Toronto Theatre Reviews

Hardsell – Rick Miller at The Canadian Stage Company

By Megan Mooney

Rick Miller Hardsell

Rick Miller and Daniel Brooks are behind what is arguably my favourite theatre piece of all time – Bigger Than Jesus. So, as you can imagine, I was all a tingle when I saw that there was another collaboration between these two in the Canadian Stage Company 08/09 season – HARDSELL.

So, was my excitement warranted? Well, to quote Rick Miller, playing Arnie, playing Rick – “It’s not what I expected”.

Continue reading Hardsell – Rick Miller at The Canadian Stage Company

0% Down, 100% Screwed

by Dana Lacey

The Second City’s “0% Down, 100% Screwed” opens with a chain gang of ex-Bay Streeters chipping imaginary bricks with imaginary picks. They sing under the watch of a shotgun-slinging guard, blaming their woes on the ultimate scapegoat: The Crisis. Ya know, The Crisis, the recession, the mediocre depression…whatever you want to call that vague and terrifying event the media keeps promising will steal our jobs and homes. It sets the tone for the rest of the evening, which is a mash-up of short scenes about politics, economics and that guy who always asks to see your gas bill (tip: he doesn’t work for your gas company.)
Continue reading 0% Down, 100% Screwed

Matchmaker, Matchmaker (Listing for Blind Date at Harbourfront)

from the keyboard of: Alex Rayment

So in case you don’t know, I loves the improvs. When I heard that Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage was putting on an improv show, I had to check it out…but unfourtunately it hasn’t happened yet which is why I’m writing this preview.

You, oh readers of the interwebs, have won the glorious chance to be my date(s) to an improv show about someone else’s date and it will only cost you $25. Blind Date is about a woman, played by the brilliant Rebecca Northan, who gets stood up and is forced to turn to the audience to find someone brave and willing to fill the empty void at the table and in her heart.

In case I haven’t mentioned this, she and her randomly chosen audience member (maybe you) are making this up as they go along. I think it sounds like a blast and wouldn’t miss it for the world. The show has a limited run of five nights and opens Tuesday March 3rd, so if you’re as interested as I am – get on your horse and book some tickets.

– Show runs March 3-7 at the Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
– Doors are at 7pm, show at 8 pm.
– Tickets are $25 and can be bought online (www.harbourfrontcentre.com) or via phone -416 973 4000

Proof – East Side Players

by Megan Mooney

Dany Savard, David Nicholson, Rebecca Buttigieg in Proof

Sometimes things combine to make a really delightful experience.  In the case of the East Side Players production of David Auburn’s Proof, it was some wonderful direction from a first-time director, a great script, and some strong actors, to just name a few. 

I often have some trepidation when going to a ‘community theatre’.  Don’t get me wrong, I have worked with community theatre in the past, and am really glad they’re around, but lets face it, sometimes the shows at community theatres leave a bit to be desired.  That’s not the case with this show (and, given Dana’s experience with Tartuffe, I suspect it’s generally not the case with East Side Players).

Continue reading Proof – East Side Players

You Fancy Yourself – Theatre Passe Muraille (backspace)

by Mark Augustine

Maja Ardal in You Fancy Yourself

Funny! Incredibly harsh but extremely funny! Maja Ardal’s performance in You Fancy Yourself at the Theatre Passe Muraille backspace deserves kudos for the effort and talent she exerts to transform harsh schoolyard life and childhood torment into a comedy juggernaut. This one-woman show will catch the audience off-guard with the clean and deliberate energy that kept me applauding for more even after 2 hours.

Continue reading You Fancy Yourself – Theatre Passe Muraille (backspace)

Zona Pellucida & the Needle Exchange (A Double Bill) – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Review by Mark Augustine

Stephen Lawson, Aaron Pollard

Q: What do you get when you cross the Twilight Zone with Italian Opera and throw in Norma Desmond as the lead character?

A: I’ll be damned if I know. But it’s pretty much what you can expect from Zona Pellucida – a 45 min. one person show from Montreal which played at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

My friend Earnest and I didn’t really know what to expect from “Zona Pellucida”. The posters gave little indication of plot and the programme offered little more. It is one of those kinds of shows where you sit there for the first ten minutes thinking “Ok, I just need to concentrate harder and maybe I’ll get the purpose here!” By the time we hit 25 minutes I just decided to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Continue reading Zona Pellucida & the Needle Exchange (A Double Bill) – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Stranger – Praxis Theatre

James Murray as Meursault

by Alex Rayment

It’s cold, slushy, bleak and the credit card bills from the holiday season have arrived. Happy National Depression Week everyone. It’s the perfect time for me to huddle indoors and dust off my keyboard for some good old theatre bloggin’. It also happens to be perfect setting in which to present the famous, anti-nihilistic French classic L’Étranger – the book on which Stranger by Praxis Theatre is based.

So for starters, go read the book.

Continue reading Stranger – Praxis Theatre

Them & Us – Theatre Passe Muraille

Them-&-Us

by Sam Mooney

Them & Us, playing at Theatre Passe Muraille, isn’t really a play; it’s a series of vignettes. All these portraits and sketches focus on male-female relationships and the trouble we have connecting with each other.

You’re going to want to see this one with a friend, because you’re going to want to talk about it afterwards. It would be ideal to go with a friend of the opposite sex. That way you can ask if women say “I don’t believe in romantic love” or if men say “I want to stab you with a fork…in the shoulder”, or if those seem to just be ‘guy things’ or ‘girl things’.

Continue reading Them & Us – Theatre Passe Muraille