Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting very excited...

I am going to take Justin for his birthday!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 and beyond

With 2010 coming to an end there is no better time to reflect on the year we've had, and to think about what is next. One of our goals,was to see more theatre. And to that end we have been tremendously successful. There was a lot of ground to make up, after traveling all last winter, but Justin and I have seen some great theatre this summer and fall: Mirvish's Legally Blonde in July, [title of show] by Angelwalk, Through the Leaves at Tarragon, Blasted at Buddies in Bad Times, everything at Soulpepper, Billy Twinkle at Factory, Silicon Diaries also at Buddies, Studies in Motion at CanStage, and both Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Mojo by the Red One Theatre Collective, to mention a few. It has been a great couple of months and more on the horizon.

We have also been fortunate to see more dance, particularly down at the Harbourfront Centre. Out of Context - for Pina by the Belgium based Alain Plate les ballets C de la B was one of my most favourite nights out this fall. It was a beautiful and inspiring show, and reminded me how much I love dance and want to be seeing more of it. We have been making an effort to include more dance coverage and one of our goals for 2011 is to include regular dance write ups and reviews. Hope the National Ballet is reading!

Another avenue that we are excited about exploring is opera. Opera has been a more recent interest to us and we are excited about developing a relationship with the COC. I had the pleasure of attending Operanation this fall, and was thrilled by all the young energy at the party. Seeing the COC's Amber and Wallis perform with Broken Social Scene was magical, and made me really interested in seeing more at the Four Seasons. My opera exposure is pretty limited. The first time I saw any opera wasn't until high school when a music teacher showed us the 1983 film version of La Traviata. It was mesmerizing. But not nearly as mesmerizing as seeing La Traviata in person, at an outdoor amphitheater in Florence, Italy. I was hooked! Justin and I went to see his first Opera at the COC, Electra, a few years back. Talk about a study in contrast. But one thing remained the same and that was the grandeur and depth of feeling. I have since seen both The Magic Flute and Madam Butterfly at the Met, and I know I will be a life long opera fan. EAP is super excited about seeing more from the Canadian Opera Company in 2011, at their beautiful Opera House.

With so much coming to the city's theatres in the next few months I am sure we will be as busy as ever. And we look forward to seeing you at the theatre.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Preview: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

It is opening weekend over at the Canon Theatre for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The Stratford Festival’s summertime sensation comes to the Toronto stage with most of the original cast in tow. Acclaimed director Des McAnuff bring us the 'scintillating, sexy and spectacular staging of the great Stephen Sondheim musical farce' (

Liza saw the show years ago when it premiered on Broadway with Whoopi Goldberg and Nathane Lane so it will be interesting to hear what she has to say about the current Canadian piece. We have heard some great things, and audiences in Stratford seemed to love it so we are both excited to see it over the weekend! If you would like to see it, you do have about a month of dates to choose from!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Dec 15, 2010 - Jan 16, 2011
Canon Theatre,
244 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON
416 872 1212

Performance Schedule:
Tuesday - Saturday 8PM
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 2PM

FGor tickets please click here!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preview: The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker opened this week in Toronto. Choreographer James Kudelka seems to have really hit this mark this year as all the major critics, and audiences alike, have been glowing with positive reviews. This will mark The National Ballet of Canada's 15th consecutive year of staging The Nutcracker.

It is a VERY hot tickets so if you do want tickets I would highly recommend buying them immediately.

The Nutcracker
Featuring Aleksandar Antonijevic, Heather Ogden, Sonia Rodriguez.
Artistic Director Karen Kain.
Choreography and Libretto by James Kudelka.
Presented by the National Ballet of Canada.
$45-$121. To Jan. 3.
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts,
145 Queen W. 416-345-9595.

Please click the link for tickets:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Preview: Mojo

Opening to strong review in NOW is this small little gem called, Mojo. This is said to be a dark and gritty comedy that looks at the harsh, backrooms of the British rock scene in the 1950s.

Now Toronto says that "the action centres on five low-life club employees who find their boss brutally murdered in a turf war. As the angry, paranoid group – all hopped up on pills, booze, greed and fear – try to figure out what happened and plot their next move, intense physical and psychological competition unfolds between them" (

It sounds like an interesting piece of theatre and Now gave it a very strong review so we thought it was worth discussing on the blog. It is important to support smaller works so check this out if you can!

We suggest emailing if you have any questions.

By Jez Butterworth (Red One Theatre)
At Ezra’s Atlantic (326 Carlaw, unit 122, meet at Lola Bar, 1173 Dundas East)
To December 19

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Preview: T'was the BITCH SALAD Before Christmas 2010

Photo: The Cheeto Girls

Back with their end-of-year bash - T'was The BITCH SALAD Before Christmas... 2010 is mounting an "all-star Holiday-Themed Comedy-Variety-Musical-Live Sex(kidding about that one) EXTRAVAGANZA!"

Featuring a fantastic line-up of quality performers, and allegedly some 'surprised guests', this year's Christmas Salad should be a riot!

Host Mr. Andrew Johnston has released the following list of bitches that will be performing tonight at Buddies in Bad Times, along with Johnston himself:

Canada’s ultimate all-girl sketch operation, SHE SAID WHAT.

Kooky karachter komedian KATHLEEN PHILLIPS.

Comedian and hype-woman extraordinaire KEESHA BROWNIE...


An all-new set of soon-to-be holiday classics by Bitch Salad staples THE CHEETO GIRLS!

EAP is obviously most excited to see our favourite bitches Heidi Brander and Zachary Pearse perform as part of the Cheeto Girls. If anyone has not seen the video for Bitch Salad Gives Back Pride 2010 in which the Girls did a parody to Grindr, then you MUST click here! It is explosively good, and hilariously funny. The Cheeto Girls are simply wonderful.

Tuesday, December 7th
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.)
Doors at 8, Show at 8:30
$10 at the door!

Any and all questions should be directed to

Monday, December 6, 2010

Preview: A Christmas Carol

Joseph Ziegler, Photo: Sandy Nicholson

Soulpepper’s perennial holiday classic returns with Joseph Ziegler in his triumphant performance as Ebenezer Scrooge. Set in England, in the year 1843 Charles Dickens’ timeless Christmas ghost story is perfect for the whole family. We hear this version is absolutely wonderful so we highly recommend everyone checking it out! Also, after seeing Joseph's powerful performance in November's Death of a Salesman, we can only imagine what he is capable of in this classic role.

