Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Preview: Ali and Ali

Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings

The Alis are back!

Written by Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef
Directed by Guillermo Verdecchia
Starring Marcus Youssef, Guillermo Verdecchia, Anita Majumder and Raugi Yu

Performances run September 30 through October 17, 2010
Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM; Sunday PWYC
Tickets: $15 - $32; Sunday PWYC
Tickets: 416-504-9971 or click the header to be directed to the Factory web site.

EAP will be there tomorrow night. We don't know too much about the show, but we have heard that it is very funny.

The synopsis reads:
Ali and Ali creators turn their idiosyncratic
brand of post-identity satire to a whole new world: the global
economy has tanked (sort of), the President of the World’s middle
name is Hussein and in Canada, fi ve Arab/Muslim men continue to
be held with no charges, and no access to the evidence against
them. How do you make sense of all that?
This is a Factory Theatre and Cahoots Theatre Company production.
Cahoots Theatre Company has a rich 25 year history of groundbreaking,
envelope-pushing theatre. Neworld Theatre is acclaimed by
both the National Post and the Globe & Mail as a driving force in
independent theatre in Vancouver.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review: Blasted

Blasted, by Sarah Kane, maybe one of the most horrifying theatrical experiences to sit through. The three person play that takes place in a single hotel room is both extraordinarily haunting and sad. Themes range from war to death, to sex and gender, to addiction and mental health. It is severe, harsh and completely overwhelming. There is starvation, the death of an infant and subsequent cannibalism. Male and female rape, both, vividly occur. And one character's eyes are gouged and eaten, in a vicious assault. It is an intense one hour and forty five minutes. A treatise on violence. But through it all we bare witness and come to terms with what human nature is capable of. Blasted proves to be, one of the most poetically charged commentaries on the worst aspects of the human condition and mind that we have ever seen.

The story follows a middle-aged journalist and a young woman who are held up in a hotel room while a war rages outside. It is a disconnected, timeless, yet vaguely familiar scene. As we follow their sordid relationship we are aware of danger lurking everywhere. In act two, the stakes rise when a severe and starving soldier enters and takes control, becoming the dominant character squaring off with our journalist. The final act is a cluster of intimate moments that will leave you aghast.

Part of what makes this production, of Ms. Kane's masterpiece, is the acting. Ian, our journalist, played by David Ferry emulates both the sadness and angry desire of a man trapped in a body and world he has no control over. His alienation has triggered a massive drinking problem and an obsessive, sometimes violent love affair with a younger woman. It is a physically demanding part, as well as a complicated and terrifying creation. And Mr. Ferry delivers with aplomb. The younger woman, Cate, is played by the fascinating, Michelle Monteith. Ms. Monteith seamlessly draws forth the many sides of the character, at times with almost manic force. But, behind it there is believability and confidence. She brings you to the brink and teeters. A compelling performance, in a stirringly written part. Dylan Smith, as the mysterious solider, also holds his own in this talented cast, although at times his accent makes him difficult to understand.

The set, designed by Julie Fox, is magnificent. The use of space is inventive and dislocating. In fact unlike other productions at Buddies the audience enters the theatre from the rear. Ms. Fox has utilized the depth by sectioning off part of the space. At first it seems as though it has simply been partitioned, but what is revealed is like the remnants of a catastrophic event. It begins with a swanky, sterile, hotel setting but becomes dark and derelict. The shift makes a profound impact . Furthermore, the sound. The effects used during the set change intervals can not be described as pleasant. In fact they are jarring and heighten the sense of time. A sort of sound torture. But it fits the mood, and adds to the impact of the show. It is well conceived and really nicely executed by Richard Feran.

Blasted is tense and captivating. Silent pauses grip scenes. Nothing is rushed and the outcome allows the spectator time to absorb what is being presented which is often harsh and thought provoking. In the dark, as scenes changed, you'd wish for it to be over, for the characters' pain to come to any kind of end. But during the scenes we were totally engrossed, fascinated by the downward spiral.

