Toronto Theatre Reviews

One Good Marriage — Toronto Fringe 2015 Press Release

“[A] darkly funny journey navigating life post-tragedy”

One Good Marriage

Excerpted from Press Release:

TORONTO, ON: Staircase Theatre presents One Good Marriage, by Sean Reycraft. What do you do when you return from your honeymoon to find disaster has struck in your absence? Critically acclaimed Fringe veterans, Staircase Theatre, bring this newly revised Toronto favourite, which takes the audience on a darkly funny journey navigating life and grief post-tragedy. Join Steph and Stewart for a 1 year anniversary celebration you won’t soon forget. Directed by Jessica Rose, and starring Becky Shrimpton and Matthew Gin, One Good Marriage runs as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival July 2-12, 2015 at the Trinity St. Paul’s United Church.

One Good Marriage, winner of the NOW Magazine award for Outstanding New Play at the 2002 Summerworks Festival, is the grimly funny tale of Steph and Stewart, who have gathered their friends (the audience) together to celebrate their first anniversary. The couple, while finishing each other’s sentences and awkwardly walking the line of socially appropriate/not appropriate, plaintively fill us in on the terrible tragedy that took place shortly after they left their wedding reception, one year ago.

“This wonderfully dark comedy is fringe-style theatre at its finest. It’s too quirky for a main stage, yet gloriously at home on the edge.”-Wendy Burke, Winnipeg Free Press

Sean Reycraft is a Toronto playwright/screenwriter currently living in Los Angeles. His first play, Pop Song, won the 2001 Chalmers Canadian Play Award and One Good Marriage has enjoyed numerous productions across Canada and the United States. TV credits include ‘Switched at Birth’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ”Rookie Blue’, ‘Slings & Arrows’ and ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’. He also adapted the novel ‘Breakfast With Scot’ into feature film of the same name.

“Mr. Reycraft, (…) has a distinctively spare, darkly ironic style; call it Canadian Gothic.” – Jason Zinoman, NY Times

Staircase Theatre is a Vancouver-based, independent theatre company focused on the idea that theatre should stimulate the mind and the soul- with class, charm and polish. They provide intelligent, contemporary theatre and are committed to bringing emerging and established artists together for opportunities to learn and grow. Past shows include AR Gurney’s Love Letters, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Hunter Gatherers, Stewart Lemoine’s Cocktails at Pam’s, Lanford Wilson’s Home Free, Stewart Lemoine’s Evelyn Strange, and Will Eno’s Oh the Humanity! (which will be remounted at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival.)

[…]

Showtimes:

  • July 02 at 07:30 PM
  • July 03 at 07:30 PM
  • July 04 at 07:30 PM
  • July 05 at 07:30 PM
  • July 08 at 07:30 PM
  • July 09 at 07:30 PM
  • July 10 at 07:30 PM
  • July 11 at 02:00 PM
  • July 11 at 07:30 PM
  • July 12 at 02:00 PM
  • July 12 at 07:30 PM

Venue: Trinity St. Paul’s United Church at 427 Bloor West.

Tickets for all Fringe productions are $10, $12 in advance. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062, business hours only), in-person from the festival box office located in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s, (481 Bloor West), or — if any remain — from the venue box office, starting one hour before showtime. (Cash-only.)

The festival offers a range of money-saving passes for committed Fringers; see website for details.

Be advised that Fringe shows always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted.

Photograph of Becky Shrimpton and Matthew Gin by Jessica Rose.

Review: Love Letters (Stage Centre Productions)

A relationship plays out in a series of letters at the Fairview Library Theatre in Toronto

In Love Letters, the critically acclaimed play by American playwright, A. R. Gurney, two childhood friends take to the stage and read aloud the letters they have written to each other over the span of half a century. Throughout this dialogue-driven production, we learn of their long history of friendship, loss and missed opportunities. Together, this couple shows us the power in the written word and that it’s our first love that’s often the hardest to forget.

The Stage Centre Productions‘ adaptation, currently playing at the Fairview Library Theatre, features four pairings performing on stage for a nine-show run. I had the privilege to attend the June 12 screening, with Judy Gans and Roger Kell. Continue reading Review: Love Letters (Stage Centre Productions)

Review: Driving Miss Daisy (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company)

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Driving Miss Daisy explores race and relation-ships on stage in Toronto

The set of Driving Miss Daisy in the Greenwin Theatre was a peaceful and immaculate home. It was clearly a place of wealth, or at least one of expensive taste. In the corner of the stage there was a steering wheel, a chair, and a back seat removed from a car. Although this part wasn’t in the centre of the stage, it was definitely at the centre of the play.

The play is about Daisy Werthan (Sharry Flett), an elderly Caucasian Jewish woman who is forced by her son Boolie (David Eisner) to quit driving after destroying her car in an accident. Boolie hires her an African-American chauffeur named Hoke Colburn (Sterling Jarvis), much to Daisy’s displeasure. Daisy resists the change, partly because of she feels like her independence is slighted, and partly because she is prejudiced against African-Americans. The play is set in Georgia in 1948, before the Civil Rights Movement. Racism is present in every scene, in the forefront and in the background.

Continue reading Review: Driving Miss Daisy (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company)

Review: Gridlock (Larchaud Dance Project)

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This immersive dance performance explores pleasure from aggression on stage in Toronto

Art worlds tend naturally to implode. Whatever the medium, practitioners veer toward making work that’s best appreciated by their peers, not wider audiences. It’s an understandable impulse and can lead to exciting work, but ultimately it has a shrinking effect. After a while, only insiders pay attention.

Contemporary dance in Toronto seems to have suffered this fate. The audiences are small, the runs are short, and the money is scarce. Since 2004, Larchaud Dance Project has made a concerted effort to push back, combining mainstream influences with contemporary techniques to entice new audiences to dance. Their latest offering, Gridlock, showcases the exciting in-house style that has emerged from this effort.

Continue reading Review: Gridlock (Larchaud Dance Project)

Review: First Time Last Time (Aim for The Tangent Theatre and The Big Smoke Collective)

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First Time Last Time, on stage in Toronto, features strong performances, weak writing

In the dramatic form, how do we present someone’s life? Does such a story need a beginning, a middle, and an end? Aim for the Tangent Theatre and The Big Smokey Collective’s First Time Last Time playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace delivers some life, but too much story.

Continue reading Review: First Time Last Time (Aim for The Tangent Theatre and The Big Smoke Collective)