A Christmas Story
December 6th - 30th
The Young Centre for the Performing Arts
The Distillery District
Toronto, ON

Adapted and Directed by Michael Shamata
Featuring Kevin Bundy, Owen Cumming, Daniel Chapman Smith, Charlotte Dennis, Oliver Dennis, Deborah Drakeford, Matthew Edison, Stephen Guy-McGrath, Maggie Huculak, John Jarvis, Tangara Jones, Alyson MacFarlane, Elliot Waugh, Sarah Wilson, and Joseph Ziegler.

Originally produced in 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2008

For tickets, click the header or click here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Preview: A Year with Frog and Toad

A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD has been getting wonderful reviews here in Toronto. This Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical follows the cheerful Frog and the rather grumpy Toad through four fun-filled seasons. Awaking from hibernation in the spring, the two great friends enjoy planting gardens, swimming in the pond, raking leaves and sledding down the hill. Along the way they meet new friends and learn the importance of forgiveness. Staying true to the spirit of the popular Arnold Lobel books, this delightful musical celebrates in the attributes that make each of us different and special.

Although A YEAR is targeted towards a younger demographic - it still sounds really wonderful to me. We haven't seen the show yet, however, we are looking forward to seeing it over the next few !

MAINSTAGE NOV. 15-DEC. 30, 2010

Starring: Louise Pitre, Kevin Dennis, Cara Hunter, Jennifer Villaverde and Allen MacInnis

TICKETS: $10-$20

At Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in Toronto

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Notes from the Big Apple

I've been down in New York since last weekend, to celebrate American Thanksgiving with my extended family. I love spending a few days in New York City before the holiday, catching up with old friends and seeing shows. This trip I was really excited because there are some interesting new musicals on Broadway. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, got a great preview write up in the New York Times and seemed promising, as did, Kander and Ebb's final work, The Scottsboro Boys. Also on my short list was, American Idiot, the new show, set to the music of Green Day. There are some real heavyweights on Broadway right now. James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave are starring in Driving Miss Daisy. Elaine Stritch and Bernadette Peters are back on Broadway in A Little Night Music. Ms. Kristen Chenoweth is starring opposite Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises, which also features a cameo by Molly Shannon. And the incomprable Patti Lupone is in the new show, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, based on the classic film by Pedro Almodovar.

With so many shows to choose from it was a tough call as to what I should see during my limited time in town. So my first stop was to visit my friends at New York Theatre Barn . I wanted to find out what they have seen and what they would recommend. Unfortunately they did not have great things to say about a few of the above mentioned shows and their criticism was echoed by a few other trusted voices. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, was probably the show I was most excited about but from everything I have heard it may not be worth seeing. Most of the criticism for the show was about the music. Several people have told me that the score is not very good, and one person even went so far as to say that the show doesn't have a score. Yikes! Other people took issue with the story, saying that the show had some clever bits but either didn't develop them or made them into cheap jokes rather than anything with substance. Too bad. I also heard similar criticism for American Idiot. Most detractors felt that it isn't really a musical, but actually a song cycle. Not that there is anything wrong with a song cycle, but you get the picture.

Nobody I talked to had seen the Scottsboro Boys yet, but it was definitely the hot ticket in town. Everyone wants to see it, including me. The show tells the story of nine black boys who were arrested in 1931, for allegedly raping two white women, while traveling by train in the South. The show is also the last fully published collaboration between Kander and Ebb. The legendary duo wrote such classics, as Cabaret and Chicago, and had several shows in development, but Mr. Fred Ebb sadly passed away in 2004.

Usually when I am in town. I like to get half price tickets from TKTS in Times Square, for Wednesday matinees. You never know what is going to be available, which is half the fun of it, and you are guaranteed to have some choices. This year the line was unusually short, I practically walked right up to the window. There weren't nearly as many shows up as I had hoped, but both Promises, Promises and Women on the Verge... were available. Despite my great love and admiration for Ms. Lupone I opted for the former. I am frankly sick of seeing movies turned musicals on Broadway, and Promises is a classic.

The score of Promises, was written by Burt Bacharach and feature such iconic tunes as, "I Say a Little Prayer", and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again." Neil Simon wrote the book, so all and all it's a pretty solid piece. The show stars Sean Hayes, of Will and Grace fame, and despite a touch of cold that was evident he held his own and was very charming. When the revival was reviewed at least one critic chastised Mr. Hayes for being "too gay" for the role, a criticism which I have occasionally lobbied against other actors. But I actually didn't find his portrayal overly campy. No more so than the show itself, which is pretty camp.

As for Ms. Chenoweth, I have very mixed feelings about her. Her unique vocal tone does sometimes grate on my nerves but there is no denying her vocal prowess, and she as endearing as ever, not to mention perfectly cast, in the role of Fran Kubelik. She and Mr Hayes have an obvious affection for one another that helps sell their love story. With a little help from Molly Shannon the show has a lot of laughs and lightens the heart. There is nothing heavy hitting about Promises, Promises, but then again does a show have to be challenging to be entertaining? Definitely not.

I will be in town a few more days and am going to try and get to one or two more shows. Scottsboro Boys anyone?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Preview: The Silicone Diaries

Photo of Nina Arsenault by Tanja-Tiziana

Last night at Buddies in Bad Times Nina Arsenault returned to the Toronto stage, and it was a memorable evening to say the least. Last November Nina bursted onto the Buddies stage with The Silicone Diaries and had every critic around the city collectively applauding the piece. It turned out to be a massively successful sold out run, and we are loving the decision of Brendan Healy to bring the show back for a second run in this year's Buddies programme.

The Silicone Diaries is Nina's tour de force account of her transition from an awkward, insecure man into a jaw dropping silicone bombshell, a process that spanned eight years, sixty surgical procedures and a lifetime of preparation. Buddies is thrilled to welcome back this inspirational, hilarious and harrowing encounter with one of the most provocative queer voices in the country as she wrestles with the contradictions that surround the pursuit of inner and outer beauty (

Besides an outrageously warm Chamber room and a bizarre incident of a young woman running by Nina in the middle of the show and accidently vomitting everywhere (which Nina handled to perfection with a simple, "It's intense"), the show was absolutely captivating. It is a fascinating and profound piece of work. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of still photography and spoken word from Nina works really well here. Nina is simply fierce as well. Her gestures, body movements and timing are really strong. It is a riveting 2 hours and we highly recommend seeing this show. We will be writing more on the show as the week goes on!