New Artistic Director of Buddies, and the director of Blasted, Brendan Healy, has chosen a highly complex and challenging second season opener, and we applaud him for it. The decision shows an academic awareness and passion for bringing intelligent, ground breaking, and fascinated works to Toronto's premiere queer theatre space. There have been comments about the show choice, and Buddies mandate as a queer theatre space. But certainly anything this brilliant and thought generating deserves the complement of being quite queer indeed.

Click the header for ticket information. Blasted runs until October 17th.

JH and LM

Monday, September 27, 2010

Web-esodes from [title of show]

In keeping with the original production, the cast of the Toronto premiere production of, [title of show] have crafted some web-esodes for YouTube. Check em out! And be sure to see [title of show] on now at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Preview: Blasted

Making Its English-Canadian debut at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is Blasted by Sarah Kane.
It tells the story of a middle-aged journalist and a young woman held up in a hotel room. Outside, a war rages on. What begins as a sordid love story takes on a nightmarish dimension as violence between the couple escalates. An armed soldier appears in the room and brings with him the terrifying fragments of a world blown apart by war.

Sarah Kane's landmark play, lambasted by British critics when it was first performed in 1995 as "a disgusting feast of filth" (Daily Mail), is now considered one of the most important plays to emerge out of the English-speaking world in the last twenty years. This is a rare chance to see an unforgettable modern classic in a production that unites some of Canada's most accomplished theatre creators.

This production features some of the country’s most accomplished actors: multi Dora
and Genie Award-nominated actor Michelle Monteith (Crave, The Russian Play and TV
series Haven) and Dora Award-winner and Genie-nominated actor David Ferry (Oleana,
Someone to Watch Over Me, Eternal Hyrda) along with the multi-talented powerhouse
Dylan Smith (Age of Arousal, Don Carlos). Dora Award-winning designers Richard Feren, Julie Fox and Kimberly Purtell bring this exceptionally intimate theatrical experience to life.

On now until October 17th, EAP will be seeing the show this afternoon. Stay tunes for our review and click the header for more information on how to get tickets.

courtesy of Buddies in Bad Times press release*

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review [title of show]

Right from the first notes, A, D, D, D, D, F#, A, of [title of show], it's clear you are going to be laughing. What is perhaps less clear from the "Untitled Opening Number" is just how moved you will be as well. Seeing Angelwalk Theatre's production of [title of show], on now at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts Studio Theatre, is an affirmation that Toronto is a world class theatre city. World class, not only because the production is good and the audience gets it, truly. This show is an affirmation that there are smart producers here who are following interesting contemporary musical theatre, and developing good productions for Toronto audiences.

Written by Hunter Bell, with music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen, who also starred in the original production as themselves, and joined by Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell, [title of show] is small in scale, but very demanding. The cast of four, plus "Larry" who plays the keyboard and offers an occasional quip, have nowhere to hide. As Jeff and Hunter, Mark Allan and Justin Bott respectively, have incredible chemistry. An essential for the heroes of the [title of the show] story. Not only do they sound good singing together but you can genuinely believe in their friendship. With just, "four chairs and keyboard," campy music and silly fun, Jeff and Hunter could easily become caricatures in less capable hands. Instead you find yourself rooting for them and believing them, even when their inner divas seem poised to ruin it all.

Joining Bott and Allan as Heidi and Susan are Jayme Armstrong and Shelley Simester. Simester's Susan is spot on, funny and heartfelt. She has great comedic timing, and while she is true to the character she has clearly developed the role herself. Of all the characters in [title of show] Susan is perhaps the easiest to get wrong, or over do. No chance of that in this production.
The role of Heidi, allows Ms. Armstrong to show off her fantastic voice. She sings the stuffing out of, A Way Back to Then, the show stopping ballad. Although some of her acting choices were not as nuanced as others in the cast, she still brings a spark to the role. The Secondary Character, as the ladies jokingly refer to themselves definitely hold their own throughout. Overall the foursome have great energy onstage and you can tell they are having fun.

