Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Brain Storm (Lucid Ludic/Why Not Theatre)

Photo of Shayna Virginillo, Hayley Carr, Maïza Dubhé, and Alexandra Montagnese by Dahlia Katz

A cathartic and hopeful delving into the philosophical questions about who we are at our core

Lucid Ludic’s devised production of Brain Storm, a hit at the 2017 Toronto Fringe (winning that year’s Tosho Knife Cutting Edge Award) returns in a production at Dancemakers Studio in association with Why Not Theatre. The show shares vignettes from a young woman’s frustrating attempts at recovery from the literal cutting edge of brain surgery. Kate (Shayna Virginillo) was a playwright; now she can’t read, and the simplest tasks, like riding the subway, are fraught with discomfort and peril.

One phrase plays on repeat in Kate’s mind, linking her to her deceased spirit medium grandmother (Hayley Carr), who acted as a writing vessel for the words of spirits. One of these spirits, fittingly, is that of renowned Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield (Alexandra Montagnese and Maïza Dubhé) – yes, the Heritage Minute gets a reference – who proclaims his belief that death is not the end, but consciousness on a different frequency.

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Review: Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre)

Picture of Zoé Doyle, Rosie Simon, Ma-Anne Dionisio, Louisa Zhu, Belinda Corpuz and Lindsay Wu in Lady Sunrise

Beautiful and tragic modern adaptation covers an abundance but stays focused and cohesive

Marjorie Chan’s Lady Sunrise, playing at Factory Theatre, is a phenomenal deep dive into the lives of six Asian women set in the early 2000s in Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia. It follows their personal heartbreaks and professional pains and explores the struggles of trying to survive within the confines of a suffocating culture.

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Review: A.I.M. (Harbourfront Centre)

Photo of A.I.M. in Drive

Fineness and flare took the stage along with plenty of technical skill

Harbourfront Centre recently presented A.I.M. as part of Torque, a festival of international contemporary dance. It’s the third time A.I.M. has performed at Harbourfront, and I am kicking myself for missing the previous shows. What a great evening!

A.I.M. performed a mixed repertory of five pieces which together offered a wide-ranging and extremely well-programmed night of dance. Continue reading Review: A.I.M. (Harbourfront Centre)

Review: Asian Comedy All Stars (RushZilla Productions)

Picture of Rush Kazi, Cassie Cao, Big Norm, Thurka Gunaratnam, Anto Chan, Carolina DG, Zeeshan Ansari, and Shuhei Murakami in Asian Comedy All StarsConsistent high-quality performers solicit belly laughs in this comedy revue

Wednesday I had the pleasure of checking out a comedy revue featuring Asian comics with a wide spectrum of backgrounds and styles. Comedian Rush Kazi presents monthly comedy shows at the Rivoli, and one of them is Asian Comedy All Stars, a comedy revue showcasing comics from Asia, or of Asian descent.

This month’s revue featured Anto Chan, Thurka Gunaratman, Zeeshan Ansari, Carolina DG, Big Norm, Shuhei Murakami, and headliner Cassie Cao. The show also featured two burlesque numbers by Imogen Quest.

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Review: AF (Red Sky Performance with Canadian Stage)

AF celebrates Anishinaabe prophecies through dance, by Red Sky Performance with Canadian Stage

Red Sky Performance in residence at Canadian Stage presents AF, a mind-blowing journey through dance and movement, projections and sound. Directed by Sandra Laronde, and choreographed by Thomas Fonua, AF explores the seven fire prophecies of the Anishinaabe that have shaped the lives of people on Turtle Island. Each prophecy is shown through a series of movements utilizing contemporary dance and physical storytelling. Paired with an intensely visceral soundtrack, this performance will leave you spellbound.

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