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents
The Silicone Diaries
Created and Performed by Nina Arsenault
Directed by Brendan Healy
Dramaturgy by Judith Rudakoff
Production Design Trevor Schwellnus
Associate Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay
Music and Sound Design Richard Feren
Stage Manager Sandy Plunkett

November 25 - December 11, 2010

For tickets click the header, or cick here!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mirvish and Sony Centre announce affiliation deal

Mirvish Productions and the Sony Centre are joining forces to cross-promote and co-produce programming, announced David Mirvish and Dan Brambilla, CEO of the not-for-profit Sony Centre. Both companies are major heavyweights in the Toronto theatre community and the new partnership has got a lot of people talking.

According to Ouzounian in The Star; "both men revealed that they will immediately start offering their patrons special arrangements to purchase tickets for the other’s shows; help each other with cooperative publicity and make the spacious (3,200-seat) Sony available for up to 10 weeks a year for Mirvish-Brambilla co-productions that would demand the increased capacity and production facilities" (

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out, however, to read the full article in The Globe and Mail regarding this merge, click here!

The Year of Magical Thinking performance added

Due to an overwhelming demand for tickets Tarragon has decided to add another performance of The Year of Magical Thinking. The added performance will be on December 12th at 7pm.
The Year of Magical Thinking has been getting really strong reviews from all the mainstream press:
For tickets please click the header!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Preview: Studies in Motion

Andrew Wheeler
Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

"The ground-breaking Vancouver-based Electric Company Theatre presents a physically and visually explosive multimedia spectacle inspired by the life, work and ghosts of the father of modern cinema. In 1885, Eadweard Muybridge sets out to catalogue animal movement and human gestures, but he is haunted by the ghosts of his past and the rational scientist that he has attempted to become must face the naked animal that remains inside him. This spellbinding profile of the man who froze time explores themes of memory, identity, and the quest for meaning". (

We are really excited about Studies in Motion at Canadian Stage. Muybridge was such an influential figure from the early cinematic years and the juxtapositioning and intergration of medias to reveal his life seems like the perfect way to explore such an fascinating subject matter.

For tickets click here!

Studies in Motion
Bluma Appel Theatre
27 Front Street East

Director: Kim Collier
Written by Kevin Kerr
Choreographed by Crystal Pite
Costume Design: Mara Gottler
Composer: Patrick Pennefather
Original Set, Lighting & Video Design by Robert Gardiner
Lighting Adapted by Adrian Muir
Stage Manager: Jan Hodgson
Assistant Stage Manager: Jennifer Swan

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Preview: Bethune Imagined

Playwright and Artistic Director Ken Gass (Slip Knot, Claudius, The Boy Bishop and Hurray for Johnny Canuck!) has a new play premiering at the Factory Theatre, entitled Bethune Imagined.The piece looks at the charismatic and contradictory iconic figure, Norman Bethune (1890-1939), through a six-month period in 1936 when he resided in Montreal, prior to his departure for Spain and, subsequently, China where he died a hero to billions of Chinese. Bethune was also a man who really loved women and the story we see on the Factory stage is that of Bethune and three remarkable women in his life. Described as a 'passionate, insatiable man driven to conquer everything and everyone around him'. Bethune Imagined promises to give us 'three love stories and a date with destiny'.

Bethune Imagined
Written and Directed by Ken Gass
Starring: Fiona Byrne, Sascha Cole, Irene Poole and Ron White
Factory Theatre Mainspace
On until December 12th
For tickets or more info click here!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Preview: It's $5

The lovely, talented and always self deprecating, Ms. Heidi Brander is returning to the Crown and Tiger on College Street for a second edition of the enormously successful, It's $5. If you like laughing then we are pretty sure this show will tickle your fancy. Furthermore, back for a second round are Laura Di Labio and Zachary Pearse who both brought the house down in the first edition, so we are very excited to see these two back in the line up!

Again, because Brander is so good at what she does, we have decided to simply place the press release as it was written below:

"What do you get when you combine stand-up comedy, wigs, song parodies and sass (besides Dame Edna)?

You get "IT’S $5"! A $5 night of stand-up comedy for only $5 (two for $10, 3 for $15)

In the tradition of "Sex and the City 2" and "Crazy Fat Ethel 2", get ready for "It’s $5 2"! (Hereby known as simply “It’s $5” because it’s not $52.)


Andrew Johnston (Dark Child Remix)
Diana Love (Feat. Timbaland)
Julia Hladkowicz (Freemasons Mix)
Kathleen McGee (Glee Cast Version)
Juan Manuel Gonzalez-Calcaneo (Feat. Willow Smith)
Laura Di Labio (Karaoke Version)
Marco Bernardi (Radio Edit)
Rhiannon Archer (Love Theme from “Top Gun”)
Vicki Licks (Feat. Vicki Lawrence-Schlutz)
Zachary Pearse (Onyx Hotel Tour Live)

Admission: It’s official – I can’t have children
Cost of Admission: $5!"

It's $5
Tuesday, November 23 · 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Location The Crown & Tiger, 414 College St.
(College & Bathurst)
Tickets will be sold at the door.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Preview: The Cure for Everything

Opening this coming week at Theatre Passe Muraille is a show Liza and I are both very excited about. It is a solo show called The Cure for Everything and it is supposed to be really amusing.

A sequel to the much adored You Fancy Yourself, The Cure for Everything is set in 1962 and tells more tales of endearing Elsa, a 14 year old from Edinburgh who is in the midst exploring her sexuality. This time around creator and performer Maja Ardal has chosen to juxtaposition the Cuban missile crises with Elsa's own personal conflicts. In an interview with NOW Magazine, Ardal says; "The Cuban missile crisis seemed like a good time to set the action. Just as the world is at the brink of complete chaos, so Elsa is at the brink of discovering her sexuality and what it means to be an adult". Set to the early tracks from The Beatles, this show sounds like the perfect theatre outing!
The Cure for Everything
Created and Performed by Maja Ardal
Directed by Mary Francis-Moore
November 10 to December 4, 2010
Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
16 Ryerson, Toronto

For tickets click the header or click here!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who Knew a Financial Crisis Could be so Funny.

