Toronto Theatre Reviews

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.

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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.

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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: 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.

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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.

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Kid +1 Review: Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World (Pirate Life)

Photo of Cast of Pirate Life Pippi The Strongest Girl in the World

Immersive seafaring adventure play takes to Toronto waters

At the lawless edge of Toronto, there’s a pirate adventure awaiting young and old in Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World, an original musical adaptation of a Pippi Longstocking tale of finding adventure on the high seas (in this case, on Lake Ontario). Presented by an energetic young cast of actor/musicians as their boat takes a cheerful cruise of the lake, Pippi: The Strongest Girl In The World is a charming way to spend a breezy hour with the family.

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Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Ruff)

A large, translucent golden sphere lashed between two trees was visible well away from the seating area for Shakespeare in the Ruff’s 2017 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I am always amazed by the level of spectacle this small company is able to produce with minimal props and set. I have been a patron of Withrow Park Shakespeare in both its incarnations. In the late 90s, I attended productions of the original “Shakespeare in the Ruff”, which became defunct in the early 2000s after a 25-year run. Inspired by the original company’s efforts to create a community centred, accessible outdoor theatrical culture in Toronto, Shakespeare in the Ruff re-emerged in 2012. Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Ruff)

Review: Lady Gaga: #ARTBIRTH (Sara Schwartz Geller Productions)

Photo of Athena ReichSinger Athena Reich brings Lady Gaga to life on the Toronto stage in #ARTBIRTH

Lady Gaga: #ARTBIRTH is a cabaret show meets glam-pop concert playing at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Athena Reich, our Gaga for the night, hits all the money notes and if it were a “who can sing like Gaga competition”, she would absolutely win hands down. However, we came to see a “show” and unfortunately…Lady Gaga: #ARTBIRTH didn’t deliver.

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