With only two weeks of rehearsal it is not a surprise that some moments in the show lacked polish, but frankly that is what makes [title of show] endearing rather than nauseating. There were a few botched lines and signs of vocal fatigue, but they did not detract from the experience. Director/Choreographer Tim French, has done an excellent job with his interpretation of the script. The choreography in particular is charming with out being too much. This is a show by and about theatre geeks, so a few jazz hands and shimmies are essential, but French keeps it from going overboard. When we met Mr. French he told us that his goal was to avoid simply re-staging the Broadway production, while maintain the shows original intention. We'd say he has succeeded.

[title of show] might seem a difficult choice for Angelwalk's second season debut, because the show is so decidedly about New York, and the fairly insular theatre community there. Inside jokes about obscure musicals and longtime Broadway personalities abound, but through it all [title of show] remains a show about making a show. It is the creative process, how you deal with success and failure and ultimately about commitment to work hard for your art. It is a fantastically witty show, and this production has really showcased [title of show]'s big heart. We look forward to seeing what Angelwalk Theatre comes up with next.

[title of show] runs at the Studio Theatre until October 10th. Don't miss this one! Click the header for more info. And to read other reviews of [title of show] click here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Through the Leaves

Sitting through Through the Leaves is an uncomfortable experience on many levels. It is a devastating and sad story of two extremely lonely people involved in an unhealthy, yet (we believe) common relationship.he show is a demanding character examination and requires strong acting to compliment the intense script. Both Nicholas Campbell (as Otto), and Maria Vacratsis (as Martha) measure up and make these lonely characters relatable.

Martha is a butcher who own and operates a quaint successful shop; she is sweet, and in her 50's believes that her time spent developing her business means she has missed her chance for romantic love. Instead she has Mr. Otto who comes along, offering if not romance, some sort of companionship. However, right from the opening scene we see this is going to be a hard man to love.

Otto is a pig. He is narrow minded, cruel and selfish. Between insulting Martha and getting drunk off of the sweat of her brow, he reveals his many ideologies regarding the sexes. Otto is consistently reinforcing how men and women have set roles and they need to remain in them and not question these laws. It makes him crazy and bitterly angry that Martha is independent and makes more money than he does. A sentiment he takes out on her dog, Ralphie.

While it might be difficult for the audience to tolerate 75 minutes of Otto's abuse and Martha's complacency the acting and staging keep, what could be a weary script, going. Although this marks his directorial debut, Philip Riccio's direction is natural and lends itself strongly to the script. Interpretation seems spot on. Our only critique regarding staging was keeping Nicholas Campbell's Otto in plain sight of the audience while in the wings, particularly when his final exit, accompanied by the sound of a swinging door, was so effective.

Mr. Riccio's direction was further enhanced by the superb designer of Mr. John Thompson. Most of the action takes place in the the apartment adjoining the butcher shop. Visible upstage through several door ways and a window, is the shop itself. The complexity of the set allowed for lots of interesting moments onstage.

Playwright Kroetz's, Through the Leaves, insinuates that it is always better to be with someone than to be alone. And while the dialogue is compelling and avoids sounding didactic, Martha and Otto's romance is a hard pill to swallow. Thanks to a nuanced script, strong acting, and a well set stage, this dark story, which otherwise, might crash into the audience without any chance for genuine sympathy instead leaves you feeling fraught with tension, disgust and pity. Another strong production by The Company Theatre.

Through the Leaves runs at the Tarragon Extra Space till October 3rd. Click the header for more information about tickets and The Company Theatre.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Preview: Through the Leaves

Through the Leaves is getting very strong reviews. The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Now Toronto and Eye Weekly have all had good things to say about the piece. It is a Company Theatre production; which is the same company that brought the compelling and successful Festen to the Berkeley Theatre a few years ago. It is being directed by the talented Torontonian Philip Riccio and EAP is seeing the show this evening!

