Recent Theatre Reviews

Luminato 2018 Theatre Review – Burning Doors/Belarus Free Theatre

Belarus Free Theatre is an ironic name, because the renown company is anything but free in their own country where they are banned. In fact, when they do manage to perform there, they have to go underground. To inform their audience, they put up fliers in university washrooms. Belarus, apparently, is the last dictatorship left in Europe. The exiled company, founded in Minsk in 2005, now calls London home.

Clearly BFT is a company of dissent, and their production Burning –Read More

Luminato 2018 Theatre Review: RIOT (THISISPOPBABY)

The Irish theme at this year’s Luminato Festival continues with RIOT. The production is the brainchild of THISISPOPBABY (aka Jennifer Jennings & Phillip McMahon), a company that bills itself as having one foot in high art and the other in trash culture. Their mandate is to produce high-octane shows that blur the lines between circus, comedy, burlesque, dance and nightclub. Clearly Luminato programmed RIOT to attract the younger demographic, and the audience was filled with twenty and thirtysomethings out –Read More

Luminato 2018 Dancetheatre Review: Swan Lake/Loch na hEala (Teac Damsa

Alex Leonhartsberger and Rachel Poirier Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou

The point of a festival is seeing performing arts that are different or unique to showings in your own town – or why have a festival at all? With this statement as a dictum, let’s look at one of the opening shows of Luminato 2018 – Swan Lake/Loch na hEala. As it happens, the production is perfect festival fare.

The dancetheatre piece is the brainchild of writer, director, choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, artistic –Read More

Theatre Review: The RISER Project 1/Mr. Truth and Tell Me What It’s Called

Toronto’s acclaimed Why Not Theatre is behind the annual RISER Project staged at the Theatre Centre. Called “A Collaborative Producing Model”, the aim is to provide performance opportunities for emerging artists with Why Not helping out with production infrastructure to allow the newbies maximum creation time. Four groups are chosen and appear two by two. The second set of RISER offerings has just opened and runs until May 12 featuring Speaking of Sneaking and Everything I Couldn’t Tell You. –Read More

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