Recent Theatre Reviews

Theatre Profile – Jacquie P.A. Thomas/Theatre Gargantua and the new work Reflector

Theatre Gargantua’s Reflector is showing at Theatre Passe Muraille Nov. 2-18. The production’s wellspring is the impact that photojournalism has on public consciousness, and how information can be framed and manipulated.

INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE GARGANTUA.

Jacquie P.A. Thomas

For 25 years, Theatre Gargantua has defined the term multi-disciplinary with original productions, built from scratch, that are an eye-popping mix of narrative, movement, music, stage design and state-of-the-art technology. The devised play is always about a substantive topic – usually concerning the –Read More

Theatre Review – Modern Times/Theatre Centre – Bahram Beyzaie’s The Death of the King

Since 1989, Modern Times Stage Company has come to stand for elegance of expression. Its productions are spare and passionate, whether the plays are original, classical or international. Co-artistic directors Soheil Parsa and Peter Farbridge believe in content that says something about and to humanity at large. As a result, there is a timeless quality to a Modern Times production. If I had to sum up the company in one word, it would be universality.

The Death of the King –Read More

Theatre Review – Coal Mine Theatre/Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe

Under artistic curator Ted Dykstra and artistic producer Diana Bentley, Coal Mine Theatre has become synonymous with quality and professionalism. The venue may be a storefront on The Danforth, but Coal Mine productions are top of the line in terms of programming and theatrical values. The company likes to style itself off off Broadway in design, and it’s a good comparison, because for many New York theatre goers (including visitors), off off Broadway is the last bastion of raw –Read More

Theatre Review – Tarragon/Studio 180, François Archambault’s You Will Remember Me

Studio 180, under artistic director Joel Greenberg, deliberately chooses plays that provoke. By presenting material on the edge, the company always guarantees an interesting visit to the theatre, and I mean interesting in the very best sense of the word.

At the heart of François Archambault’s play, You Will Remember Me, is a family living with Alzheimer’s. The title comes from the Yvette Giraud song, Tu te souviendras de moi, and the lyrics in English are provided in the program. –Read More

Theatre Review – Off-Mirvish and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre/Seminar by Theresa Rebeck

Seminar, a 2011 play by the prolific American writer Theresa Rebeck, is a thoroughly enjoyable theatre experience, until, that is, you get to the drippy Hollywood ending (but more about that later). Seminar is also a very New York play, filled with sassy, insult humour that is a hallmark of Big Apple playwriting. The setting is even an infamous rent-controlled apartment (infamous because rich people are living in low rent units), its elegant upper West Side appointments courtesy of –Read More

Theatre Review – Theatre Smash/Fu-Gen Asian Theatre Company – Julia Cho’s Durango

Julia Cho is a much-admired American playwright so any work of hers is highly anticipated. The combined forces of Theatre Smash and Fu-Gen have come together to present the Canadian premiere of Durango to mixed results – excellent acting, awkward production values.

There’s a saying that any ethnic can relate to any ethnic play, and this is very true of Durango. The story of the pressures of immigrant parents on the first generation children can be felt across a wide –Read More

Equestrian Arts Review – Odysseo

No matter how many times I’ve seen Cavalia and Odysseo, they remain among the most beautiful productions in my long theatre-going life.

First some background. When Cavalia burst onto the scene in 2003, it was unlike any other show. The spectacle under the Big Top merged horses, riders and acrobats in the most ingenious way. Its founder, Norman Latourelle, had been with Cirque de Soleil so he understood “big”. Toronto was the first stop outside of Quebec, and this –Read More

Theatre Review – Tarragon and Volcano Theatres//Hannah Moscovitch’s Infinity

The plays of Hannah Moscovitch are smart, sassy and sophisticated. Her themes run deep and reflect her keen intelligence. Her strong characters and sharp dialogue can’t help but lure the audience. But here comes the “but”…Moscovitch might be writing about people in crisis, but her plays are medium cool. I admire her artistry but I’m rarely engaged emotionally. She is a playwright for the mind, and it’s important to note that an evening spent with her in the theatre –Read More

Theatre Review – The Coal Mine/Mike Bartlett’s Bull

Sadly, I couldn’t get to The Coal Mine’s latest production until late in the run. I say sadly, because the play closes this weekend which means I’m trumpeting a superb theatre outing that is almost at its end.

The Coal Mine, whose performing space sits under a pizza restaurant on the Danforth, is in its first season. Their mandate, under artistic producer Diana Bentley and artistic curator Ted Dykstra, is to create an off-Broadway experience that is as intimate as –Read More

Theatre Review – Canadian Rep Theatre/How do I love Thee? By Florence Gibson MacDonald

The passionate love match between Victorian poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett has been well-documented in plays like Rudolf Besier’s The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Virginia Woolf’s novella Flush. MacDonald’s play How do I love thee? shows us a completely different side of the couple post elopement. Barrett, it seems, was a drug addict, chained to laudanum, morphine and ether. While the drugs allowed her to give free reign to her imagination, money concerns and his wife’s –Read More