Play Listings for the Week of October 20th, 2014

October’s just flying by, isn’t it? Probably because it’s such a busy month for everyone. The theatres of Toronto are no exception – we have an extraordinarily high number of shows in this week’s listings, and are happy to share them with you below. Our Editor, Mike, had a few hard decisions to make – but anything highlighted in red, with two asterisks before it, comes highly recommended by him.

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Review: Evita (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre brings Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic Evita to the stage

Evita (playing the Lower Ossington Theatre) has always wobbled slightly. From the very beginning, opponents have criticized it for misrepresenting the life of its subject, presenting her as an aggressive — and heavily corrupt — political operator: an opportunist, an embezzler, an apologist for fascism, and a woman who relied upon “the parts in between her thighs” to make her way in life, all of which have been brought into question by subsequent research. After she’d left the show, having scored her first Tony award, Patti LuPone dished that playing Evita was “the worst experience of my life […] a part that could only have been written by a man who hates women”.

The LOT does not embrace these criticisms: their production is straight and faithful, with very few moments of ambiguity or self-reflection. And while the show’s fun to watch — the songs include some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best — the way that director Heather Braaten approached the story reminded me of a student reading a book report of a novel he didn’t particularly enjoy. The plot points are mentioned; the songs are in the right places; but this felt like a recitation, rather than a retelling from someone who’d actually engaged with the material.

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Review: Concord Floral (The Theatre Centre)

CONCORD FLORAL #3-All

Concord Floral, playing at The Theatre Centre, is engaging theatre that captures life and spark from a young cast

Jordan Tannahill is no stranger to subversion. The award-winning playwright and queer activist creates and hosts all kinds of challenging experimental performances in his small storefront venue Videofag in Kensington Market. But of all the risks he’s taken, Tannahill’s latest play Concord Floral, playing at The Theatre Centre, does something that should really make people nervous: It stars teenagers. Continue reading Review: Concord Floral (The Theatre Centre)

Review: Waving is Funny

wavingisfunny

Waving is Funny, a dance piece on stage at Toronto’s Ralph Thornton Centre, is unfortunately anything but

Tina Fushell’s Waving is Funny, a collaborative movement piece that “began as a joke” before becoming “a very real performance idea” sounds pleasantly kooky. There is something about examining the act of waving that appeals to me, a comedy goldmine just waiting to be explored.

I was curious about the subject matter. How do people wave? What do we look like when we do? How does our environment impact this greeting? And how does this small act relate to other types of waves? The title suggests a wealth of material that could go just about anywhere.

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Review: Marion Bridge (D & T Productions)

Kirstin Rae Hinton Deanna Palazzo and Tanya Sand in Marion Bridge

D&T Productions presents their debut production of Marion Bridge at Toronto’s re-branded Theatre Machine

Set in Nova Scotia, Marion Bridge is the life-affirming story of what happens when a woman returns home to be with her sisters while their mother is on her deathbed. Written by Daniel MacIvor, this is one of the first plays to be mounted by D&T Productions at Toronto’s re-branded The Theatre Machine.

What I found exceptional about Marion Bridge is the writing and acting. Together, they make for a play that almost anyone can relate to.

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