Review: New Magic Valley Fun Town (Tarragon Theatre)

Tarragon Theatre presents a new play by Daniel MacIvor in Toronto

New Magic Valley Fun Town is wonderfully funny, extremely moving, and quintessentially Nova Scotian.  This new play is written by, and starring, Daniel MacIvor. You can catch it at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Ave.) from now until March 31st.

New Magic Valley Fun Town captures the lives of a family of Cape Bretoners in their hilarious nuances. It opens with lighthearted comedy, but by the end you may get a bit misty eyed.  With great acting and writing, I found this play to be immensely rewarding. Continue reading Review: New Magic Valley Fun Town (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Revisor (Kidd Pivot / Canadian Stage)

Canadian Stage brings Kidd Pivot’s latest dance-theatre hybrid work to Toronto

Kidd Pivot’s Revisor completely revamps the relationship between contemporary dance and theatre. Performed at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre, the highly sought after choreographer, Crystal Pite, reworks what is possible in the hybrid form, creating one of her most brilliant works yet.

Co-creator and writer, Jonathon Young, takes on Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 Russian play, Revisor, or The Inspector General when translated to English. The play follows a satirical story of mistaken identity which comically showcases greed and political corruption. Young’s adapted script is recorded by Canadian actors whose voices have highly expressive cadence and emotions. This recording becomes a score for the eight dancers in the work.

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Review: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian/Nightwood)

Tensions flare in an all-girl boarding school, on stage now in Toronto

Obsidian Theatre, in association with Nightwood Theatre, presents Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. That title sure is catchy and has, no doubt, already hooked you in with the promise of young women behaving badly. I assure you: it does not disappoint, serving up plenty of flaring nostrils and raging egos. It’s the aching heart underneath, though, that drives this story.  Continue reading Review: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian/Nightwood)

Review: Sasheer Zamata and Adam Ruins Everything (Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival)

Photo of Sasheer Zamata provided by the Toronto Sketch Comedy FestivalThe Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival presents over 75 sketch comedy artists

The world has completely gone to shit: fascism is on the rise again, we’re barrelling toward environmental catastrophe and this goddamn winter just won’t end. If there was ever a time we needed a good laugh, now would be it. Luckily, The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (or TOSketchfest) is presenting over 75 sketch comedy artists over 12 days in three venues in both the West and East ends of the city.

I had the opportunity to check out two of the festival’s headliners on opening weekend: Sasheer Zamata (of Saturday Night Live fame) and Adam Conover (from the popular TruTV series Adam Ruins Everything).  Continue reading Review: Sasheer Zamata and Adam Ruins Everything (Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival)

Review: Jersey Boys (Mirvish)

Mirvish brings retro pop to the stage starring Canadian-born talent in this true-enough story of Jersey’s own Four Seasons.

Mirvish plays host to a bit of sweet nostalgic comfort with a limited run of Jersey Boys, performing at the Ed Mirvish theatre for the next two weeks.

This jukebox musical tells the story of the American 1960’s group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, delving into the previously-unknown history of the band members, particularly the scandals that surrounded their personal lives. Each member of the quartet takes a turn narrating events, with each their own version of how things really happened.

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Review: Kiss of the Spider Woman (Eclipse Theatre Company)

Photo of Kawa Ada and Jonathan Winsby by John Gundy
Eclipse produces a site-specific production of the Kander and Ebb musical in Toronto’s Don Jail

Eclipse, a new theatre company with a mission to produce site-specific musical theatre, chose the historic Don Jail as the site for its inaugural production of the Tony Award-winning Kiss of the Spider Woman, the Kander and Ebb show with book by Terrence McNally, based on Manuel Puig’s novel. The jail, now an administration building for Bridgepoint Health, is an appropriate, eerie match for the musical set in a brutal Argentinian prison in the 1970s during the Dirty War. Directed by Evan Tsitsias and billed as a staged concert production, this instead feels fully realized – and near-perfect.

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Review: 26 Letter Dance (Young People’s Theatre)

 

With a three-year-old and a nine-year-old to consider, it can be difficult to find shows that are accessible to the little one but not boring for the big one (to say nothing of boring for the semi-responsible adult accompanying them). When a show that’s pleasing to all three comes along, like The 26 Letter Dance, it feels like an entire March Break miracle

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Review: Persefony Songs (Toronto Dance Theatre)

Toronto Dance Theatre presents a a dance piece inspired by Homer’s Odyssey

Persefony Songs, is a beautifully reimagined work of Christopher House’s Dora nominated Persephone’s Lunch (2001). Initially inspired by the epic of Homer’s Odyssey, the work has been repurposed eighteen years later to create a new hour-long piece as part of Toronto Dance Theatre’s reimagining repertoire project presented at the Fleck Dance Theatre.

The space opens with dozens of wooden skids hanging from the ceiling. In the back corner of the stage we find a six-member band, dressed all in black, facing the audience. In another corner, a dancer lays face down on a long table surrounded by red apples. The remaining eleven dancers are below and to the side of the stage. They begin to jump up one by one to settle into statuesque shapes before all joining together at the long table.

Continue reading Review: Persefony Songs (Toronto Dance Theatre)