Review: Life, Death and the Blues (Theatre Passe Muraille)

A personal tale meets live concert in Life, Death and the Blues, debuting at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille

Life Death and the Blues is a hybrid of theatre and live concert making its debut at the Theatre Passe Muraille mainstage. It’s the story of Raoul Bhaneja, a self-professed heart-and-soul blues man whose Indian-Irish background and Canadian upbringing doesn’t immediately lend itself to a pension for blues music, but yet here he stands — a man who’s happy to pour his heart into his harmonica.

Bhaneja, backed by his blues band The Big Time and lead by soul songstress Juno-Award winner Divine Brown, takes the audience on an autobiographical journey of discovery through blues music. The evening caps off with a unique jam session with a different blues legend each night. Allow me to assure you, if each jam session is as electric as the one I witnessed tonight, that session alone is worth the price of admission.

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Review: The Velveteen Rabbit (Canada’s Ballet Jörgen)

Canada's Ballet Jörgen Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit is a Perfect Ballet for Young Audiences

Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit is as enjoyable an afternoon at the theatre as an educational introduction to ballet aimed at children needs to be. It is full of enough wonder and spectacle to keep the attention of a house full of small children entertained and is impressive and nostalgia-inducing enough to appeal to parents too.

I’ll have to admit that as a post-grad university student with no children I don’t think I’m really a part of the audience the Canada’s Ballet Jörgen is targeting with this production, but my companion and I both really enjoyed spending an hour watching this show this afternoon.

Kathleen Rea, the choreographer, has distilled the well-known story into a short series of dances weaved together with some brief narration in a way that blends forms of storytelling that might be more familiar to children with ballet storytelling in a way that I think was really successful. Continue reading Review: The Velveteen Rabbit (Canada’s Ballet Jörgen)

Review: The Thing Between Us (McGuffin Company)

McGuffin Company’s The Thing Between Us is Raw, Believable Theatre

Playing now at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace is The Thing Between Us, by playwright Alison Lawrence. Presented by the McGuffin Company, the show explores relationships, boundaries, love and forgiveness. It looks at how far one woman is willing to go for someone she’s been bound to in her life, someone she’s been told she’s supposed to love. The play explores some interesting themes and relationships, and the audience is taken on quite the journey with the characters, from early childhood right through to the hardest parts of adulthood. Continue reading Review: The Thing Between Us (McGuffin Company)

Review: Season 2014 (ProArteDanza)

ProArteDanza brings passion and high athleticism to their Season 2014 showcase at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre

The dance company ProArteDanza follows a simple guiding principle: passion in performance. It sounds obvious and hardly worth noting, just an easy word for dancers to use. But with this company, passion really is the essence — each piece of choreography is animated by inner fervor breaking out into rapturous intensity.

ProArteDanza celebrates its ten-year anniversary at the Harbourfront Centre this week with a full-length performance of their Dora award winning work …in between… from 2010, followed by a nine-part sampler of their other works from the last decade. Titled Season 2014, this show satisfies that basic desire we all have to be blown away by excellence; it’s a thrill to watch.

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Review: Julie Madly Deeply & The Boy With Tape on His Face (Mirvish)

Julie Madly Deeply

Julie Madly Deeply pairs with The Boy with Tape on His Face for a Mirvish double feature at Toronto’s Pansasonic Theatre

Julie Madly Deeply and The Boy With Tape On His Face are a Best Of The Edinburgh Festival double bill brought to Toronto by Mirvish. Each is a one person show where the performer is also the writer, and both are quite funny in different ways. Julie Madly Deeply is a musical biography of Julie Andrews’ career presented by avowed fangirl Sarah-Louise Young, while The Boy With Tape On His Face is prop comedy with a lot of audience interaction. Continue reading Review: Julie Madly Deeply & The Boy With Tape on His Face (Mirvish)