Review: "Venus in Fur" at Theatre on the Ridge

Review: "Venus in Fur" at Theatre on the Ridge

Theatre on the Ridge should be congratulated for a fine summer festival encompassing drama, comedy, classics and Canadiana.  It has been a pool of diversity as wide as the Toronto Raptors’ fan base.  Their final production of David Ives’ ‘Venus in Fur’ deepens the pool even further with a witty production of a complex take on the battle of the sexes.

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Review: "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at Stratford Festival

Review: "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at Stratford Festival

A rollicking new version of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor swept through the Festival theatre Saturday night as patrons were treated to an evening of bellicose laughter.  Many academics agree that this is not Shakespeare’s best work – perhaps rushed writing.  But on this night a colleague correctly reminded me that, still, it is Shakespeare.

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Review: "August: Osage County" at Soulpepper Theatre

Review: "August:  Osage County" at Soulpepper Theatre

Just as Toronto Raptors fans were tearing up Yonge Street on the way to the NBA final this weekend, Tracy Letts’ August:  Osage County was burning up the distillery district as it opens its run at Soulpepper Theatre.  The searing portrait of a Dysfunctional American family (and the capital D is purposeful) makes Macbeth look like just another episode of Full House. 

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Review: "Hamlet" by Why Not Theatre

Review: "Hamlet" by Why Not Theatre

A bold, inventive and remarkable retelling of Hamlet produced by Why Not Theatre opened Thursday at the Berkeley Street Theatre.  It is a remounting of a successful run in 2017 at The Theatre Centre in Toronto.  The classic tale is invigorated with a gender bent cast and a bilingual component.  Gender reallocation is not an entirely new format to Shakespeare audiences – consider Stratford Festival’s recent Julius Caesar or Prospero.  Shakespeare himself experimented with men playing women playing men – consider Portia or Viola.  What is more unique and creative is the combination of the spoken word and American Sign Language which elevates this production in profound new ways.  The use of signing has two effects – most importantly, it brings the story to a deaf audience.  Secondly, it adds a brilliant dimension of intensity to the emotion –packed story.

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Review: "After the Fire" at The Theatre Centre

Review:  "After the Fire" at The Theatre Centre

Award winning Albertan playwright Matthew MacKenzie enjoys a recent successful run of his production of Bears, a foray into the politics of oil pipelines in our country.  With After the Fire, MacKenzie examines an equally large topic with the Fort MacMurray fires of 2015 and their devastating costs, both human and environmental.  The fires were the costliest disaster in terms of resources that Canada has seen.  Political and societal implications were vast – from South African “volunteers” on strike to a prime minister bent on pride.  Mr. MacKenzie has chosen a very wide issue that fragments into many sub-strata.

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