Through the Leaves comes from the celebrated German playwright Franz Xaver Kroetz. Kroetz has written an uncompromising relationship drama that chronicles the failed relationship between Martha, a female butcher and her abusive companion, Otto, a factory worker. The love affair between Martha and Otto is an extremely unique relationship yet depicts a very universal truth about the desperate need in humans to feel connected to someone else.

The production stars beloved Canadians - Nicholas Campbell and Maria Vacratsis.

September 10th-October 3rd 2010
At the Tarragon Theatre,
Toronto, Ontario

For Tickets call Box office 416.531.1827 or click here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Move Forward

Join EAP, on October 25th, in supporting a great cause and local talent Marc Kimelman. I Move Forward is a fundraiser to support artists affected by cancer, working in part with the Actors' Fund of Canada. Please click the header for more information and be sure to get your tickets for the event early. With local talents like Sara Farb, Sharron Matthews, and Jamie McKnight on the line-up it is sure to be a great night of performances. And be sure to check the blog for regular updates about this one time event, you don't want to miss.

An exciting season at Mirvish

EAP has only been back in town for two months but already we are excited by all the theatre we have seen lately, Legally Blonde, South Pacific, Love, Lost and What I Wore, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and Ride the Cyclone at SummerWorks. We have enjoyed all of them, although admittedly, some more than others. If what we have seen so far is any indication get ready for a great theatre season for 2010-11. But nobody is exciting us more than Mirvish.

Mirvish is kicking off their season with a bang, bringing Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, direct from Its debut in Sydney, and a run in London's West End. Priscilla has a limited engagement at the Princess of Wales before the show makes Its Broadway debut early next year. Priscilla appeals to us because it is making Its North American premiere here, and nothing makes the folks at Emerging Art Productions more excited than seeing new shows coming to Toronto first. The show is also exciting because it will feature a number of Canadians in title roles and in the chorus.

Add that to the current Mirvish line-up of, Banana Shpeel, the Cirque Du Soleil, vaudeville inspired musical, currently on at the Cannon, Rock of Ages, at the Royal Alexander, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore, the new musical by Nora Ephron at the Panasonic, and there is definitely something for everyone over the next few weeks. Following Banana Shpeel, in October, a well-known favourite returns to the Cannon. Wicked flies into Toronto again on the 20th. A Funny Thing... , Billy Elliot, The Secret Garden, Sweet Charity and the return of The Lion King round out this season's musical options.

Billy Elliot will likely be a huge hit for Mirvish, and The Lion King will surely draw big houses. I haven't seen Billy Elliot yet, although Justin loved it in London. I am definitely looking forward to the Toronto production. The Secret Garden is a personal favourite of mine. The music is beautiful and the story is timeless. It isn't as well known as it should be, so I am happy to see Mirvish bringing it to Toronto. I am sure audiences here will enjoy a well done production of The Secret Garden.

Mirvish is also producing a couple of plays this season. Canadian comic Rod Beattie's new show Wingfield:Lost and Found begins January 12th. And the much anticipated Calendar Girls, based on the hilarious film of the same name, and fresh from Its West End debut, will begin in April. Calendar Girls will feature an all Canadian cast, and if it is half as good as the film or the London production it is sure to be a hit here. All of EAP's shows of interest are available as part of Mirvish's subscription season. If you would like more information on subscription you will find the link here. And click the header to see the full Mirvish line-up in detail.

And don't forget that, on December 6th, Mirvish's is presenting, An Evening with Stephen Sondheim. Mr Sondheim, perhaps the greatest musical theatre composer ever, has a new book out this fall, and will be on hand at the Princess of Wales for an intimate interview/conversation with critic Robert Cushman. Des McAnuff, Artistic Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival will host. And you are invited! Ticket information is available here. See you at the theatre.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Preview: Bitch Salad presents: The September Issue

I am literally going to just copy Andrew Johnston's message regarding tomorrow evening's Bitch Salad, it is just too good!

It reads:

"It’s been said that September is the January of Fashion.

