Toronto Theatre Reviews

Reviews of productions based in Toronto – theatre includes traditional definitions of theatre, as well as dance, opera, comedy, performance art, spoken word performances, and more. Productions may be in-person, or remote productions streamed online on the Internet.

Review: Touch (Lighthouse Immersive Artspace)

Photo of Larkin Miller and Natasha Poon Woo in Touch by Dahlia Katz

Touch, conceived by Guillame Ct, is a 45-minute dance show about communication and connection between two people. A partnership between Lighthouse Immersive Artspace and Ct Danse, it shares the space of 1 Yonge St. with the heavily-advertised immersive Van Gogh exhibit known for its room-sized projections. Featuring similarly large-scale projections by Thomas Payette of Mirari Studio, the 360-degree experience packs a lot of sensory input into a short amount of time. It’s playful and fun.

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Review: UnCovered: The Music of Dolly Parton (The Musical Stage Company)

Photo of Kelly Holiff, Jully Black, and Hailey Gillis in UnCovered by Dahlia Katz

In UnCovered: The Music of Dolly Parton, The Musical Stage Company takes on the career of the legendarily flashy country star credited with everything from increasing literacy rates in Tennessee children to funding the development of the Moderna COVID vaccine. The entertainment force of nature is given a rollicking and heartfelt homage here, staged by Fiona Sauder, with rearranged songs strung together around thematically-relevant Parton quips read off postcards.

Ironically, UnCovered is the first show I’ve seen since COVID under the cover of an indoor theatre, the magnificent Koerner Hall. The sheer size of the interior contrasts sharply with the maximum of 175 people in the audience. Luckily, the six-person cast is up to the challenge of filling the space with sound, and the audience is so excited to be there that it loses some of that Toronto reserve and has a small dance party. Though I’m only a casual fan of Ms. Parton, I can say that this did not hinder my enjoyment of the evening.

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Review: As You Like It (Crow’s Theatre)

Cliff Cardinal kneeling in front of footlights

Oh the joy of seeing live theatre again after so long. It was a truly a gift to be at the opening of the Crow’s Theatre production of As You Like It, a radical retelling by Cliff Cardinal.  I have seen a few  remarkable online performances during the pandemic but nothing virtual can compare with being part of a live audience, of feeling the energy of the performers and the rest of the audience.  Absolute bliss!

Admittedly I was fairly anxious before I went, to the point of considering not going. I gave myself permission to leave if I felt panicked during the evening and that eased my anxiety. Crow’s Theatre’s policy that all patrons have to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times on the premises also helped to calm me down. It was worth it to experience Cliff Cardinal’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s As you Like It. Continue reading Review: As You Like It (Crow’s Theatre)

Review: MOBY: A Whale of a Tale (Pirate Life Theatre)

Photo of Annie Tuma, Jamar Adams-Thompson, and Lena Maripuu in MOBY: A Whale of a Tale by Raiza Dela Pen?a

MOBY: A Whale of A Tale is a seafaring show that takes audiences to an actual boat docked in the harbour at Queen’s Quay West. Moby-Dick, the famed tale by Herman Melville that has become synonymous with the the concept of doomed, obsessive revenge, gets a new life as a musical written by Gorgon Theatre‘s Lena Maripuu and Annie Tuma and presented by Pirate Life Theatre. Let’s just say that you don’t want this site-specific piece to be the one that got away.

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Review: Apocalypse Play (Two Birds Theatre/Common Boots Theatre)

Photo of Kate Lushington and Natasha Greenblatt in an outside setting in a park, holding a clear bag filled with pink balloons between them in Apocalypse Play

It’s a beautiful day for an apocalypse in Hillcrest Park. The sky is blue and children swarm the playground. Meanwhile, feminist theatre-makers and real-life mother-daughter team Kate Lushington and Natasha Greenblatt showcase their new work, Apocalypse Play – presented by Two Birds Theatre Company in association with Common Boots Theatre.

Greenblatt begins by explaining the play’s premise. She tells the audience that her intent was to create a third chapter to two of Lushington’s short satirical works set in the aftermath of a nuclear war.

These best-laid plans quickly go awry, however, as we instead watch a biting commentary on generational differences in arts-based activism and perceived existential threats. More than that, it’s also a story about the uneasy relationship between mother and daughter. and the lines between creation and capitulation, legacy and settling.

It’s messy, funny, thoughtful, and painful; an engrossing way to spend an hour.

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