It's not easy to make light of a recession that costs hundreds of billions of dollars and sent investors, banks and governments into a tailspin. But performers and co-creators Ravi Jain and Adam Paolozza do a pretty good job in Spent, on now until November 28th, at Factory Theatre.

Created in collaboration with director duo Michele Smith and Dean Gilmour, Spent takes comedic aim at the 2008 fiscal crisis, born on Wall Street. Through a series of vignettes, in which Jain and Paolozza play dozens of characters, they weave together the story of two former Bay street traders whose attempt at suicide makes international new. In one elaborate scene, the two are plunged into the depths of hell and square of with the Devil himself, who of course they also play. The show tackles the darker elements with a light hand leaving the audience entertained rather than depressed.

While it might be fair criticism to say Spent fails to hit very hard, preferring the humorous to the profound, there are moments of serious reflection. In one scene, the actors re-create the House of Representatives Oversight Committee investigation of Lehman Brother executive Richard Fuld. Pitting Paolozza against Jain, as US Representative Henry Waxman, to great effect. The scenes in Spent are well crafted, entertaining and pointedly drive home the message, financial crises make excellent fodder for comedy.

Spent is well worth the night out at the theatre and we highly recommend it. Click the header for more information or to get tickets.

Preview: The Year of Magical Thinking

In this dramatic adaptation of Joan Didion’s award-winning memoir, a recent widow struggles with the sudden loss of her husband of forty years and their only child. Seana McKenna reprises her critically acclaimed performance.

The Globe and Mail loved this show, click here to read the article!

From The Belfry Theatre Company in Victoria, British Columbia
The Year of Magical Thinking
Written by Joan Didion
Directed by Michael Shamata
Starring Seana McKenna
At Tarragon Theatre
The Year of Magical Thinking runs in Toronto until Dec. 12

Click the header for tickets!

(Courtesies of

Monday, November 8, 2010

Preview: Wide Awake Hearts

The world premiere of Wide Awake Hearts is taking place this week at the Tarragon Theatre. Written by Brendan Gall and directed by Gina Wilkinson Wide Awake Hearts tells the tale of a successful screenwriter and producer, A (Raoul Bhaneja) who casts his wife, B (Lesley Faulkner), and best friend, C (Gord Rand), as lovers in his newest feature film. When B and C's on-screen intimacy spills over into real life, things get complicated. A wonders if he wrote the relationship into existence or if it had been there all along.

Starring: Maev Beatty, Raoul Bhaneja, Lesley Faulkner, Gord Rand

Director: Gina Wilkinson
Set, Costume & Video Designer: Lorenzo Savoini
Lighting Designer: Bonnie Beecher
Sound Designer & Composer: Mike Ross
Stage Manager: Beatrice Campbell

Playing until December 12th.
Tarragon Extra Space

For tickets click here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away - a man is not a piece of fruit."

We are happy to announce that Soulpepper has decided to extend both A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman until the 20th of November! Click here for tickets. EAP has seen both shows in the Distillery District at the Young Centre for the Arts and we really, really enjoyed them. Both are powerful productions with very strong casts and intelligent direction.

I personally was more moved by Death of a Salesman. Real-life couple and Soulpepper founders Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk play Willy and Linda Loman to perfection. Ziegler ability to sway from tenderness, sadness and nostalgia to anger, despair and rage is a true testament to his capabilities, and proves yet again that he is one of the finest actors in our city. And Palk is simply superb as Linda. She is so present, open and sincere in the role.

Now let's take a moment and discuss the piece itself. Arthur Miller was a phenomenal playwright and Death of a Salesman could arguably be his best. The language of the play has a profound impact and the sweeping themes still resonate today. Betrayal, loss, love, abandonment, heartbreak, sacrifice, extraordinary tragedy in ordinary lives, and the dynamics of family relationships are still at the forefront of human existence. What was most surprising was how relatable I found the entire play. Miller clearly believes that the tragic hero of the modern world is the ordinary man, and really, so do I. The piece is moving, profound and made me question my own beliefs (or are they just illusions?).

Here are my favourite quotes from the Death of a Salesman:

I have such thoughts, I have such strange thoughts. —Willy

Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there’s nobody to live in it. —Willy

It’s a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer… To suffer fifty weeks a year for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still – that’s how you build a future. —Biff

Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You’ll never get out of the jungle that way. —Ben

Gotta break your neck to see a star in this yard. —Willy

I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper… But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person. —Linda

And the best two are:

You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away. A man is not a piece of fruit. -Willy

A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. -Linda

Click the header for more info and to buy tickets!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Preview: Homeland

Tomorrow night EAP is attending Homeland, at Theatre Passe Muraille. Homeland explores the meaning of home to individuals in a hybrid setting of dance, live music and documentary film. The spoken, and at times unspoken, words of the personalities in the film from a wide array of backgrounds are translated into dance and physical theatre against the beats of drums and the flow of electronic sequences. Through this contemplative journey of words, sounds, and movements, you will rethink the definition of home and add your own to the already existing ones.*

Homeland joins a bunch of show opening in Toronto over the next few weeks that explore issues of identity through mixed mediums of dance, music, and in this case, film. The show runs at Passe Muraille until November 6th. Saturday matinee tickets are $10.00. All other tickets are $20.00. For information click the header. Be sure and come out in support of Homeland. And check back for our impressions of the show.

Written & Directed by Setareh Delzendeh
Performer: Megan Nadain
Sound Design & Composition: Reza Moghaddas
Percussions: Lorenzo Castelli
Stage Manager & Artistic Assistant: Lida Nosrati

*Description courtesy of Passe Muraille

Preview: Voice-Box

World Stage, at the Harbourfront Centre, is proudly presenting urbanvessel's World Premire production of Voice-Box. The show sounds amazing , EAP is happy to say that we will be attending the opening, next Wednesday.

"Voice-Box brings together the sweet science of boxing and the power of the singing voice to create a knock-out performance, uniting the talents of choreographer Julia Aplin, writer Anna Chatterton and composer Juliet Palmer. The creators step into the ring with the feisty quartet of Vilma Vitols (opera, cabaret, new music singer and accomplished boxer), Neema Bickersteth (actor and opera singer), Savoy Howe (comedian and boxing coach) and Christine Duncan (improviser, jazz and gospel singer)."

