Review: who knew grannie: a dub aria – Obsidian Theatre company in association with Factory Theatre

By Megan Mooney

who knew grannie

Hard to know what to expect from a show that is billed as a dub aria. What you get with Obsidian Theatre‘s who knew grannie, now playing at Factory Theatre, is a night filled with beauty. The characters (and actors) were beautiful, the language was beautiful, the drumming was beautiful, and the signing was, well, something more than beautiful. Spectacular? The singing was spectacular.

You may have guessed by now that I loved who knew grannie. Sam (aka mum) was my show partner for this one, and she also loved the piece. The only caveat would be that there’s a reasonable chance you’ll cry at some point in the production. That said, Sam was quick to point out that, although she spent a reasonable amount of time crying, she didn’t feel beaten up at the end. It was a perfect description.

So often shows that involve a whack of crying on my part just knock the wind out of me. I walk out of the theatre glad I had gone, appreciating the work, but also feeling completely spent. I did my share of weeping at who knew grannie, but at the end I felt excited and exhilarated.

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Review: I'm So Close – Why Not Theatre

by Leanne Milech

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Toronto-based Why Not Theatre has nailed it again – “it” being contemporary, experimental, physical theatre of the highest order; this time in the form of I’m So Close. . ., a fresh re-working of the company’s I’m So Close It’s Not Even Funny, which won a SummerWorks Festival Spotlight Award in 2008. The revamped I’m So Close. . . is currently running at The Theatre Centre as part of the Free Fall ’10 Festival in association with Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage.

Inspired by Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, I’m So Close. . . centres around Steve (Troels Hagen Findsen) and Stella (Katrina Bugaj), a young couple living in a world of technological “connectedness”. Steve is an ambitious inventor who’s got the next big eco-friendly product in full production swing, which takes him all around the world on business jaunts as poor Stella is stuck at home watching documentary after documentary to entertain herself.

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The New Ideas Festival 2010 – Week Three – Alumnae Theatre

By Sam Mooney

New Ideas Festival 2010 This is the final week of The New Ideas Festival at the Alumnae Theatre. I’m going to miss it – it’s been an interesting three weeks of theatre. I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

The festival consists of three weeks of new plays selected by a jury. There are all kinds of plays; some are very short (5 or 10 minutes), and some are about half an hour. There are also staged readings on Saturdays that are an hour long.

This week’s plays offer the same kind of interesting mix as the past two weeks.

The plays are all presented in the Alumnae Theatre Studio which seats about 80 people. It’s a wide space but not deep, so the performers are very close to the audience. There isn’t much in the way of sets. It’s all very up- close-and-personal.

So what’s in store this week? Something for everyone.

Continue reading The New Ideas Festival 2010 – Week Three – Alumnae Theatre

The winner of a pair of tickets to 'Oh What a Lovely War' is…

contestwebgraphicgenericCongrats Phil Rickaby! Woo!

You and a lucky guest will be attending tomorrow night’s performance of Oh What a Lovely War at the Young Centre for Performing Arts.

If you are not a lucky winner but would still like to see this acclaimed musical, please visit www.soulpepper.ca, www.stageplay.ca or call the box office at 416-866-8666 to purchase tickets. Tickets are $29 and $70, with show dates Monday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Wednesday and Saturday matinees playing at 1:30 until April 10. To get more information, please go to the Soulpepper website.

Review: The City – Actors Repertory Company

By Adam Collier

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Martin Crimp’s The City is now playing at the Berkley Street Theatre Upstairs. My seat is just to the left of the stage.

The set (by Gillian Gallow) looks like an open clamshell. It curves in, out and around the stage.

The lighting (by Sandra Marcroft) is a bright palette. It washes over the characters in a way that makes them glow. They have no shadows or blemishes or wrinkles. They seem ageless.

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Review: Young Frankenstein – Mirvish

by Leanne Milech

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Last week, Toronto theatre got a little bit slapstick, a little bit silly and a lot of funny with the opening of Mirvish‘s Young Frankenstein at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Remember the 1974 Mel Brooks-Gene Wilder film collaboration of Young Frankenstein? I do, and I remember peeing in my pants laughing at the stuff as a kid, so I wasn’t sure that the story would be quite as funny now that I’m pushing thirty.

My fears were unfounded. It could have easily turned out to be one giant, spoofy flop, but, the hilarity of the music, the talent of the cast and the show-stopping ensemble dancing all made this production come together.

Continue reading Review: Young Frankenstein – Mirvish

Five for Twenty (or Less)

by Leanne Milech

This week we highlight five more inexpensive theatre options, including a play about fate, a fresh work from venerable playwright Sky Gilbert and a storytelling festival. Ah, the good old days, when life was simple, and school consisted of sitting in a circle on the carpet, listening to your teacher read a story. This weekend, relive your childhood for just a few dollars. Or spend just a little bit more and see one of the other shows that caught our frugal eye.

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Review: The Monster Under The Bed – Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

By Adam Collier

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The title of this show – The Monster Under The Bed – hints at the set. I can’t believe my eyes, though. The entire stage of the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People is a bed!

My seat is just to the right of the bed – er, stage I mean.

The play begins with a boy named Ben (Darrel Gamotin) switching places with a boy-like monster (Danny MacDonald) to stay home from school. Ben then has to deal with the monster’s father (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), while the boy-monster has to deal with a day in elementary school.

The entire theatre turns into a playing space for the actors of The Monster Under The Bed. The characters lack emotional censorship, too so the action – exploration and interaction by the characters with the universe around them – seems completely honest. Honesty is very funny!

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Toronto theatre contest -win a pair of tickets to 'Oh What a Lovely War'

contestwebgraphicgeneric5Oh What A Lovely War -a musical throw back to The First World War, highlights the songs of an entire generation … and is playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts until April 10.

Tickets are $29 and $70 with show dates Monday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Wednesday and Saturday matinees playing at 1:30. This show had its original debut in 1963, but this week you have the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the 2010 version directed by Albert Schultz and with musical direction by Marek Norman!

Yep, just be the lucky 13th person to contact us here at contests@mooneyontheatre.com quoting the subject line Oh What A Lovely War. Remember you can enter once per day and the winner will be announced on Wednesday. To purchase tickets visit www.soulpepper.ca, www.stageplay.ca or call the box office at 416-866-8666.

For more information about the play, read excerpts from the press release below .

Good Luck!

Continue reading Toronto theatre contest -win a pair of tickets to 'Oh What a Lovely War'

Review: The Aleph – Soulpepper Theatre Company

By Darryl D’Souza

the aleph diego in chair

At the beginning of Soulpepper Theatre Company’s production of The Aleph, playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, the house lights were left on to illuminate a “set” that consisted of just a single swivel chair and a large closed curtain. 

A man entered the room, whom I knew to be the star of the play, Diego Matamoros, and started telling what I thought was an anecdote about his experience as an actor. Diego never approached the stage, but instead, stood in the rafters talking while he handed out a picture of himself taken 30 years ago. I was impatiently waiting for him to stop wasting my time telling me what I thought was a personal story and to start the play already. It turns out he had, and relating this anecdote was actually the beginning of the play. 

If you think that making the audience actually forget that they are watching a play is an accomplishment, then The Aleph was certainly successful in this respect. Reality and fiction were blurred, in the beginning at least. My issue was I felt that it was ultimately a play without the play. Continue reading Review: The Aleph – Soulpepper Theatre Company