Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: KIRA, The Path | La Voie (Lua Shayenne Dance Company / Luminato)

Percussionist Fara Tolno and a company of dancers opens Toronto’s Luminato Festival

KIRA, The Path | La Voie brings a lively and rhythmic energy to the Luminato Festival, with a mix of dancers and percussionist who perform Fara Tolno, choreography and composition. Tolno is a guest artist with the Lua Shayenne Dance Company, specializing in Guinean dance and music. Lua Shayenne, artistic director of the company, took to the Fleck Dance Theatre stage as a performer in the work.

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Review: Obeah Opera (Luminato/Asah Productions)

Nicole Brooks with the company of Obeah Opera. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.Luminato brings a new version of the a cappella telling of the Salem Witch trials to Toronto

Obeah Opera tells the story of the Salem witch trials from the perspective of the first woman accused: a Caribbean slave named Tituba. Sung through entirely a cappella, the latest incarnation of this surprisingly vibrant and uplifting show is currently presented in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival. Continue reading Review: Obeah Opera (Luminato/Asah Productions)

Review: Disney Presents The Lion King (Mirvish)

Mirvish presents the return of Disney’s hit Broadway musical The Lion King to Toronto

Making its triumphant return to Toronto at the Princess of Wales stage is the Disney musical The Lion King. Just like the animated film, the stage production directed by Julie Taymor features the same iconic songs by Elton John and Tim Rice along with all the characters we’ve all grown up with. This production is a true spectacle; a feast for the senses. Whether you grew up with the film or you’re introducing the stage show to a new generation, you will fall in love again the moment Rafiki sings “Nants Ingonyama”.

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Review: Forget Me Not (Luminato)

Luminato presents Canadian Ronnie Burkett’s allegory about love, loss, and longing in Toronto

This year’s Luminato Festival, under the curatorial direction of Naomi Campbell, has collected any number of sharp, new takes on concepts that seem perhaps done – from love to climate change – but even among these Forget Me Not stands out. A new work from Canadian magic-maker Ronnie Burkett, Forget Me Not is an allegory about love, loss, longing and language that spans… well, it spans many distances.

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Review: The Book of Mormon (Mirvish)

Photo of 2017 touring cast by Julieta CervantesSouth Park creators Trey Parker & Matt Stone’s religion-skewering musical returns to Toronto

The Book of Mormon, the 2011 musical by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez, is widely known for its incisively offensive humour, catchy tunes, and serious skewering of the Mormon church and its relentless proselytizing. Winner of nine Tony Awards, it has toured relentlessly ever since, ringing our doorbells and demanding our attention. Unlike most missionaries, however, it’s a guest I’d happily invite in to stay a while.

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Review: The Full Light of Day (Luminato/Electric Company Theatre/Canadian Stage)

Photo of Gabrielle Rose and Jim Mezon by Don LeeA new show using cinematic techniques in live theatre is now in Toronto as part of Luminato

Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre has returned to Toronto with their new show, The Full Light of Day, co-presented by Canadian Stage and the Luminato Festival. The company is known for its innovative shows like Tear the Curtain! and Studies in Motion that blend live projections overlaid on top of the action on stage. Their new show continues that tradition but I was curious to see if they would bring anything new to the table this time. Continue reading Review: The Full Light of Day (Luminato/Electric Company Theatre/Canadian Stage)

By Heart (Canadian Stage)

Canadian Stage presented a truly magical piece of participatory theatre in Toronto

This past weekend By Heart, a truly magical piece of theatre was put on by Canadian Stage, performed at the Berkeley St. Theatre. A limited engagement, from May 30 to June 2, in the Upstairs Space.

By Heart is an interactive theatre performance created by Portuguese actor Tiago Rodrigues, in which Rodrigues brings up ten audience members and over the span of ninety minutes to two hours, teaches them one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. As he does so, he breaks up his teachings with stories about his grandmother and his favorite authors. Continue reading By Heart (Canadian Stage)

Review: Undivided Colours (inDANCE / Co.ERASGA)

inDance presents solo performances by Asian-Canadian dance artists on stage in Toronto

inDANCE and Co.ERASGA present Undivided Colours, four solo works by seasoned Asian-Canadian dance artists. Reflecting, re-imagining, mixing dance styles and stories from their personal heritages and perspectives, the four solos take the Dancemakers Centre For Creation stage.

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Review: Lot X (adelheid/Harbourfront Centre/DanceWorks)

Photo of Alana Elmer, Nimikii Couchie, Naishi Wang, and Lukas Malkowski in Lot XHarbourfront Centre presents a futuristic and immersive dance experience in Toronto

As I got off the streetcar at Harbourfront Centre to see Lot X, a co-production with DanceWorks, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Lot X is choreographed by Heidi Strauss of adelheid and is part of the Torque contemporary dance series, so I thought it would be a dance performance. But I’d been warned to dress for the weather, be prepared to move, and to download an augmented reality app which would add another layer to my experience. We were ready for anything. Fortunately, the seemingly unrelenting rain and drizzle that has been May in Toronto held off for the evening. And Lot X did in fact deliver a little bit of everything. Some parts really did not work for me, but others were innovative and hauntingly beautiful.

Continue reading Review: Lot X (adelheid/Harbourfront Centre/DanceWorks)