Review: Spamalot (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Spamalot is a fun musical for Monty Python fans playing at Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre

Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – sort of – and features a wide variety of silly things, including flying cows, killer rabbits, Knights who say “Ni”, men-who-are-almost-but-not-quite-dead-yet, and shrubberies. In short, it’s what you would expect of a work written and reworked by a member of Monty Python.

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Review: Shakespeare In The Park-As You Like It (Canadian Stage)

AsYouLikeIt
Shakespeare’s Gender-Bending As You Like It Opens In High Park

I attended Tuesday night’s performance of As You Like It a little daunted as it’s been a while since I’ve seen Shakespeare live and because I’ve never read the play. As a young person, it took about one act before I became somewhat comfortable with the language of Renaissance England. I was pleasantly surprised by the accessibility of Canadian Stage’s production.

As You Like It is a comedy full of romance, intrigue and gender reversal. Frederick usurps his older brother’s kingdom, banishes him to the woods and allows his daughter, Rosalind, to remain at court to keep her cousin, Celia, company. The usurping duke fears Rosalind will overtake him and forces her into exile as well.

Meanwhile, Orlando, youngest son of Sir Roland de Boys, is ousted by his oldest brother and meets Rosalind while in a wrestling match at court. The two fall in love, but under the threat of death, flee the royal court. Continue reading Review: Shakespeare In The Park-As You Like It (Canadian Stage)

Review: Assassins (StageWorks)

Assassins

This fun musical about presidential shootings is on stage at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Toronto

In simple terms, Assassins (playing the George Ignatieff Theatre) is a musical about shooting the president. Each of the nine men and women featured is based on a real historical figure, and through Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics and music (built around John Weidman’s story), we get a unique perspective on the American dream. How much do these people — the insane, the desperate, the thwarted and the under-appreciated — have in common? How well do we really understand their motives? And what does this uniquely American habit of killing their leaders say about the conscience and nature of that nation?

Heavy stuff for a musical, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s StageWorks. Here, supported by some outstanding character work and several bold staging decisions, they make delightful stuff out of one of Sondheim’s darkest, most difficult, and most rewarding pieces.

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Review: Porch View Dances (Kaeja d’Dance)

Roses in the Rough

Toronto families perform choreographed routines outside their homes in Porch View Dances

If there’s one thing that strangers do really well, it’s breaking your heart.

Life is weird and sometimes beautiful, but it’s easy to forget all that. It just seems normal. Then some person you don’t know will step out their front door and do something so utterly terrifying it boggles the mind — namely, perform a dance — and all of a sudden you start secretly crying because people are so exquisitely themselves. Admittedly, that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often, but it is happening right now in the Annex, as Kaeja d’Dance pairs families with professional choreographers to create collaborative dance-works in front of their own homes.

Porch View Dances takes audiences on a tour of four such dances throughout Seaton Village neighbourhood, along with one roving contact-dance piece and a participatory performance in Vermont Square Park.

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Cheap Theatre for the Week of July 15th

Ah, Cheap Theatre. It’s so easy to forget that it exists outside of the Fringe, with its wide variety of super cheap shows. But I’m here to tell you that it does exist! And there are a lot of really interesting shows playing in Toronto right now, for $25 or less. Each of the shows explores an original idea – whether it’s the difficulties of taking care of an ailing parent, singing assassins, or dancing on apartment balconies, you won’t regret seeing some Cheap Theatre this week.

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