Category Archives: Play Reviews

Reviews of plays and ballets in Toronto.

The Odd Couple: Review

Comedy can be tough. Jokes either work or they don’t, references can be missed, and physical gags can fail miserably in the wrong hands. But it gets worse: humour goes through trends and changes over time. What was funny in the ’90s may not be funny today due to reliance on topical humour or another dated aspect. Keeping all this in mind, it takes a talented writer to craft something that stays funny over time. Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of …More
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Shakespeare Double Feature

This summer, Shakespeare lovers have their pick of plays to see. Whether you want to take the drive to Stratford or the subway to High Park, there’s a handful of productions for the Bard Lover in all of us to enjoy. Over the past week, I enjoyed two such plays: Driftwood Theatre Troupe’s ‘Macbeth’ and Dream in High Park’s ‘The Winter’s Tale.’ Macbeth Macbeth, the shortest, bloodiest, and most Scottish of Shakespeare’s plays, centres around a parable on the dangers of greed. Macbeth …More
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Brothel #9 Review

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a play called Brothel #9 at Toronto’s Factory Theatre. Brothel #9, by Anusree Roy, is a riveting play that follows the story of Rekha, a young Indian girl sold into prostitution in Calcutta. It brings the struggles of sex workers in India to life, touching on the degraded living conditions, the corruption within state institutions (like the police), and the personal challenges that lie at the heart of humanity, and womanhood …More
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Barrymore’s Triumph in Elgin Theater

The audience crowds the ornate Elgin Theater. The lights dim. The curtain rises. There’s an empty stage, but two men are shouting from either side. And then, Christopher Plummer strides to center stage in a crisp 1920s navy suit and fedora to thunderous applause. Except, it isn’t Christopher Plummer: it’s Jack Barrymore. William Luce’s play ‘Barrymore,’ based on the turbulent life and times of Broadway and Hollywood actor Jack Barrymore, is a witty, wry, and exceedingly well written piece of theater. …More
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Mariinsky Ballet’s Swan Lake

The recent success and critical acclaim for Darren Aronofsky’s magnificent film ‘Black Swan’ has brought ballet back to center stage. Torontonians in particular are in for a real treat: Russia’s Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, who first performed the dance in 1895, will be traveling to our city to perform the ballet for only a week in March. Advance reviews are already in with the show proclaimed to be an absolute spectacle that serves both as an excellent place for a beginner ballet …More
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Barefoot In The Park Review

The Fairview Library Theatre is no special venue: essentially, it’s a concrete encased space with rows of comfy seats. It feels subterranean and industrial… that is, until the curtain rises. With Amicus Productions’ presentation of Neil Simon’s classic anti-romantic comedy ‘Barefoot in the Park’ on center stage, the entire space is transformed. A stylish 1960s apartment with a small cast of kooky characters overpower the less than ideal venue and the magic of theatre comes alive. Amicus, and in particular the …More
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Soulpepper’s A Christmas Carol: A Feast For The Imagination

In some respects, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is a tale about stepping back from the commercialism of the holiday season. It is a tale that strips down the decked out holiday, revealing that, at its core, Christmas is about the celebration of friends, family, and eating far too much turkey. Soulpepper director Michael Shamata took this message to heart when he stripped down the play to its bare bones, staging A Christmas Carol in-the-round with minimal props and a …More
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Hart House Theatre’s Production of Equus: Stabbing, Stables, and Instability

Equus has come to be known as one of the twentieth century’s finest psychological dramas. The riveting play concerns seventeen year old Alan Strang, recently institutionalized for the unsettling crime of blinding five horses in the middle of the night. He is entered into treatment with Martin Dysart, an aging child psychologist on the cusp of the inevitable question: Have I done anything meaningful with these children? Peter Shaffer’s powerful characters and writing are a way to expose such themes …More
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The National Ballet of Canada’s Cinderella: A Jazz Age Fairy Tale

As a child, I found Cinderella to be the least intriguing of all the Disney princesses: she was simperingly sweet, had no backbone, and needed an entire cast of characters to help her get a leg up. My conception of her character greatly changed when I, now an adult, viewed the National Ballet of Canada’s production of the tale. Cinderella, when danced by the stunning Heather Ogden, becomes a sweet young woman who dreams of true love. Gone is the Cinderella …More
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