The show sounds like an amazing and eclectic mix, and we are really looking forward to the music, and the fighting. The show deals with issues of gender and aggression and even hints at audience participation. Ladies, wear comfortable shoes cause I have got a feeling that everyone will be able to get in the ring at this one.

Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2010-11
urbanvessel (Canada)
Part of Fresh Ground new works
November 10-13, 8 p.m. & November 14, 2 p.m.
York Quay Centre,
Brigantine Room 235, Queens's Quay West
Tickets $15-$35
Box Office: 416 973 4000 or click the header

Monday, November 1, 2010

Preview: Spent

Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Why Not Theatre & TheatreRUN are bringing back last year’s Dora-Award winning and critically praised comedy, SPENT.

Created by Michele Smith, Dean Gilmour, Ravi Jain and Adam Paolozza SPENT is made up of two hot emerging artists and two seasoned veterans who combine forces to bring some economic commentary (read: comedy) of the recent financial crisis to the Toronto stage.

Click here to visit the Factory Theatre website. Call for tickets. EAP missed SPENT last year but we see it Friday and will be letting you know how we felt about it.

October 29 - November 28, 2010
Factory Studio Theatre
Tickets $15-28

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preview: Hamlet

Socratic Theatre Collective presents
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Liz Bragg

Socratic Theatre Collective is proud to present its inaugural production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This gender‐bending production features a complete reversal of the original characters: all the originally male roles are now women, while the originally female roles are men. In exploring this concept, director Liz Bragg (founder and Artistic Director of Socratic Theatre Collective) is attempting to look at Hamlet in a different way. Her production asks the questions “What are the assumptions we have made about these characters? What changes when the genders change, and what stays the same?” Performing in the beautiful Hungarian Reformed Evangelical Church, the production creates a contemporary, yet timeless setting that brings the actors’ performances to the forefront. Bragg says, “Despite the gender reversal, we have tried to be very faithful to the text. Whether Hamlet is a man or a woman, the central themes remain the same. For us, this is a play about the moment between adolescence and adulthood, when taking responsibility seems like the most terrifying thing in the world.”

Click the header for ticket information.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WICKED reviews

The much loved musical Wicked has returned to the Canon Theatre for a third time. We've always really enjoyed the show. We wanted to share two great reviews from two leading theatre critics in the city, Richard Ouzounian and Martin Morrow. Morrow is seeing the show for the first time so it is interesting to hear his new perspective on the piece.

Toronto Star, Ouzounian

The Globe and Mail, Morrow

Click the respected titles above for reviews, and for tickets and info on Wicked click the header.

Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Directed by Joe Mantello
Starring Jackie Burns, Chandra Lee Schwartz, Richard H. Blake, Randy Danson and Gene Weygandt
At the Canon Theatre in Toronto
Playing until November 28th

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Move Forward - Interview with Marc Kimelman

This fall EAP has had the pleasure of getting to know dancer and choreographer Marc Kimelman. Although the circumstances of our meeting are the result of his ongoing battle with cancer, we are so happy that we have gotten to know him and are huge supporters of his benefit concert scheduled for this Monday, October 25th.

Toronto born Kimelman, was living in New York and was working hard to break into the professional dance world, when he was sideswiped by the news that he had Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He returned to Toronto to undergo treatment. While doing so he was inspired to host a benefit in support of artists living with cancer. Marc joined forces with the Actors' Fund of Canada and got tons of local talent on board to be part of this event. I Move Forward. In support of the event, which has sold out, we recently did an interview with Marc to learn more about what inspired him, how he is doing, and what is next up for him. If you are interested in contributing to Marc's fundraiser or if you want to find out how you can be a part of this event please click the header for more information. Although the benefit is sold out, I Move Forward has become so popular that there is a satellite event being hosted at the College Street Bar Monday night at 8:30. The after party is at the Foundation Room and is open to all. Please donate generously.

Q: Tell us a little about getting sick. How did you know you were sick?

I was in New York, and I had been there about six months. I was dancing and teaching a lot. And in hindsight I guess there were indicators that something was wrong. I was feeling very tired and I would do combinations that were not very long but I would get winded. But you just kind of keep going, thinking it will pass... Then one day I woke up and my whole abdomen was rock hard. And, it is funny, but I thought, man I am really getting into good shape. I went to rehearsal that day and felt terrible. When I got home I slept for like five hours. In the middle of the day. That was when I knew something was definitely up. Actors and dancers have such an awareness of their bodies. I knew something was up but I just wanted it to go away. So, I waited two days to see if if would pass and it didn't. When I got to the hospital in New York, the doctor put his hand on my stomach and his face when white. I had a Cat-Scan, and then they told me a few days later that I had cancer. They wouldn't let me go home to Toronto, because my blood levels were all weird. So there were insurance issues, but within a day I was able to come home and two weeks later I started treatment here. It was a very scary time. At first they didn't even know what type of non- Hodgkin's I had, there are many strains, some which are curable and some not. Thankfully mine was. But it took ten days of testing to determine that it was curable.

Q: How did you get through? And what has the process been to get to where you are now, which is cancer free?

Family, and my support system has been huge. It is one day at a time and I never thought ahead.
You just endure it. You know, you have no choice. I became fascinated by the medical field. These people have been working their whole lives to help me survive. Having not had them I would not be here anymore. Because of these medicines I get to live again, healthily. You know now I am cancer free. And it has been a five month process, which is so fast. It felt like hell. I mean you wake up every morning and it hits you. This isn't a cough or cold it isn't going to be gone tomorrow. But when I think back it was not a very long time. I was really sick and now I feel better. I got so lucky. I met a lot of people who have to do chemo for years. Half way through my treatment I could tell the cancer was gone. I was still feeling the effects of chemo but I didn't feel like I had cancer anymore. That is also when they do a CAT scan to find out, they want it to be 50 percent gone, and I was 90 percent, which is already considered remission. Anything over 75 percent they call remission. And hopefully in my case this is it, and it wont come back. Now I will have quarterly blood tests. But I know it isn't coming back. It just wont...

Q: What is (are) the difference(s) in the way you feel about your body now versus how you felt before?

I instantly felt more human. I felt deeply rooted to my body and everyone around me. It was such a heightened sense of awareness. That was new. I definitely have a better sense of self and groundedness. And I lost twenty pounds. And my new weight is better, for what I do, I can move around actually better now. I definitely have a deeper understanding of my body. Through tai chi and yoga, finding the breath and all that...

