Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Suitcase/Adrenaline (Theatre Mada/Theatre Passe Muraille)

Photo of Ahmad Meree in Suitcase Adrenaline by Peter RiddihoughWhat is the price of safety? What must you leave behind forever in transit to a new life? Theatre Passe Muraille, in collaboration with Theatre Mada, raises these questions in Suitcase/Adrenaline, a timely double bill of one-act plays by Ahmad Meree, on the multilayered experiences of Syrian refugees. Presented in Arabic with English surtitles (with some in-ear described performances available), the program invites us to meet these characters on their own terms.

Continue reading Review: Suitcase/Adrenaline (Theatre Mada/Theatre Passe Muraille)

Review: A Trip to Bountiful (Alumnae Theatre)

The Trip to Bountiful is a touching tale of one woman’s devotion to her roots

The Trip to BountifulWritten by Horton Foote, The Trip to Bountiful at Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre evokes differences between city life and country life and between the needs of the elderly and the younger generation. But the heart of the story goes much deeper than that as it expresses one woman’s unshakable longing for her roots.

Mama Watts (Jane Hunter) is an elderly woman who’s cooped up in a Houston, Texas apartment at a busy street corner. She’s living with her son Ludie (Jamie Johnson) and daughter-in-law Jessie Mae (Kim Croscup). Mama Watts yearns to return to her hometown Bountiful (also called a “swamp” by Jessie Mae) and this desire is all-encompassing. She hasn’t been home for 30 years.

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Review: Mother’s Daughter (Soulpepper)

The daring third installment of the Queenmaker series explores the rise of Bloody Mary

Soulpepper has mounted the third play in writer Kate Hennig’s Queenmaker Trilogy, Mother’s Daughter is an enthralling and tense historical drama on stage at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

This play checks all the boxes for me: the writing is tight and Hennig weaves an interesting and engaging story with these characters from the Tudor era. The performances are great across the board and the technical aspects and set design are certainly impressive. It’s a great show, and I do recommend it. Continue reading Review: Mother’s Daughter (Soulpepper)

Review: Legally Blonde: The Musical (Hart House)

Picture of Emma Sangalli and ensemble in Legally Blonde: The Musical

Legally Blonde: The Musical is a delight

With sparkling pink enthusiasm, Legally Blonde: The Musical brings all the feminism and glitter of the original film and novel to the stage for Hart House Theatre’s 100th anniversary season. A wonderful homage to the original, this production addresses issues of sexual harassment, academic exclusivity, and touches (very, very lightly) on class differences. Continue reading Review: Legally Blonde: The Musical (Hart House)

Review: Sweat (Canadian Stage and Studio 180 Theatre)

Photo of Ordena Stephens-Thompson, Ron Lea, Kelli Fox - three people toasting in front of a bar sitting on bar stoolsSweat may not be perfect, but it’s important and worth seeing

I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I knew walking out of Sweat, playing at Canadian Stage‘s Berkeley Theatre, that it was going to be a hard piece to write about. In fact, I already knew it at intermission.

It’s a solid production. It was a lovely way to spend an evening, but I was having a hell of a time getting this review written. After having written bits and pieces of this it over the past couple of days, but never managing anything cohesive, the reason finally struck me as I ambled down my stairs: I wanted to like this piece more than I did.

Everything about this production was fine. It was all good. Good directing, good acting, good design, all of it good. But none of it took my breath away. And I could tell it had the potential to.

Continue reading Review: Sweat (Canadian Stage and Studio 180 Theatre)