All posts by Samantha Wu

Samantha is both a writer and a fan of the arts and has been able to find numerous ways to pair the two. Aside from being an editor here at Mooney on Theatre, she's a photojournalist for Been Here Done That, a travel, dining and tourism blog that focuses on Toronto and abroad and previously for  Lithium Magazine, which got her writing and shooting about everything from Dave Matthews Band to Fan Expo. She's passionate about music, theatre, photography, writing, and celebrating sexuality -- not necessarily in that order. She drinks tea more than coffee, prefer ciders over beers, and sings karaoke way too loudly. You can follow her on various social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Review: Twelve Angry Men (Soulpepper)

Photo of Byron Abalos, Joseph Ziegler, Michael Simpson, Stuart Hughes, Jordan Pettle, and Tony DeSantis from Twelve Angry Men by Cylla Von TiedemannSoulpepper revives the classic courtroom drama, on stage at the Young Centre in Toronto

Jury duty. There may be no better way to understand how people truly are, to see how personal biases and prejudices actually affect an individual, than to sit 12 strangers in a room for a few days straight, abruptly interrupting their lives for that time, and have them unanimously decide a person’s fate in court. It’s why so many people do their best to avoid being summoned for it.

In 1954, playwright Reginald Rose wrote Twelve Angry Men to explore humanity trapped in this microcosm at play: 12 men locked in a room decide the fate of a 16-year-old boy accused of manslaughter. If he is guilty, he gets sentenced to the chair. If he is not guilty, he walks away. The television play was made successfully into a stage play and then later a successful movie. The text has been studied in theatre and English classes for years. To start off the 2016 season, Soulpepper brings Twelve Angry Men to the Young Centre for the Performing Arts stage and it is incredible.

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Review: Bigmouth (Mirvish with SKaGeN, Richard Jordan, De Tijd & STUK)

Photo of Valentijn Dhaenens by Maya WilsensMirvish celebrates famous orators in Bigmouth on stage at the Panasonic in Toronto

Belgian actor Valentijn Dhaenens is currently taking over the stage at the Panasonic Theatre to deliver the most unique one-man show you’re likely to see in Bigmouth. This show, celebrating famous speeches through the ages and the people who delivered them, was a huge success in Edinburgh and has received great acclaim across the globe. It now makes its debut in Toronto.

The beauty of this show is that Dhaenens not only recreates the famous speech, he embodies the person making it. His tonality, timbre, and body language are matched to the individual speaker, making for an entrancing show. I only wish there was more to it.

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Review: Spy School!: Mission Ridiculous (Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre

Photo of Tom Melissis, Ken MacDougall, Danny Wengle, Clare Preuss, Simon Esler, and Miriam Drysdale from Spy School Mission RidiculousExperience an interactive “whodunit” in Spy School playing at Mysteriously Yours in Toronto

This is not my first time at the Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre. In fact, it’s my third, having celebrated two company holiday parties there in the past. I had a grand ole time during my previous visits and had a feeling I’d enjoy myself just as much this time in. Considering my admiration for 007, Mission: Impossible, and to a lesser extent, Austin Powers flicks made this particular story, Spy School!: Mission Ridiculous, that much more inviting.

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Review: Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale (Revonoy Productions)

Christmas Tale

Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale is a fun new holiday musical in Toronto through the New Year

This time of year always tends to result in slim pickings for good theatre — there are only so many versions of Christmas Carols, Nutcrackers, and Messiahs I can take. However, when I saw the ads pop up everywhere for Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale, playing at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a rock ‘n roll Christmas musical written by and starring the likes of Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. As a fan of classic rock and metal, how could I not be? With a mixed amount of trepidation and anticipation, I attended.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t regret this decision at all.

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Review: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Mirvish)

Cinderella

Cinderella takes the stage in time for the holidays, at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto

Just in time for the holiday seasons, Mirvish Productions, in true Mirvish fashion, have pulled out all the stops for their family-friendly musical production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This version of the classic rags-to-riches story comes with a few unique twists and a rather interesting socio-political commentary that tends to get overlooked when you’re mostly familiar with the Disney version.

Cinderella is sparkly, whimsical, and at times almost cloyingly saccharine; it’s everything you can expect and want from a big-stage production of this caliber. If there’s a little princess in your life, she’s sure to be enchanted by this.

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