Q: Are tai chi and yoga things you have integrated into your life now or have yo always done them?

I had tried tai chi before, but with all the time on my hands during treatment, and I needed to be physical. To not dance was a huge challenge for me. So I started doing yoga for cancer, which totally wiped me out. So I reconnected with tai chi. And my dance now is so tai chi inspired. My stuff, (choreography) always changes based on where I am at, but right now, having spent so much time just doing tai chi, it is very interesting how it has influenced my work and telling stories. And I have been teaching it to dancers, who have been having a really hard time with it. Because dancers are used to moving fast, and doing kicks and turns. tai chi is so slow and controlled it is very important for dance. The movements are small.

Q: What changes have you seen in yourself and your life now?

A different sense of fragility. Feeling mortal. Before I felt invincible, I was going to take the world by storm. Having fun and feeling passionate. I am thirty, why would I have been thinking about anything other than that? And then bam, you're human. I know now that I will die some day. But I am so happy to be in this place with this awareness. Actually, we have a video which closes the show, and last night I was watching it, and I thought, "wow did this even happen," it feels far away already. Which is a good thing, but it has changed my perspective entirely. I am so much more grateful now. I have always tried to be mindful, and stay in the moment. Not to stress about the past or the future, it has been an ongoing struggle. You have to make an effort to be conscious of staying in the moment. My relationships with people and the planet has been heightened, I am making more of an effort to empathise and be compassionate.

Q: What inspired I Move Forward?

The event is the result of my experiences of meeting other cancer patients. I was getting quite sad in the hospital, pretty traumatizing sad. Not because of my situation, but from meeting my fellow patients and hearing their heartbreaking stories. Being at chemo all day and hearing this girl who has to wait tables all night till one in the morning. And the very next day I had chemo next to this man, who had to drive to Newmarket to work on a farm all day, doing hard labour, to support his two boys in school. You can't get better that way, having to delay treatment, and getting sick. One woman I knew died of a heart attack... because you don't know what the drugs are doing to your body. I myself, almost immediately took on the body of a ninety year old man. I really felt like these people needed to go home and rest, but they had to worry about fiances. Luckily we have free health care in Canada, but beyond that, many people don't have enough support to survive... They don't have the basics, rent and food etc... so that was really what got to me. I realized many of the people who were dealing with what I was dealing with were not blessed the way I was. And I wanted to do something for them. Especially the arts community since that is my community.

Q: So how have rehearsals been for you, are you in rehearsals now?

Yes we are, but not all together. There are eleven vocalists and eleven choreographers, and I passed the vocalists along to my Musical Director, Wayne Gwillim, and I have been going to all the dance rehearsals... The pieces were up to the choreographers, how they wanted to do them. So there is a lot of variety. "Let it Be" for example is one twelve year old girl dancing her ass off... And there are tap numbers, and I am doing a trio. I choreographed the number. It is a mash up of "What a Wonderful World" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow." and Thom Allison is singing.

Q: And how are you feeling in rehearsal, health wise?

Great, I go to rehearsal whenever I want. It has been so much fun. And the show is amazing. I am so excited. And it sold out, which is great. I want to feel like I have made an impact. The experience of watching my family, and knowing what I put them through. Not intentionally but, you know. I want other people to have some of that sense of relief that I had, when I got the call that I was cancer free.

Q: For those that don't have tickets how can they still be involved if they want to be?

Well, there is the satellite event which is at the College Street Bar, and all of the proceeds from that are also going towards the Actors' Fund. And we are still accepting donations from anyone and everyone. If people want to make donations they can go to the website. and click on the sponsorship link. From there they can follow the instructions for making donations. Anything helps.

Please support Marc and the Actors' Fund. Cancer touches everyone of us at some point, and artists, who often struggle with financial security, are sometimes hardest hit but the financial burden of illness. Please join us in helping Marc move forward.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Out and About - Toronto Theatre

Wednesday night was a big night out for EAP this week. We had plans to attend the Canadian Council for the Arts reception at the Four Seasons Centre and then go home early. But our good friend Sharron Matthews let us know, via Facebook, that THE Julia Murney was in town performing at Roy Thomson Hall as part of the TSO's pop series. If you aren't familiar with Ms. Murney, you need to watch this, she's amazing!

Anyway we are getting ahead of ourselves. The Canadian Council reception was wonderful. The was a very good turn out of local arts persons. Several Board members, including the charismatic Vice-Chair Mr. Simon Brault spoke about the current goals of the Council, and outlined their strategic plan for the next five years. Mr. Brault who is also the author of the recently published, No Culture, No Future talked a lot about the importance of utilizing the Council's arts contacts more effectively and embracing new technology, hence the strategic plan for the next five years is called Strengthening Connections. We actually took some audio recordings of Mr. Brault and others during the event, and are going to try and get a few highlights up here on the blog, when we figure out how to do that.

After the reception we made our way down to Roy Thomson Hall to get $20.00 rush tickets for Broadway Divas. What an inspired program. Broadway Divas was presented as part of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's pop series, and was conducted by the legendary Steven Reineke. Reineke is best known for his work with The New York Pops, and is considered the foremost pop conductor today. He performs annually at Carnegie Hall and throughout North America.

We knew we were in for an amazing night of music when the orchestra opened with the overture from Gypsy, perhaps one of the most incredible overtures ever written. And it only got better from there. Ms. Murney was joined in concert by another Broadway veteran, Jennifer Laura Thompson. Ms. Thompson is perhaps best known for originating the role of Hope Cladwell in Urinetown, for which she received a Tony nomination. But vocally Ms. Murney really stole the show. Her rendition of the Kander and Ebb classic Ring Them Bells was almost as good as Liza's, (Minnelli that is, not me.)

We knew we'd love Ms. Murney but it was a surprise to discover that the real star of the program was Mr. Reineke, who developed and conducted the program. The pop series is a great way for the TSO to reach out beyond the Symphonic crowd, and Broadway Divas was a fantastic night of music. Let's hope that Mr. Reineke will make a stop in Toronto a regular thing. Thanks again to Sharron for alerting us to the show. We are glad we didn't miss this once in a lifetime chance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PREVIEW: A Raisin in the Sun

Opening this week at Soulpepper is another classic tale. A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry, tells the story of a three generation black family's experiences living in the South Side of Chicago sometime between WWII and the 1950s. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first play with a black director (Lloyd Richards) on Broadway. The Original Broadway cast even included Sidney Poitier!

