Theatre Review – Factory Theatre & Obsidian Theatre/Angélique by Lorena Gale

Photo by Andrew Alexander The touring production of Lorena Gale’s Angélique (1995) is a class act. Originally presented by Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop and Tableau D’Hôte, the classic... 

Theatre Review – Modern Times Stage Company & Crow’s Theatre/The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

Photo by John Lauener Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Modern Times Stage Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard is near perfection. Modern Times is one of my favourite... 

Theatre Review – Puzzle Piece Theatre/The Little Prince: Reimagined, translated and adapted by Richard Lam

Photo by Barry McCluskey One of the delights of The Little Prince: Reimagined is that it is a low-tech production. It is quite amazing what you can create out of paper airplanes, and the clever use... 

Theatre Review – Native Earth Performing Arts & Bound to Create Theatre/Isitwendam (An Understanding), co-created by Meegwun Fairbrother and Jack Grinhaus

Photo by Joe Bucci Before getting into the relative merits of the play, the production of Isitwendam (An Understanding) has one of the finest integrations of theatrical values I have witnessed in many... 

Theatre Review – Pulse Theatre/The Woods Are Dark and Deep by Mladen Obradovic

The Woods Are Dark and Deep is one of those plays whose heart is in the right place, but one that needs work. Clearly, playwright Mladen Obradovic is passionate about his subject – the little... 

Recent Theatre Reviews

Theatre Review – Factory Theatre & Obsidian Theatre/Angélique by Lorena Gale

Photo by Andrew Alexander

The touring production of Lorena Gale’s Angélique (1995) is a class act. Originally presented by Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop and Tableau D’Hôte, the classic play is performed with both earnestness and imagination. It has taken over two decades for this important play to make it to Toronto, but given the excellence of the production, the wait has been worth it.

Marie-Joseph Angélique was a 29-year-old slave who was
tortured and hanged in 1734 for burning down 46 buildings in –Read More

Theatre Review – Modern Times Stage Company & Crow’s Theatre/The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

Photo by John Lauener

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Modern Times Stage
Company’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The
Cherry Orchard
is near perfection.

Modern Times is one of my favourite companies in the city. I
particularly love director Soheil Parsa’s take on the classics. He goes right
to the heart of the matter, and you come away from a Modern Times production
completely satisfied because you have experienced the playwright’s intention in
the purist sense. Such is the case of Parsa’s The Cherry Orchard where Chekhov’s human comedy has –Read More

Theatre Review – Puzzle Piece Theatre/The Little Prince: Reimagined, translated and adapted by Richard Lam

Photo by Barry McCluskey

One of the delights of The
Little Prince: Reimagined
is that it is a low-tech production. It is quite
amazing what you can create out of paper airplanes, and the clever use of
flashlights. This enjoyable children’s theatre features a paper puppet show of
immense imagination.

Richard Lam translated and adapted the script from the
beloved 1943 novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He also composed the
light-hearted music, and appears on stage as the pilot and various other
characters. Kira Hall, with her adorable mop –Read More

Theatre Review – Native Earth Performing Arts & Bound to Create Theatre/Isitwendam (An Understanding), co-created by Meegwun Fairbrother and Jack Grinhaus

Photo by Joe Bucci

Before getting into the relative merits of the play, the
production of Isitwendam (An
Understanding)
has one of the finest integrations of theatrical values I
have witnessed in many a moon. The set (Hans Saefkow), lighting (Melissa
Joakim), projections (Andy Moro with Joakim), and sound (Marc Meriläinen) move
together with the precision of a military tattoo. When actor/playwright Meegwun
Fairbrother is added to the mix, a fifth element becomes totally synchronized
into the whole. If I had to sum up the visual/aural impact of –Read More

Theatre Review – Pulse Theatre/The Woods Are Dark and Deep by Mladen Obradovic

The Woods Are Dark and
Deep
is one of those plays whose heart is in the right place, but one that
needs work.

Clearly, playwright Mladen Obradovic is passionate about his
subject – the little known fact that during World War 1, Canada put 8500
immigrants into 24 internment camps, including whole families, who had
passports from the enemy combatants. Given the scope of empires, this included Germans, Italians, Ukrainians, Croats,
Serbs, Austrians, Hungarians and Turks.

Mostly men, these immigrants were used as a manual labour
force, –Read More

Theatre Review – Canadian Stage/Unsafe by Sook-Yin Lee

Photo by Dahlia Katz

Unsafe is billed
as a performance documentary that is an inquiry into censorship and art in
Canada. It is also the story of its own creation, as it were, because we follow
how the idea behind Unsafe, grew into
the show now being performed at the Berkeley. It is also, of course, something
much more. Unsafe may fly off in tangents,
and at times be unruly, but it is a fund of fascinating information that leads
to provocative questions.

Polymath Sook-Yin Lee, who is credited –Read More

Theatre Review – Theatre Passe Muraille, Pencil Kit Productions & Aluna Theatre/Chicho by Augusto Bitter

Photo by Tanja Tiziana

From the program cover: “Chicho: (NOT Chico!) – a queer-Catholic-man-boy from Venezuela”. And that, in a nutshell is what this one-man show is all about.

If there is a more charismatic performer gracing Toronto stages this year than Augusto Bitter, I’d be very surprised. Bitter is both the writer and performer of Chicho, and he is beyond talented, not to mention that he possess an inquiring mind of immense intelligence. He can act, dance, and sing, and has –Read More

Theatre Review – Obsidian Theatre & Nightwood Theatre/School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh

Photo by Cesar Ghisilieri

Among the many refreshing elements of Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, is that it features schoolgirls who happen to be black. With a little customization, these girls could be Jewish, Italian, Chinese or whatever. In other words, this play allows us to see black girls in their own specific context, but one that has universal resonance.

Bioh is a Ghanaian-American playwright based in New York, and she has given us a –Read More

Theatre Review – Paradigm Productions/The Philosopher’s Wife (Part 1 of The Empire Trilogy) by Susanna Fournier

Photo by Haley Garnett

The Philosopher’s Wife by Susanna Fournier is one of those deeply intelligent and subversive plays that would look at home being performed at Stratford’s Studio Theatre. It has just the right kind of heft and gravitas (not to mention wry humour) that would appeal to a smart and discerning audience.

The work is the first installment of The Empire Trilogy, a series of epics covering a span of 500 years that explore the effects of imperialism, both on –Read More

Theatre Review – Human Cargo Theatre/Theatre Passe Muraille – The Runner by Christopher Morris

Photo by Lyon Smith

Propelled by the magnificent performance of Gord Rand, the visionary direction of Daniel Brooks, and the profound script by Christopher Morris, The Runner is a spellbinding and disturbing theatre experience that is not to be missed.

Rand plays Jacob Cohen, a member of ZAKA, the Israeli organization that collects the body parts and blood of Jews who have been dismembered by bombings or mutilated in car accidents. These orthodox Jews believe that their co-religionists must be buried whole. –Read More