Review: Small Axe (Project Humanity and The Theatre Centre)

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Andrew Kushnir’s Small Axe Rocks Our World

Playwright Moss Hart is reputed to have said “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” His stance, and that echoed later by film directors of such note as Frank Capra, is that theatre might entertain or explore but that work with a message to impart is destined to be boring. With Small Axe, a coproduction of The Theatre Centre and Project Humanity, Andrew Kushnir has proven Hart decisively, irrevocably wrong. What’s more, he does so using a collection of theatrical elements that often spell disaster, but which apparently (to no one’s surprise more than mine) can in the right hands be combined to make a deeply affecting theatrical experience.

Continue reading Review: Small Axe (Project Humanity and The Theatre Centre)

Review: Une Vie Pour Deux/Love and Other Fragments (EspaceGO and Theatre Francais de Toronto)

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Secrets are revealed when a couple discovers a body in Une Vie Pour Deux on stage at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre

Every so often a production takes a difficult discussion and uses it to reveal the flaws in our way of thinking. Une Vie Pour Deux (Love and Other Fragments) is a joint project by Espace GO and Theatre Francais de Toronto at the Berkeley Street Theatre is a work that dives into its subject and delivers a solid night of theatre.

Continue reading Review: Une Vie Pour Deux/Love and Other Fragments (EspaceGO and Theatre Francais de Toronto)

Review (Kid +1): Alex in Wonderland (Solar Stage Children’s Theatre)

Shadow puppets help bring Alex in Wonderland to life at the Solar Stage Children’s Theatre in Toronto

Alex in Wonderland

Alex in Wonderland at Toronto’s Solar Stage Children’s Theatre is full of colourful characters that are sure to please the kindergarten set. Its adaptation by Derek Genova includes a good dose of audience participation, too.

The play begins with Alex’s long fall into the rabbit hole, vividly evoked using shadow puppets. It was a captivating downward journey that made the young audience go quiet as we listened to Alex’s narration and slightly scary sound effects. I think the kids thought the puppets were just plain cool, as we saw Alex drop down and meet objects and other characters along the way. Continue reading Review (Kid +1): Alex in Wonderland (Solar Stage Children’s Theatre)

Review: Bells are Ringing (The Confidential Musical Theatre Project)

The cast of CMTP's productiion of Bells are ringing.

The Confidential Musical Theatre Project wows Toronto audiences with Bells are Ringing for their third production

Last Thursday a friend and I went to see Bells are Ringing, the latest production from The Confidential Musical Theatre Project. We didn’t know that we were going to see Bells are Ringing; that’s the confidential part. The audience doesn’t find out what musical is being performed until it starts. And the cast members don’t meet each other until an hour before the performance.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Continue reading Review: Bells are Ringing (The Confidential Musical Theatre Project)

Review: BOOM (Mirvish/Kdoons/Wyrd Productions)

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Mirvish presents BOOM in Toronto, a solo show documenting the baby boom starring Rick Miller

BOOM, written, directed and performed by Rick Miller is an interesting beast. The show is sort of a live documentary about the lives and times of the baby boom generation; the large cohort born after the Second World War. BOOM is part history lesson, part nostalgia trip, part musical tribute concert and part multimedia slide show. It’s not nearly as academic an exercise as it sounds and it’s surprisingly entertaining. Continue reading Review: BOOM (Mirvish/Kdoons/Wyrd Productions)