A Raisin in the Sun
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Featuring Awaovieyi Agie, Barbara Barnes-Hopkins, Dion Johnstone, Matthew Kabwe, Abena Malika, Diego Matamoros, Charles Officer, Kofi Payton, Alison Sealy-Smith, Bahia Watson

The Young Centre for the Performing Arts
The Distillery District
October 19th - November 13th

For more information and to purchase tickets click the header or click here!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

REVIEW: Priscilla, Queen of the Spectacle

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: the musical
is brash, bright, and ballsy. Pun definitely intended. From the first notes She (Priscilla) comes at you full throttle with her disco pulse, reigning supreme as the queen of extravaganza musicals.

All the components are there, a great cast, stunning costumes, and a kick ass soundtrack. If you were looking for a quiet, contemplative night at the theatre you'd better look elsewhere. But good luck trying to pull your eyes away from the bright lights and good times at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

You are in for some surprise too. As with any great story there is more to Priscilla than meets the eye, or ear, as the case may be. And this production holds up to the original film. Audiences are definitely in for one wild and heart-warming ride.

The cast, fronted by Broadway veteran Will Swenson, Priscilla legend Tony Sheldon and up-and-comer Nick Adams sizzle together onstage. The trio have great chemistry, and the ensemble sound and look amazing onstage. Swenson's Tick/Mitzi sets the perfect tone for the shows more challenging and heavier themes. While, Mr. Sheldon, who originated the role of Bernadette in the Australian production, is a clear star. Surprisingly, Priscilla will mark his Broadway debut and we'd bet he gets nominated for a Tony. Nick Adams, (pictured above) as the young, bratty but lovable, Felicia holds his own, but lacks some of the nuance and depth of character that Swenson and Sheldon bring. Perhaps it is a case of life imitating art and vise-versa. Felicia is a naive and tender young man, full of piss and vinegar, and still learning. Like his character, Mr. Adams seems a little under developed in the role. His inconsistency with the accent was problematic, but if he's anything like Felicia, Adams will continue to rise to the challenge. It is a big opportunity for him and he is a joy to watch.

As we mentioned the costumes are a real highlight of this show. With over 300 different pieces, the sheer volume of colour, size and boldness will overwhelm the senses. Considering the large cast and the choreography the costumes only add to the sheer magnitude of the production. They help to emphasis the concept of space, which is so vital to the original film. How to convey the immensity of the Australian outback onstage is a considerable challenge. But the costumes, in all their grandness lend themselves to thinking about this show and Its larger than life attitude.

And then there is the bus. Priscilla herself. This show would be impossible to produce without one, and the use of a rotating platform and mechinised door allowed for scenes both inside and outside of the bus, creating very effective divisions of space. Of course there is an outrageous quality to putting a bus on a stage but it is essential to the telling of the story and if you can't make Priscilla a spectacle perhaps it shouldn't be made at all. Big musicals definitely have a place in the current climate of successful musical theatre and Priscilla is the grande dame of them all.

For those who fear that Priscilla may be playing to a niche audience or that it will seem shallow rest assured there is a lot that goes deeper to this show. Some of the criticism of the stage production has centred around a perceived sanitization of the original film's grit and ugliness. But we'd argue that there is still a lot of tension lingering under all the gloss and glitter. The characters still face social, sexual and gender identity issues with tenacity and diva fierceness.

The message in Priscilla is about self-discovery and the constant journey that is life. And who's to say that should not be set to disco music? Priscilla is running in Toronto for 12 weeks! We highly recommend this one. It's a real crowd pleaser!

For tickets or more info click here!

LM and JH

Monday, October 18, 2010

DANCAP announces line-up

Last week Dancap announced its line-up for their up-coming season. All shows are being put on at either, the Four Seasons Centre or The Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts. I think most exciting is the Tony Award winning musical Memphis and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal.
We are very happy to see Dancap still healthily competing with Mirvish in the big musical department. It just would have been nice to have some of these shows in our city and on our stages for longer runs. You can't always get what you want though and the joy of seeing these shows outweighs any disappointments.
For tickets and more info on Dancap click the header or click here!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Les ballet C de la B - Out of Context - For Pina

Out of Context -For Pina, Alain Platel's latest piece for Les ballet C de la B, opened last night at the Harbourfront Centre. What began when nine dancers walked unassumingly onstage and began to strip, was followed by eighty five minutes without pause; and was greeted by an enthusiastic ovation from the breathless crowd at Its close.

Out of Context feels more like contemporary performance art than most modern dance. The use of dissident sounds as the soundtrack is certainly not new for contemporary dance, but vocal contributions from the dancers might be. Singing, or vocalizing in general, are usually a terrifying prospect for a dancer, but in this case, the cast of Out of Context seem to enjoy their diva moments. And even hammed them up a bit much to the audience's amusement.

There were some very funny moments in Out of Context but it was the sort of humor that is born out of familiarity and recognition. It was an exploration of animalism and innocence. Case in point, was the section of the piece where dancers made baby-like faces while an actual toddler looked on smiling. Young children have such a humanising affect on adults and that connection grounded the piece and made it joyous for the audience. But it was not all light and frothy. Out of Context is very demanding of the dancers and showcased incredible strength, precision, fluidity and timing.

The timing was especially important and difficult since much of the sound was recorded, and as mentioned, rarely approached anything melodic. Initially it was hard to know what to make of the farm noises, dancers breathing and muffled static. Contemporary dance is often criticized for being unappealing to a general audience for its seeming ambiguity and vagueness, but Out of Context avoided that by being refreshingly cohesive and captivating. At Its core the piece reflected a kind of innocence and primitivism, both aggressive and nubile. The choreography did at times veer too heavily toward the spastic but overall Out of Context - For Pina was wholly engrossing and beautiful.

Out of Context - For Pina runs until Saturday at the Fleck Dance Theatre at the Harbourfront Centre. Click the header for ticket information.


