Toronto Theatre Reviews

Review: This Side of Heaven (Humber College Theatre)

Toronto’s Humber College Theatre presents a showcase of multi-talents in This Side of Heaven

2015-01-25_1422151039This Side of Heaven cannot be contained by a stage. The show uses promenade staging, so that players and the audience mingle on the floor. The players travel across the large expanse, taking a moment to stare at the audience members who stay in their seats. They stop to make eye contact, to sing, or to wag their tongues mockingly. This Side of Heaven isn’t a play – it’s a spectacle.

This Side of Heaven is an experimental smorgasbord. There was dancing, singing, dialogue, monologue, puppetry, and circus acting. It was a taste of what Humber Theatre has to offer. A variety of talents compacted into a show. I was in awe of the multitude of what was unfurling in front of me.
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Review: The Wild Party (Acting Up Stage Company & Obsidian Theatre)

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Toronto’s Acting Up Stage Company & Obsidian Theatre present the ’20s jazz musical The Wild Party

It was the roaring ‘20s; the era of prohibition and bathtub gin, Vaudeville and minstrel shows, jazz and flappers. World War I was over and the economic boom it spurred ushered in an entire decade that felt like one big party. This is the world of The Wild Party, a musical by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe inspired by a scandalous 1928 narrative poem of the same title by Joseph Moncure March. This new production of the musical, a co-production of Acting Up Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre Company, is indeed a wild, if at times uneven, party. Continue reading Review: The Wild Party (Acting Up Stage Company & Obsidian Theatre)

Review: Two Plays by Marguerite Duras (Spiel Players)

Photo of Lisa Hamalainen, Paulo Santalucia and Peyton Le Barr by Suzette McCanny

Two Plays by Marguerite Duras, on stage at Toronto’s Fraser Studios, is a gem not to be missed

If you like theatre that is written with originality, performed by passionate, talented actors and challenges its audience as much as it entertains, check out the Spiel Players production of Two Plays by Marguerite Duras. Onstage at Toronto’s Fraser Studios, these plays are a one-two theatrical punch not to be missed.

Two Plays by Marguerite Duras is comprised of the plays Savannah Bay and Le Shaga. Both are very different and very engaging, surreal and dreamlike. One is sweet and tender, the other is way ‘out there’. It’s a little like seeing two Fringe plays back to back at the same venue.

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Review: Becky Shaw (Sterling Theatre Company)

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Becky Shaw, playing at the Sterling Theatre Company in Toronto, misses the comedic mark

Becky Shaw is billed as a comedy, but the Sterling Theatre Company‘s current production garnered only a few laughs on opening night. The emotional entanglements of the characters played out like melodrama most of the time. I can see the potential in the script to be satire, but this production’s teeth were too dull to bite. Continue reading Review: Becky Shaw (Sterling Theatre Company)

Review: Fish Eyes (Nightswimming)

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Anita Majumdar brings her one-woman theatre-dance show Fish Eyes to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto

Anita Majumdar’s one-woman show, Fish Eyes, has been on my radar for a whole decade. A friend of mine saw the premiere back in 2005 and I still recall her enthusiasm for it. I finally had the opportunity to see it myself at the Aga Khan Museum where it is playing this weekend as part of its Canadian tour.

Majumdar has written, choreographed and performs this dance-theatre show. She tells the story of Meena, a teenager trained in classical Indian dance who just wants to fit in to cool high school society. Being seventeen, she desperately wants to let her teenage hormones run rampant, but her “Auntie” expects her to take part in a dance competition back in India… just when poor Meena thinks she has a shot with her heartthrob obsession, Buddy. Continue reading Review: Fish Eyes (Nightswimming)