Continue reading Review: Onegin (The Musical Stage Company)

Review: Caesar (Wolf Manor Theatre Collective)

A troupe of five take on the many characters of the Bard’s Caesar on stage in Toronto

In a dank, creepy basement accessed via a back alley in Kensington, I sat down in a folding chair with a sense of wariness to see Wolf Manor Theatre Collective‘s take on Caesar. Happily, I need not have worried: dedicated performances from the five person ensemble carry the narrative in a tight grip. Continue reading Review: Caesar (Wolf Manor Theatre Collective)

Review: Dom Juan (Théâtre Français de Toronto)

Théâtre Français de Toronto’s Dom Juan is a funny, accessible take on Moliere’s classic play

I find that classical theatre can sometimes be difficult to understand. There are often unfamiliar situations depicted with flowery, archaic language. Théâtre Français de Toronto’s production of Molière‘s Dom Juan (on stage at Berkeley Street Theatre), however, is an accessible take on a classic of the French repertoire. Director Joël Beddow makes this old-fashioned tale of transgression engaging and relevant. Continue reading Review: Dom Juan (Théâtre Français de Toronto)

Review: for colored girls… (Soulpepper)

Photo of the cast of For Colored Girls... by Cylla Von TiedemannThis striking performance blends poetry, music and movement, on stage in Toronto

I’ve never seen an audience rise to their feet as fast as they did for Soulpepper Theatre‘s production of for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. As resonate now as it was in 1976, Director Djanet Sears and an exceptionally talented cast does a commendable job bringing this iconic and important production to the Toronto stage.

Continue reading Review: for colored girls… (Soulpepper)

Review: The Dress HE Wore (Lift the Lid Theatre)

The title of The Dress HE Wore—a Lift the Lid Theatre production now playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre—alongside its billing (“a provocative and disturbing black comedy”) strongly implies that the show is going to be a focused exploration of the impetus behind crossdressing.

The dress is there – an oversized floral almost-muumuu worn by solo actor Alastair Love’s David – but it’s really incidental, almost ancillary to the plot. Though the character wears a dress, its trappings are merely symbolic, a representation of a dysfunctional relationship he can’t quite let go.

Running a scant 45 minutes, The Dress HE Wore is nevertheless a fascinating look into a nuanced but often unsympathetic character. It’s never boring, but disappointingly relies heavily on stereotypical commentary regarding male and female gender roles.

Continue reading Review: The Dress HE Wore (Lift the Lid Theatre)

Review: El Retorno/I Return (The RISER Project and Why Not Theatre)

Photo of Ximena Huizi and Augusto Bitter El Retorno/I Return is “a stroke of beauty” on the Toronto stage

The fight for justice and freedom is not easily defined for families fleeing conflict. In El Retorno/I Return, part of Why Not Theatre’s Riser Project playing at the Theatre Centre, tells the semi-autobiographical story of a family reflecting on their decision to remain in Canada instead of returning to Chile as part of The Return Plan—an international push against Chilean dictator Pinochet.

El Retorno/I Return personalizes the struggle of political refugees, making a complex question—how do you fight for the freedom and peace of your country— into a simple, but hard-hitting, family drama.

Continue reading Review: El Retorno/I Return (The RISER Project and Why Not Theatre)