Opening this week at the Princess of Wales Theatre is the highly anticipated and much talked about PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL. On the eve of opening night the vibe around PRISCILLA was really buzzing as it was announced that the one and only Bette Midler was joining the production team of the show!
EAP is getting the opportunity through a dear friend in the arts to see the show tonight! We will be reviewing the show and it should be up on the blog in a few days.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, PRISCILLA tells the outrageous and, yet at the same time, moving tale of three friends who to have been booked to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert. They head west from Sydney aboard their flamboyant bus, Priscilla and thus the story begins.

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL had its world premiere in Sydney in 2006. It traveled in the sub continent and received much critical praise in Melbourne and New Zealand, becoming the most successful Australian musical of all time. The London production is now in its second smash hit year in the West End at the Palace Theatre. Beyond Toronto and Broadway, further international dates are also in discussion for productions in Brazil, Scandinavia and Germany.

At the Princess of Wales Theatre
300 King Street West

For tickets or more info on the show click the header or click here!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Preview: Death of a Salesman

The iconic masterpiece Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller is opening this weekend at Soulpepper. Company founders Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk play Willy and Linda Loman in this homage to those disappointed by the promise of the American Dream.

Death of a Salesman
Directed by Albert Schultz
October 16th - November 13th
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
55 Mill Street, The Distillery District

For more information or to buy tickets please click the header or click here.

Billy Twinkle Extended

It was announced last week that Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy, Ronnie Burkett's masterpiece, has been extended until October 31st, at Factory Theatre. EAP was fortunate to see Billy Twinkle last Friday. We loved the show. Mr. Burkett is clearly not only a master puppeteer but also a compelling actor and comedian. The two-hour, one-man performance was funny, thoughtful and highly entertaining.

The show follows Billy Twinkle as he grows up in Saskatchewan, develops his puppetry, and settles into a "showbiz gig," as a cruise ship performer. When we meet Billy, he is dissatisfied, and has lost his love of puppets. While contemplating ending it all, Billy is visited by the puppet ghost of his most influential teacher, Sid Diamond. Sid and Billy re-tract their relationship, and Billy's life, to great humor and aplomb.

We are thrilled to hear that the show has received overwhelming critical and popular acclaim and we highly recommend that if you haven't seen Billy Twinkle you hurry over to Factory Theatre before the run ends. Click the header to ticket information, or to learn more about upcoming shows at Factory.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preview: IMPRINTS: the ancestry project

IMPRINTS is a new work that focuses on the role the past plays in determining behaviour and self-identification. It will examine the functions of genealogy, genetics and storytelling in shaping the individual. We follow the fantastical journey of a woman who, through extraordinary circumstances, finds herself inhabiting the experiences of her long dead forebears.

About the company: Gargantua is artist driven and works as a creative ensemble, producing groundbreaking projects in two-year cycles. Seasons therefore consist of the creation, development and performance of new work as well as the remounting of past productions for regional, national and/or international touring. Artistic collaboration has no boundaries for Gargantua. Gargantua is a company that believes in the creative potential within artists and are committed to the continuous exploration of their talents. Gargantuan artists animate, sing, light, design, write, compose, move, draw, film, dance, perform, play, transform – it is a collective creation. The result of this multidisciplinary creation is an ever-evolving, increasingly informed, proudly provocative style all their own.


Tuesday October 12 – 8:00pm*
Friday October 15 – 8:00pm
Saturday October 16 – 8:00pm
* Special performance includes a post show discussion with the creators. Great night for University and College students.

Imprints will be performed @ The Theatre Centre
(1087 QUEEN ST W, Toronto)

FOr more info or to buy tickets, CLICK HERE!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soul Sink - Review

In many ways it is more difficult to write a bad review that a good one. But in the case of Birdland Theatre's SoulSeek it is also unavoidable. The show, on now at the Walmer Centre until October 23, is painful to watch. SoulSeek, seems promising with Its focus on the themes of love, death and grief, but trying to cipher through the overblown language, bad acting, and bizarre staging means all of the potential meaning is lost.

Vita (Zorana Kidd) is in a coma, following an attempted suicide, brought on by her husband's death. But rather than the peaceful slumber of the near dead, Vita is being dragged around the underworld by her guide Morpheus (Andre Sills.) She is searching in vain for Terry, her husband. Terry, (David Ferry) is perhaps the only interesting thing about SoulSeek. Mr Ferry, of Blasted fame, appears onstage in video form in several sequences, but is never physically in the show. It can not be a good sign when the only compelling scenes involve an actor who isn't actually in the play.

Andre Sills as Morpheus is fun to watch. He has great energy, but his constant fumbling over lines makes it difficult to form a strong attachment to his character. Not that he can be solely blamed. His lines are so overbearing that even the most accomplished classical actor would have trouble with them. As for Ms. Kidd, watching her is akin to arriving at the party already in full swing. Vita's ramblings are so disconnected and bizarre you can only wonder if you missed the acid hits they must have handed out at the door. I often found myself wondering if it was just me who wasn't getting it, but the more I watched the more I realized SoulSeek isn't a metaphor It's a mess.

There are some redeeming things about SoulSeek. The use of video is very effective and works well. And Camellia Koo's set is visually interesting, particularly the hanging crosses on the back wall. Unfortunately it is not a religious story, so again, the set leaves you confused. Ultimately, SoulSeek should leave you feeling cathartic about love and loss, but instead makes you wish you too were in a coma. At least then, you might have been spared. We hate to deter theatre goers from seeing shows, but given how many great productions we have seen this fall, we'd say SoulSeek is one to miss.

Ticket information is available by clicking the header.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Birdland Theatre, the 6 time Dora award winning producers of Assassins, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and The Pillowman, is thrilled to announce the world première of a show like no other!

SoulSeek is a bold and surreal new work about the journey of one woman’s soul and the search for the meaning of love in a place she never expected to find herself. A sweeping account of the challenges we face in a world where our digital traces are saved for eternity, it is a refreshingly multidimensional and funny account of finding the true nature of our memories. Combining electronic, base driven music with video and theatre, SoulSeek is a multimedia tale about a woman bent on reinventing her own destiny - and possibly the world.*

Directed by: Stefan Dzeparoski
Starring: Andre Sills, Zorana Kydd, David Ferry and Janet Porter

The Walmer Centre Theatre, 188 Lowther Ave.
October 7 - 23, 2010
Monday – Saturday 8 PM
Click the header for more information about tickets and Birdland Theatre.
*courtesy of Birdland Theatre