Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Songbuster — An Improvised Musical (Songbuster)

Three more chances to catch this hilarious musical improv on stage in Toronto

I just saw my first improvised musical and I was thoroughly entertained and impressed with the efforts of the company behind Songbuster — An Improvised Musical. After prying into the summer adventures of an audience member, the team have their setting and begin building a story and characters out of thin air. Suddenly, the cabaret space at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre becomes a hippy commune on Vancouver Island where lost families are found, romance is kindled and all manor of crises are created and averted! Continue reading Review: Songbuster — An Improvised Musical (Songbuster)

Review: On Golden Pond (Scarborough Players)

On Golden Pond is a feel-good story about family, on stage at Scarborough Village Theatre

Playing at the Scarborough Village Theatre, On Golden Pond is a family drama that will make you want to pick up the phone and arrange to see that long-lost dear relative with whom you’ve lost touch. I never saw the 1981 movie, and I was happy to discover this heartfelt story without any expectations. Continue reading Review: On Golden Pond (Scarborough Players)

Review: VOLTA (Cirque du Soleil)

Extreme sports inspire Cirque du Soleil’s new show VOLTA now playing in Toronto’s Port Lands

Cirque du Soleil has brought its signature big top back to Toronto. Following hot on the heels of last year’s Mexico-inspired LUZIA, the company is presenting its newest show VOLTA and if you’re wondering whether it’s worth springing for tickets to another Cirque show so soon; VOLTA holds some unexpected surprises. Continue reading Review: VOLTA (Cirque du Soleil)

Review: Picture This (Soulpepper)

Soulpepper’s season opens with Picture This, now playing on the Toronto stage

Along with Waiting for Godot, Soulpepper is kicking off its fall season with Picture This, which you can catch at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts until Oct. 7th.

To me, Picture This seemed pretty promising at the outset. It’s a slapstick comedy originally written in 1937 by Hungarian playwright Melchior Lengyel and adapted by celebrated artists Brenda Robins and Morris Panych. I was looking forward to this show, and took my roommate along with 100% confidence that what we were going to see would at least be watchable.

Continue reading Review: Picture This (Soulpepper)

Review: Waiting for Godot (Soulpepper)

Photo from Waiting for GodotSoulpepper Theatre presents the 20th Century classic play Waiting for Godot in Toronto

For many who have studied acting, Samuel Beckett‘s Waiting for Godot is likely part of the curriculum. And rightly so, as there is much to be learned from studying this play, especially if you’re learning the tricks of the trade for good audience-captivating comedy. The careful nuances of timing, repetition, monumental silence, mime and mimicry, as well as wholly absurd dialogue is what makes up Waiting for Godot. This is a 20th Century classic for a reason and, as usual, the creative forces at Soulpepper have delivered this unique performance with aplomb.

Continue reading Review: Waiting for Godot (Soulpepper)

Review: The Odd Couple (Jaybird Productions)

Picture of Gord Peters and Jack Ferdman.The Odd Couple, on stage in Toronto, did not pair all that well with our reviewer

The Odd Couple, written by Neil Simon, is a play about what happens when a total slob of a bachelor shacks up with an uptight, anxious clean freak. We’ve seen this sort of “unlikely pair” buddy comedy time and time again, but The Odd Couple put it on the map. so you can only guess how excited I was to see how Jaybird Productions would interpret such an iconic play.

Continue reading Review: The Odd Couple (Jaybird Productions)

Review: Letters to the Universe (The Universe Collective)

Magic swirls around Toronto’s Theatre Centre as Letters to the Universe takes the stage

Shaunga Tagore’s Letters to the Universe (on stage until Sunday at The Theatre Centre) is the kind of show that makes me feel better about staying up too late on a too-hot, too-humid work night: diverse, intimate, generous, sensual, a bit strange, and captivating.

Letters to the Universe is a Queer Brown Astrologer’s own story, told as she traverses time, space, and memory through song, dance, projection and more. My cranky, long-day-at-the-office mood didn’t stand a chance in the face of such honest, beautiful storytelling.

Continue reading Review: Letters to the Universe (The Universe Collective)

Review: Bandits in the Valley (Tapestry Opera)

Photo of Stephanie Tritchew, Jacques Arsenault, and Keith KlassenFun and accessible opera takes to the Toronto stage

I have always been a little intimidated by opera. I don’t know a lot about music. It’s often in a language I don’t speak, I have a hard time following the plot, and tickets are often very expensive. But Bandits in the ValleyTapestry Opera’s new whimsical short opera being performed the Todmorden Mills Historic Site–was a fun, accessible, and free way to experience the art form in a lovely and novel setting. Continue reading Review: Bandits in the Valley (Tapestry Opera)

Review: Nunsense (The Civic Light Opera Company)

Photo of the cast of NunsenseNunsense is a hilarious comedic musical on stage at the Zion Cultural Centre in Toronto

I have a kinda funny relationship with Nunsense. It all started in my last year of high school. I really, really wanted our drama department to put on the musical, Once on this Island so I rounded up a bunch of my fellow musical theatre geek friends and put together a proposal.Our drama teacher looked it over and suggested that we do something a little more “simple” and easy to pull off instead that maybe doesn’t involve a cast of 20+ characters set on the Caribbean Sea. He suggested Nunsense. We were disappointed that we couldn’t do our original plan, so we just dropped the whole thing, but Nunsense always stuck in my mind for some reason.

Now, here I am ten years later finally getting to see what this show is about, courtesy of The Civic Light Opera Company and let me tell you… this company has pulled it off with class, pizzazz and all of the nun-related humor one would expect from a show with a title like Nunsense.

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Review: Mockingbird Close (Inpulse Theatre)

Photo of Mockingbird CloseMockingbird Close is a quick-witted dark comedy playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto

It never matters how much people care or love or even feel about another person, memories are always full of holes that get eaten away by preferred fictions. Eroding memory in the face of tragedy is the core of INpulse Theatre’s Mockingbird Close playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

There is no closure to be found in this show, just an uneasy, reflection on the nature of community, family, and what we want to be true.

Continue reading Review: Mockingbird Close (Inpulse Theatre)