Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: The Love Crimes of Frances Lark + Wand Portal (Buddies in Bad Times, presented by Heartache Theatre)

Frances Lark

Double-bill of queer comedies takes to the stage at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Buddies kicks off it’s Pride programming with a double bill, The Love Crimes of Frances Lark + Wand Portal, the former being a queer noir from playwright Hope Thompson and the latter being Dawn Whitwell and Carolyn Taylor’s improvisational docu-comedy.

Double bills can sometimes vary in quality, and I found these two pieces to be vastly different: Love Crimes was an unsatisfying piece of fluff, while Wand Portal was an insightfully searing piece of comedy. Continue reading Review: The Love Crimes of Frances Lark + Wand Portal (Buddies in Bad Times, presented by Heartache Theatre)

Announcement: Theatre20’s 2015/2016 Season Announced

New season features shows highlighting the work of Wilfred Owen, Leonard Cohen.

Theatre20, Toronto’s own artist-driven theatre company, announced their new season for the 2015/16 year tonight at their annual launch party. Their new season showcases their commitment to supporting ongoing Canadian talent, and features several works currently in development.

Continue reading Announcement: Theatre20’s 2015/2016 Season Announced

Review: FORNÉS X2 (Theatre Asylum)

Michelle Latimer and Jamie Robinson in FORNÉS X2

Site-specific pairing of plays in Toronto, FORNÉS X2, is wholly satisfying

My experience of seeing Theatre Asylum’s FORNÉS X2 was a lot like the experience of eating at an exceptionally good pop-up restaurant. I went in not knowing a whole lot about the brilliant Maria Irene Fornés or her plays The Successful Life of 3 and Mud (the two plays that make up FORNÉS X2), but I was assured that I was about to see something of high quality. Thankfully, I enjoyed both plays immensely and was left fully satisfied.

Continue reading Review: FORNÉS X2 (Theatre Asylum)

Review: The Jurassic Games (Queen’s Players Toronto)

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The Jurassic Games, now playing on stage in Toronto, is a rowdy good time

They mayor of Toronto has really messed up this time. Instead of bidding for the Pan Am Games, he bid on the Panem Hunger Games, a battle royale born from the hybrid of perennially popular franchises “The Hunger Games” and “Jurassic Park.” As the characters from both worlds come together, they must fight for survival against seemingly insurmountable odds.

That’s the premise of Queen’s Players Toronto‘s new show, The Jurassic Games, currently playing at the Tranzac Club.

Part sketch comedy, part keg party, The Jurassic Games is a brilliant parody of politics and pop culture. It’s fresh. It’s interactive. And it’s all for a good cause, with some of the proceeds going to support The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Camp OOCH and Femme International.

Continue reading Review: The Jurassic Games (Queen’s Players Toronto)

Review: The 39 Steps (Gin Soak’d Productions)

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Run to catch The 39 Steps on stage at the Rear Window Theatre in Toronto

You’ve heard of The 39 Steps, the Hitchcock thriller? Before James Bond was even a twinkle in Ian Fleming’s eye, this story of foreign agents, dalliances with beautiful women, sinister criminal masterminds and Hitchcock’s greatest MacGuffin thrilled audiences and held them on the very edges of their seats.

The modern staging, developed around 2005 in the UK, keeps it taut and exciting, but adds a heaping dose of irreverence: there are still exotic women, airplane chases, strangers on a train and a dangerous man with a peculiar injury, but everything is played by a company of four actors, working on a stage the size of a postage stamp, climbing over each other to chew the scenery.

When the cast comes at it with loads of energy and chutzpah, it works. And lord, does this Gin Soak’d production work.

Continue reading Review: The 39 Steps (Gin Soak’d Productions)