Biographies of the Dead & Dying (MachineFair) 2010 Summerworks Review

By GeAviva Armour-Ostroff and Jeff Meadows - Biographies of the Dead and Dyingorge Perry

Part of the vision of MachineFair is to create work that is intellectually stimulating,  emotionally truthful and accessible.   With their Toronto production of Biographies of the Dead & Dying, audiences can expect to witness a perfect shot, a bull’s-eye.  The play is currently onstage in Toronto at Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of Summerworks.

At first the set is nearly empty.  There is only a comfortable old chair, a rug and a small table for a phone.  Soon though, the stage is spilling over with the presence of Alice and Jack.

Alice, a "one-hit chick lit" author, is brought to life magnificently by Aviva Armour-Ostroff.  She is suffering from writer’s block and has rented a house on Vancouver Island from Jack. 

Jeff Meadows is equally brilliant.  He plays both Jack and Alice’s ex-husband, John.  He is so good that I wasn’t sure that it was the same person playing two roles at first.

 

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Loving the Stranger or how to recognize an invert – 2010 Summerworks Review

by Dorianne Emmerton

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A keyboard stands in a corner manned by a dapper fellow in white face and a bowler hat. In the other corner is what appears to be an armchair covered by an old paint-spattered drop cloth. Seated in it from the minute you enter the theatre is a pre-set old man. This is Loving the Stranger or how to recognize an invert by Ecce Homo Theatre.

Having seen him you expect the old man to begin the show, to speak once the house lights fade. Instead the musician in the other corner starts playing and a white-faced blond woman in a Nazi outfit, playing a child, starts to sing before setting off on a pro-fascist rant.

Brecht would probably be very pleased at how Ecce Homo is keeping his mode of theatre alive and vibrant. As long as he didn’t mind a whole lot of gay male content, at least. Continue reading Loving the Stranger or how to recognize an invert – 2010 Summerworks Review

Review: Romeo and Juliet – CanStage TD Canada Trust Dream in High Park

Never have I been more proud to be a Torontonian, than after seeing Canstage TD Canada Trust Dream in High Park. It was, simply the BEST Shakespearean production I have EVER seen, ANYWHERE.

This season’s production of Romeo and Juliet was clever, beautiful, and accessible. It retold the familiar story with an infectious energy and all without pandering to young audiences or needlessly resorting to “modern-day” vernacular.

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Even Darkness is Made of Light – 2010 Summerworks Review

by Dorianne Emmerton

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Even Darkness is Made of Light (Not My Pig, Not My Farm Productions) is a one woman play about suicide. This sounds like my own personal theatre festival hell. Instead, this show was like a little bit of heaven.

Edwidge Jean-Pierre is a force of nature. It’s impossible not to pay her your full attention when she’s onstage playing Carrie, or any of the number of characters who interact with her. Besides Carrie she also plays Carrie’s love interest Carlos, her psychiatrist, her geography teacher, her sister and her school friends. Continue reading Even Darkness is Made of Light – 2010 Summerworks Review

Review: Bad Dog Theatre Short Play Festival

by Dorianne Emmerton

The Bad Dog Theatre Short Play Festival showcases original Canadian comedic short plays. Keep reading to find out more about the two shows Loose Connections and The Void.

Loose Connections (by Robin Pond)

Loose Connections is a set of sketch comedy scene played by three actors, Eric Turkienicz, Deanna Palazzo, and Skye Regan.

In the first scene a woman storms into a coffeeshop demanding to know what the secret conspiracy is to keep patrons returning to that same establishment every day. The angry woman had some very funny build up but unfortunately the punch line to the scene was lost the night I saw it. Continue reading Review: Bad Dog Theatre Short Play Festival

Review: Bad Dog Theatre Short Play Festival

by Dorianne Emmerton

The Bad Dog Theatre Short Play Festival showcases original Canadian comedic short plays and runs for one week, with four shows a night. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to go to all four shows in one night, you can just pick one if you’d prefer, there’s one every hour from 7 to 10pm.

Starting Over (by Adam Hunter Collier)

On Wednesday the evening started off with Starting Over, a twenty minute comedic piece about a young man, Richard (Philippe Poirier) at his first psychiatrist appointment. He had felt insincere in his corporate job so he tried being “open and honest” in the office which led to him being fired.

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Review: Cancer Can't Dance Like This

Cancer Can't Dance Like ThisBy Amber Landgraff

On Thursday June 22 I went to see Daniel Stolfi’s Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, presented by the Sunnybrook Foundation as part of a fundraiser for Cancer research and facilities. I’ll admit that I’ve been struggling with writing this review because I am having trouble finding the words to convey just how amazing this show really is.

I’ve been trying to see the show since it first came out, but due to a busy schedule and the short run times for the show (it usually only plays one or two nights at a time), its taken me a long time to see it. I was genuinely blown away. Let me just say that the show was worth the wait.
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A Month In The Country – Soulpepper brings cottage country to downtown Toronto

By George Perry

Fiona Byrne is amazing as Natalya Petrovna, the matriarch in A Month in the Country. She reminds me of my Lithuanian mother-in-law.  This Soulpepper production is currently onstage at the Young Theatre in Toronto’s Distillery District

Fiona Byrne by Cylla von Tiedemann

Ivan Turgenev first wrote this play in 1855.  At first, the Russians censored it, then they ignored it for 17 years.  A Month in the Country didn’t gain popularity until Constantin Stanislavsky directed and acted in an interpretation in 1909. 

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