Next Stage Festival – Icarus Redux

By: Darryl D’Souza

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Watching Icarus Redux at the Next Stage Festival was a strange experience for me. I can’t say that I loved it, but I didn`t loathe it either. The gap between the original myth of Icarus and Daedalus and this production is rather enormous. 

If you don’t know the myth, basically Daedalus, imprisoned in Crete with his son Icarus, devised a pair of wings made out of wax and feathers to escape captivity. He warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sea, as the wing’s feathers would get wet. And, more notoriously, not to fly too close to the sun as the heat would cause the wax attaching the wings to melt. Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he plummeted to his death into the sea. Daedalus mourned the loss of his son, whose death he had caused by creating the wings. 

Here’s where Icarus Redux picks up. It’s about the relationship between a father and son, seemingly imprisoned in their home (a modern Crete). Continue reading Next Stage Festival – Icarus Redux

Next Stage Festival – The Making of St. Jerome – eastBOUNDtheatre

By Sam Mooney

The Making of Saint Jerome

Have you ever noticed that plays based on actual events are always heartbreaking? The Making of St Jerome from eastBoundplayers playing as part of the Next Stage Festival is no exception. The most heartbreaking thing about the play is that there are no answers, not even to the most basic question. Why?

Continue reading Next Stage Festival – The Making of St. Jerome – eastBOUNDtheatre

Next Stage Festival – The Red Queen Effect – Seventh Stage Productions

By Sam Mooney

The Red Queen Effect

The Red Queen Effect – from Seventh Stage Productions – is playing as part of the Next Stage Festival. Sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake. It took me till the end of the play to realize that ‘the red queen effect’ must refer to running in place as fast as you can just to stay in place.

There was a lot of running, but it seemed to me this Alice did get where she wanted to go. Or at least she managed the first leg of the trip.

Continue reading Next Stage Festival – The Red Queen Effect – Seventh Stage Productions

Next Stage Festival – Buried – Theatre Awakening

By Crystal WoodBURIED PHOTO 2  

What are the different ways of dealing with grief? Buried, now playing at the Next Stage Theatre Festival, explores just that.

The play begins with the funeral of the family matriarch Jean, and continues with the days following it as her family tries to cope in their own ways. One daughter, Rachel, over-sentimentalizes; another daughter, Anne, micromanages. Bill, the father of the family, can’t remember what has happened at all because of his struggle with Alzheimer’s. Continue reading Next Stage Festival – Buried – Theatre Awakening

Next Stage Festival – Like Father Like Son? Sorry – Chris Gibbs

By Sam Mooney

Chris Gibbs - Like Father Like Son? Sorry

How is it that I’ve never seen Chris Gibbs until now? He’s very funny, a bit weird, definitely quirky, and incredibly entertaining. 

His show – Like Father Like Son? Sorry – is part of the Next Stage Festival running until January 17th. 

According to the blurb Like Father Like Son? Sorry “… playfully explores the fears, worries and surprises of being a new father, and the absolute terror of wanting to be a good one.” But this one-man show (it says “one-man show creator” in the blurb so I figure I can say it here,) is about so much more than fatherhood. 

The show opens with Chris channelling Marlon Brando as Jor-El – Superman’s father. He comes back to Superman and other super heroes at various points in the 95 minute show. Some of his lines are almost throw-aways, if you aren’t paying attention they’re gone and you find yourself thinking, “Wait! I missed that. Go back!”

Continue reading Next Stage Festival – Like Father Like Son? Sorry – Chris Gibbs

Next Stage Festival – Just East of Broadway – Gig Productions

By Crystal Wood

eastofb2Just East of Broadway, playing at the Next Stage Theatre Festival, is a play that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This, I think, is both its strength and its weakness.

In the grand tradition of Fringe Festival spoof musicals, Just East of Broadway takes all the old musical conventions and runs with them – from the fighters who become lovers, to the little theatre company that could, to a bumbling henchman out to thwart the leading man. Rex Maverick (played by Cory O’Brien) is a washed-up Hollywood star who is shipped off to small-town China to star in a play that might be his last hope for a comeback. Let the laughs ensue. Continue reading Next Stage Festival – Just East of Broadway – Gig Productions

Next Stage Festival: Quite Frankly- Screwed & Clued Theatre Company

by Lucy Allen

Justin Sage-Passant in Quite Frankly

The Fringe tent definitely feels different when it’s January and -15 degrees outside, but that didn’t stop the crowds from lining up for the first night of the Next Stage Festival, host to eight new and reworked shows. My first show of the festival this year was Screwed & Clued Theatre Company’s Quite Frankly. To get the obvious joke out of the way: Quite frankly, it’s worth seeing.

Written and performed by Justin Sage-Passant, Quite Frankly is a one-man show telling the story of a socially awkward man, named Frank, unable to ever quite integrate into normal situations of his society. Specifically, it focuses on his relationship with his constantly over-bearing and needy mother, who he cares for.

The moment that Sage-Passant shuffles uncomfortably onto the stage staring uncertainly and wistfully at the audience you’re immediately endeared to him. From his eye twitches to his slow methodical way of speaking, every detail of the character is explored and Sage-Passant does a wonderful job of bringing each and every one to life.

Continue reading Next Stage Festival: Quite Frankly- Screwed & Clued Theatre Company

John/Yoko Bed Piece- Draft89 Theatre Collective

by Lucy Allen

Graham Porter and Sharon Marquez in John/Yoko Bed Piece 2009

In 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono declared they would stay in their hotel bed in Montreal for one week to promote peace around the world and to stop violent wars. Thirty years later, the world is just as violent, but draft89’s production John/Yoko Bed Piececurrently playing at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, hopes to reintroduce this message of peace by recreating the couple’s famous week. Continue reading John/Yoko Bed Piece- Draft89 Theatre Collective