Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: Melancholy Play (The Empty Room)

The Empty Room explores melancholy through a quirky play at Toronto’s Collective Space

There’s something strangely comforting about the state of melancholy. It’s like a warm blanket that you know you really should just shrug off and get on with your day. But, no matter how much you rationally argue it, you continue to stay curled up in a big ball of slightly sad contemplation of the world around you. The Empty Room’s Melancholy Play makes a strong effort to explore the experience of this strange emotion from its manic highs to its crushing lows, all in a uniquely designed and performed package.

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Review: Vincent Mantsoe (Danceworks)

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Dance virtuoso Vincent Mantsoe wows Toronto audiences at the Harbourfront Centre

The word “virtuoso” is one that has understandably lost its impact. Like all superlatives, it’s easy to toss around, and if it ever made readers perk up, it doesn’t anymore.

But when Danceworks curator Mimi Beck writes that Vincent Mantsoe — performing his two-part show NTU and Skwatta at Harbourfront Centre Theatre until January 31 — is a dancer of “breathtaking virtuosity,” she’s just stating the facts. He’s incredible.

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The Other Place (Canadian Stage)

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Canadian Stage wows Toronto audiences with the “emotionally gripping” The Other Place

When I first read the description of The Other Place, I was expecting to walk into an emotional thriller that would have me at the edge of my seat. Instead, I was taken into another journey that wasn’t quite dark and mysterious but informative and at times emotionally gripping. The talented cast and the creative set design by Judith Bowden were the highlights of this Canadian Stage production.

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Review: Ginger Nation (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

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Shawn Hitchins’ one man show was “funny yet moving” at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

I sat down in my seat for Ginger Nation by Shawn Hitchins and looked around the room. I was not used to seeing Buddies in Bad Times Theatre looking so calm. On Saturday nights the theatre opens its doors as a bar and dance club. I was so accustomed to the speakers blasting 90’s hits and glorious drag queens strutting down the main staircase. This version of “Buddies” was toned down, but it had just as much spirit as the Saturday night crowd. I left the theatre just as elated as I do when I dance the night away.

The show opened with who I thought was an overly-enthusiastic Emcee. Soon I found out that it was Diana Love, the opening comedian. Love can only be described as a delightful weirdo. She introduced herself to the room as “your best friend for the next twenty minutes.” She did feel like a close friend who really lets loose over pitchers of sangria. She flipped from silly jokes about her hometown in P.E.I to lewd jokes about her sex life. Every punch line was followed by a laugh like she was shocked that she confessed that to a room full of people. By the end of her set, I was trying to wipe the tears from under my glasses.
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Review: Blood Relations (Alumnae Theatre Company)

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Blood Relations takes a chilling look into the Lizzie Borden murders at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto

Alumnae Theatre‘s latest production, Blood Relations, takes on the infamous and bloody tale of Lizzie Borden, the young lady who was tried and later acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in 1892, and projects it ten years in the future. In this imagined future, Lizzie and her friend and lover, known only as “Actress”, play a mind game where Actress takes a stroll in Lizzie’s shoes during those critical few weeks leading up to the murder in order to answer the question ‘could Lizzie have done it?’

It was this very interesting take on the famous murder case that instantly piqued my curiosity having long been fascinated by the trial. Having now seen this production, I can honestly say I was blown away.

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