It’s also been said that September is the September of Comedy. By me. Just now. Because really, it’s never been an exceptionally exceptional month in terms of Comedy... UNTIL NOW!

BITCH SALAD is back for it’s TWENTIETH EDITION!!! That’s right... 20 devastatingly hilarious shows, 20 devastatingly gorgeous posters, 20 fucking poster photo-shoots that I’ve had to drag my devas...tating ass to, and countless tossed bitches have all lead up to THIS!

For our 20th show, we’ve assembled the haute-iest couture-iest lineup of some of our favourite ladies in the herstory of The Salad including (but not limited to):

And really, you just don’t know who the balls else may show up...

With the return of resident news corres-PUN-dant HEIDI BRANDER!

And it’s hosted by ANDREW JOHNSTON!

Tuesday, September 21st
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.)
Doors at 8, Show at 8:30
$10 at the door
Reservations/questions/whatever can be thrown to


EAP will be there! If you like to laugh and enjoy Buddies I would recommend you going.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Banana Shpeel opening

Banana Shpeel has just opened here in Toronto and it is getting a fair share of praise which is nice to see. Check out the video below to see if it suits your fancy.

For tickets click the link or go to

Banana Shpeel

The Canon Theatre
September 14th - October 10th 2010

Performance Schedule:

Tuesday - Saturday 7:30 PM
Saturday & Sunday 1:30 PM
Added Performances:
Wednesday September 29 & October 6 at 1:30 PM
Sunday September 19 & September 26 at 6:30 PM

Official Website click here!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Preview: [Title of Show]

Yesterday, EAP had the pleasure to interview the cast and creative for Angelwalk Theatre's production of [Title of Show]. We had planned to reproduce an edited version of that interview here, but technical difficulties intervened and the audio recording of the interview was lost. Thankfully the cast was video recording, so some of it may make it into one of their webisodes, for the show. Instead, we decided to write an extended preview piece about [Title of Show] and this production.

As EAP readers will know, we have been strong supporters of [Title of Show]. Our own Justin Haley saw one of the final Broadway performances, and remembers it as one of his most moving theatre experience. A show about creating a show, written by Hunter Bell with music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen, [Title of Show] documents the process of writing and creating a musical. It is sharp, witty and really well written. But, it wasn't a likely Broadway bound work and didn't have a legacy run. It did however develop a cult following, both before and after Its time on the Great White Way. Therefore, it isn't a surprise that an up-and-coming, savvy production team has brought it to Toronto.

Starring Mark Allen as Jeff, Justin Bott as Hunter, Jayme Armstrong as Heidi, Shelley Simester as Susan and Musical Director Anthony Bastianon as Larry, this veteran cast really has their work cut out for them. Not only is the material dense and sophisticated but with a rehearsal time of only a few weeks there is a lot of pressure on these guys to deliver. When we sat down with them yesterday we wanted to find out how the process has been so far and what they are most excited about.

None of the cast members or director Tim French had seen [Title of Show] prior to getting involved with Angelwalk's production. Although some of them were familiar with the original cast recording. We asked them if that, or the fact that they were playing characters based on real people, was a challenge for them. And while they acknowledged that playing actual people was something they had considered, ultimately the characters had to be there own or the show wouldn't feel true. And as Jayme Armstrong pointed out the script is written in such a real way that it would be difficult not to play it naturally.

We had a good laugh with them about all of [Title of Show]'s obscure inside theatre jokes, asking them if they were familiar with all of the refrences. They told us that in many ways it would be impossible to know all of the refrences made in [Title of Show]. But that didn't worry them when it comes to the audiences' appreciation for the production. Mark pointed out the universal nature and relatability of the script, saying that even when the inside jokes don't land it is the heart of the piece that shines through. And Jayme added that ultimately the show is about the creative process, which is something theatre-goers will aprreciate. Theatre geeks will love it for all the refrences and inside jokes but the audience will love it because [Title of Show] exposes the world of theatre like never before. And it does so with great music, humor and pannache.

