Review: You Have To Earn It (Alumnae Theatre)

You Have to Earn It will have you “shaking in your seats” with laughter, at Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre

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There are times when a comedy is too cheesy. The characters can be too loud, the plot too predictable, and the jokes too forced. That kind of play makes your stomach twist with embarrassment after every pause for a laugh. Lucky for me, Alumnae Theatre’s You Have To Earn It is the right kind of cheesy. The show is light-hearted and silly, but my cynical heart wasn’t overwhelmed by the positivity.

You Have To Earn It is a throwback to the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 40s. The homage to the old comedy style means there are hijinks, wacky misunderstandings, and some old fashioned sexism. The show stars Betty Parker who is the best costumer service receptionist her company has ever had, but even with all her hard work she can never seem to get promoted. Betty, played by Amy Swift, is tired of seeing coworkers like Joan, played by Jill Kooymans, get the job she deserves. Betty and her sassy friend Dorothy, Kathleen Jackson Allamby, gang up to see if their boss Mr. Brown, Paul Stafford, is cherry-picking employees because of their looks or if the women have really earned it.

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Play Listings for the Week of November 17th, 2014

It’s started snowing. I don’t care what the technical start date of winter is, I’m officially declaring the fact that winter has come to Toronto. And I’m choosing to hide from it in our city’s many theatres – here’s a list of what’s playing in town this week if you’d like to do the same. Anything highlighted in red with two asterisks is highly recommended by our Editor, Mike.

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Review: Burying Toni (Alumnae Theatre Company)

Natalie Kulesza, Glenda Roman and Jillian Welsh in Burying Toni

Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre presents Catherine Frid’s new play Burying Toni

Have you peeked in on your subconscious lately? Do you have any idea what your Animus and Shadow are up to? Well, why don’t you join us at King and Berkeley in Toronto?

We can climb the staircase of Alumnae Theatre and get all the facts straight while we take in the play Burying Toni by Catherine Frid.

Part of a one-two punch, Burying Toni and You Have To Earn It are two new plays by female playwrights that make up the Fireworks Festival.

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Review: Boxes Buried Deep (Convection Productions)

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Sage Tyrtle performs her one-woman show Boxes Buried Deep at Toronto’s Videofag

Boxes Buried Deep is Sage Tyrtle’s one-woman show: a real life fairy tale about how to discover and embrace your inner “crazy.” Her performance style is conversational and so the intimate Videofag venue is a great place to experience her. The audience is small enough, close enough, that she could put her arm around you as she weaves her tale. In fact, it felt as if her arm was around me the whole time. Continue reading Review: Boxes Buried Deep (Convection Productions)

Review: Opera Luminata

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Opera Luminata defies opera stereotypes in its run at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre

Opera Luminata sets itself a challenge in its Toronto premiere at the Harbourfont Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre: presenting opera not as an aloof and complicated performance trapped by formality, but rather as a musical and theatrical spectacle. The end result is to change the perception of opera as an art form by making it accessible, exciting, and new.

Such an ambitious goal presents interesting questions about the future of historical genres on the stage, and whether the performance status-quo needs to evolve to capture a new audience. For opera, specifically, what happens when we remove the context of the opera to focus solely on the individual moments of the whole? What does it mean if there is no need for context to listen to operatic songs? And, if opera becomes more accessible by removing the conventional structure, how do we reconcile the traditional with the new?

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