Recent Theatre Reviews

Theatre Review – Blyth Festival 2019/In the Wake of Wettlaufer by Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt

A provocative and disturbing drama about children dealing with their father’s dimentia, and the devastating fallout from the Wettlaufer murders. Continue reading

Theatre Review – 4th Line Theatre/Carmel by Ian McLachlan and Robert Winslow

Photo by Wayne Eardley

4th Line Theatre, located on a farm near
Millbrook ON, describes its playbill as “making our history come alive”, and,
in fact, for 25 years, the company has been producing original plays whose
stories are anchored in Peterborough County and environs. The Carmel of the
title refers to the Carmel Line, Cavan Township, where the family farm
belonging to Walter and Abigail White (Kevin Bundy and Kristina Nicoll) is
situated. Carmel, the play, is about
the trials and tribulations of the White family as –Read More

Theatre Review – Blyth Festival 2019/Jumbo by Sean Dixon

Photo by Terry Manzo

The kindest thing
to say about the Blyth Festival’s world premiere of Jumbo is that the play is not ready for prime time. Yet it should
have worked, given the talent behind the project such as accomplished writer
Sean Dixon and talented director Gil Garratt. I suspect that a lot of time was
spent on design issues, such as how to present a giant elephant on stage, at
the expense of a cogent script.

There is a great Jumbo story somewhere, but Dixon –Read More

Theatre Review – Blyth Festival 2019/Cakewalk by Colleen Curran

Photo by Terry Manzo

Apparently, Cakewalk
by Colleen Curran, which premiered at the Blyth Festival in 1984, and was
remounted in 1986, has been one of the company’s most requested revivals. I
actually saw both those shows and remember them fondly, so Curran’s zany comedy
redux was welcome news. Happily, I can report that this 2019 production is right
up to the mark.

Curran’s plot revolves around a small town baking
competition, which is part of a wider Canada Day celebration. The grand prize
is a trip to Paris –Read More

Theatre Review – 4th Line Theatre/Bloom: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fable by Beau Dixon

Photo by Wayne Eardley

4th Line Theatre’s latest production, Bloom: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fable, is another
entertaining evening from this most enterprising of summer festivals. The piece
is filled with music and dance as it traces the journey of a small town rock
band from nothingness to near greatness to oblivion again. Perhaps the story is
a bit predictable, which always happens when a girl gets between two band guys
and wrecks a friendship, but Bloom lopes
along at a fast clip, thanks to director Kim –Read More

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