Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Hansel and Gretel (Canadian Opera Company)

Stakes aren’t high enough in this modern take of Hansel and Gretel

I was curious as to how setting Hansel and Gretel set in 21st century Toronto, as opposed to the forests of 19th century Bavaria, would change the well-known Grimm brothers fairytale. The themes concerning food insecurity and parents struggling with poverty and addiction are certainly as timely here and now as they have always been.

Directing for Canadian Opera Company, Joel Ivany interprets the story with his signature outside-the-box creativity and makes impressive use of projection to create sets. However, in the interest of making the story more relatable to modern audiences, some of the dramatic tension that has made the fable compelling for centuries is sacrificed. Continue reading Review: Hansel and Gretel (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: How I Learned To Serve Tea (Progress Festival / Why Not Theatre)

New performance leaves our reviewer “full of questions in the best and most interesting way.”

I find it quite impossible to “review” (in a traditional sense), the performance/workshop/offering of How I Learned To Serve Tea by Shaista Latif, which I experienced as part of the Progress Festival of Performance and Ideas.

This should not be taken as an indictment of the work, which I found thoroughly nourishing and quite delicious to participate in. Rather, because How I Learned To Serve Tea seems to me far more an Idea than a Performance.

It feels underserved by a traditional review, and so I will instead offer what seems potentially useful: my experience and reflections.

Continue reading Review: How I Learned To Serve Tea (Progress Festival / Why Not Theatre)

Review: This Was The World (Tarragon)

Photo of R.H. Thomson and Kim Nelson in This Was the World

New Play Takes on Important Issues But Doesn’t Quite Hit The Mark

This Was the World, a new play by Ellie Moon on stage now at Tarragon Theatre, addresses issues of status, colonialism, and loss on an Ontario law school campus.

The topic is certainly timely. But despite the relevant and compelling premise, This Was the World did not quite work for me. The dizzying pace and a real change of direction midway through left me unsatisfied. Continue reading Review: This Was The World (Tarragon)

Review: Super Hot Date Night (Super Hot Date Night)

Photo of Tricia Black and Guled Abdi by Brent RobichaudImprov comedy show highlights the best and worst of the dating scene

Many of us, on Valentine’s Day, go the traditional route of flowers, chocolate, and a fancy dinner for two. But, for the more adventurous, the lovelorn, or the anti-V-Day iconoclast, there was a different option this year: a Super Hot Date Night of improv comedy based on stories of our worst or strangest dates.

Several of Toronto’s best-known comics and improvisers, including Guled Abdi (Tallboyz), Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) and Second City’s Tricia Black, Andrew Bushell, and Devon Henderson, gathered at the Paradise Theatre to create sketches from our greatest romantic foibles.

Continue reading Review: Super Hot Date Night (Super Hot Date Night)