Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Rusalka (Canadian Opera Company)

 0253 – Sondra Radvanovsky as Rusalka in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Rusalka, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Sir David McVicar, costume designer Moritz Junge, set designer John Macfarlane, lighting designer David Finn, choreographer Andrew George. Photo: Michael CooperThe COC’s Rusalka is a full-body immersive experience that tingles the spine

In the Canadian Opera Company’s current presentation of the Chicago Lyric Opera production of Rusalka, by Antonin Dvořák, the storytelling begins during the overture, before the curtain comes up. The dedication to telling a philosophical and darkly beautiful version of this well-known fairy tale is unwavering to the final haunting note.

Continue reading Review: Rusalka (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: The Election (Theatre Passe Muraille presents a Common Boots Theatre Production in Association with Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Direct)

Photo of the cast of The Election, timely play about election campaign volunteersYou can’t vote at The Election at Theatre Passe Muraille, but you’ll laugh

The Election opened at Theatre Passe Muraille on Friday. “Huh?” I can hear you thinking, “I’m pretty sure the election is on October 21st.” Yes, the Federal Election is on Monday, October 21st. That’s not the election I’m talking about. This is a play is about volunteering for federal candidates in the 2015 election.

My friend Patricia has a lot of experience working on federal political campaigns, both as a staffer and a volunteer. It made sense for me to ask her to come with me, I don’t know anything about volunteering for a campaign. She said that the campaign office parts of the play were true to life. It reinforced why I don’t volunteer to work election campaigns.

Continue reading Review: The Election (Theatre Passe Muraille presents a Common Boots Theatre Production in Association with Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Direct)

Review: Ghost Quartet (Eclipse Theatre Company / Crow’s Theatre)

Photo of Beau Dixon and Kira Guloien in Ghost Quartet by Dahlia Katz

Beautiful and little spooky, Ghost Quartet makes a prefect Halloween month treat

Ghost Quartet, a hipster-inflected song cycle by Dave Malloy, is described as being “about love, death, and whiskey.” As you enter Eclipse Theatre’s grotto-like space at Streetcar Crowsnest, whiskey shots are on sale, and a thick haze hangs in the air.

With reality sufficiently altered, you’re then treated to a puzzle of a story that’s cyclical, freewheeling and a bit scattershot, mixing together the tales of Rose Red and her sister Pearl White, Scheherazade and the One Thousand and One Nights (with references to Thelonious Monk), The Fall of the House of Usher, and a modern fable about a tragedy that befalls a woman waiting for a subway train. Characters weave in and out in a dream-like dance, and the world bends at its seams. It’s a spellbinding and spooky evening of song, perfect for Halloween month.

Continue reading Review: Ghost Quartet (Eclipse Theatre Company / Crow’s Theatre)

Review: The Flick (Outside the March)

Photo of Colin Doyle, Durae McFarlane and Amy Keating in The Flick by Dahlia Katz

‘The Flick’ is “captivating, funny, and real”.

It’s true that, for the three-hour-and-fifteen-minute running time of Outside the March’s production of Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick, not very much actually happens. It’s also true that, were its characters working those three hours, each of their paycheques, minimum wage in Massachusetts, would total only about $25.

Baker’s play, dealing in empty space, desultory popcorn-sweeping, and freewheeling conversations, details the interactions between three employees at one of the last theatres to use 35mm film projectors instead of going digital. Not much happens, and yet, it’s a genuinely thrilling theatre experience that deals humanely and sensitively with the kind of people whose lives never appear on the big screen.

Continue reading Review: The Flick (Outside the March)