As for working together, the cast, directed by Tim French, seem to be gelling. Considering how small the theatre community is in Canada, it isn't a surprise that many of them have worked together before, and undoubtably have inside jokes of their own. But we were surprised by their responses when asked how working with such a small cast has affected the experience. For Shelley Simester it wasn't a big depature, "as a six foot tall woman," she doesn't usually get cast as the ingenue and has often worked with smaller casts. Music Director Anthony Bastianon, went even further saying that smaller productions are commonplace in the regional theatre world in Canada, for very practical reasons. Cost being first among them. But with a small cast comes certain challenges, Justin Bott pointed out that being one of four puts an enormous amount of pressure on each actor to really know the material and understand it well. And Jayme added that with a show of this size there just isn't the kind of down time in rehearsal for review. It is a heck of a lot of work for these guys just to get all of the script and music under their belts. Not to mention developing characters and chemistry with one another. But Mr. Bastianon is not worried about the music. He says these guys sound amazing together.

As for working at the Studio Theatre at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts, Director Tim French felt strongly that the space really suited this show. As he put it, "the audience is right there," and with a show as intimate as [Title of Show] that will only enhance the theatre-going expierence. And, he pointed out, the Studio space is much more in keeping with the original production done for the New York Musical Theatre Festival or NYMF, than say a 1,000 seat house on Broadway.

In closing, we asked Mr. French how he felt this production might be similar or different to the one originally produced in New York. He told us that he had purposeley avoided watching footage of any of the actual production that is online because he wanted Angelwalk's production to be entirely Its own. But, he said, "As a director my job is to understand the intentions of the writer(s) and be true to that," rather than to create a show that visually looks the same. "Ultimately," French said, "if we have done our jobs right, that is what will feel the same about this production and the original."

[Title of Show] runs from September 24, to October 13th at the Studio Theatre at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts. For tickets and more information regarding the Toronto Premiere of [Title of Show] please click the header!


Review: It's 5$. Worth the price

When Heidi Brander appears on stage in a buttocks length Sandra Bullock wig while lip syncing to a re-worked version of Kelly Rowland's Commander, you know you're in for a good night. And a good night was had by all. Quirky, saucy and the ultimate fag hag, Brander came out swinging with material that mocked celeb stalkers, the cast of 1 Girl, 5 Gays, and ultimately, herself.

Following Brander's power punching opening was a line up of local comics, each bringing their own brand of irreverence. Brander introduced each guest with a re-worked pop song that she and fellow comic Zachery Pearse pre-recorded. A concept that was both fun and brought originality to the often stale introduction of comics. It provided a nice seg-way between acts and allowed Brander to tap into her inner drag queen.

The night was a potpourri of local queer personalities and the women who amuse them. One of the stand out moments came from Zachery Pearse who was performing stand up for the very first time. Opening with a vignette about a message from his mother entitled 'Your new hair cut and Craft Burger,' Pearse immediately captured the audience with his dead pan delivery and self-deprecating humour.

Other stand outs included the always amusing Sarah Hennessey. Although she seemed flustered by technical difficulties Sarah rolled with punches and incorporated them into her act. Proving again her ad-lib capabilities and why she is such a force in the Toronto stand up world. We loved her bits about her father's stale jokes and how she would exact revenge on her ex boyfriend. We also loved newbie comedian Laura Di Labio. Di Labio joked about being "new" to the city and Winners. Need we say more?

Overall it was a one-off night filled with laughs and fueled by cheap pitchers. Brander was only subbing in for a local comedian, but we'd love to see her, and her motley crew, as a regular comedy event. They truly are worth 5 dollars.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Preview: It's 5 Dollars!

Our beloved friend and gifted funny woman, Ms. Heidi Brander, is finally hosting a night of comedy here in the city at the Crown & Tiger tomorrow evening (414 College Street, basically College & Bathurst).

