Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Everything I Couldn’t Tell You (The Riser Project/Theatre Why Not/Spiderbones)

Everything I Couldn’t Tell You delves into the power of culture to heal, at the Theatre Centre in Toronto

Megan is an Indigenous woman who has recently been woken from a coma. The procedure has damaged her brain, unleashing painful memories that drive her to alcohol and sudden, brutal violence. 

Can two deeply damaged neuroscientists help her heal? This is the basic dramatic question posed by Everything I Couldn’t Tell You, currently playing at The Theatre Centre as part of the The Riser Project 2018. Continue reading Review: Everything I Couldn’t Tell You (The Riser Project/Theatre Why Not/Spiderbones)

Review: Anna Bolena (Canadian Opera Company)

Anna Bolena companyThe Canadian Opera Company brings the tragic tale of Anne Boleyn to the Toronto stage

The story of King Henry VIII of England and his many wives — two of which he had beheaded, two had their marriages annulled, one died of natural causes and the last was left widowed — is the kind of history that you really can’t make up. Undoubtedly, the wife who has most captured the public imagination over the years is wife number two, Anne Boleyn, who was publicly beheaded in order to make way for wife number three, Jane Seymour. The Canadian Opera Company‘s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena is a highly fictionalized version of events, but in doing so, it seeks to give Anne a powerful voice she was often denied in life and history alike.

Continue reading Review: Anna Bolena (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: LULU v.7 // aspects of a femme fatale (Buddies in Bad Times)

LULU v.7 takes on Frank Wedekind in this Toronto stage production

In LULU v.7 // aspects of a femme fatale, currently playing at Buddies In Bad Times, the creative team re-interprets Frank Wedekind‘s 1894 play Pandora’s Box. Lulu is sexually voracious, and either a malignant temptress or a victim of men who only see in her what their lust wants to see. “Why not both?” you may ask, and I and the show both agree. This productions’ first act is an atmospheric and inspired rendering of Lulu as both, including a meta-theatrical critique of the text and its place in patriarchy.

Continue reading Review: LULU v.7 // aspects of a femme fatale (Buddies in Bad Times)

Review: Speaking of Sneaking (The Riser Project 2018/Why Not Theatre)

Speaking of Sneaking entices Toronto audiences again as part of The Riser Project 2018

Before the house doors have closed, before anyone has had a chance to settle into their seats, the mischievous and energetic Ginnal is up and about: introducing himself, making sure you have a program, that you’ve gone to the bathroom, that you fully understand that he is—beyond any doubt—the focus of this show and that he demands your full attention.

Part of The Riser Project 2018, Speaking of Sneaking is created and performed by daniel jelani ellis. Based on experiences growing up queer in Jamaica and, later, making a home in Canada, the show has been in development since 2010 when he introduced it as part of the Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Since then, he has presented a version of it for the Rhubarb festival and now, for Riser, he has teamed up with director/dramaturge d’bi.young anitafrika and choreographer Brian Solomon. Continue reading Review: Speaking of Sneaking (The Riser Project 2018/Why Not Theatre)

Review: 食盡天下 (A Taste of Empire) (Cahoots Theatre/rice & beans theatre)

Toronto’s Cahoots Theatre presents Jovanni Sy’s cross between a play and a cooking demo

Something delicious is cooking on stage at the Factory Theatre where Cahoots Theatre is presenting a new Cantonese-language version of its 2010 show 食盡天下 (A Taste of Empire). The show is essentially a satirical, comedic play mixed with a live cooking demonstration mixed with a TED talk and somehow manages to pull off all three of those aspects well; the end result is funny, delicious and eye-opening. Continue reading Review: 食盡天下 (A Taste of Empire) (Cahoots Theatre/rice & beans theatre)

Review: Measure for Measure (Shakespeare BASH’d)

Photo Sochi Friend in Measure for MeasureMeasure for Measure doesn’t break molds but delivers stellar performances, playing in Toronto

If a company attempts to reinterpret a text as more progressive than it is, does the play overcome its era?

Shakespeare BASH’d‘s Measure for Measure playing at the Junction City Music Hall might not rewrite the history books but it offers its own rewards for the audience.

Continue reading Review: Measure for Measure (Shakespeare BASH’d)

Kid + 1 Review: Annie (Mirvish)

Mirvish Productions brings the much beloved classic musical Annie back to the Toronto stage

I arrived to Annie at the Ed Mirvish Theatre on a sunny Sunday afternoon with my eight-year-old companion, joining a chattering throng of excited patrons for the fresh-from-London revival of an old favorite that I saw on Broadway as a young child more than 30 years ago. I vividly recall my excitement at the time, how exciting and fresh the show felt, and I hoped our visit would be equally enjoyable for my small charge. I’m happy to say it was; this production of Annie was a playful pleasure.

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Ten Years of Mooney on Theatre

Mooney on Theatre has grown a lot since my first post ten years ago today. It started as a way for me to expand my coverage of Toronto’s theatre scene. At the time I was covering shows for BlogTO and really enjoying it, but there was understandably limited space to talk about theatre. Then I was included as part of Toronto’s Mille Femmes — described as “a tribute to 1,000 artistic, creative and inspiring women from Toronto and their protégés, who embody the passion and heritage of the city” — and was told I was ‘a mentor.’ It was the kick in the butt I needed to start my own place to talk about theatre as much as I wanted.

When I hit publish on that first collection of words, I never imagined it would be what it is today.

Continue reading Ten Years of Mooney on Theatre

Review: Selfie (Young People’s Theatre)

Young People’s Theatre presents Selfie, nuanced and thoughtful – great for teens, in Toronto

I arrived at Young People’s Theatre to see Selfie as an adult who works with a ton of teenagers and young adults (and has one of my own), skeptical in the extreme about work by adults about social media that’s aimed at teenagers. In general, I find it exhaustingly reductionist and at least five years behind schedule. Selfie, however, felt fresh and nuanced and appropriately difficult.

Continue reading Review: Selfie (Young People’s Theatre)