Ms. Brander declares that, "If you like Business Woman's Special, Bitch Salad, YES YES Y'ALL, Toronto FC games, brunch, or any other of the events that I wear wigs to, you'll LOVE "It's $5!" a night of comedy for $5! (Two for $10, three for $15.)"

We have to admit that the lineup for her first time hosting gig is pretty impressive and includes in no particular order:

Andrew Johnston
Dana Alexander
Sara Hennessey
Dini Dimakos
Laura Cilevitz
Ian Lynch
Laura Di Labio
Zachary Pearse

So come out and support local artists working in Toronto! EAP will be there and we will be posting our review of the evening on Wednesday.

For tickets, just simply show up at the door by 8pm!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shawn Hitchins - He's Single and White but really, a Douche?

Although he declares himself one, there may be perhaps, to much earnestness about friendly ginger Shawn Hitchins to qualify him as a douche. The term is admittedly ambiguous, but we'd assume you would never take one home to mum. And Shawn can come home with us anytime.

Shawn Hitchins is a Single White Douche bills itself as a departure from Hitchin's cabaret/stand-up act, and announces instead to be a, "dangerous human experience." It isn't really that dangerous, when you remind the audience to be kind to one another at the end of the show. But hey this is Canada. Who wants to be dangerous anyway? We'd rather see a comedy. There are definitely enough laughs and schmaltz to classify Single White Douche as a stand-up winner of a cabaret.

From the opening monologue, in which Shawn declares himself to be a "one man flash mob, seemingly spontaneous but ultimately rehearsed," to the encore, Alanis Morrisette One Hand in my Pocket, there is some real heart to this douche. What makes SWD more than a cabaret is the writing. Lots of different threads ultimately lead to a cohesive and engaging hour and half of laughs and KYLIE. But some things work better than others.

Unexpected moments of musical brilliance and heart-wrenching topics abound. Perhaps the most raw of these is when Shawn talks about his own relationship failures or, "something," declaring himself single and maybe a bit sad about it. His rendition of Kylie Minogue's, I'm the One, was a highlight. For anyone that knows EAP knows, we love Kylie, but to hear such meaning and force behind the words was a revelation for both of us. It was like hearing it for the first time. And that is a true credit to Shawn's interpretation. That number alone made leaving the house worth it. But it wasn't the only memorable moment of the show.

Also enjoyable was the monologue featuring "the oldest drag queen in the world." As closet drag queens ourselves we found it particularly poignant. Interspersed between Old Man, the Neil Young classic, and Madonna's Live to Tell was the story of the last drag queen at the bar. Lamenting those who have gone before and sighing for a society obsessed with all things tween, Shawn was refreshing, profound, well written and hilariously funny.

But, we're not buying the douche line. There isn't enough of a bite to our small town transplant to really classify him as a city-slicking douche bag just yet. And perhaps that is a good thing. Sure he jokes about trannies and back alley hand-jobs but who doesn't? And bless the small town heart of accompanist Anne Barnshaw who broke up the script with her personal reflections on taking the GO Train with the 905ers heading to the Kiss concert. You can't get more wholesome than that. When your worst fears are about public toe nail clipping you haven't quite left Kansas.

That being said, a night out at Buddies to see Shawn wax poetic about Susan Boyle, Miley Cyrus, and the rest of our mundane pop culture beats standing in line to catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt at the Four Seasons any day. Click the header to get more info on tickets to see Shawn Hitchins is Single White Douche, at Buddies and Bad Times. The show only runs till September 18th so run don't walk an support your local Single, White, Douche.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our girl Sharron is in the G&M

Click the header to read the article Nestruck wrote about the Edinburgh Festival. And click here to see Sharon's blog. Keep on dominating Sharron!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Preview: Shawn Hitchins is a Single White Douche

Shawn Hitchins is publicly declaring himself douche bag in his new show, Single White Douche. From climate change, to Mormon vampires, to the Laws of Attraction, Hitchins tackles urban survival with music and laughter. This production marks the comedic performer’s first full-run in Toronto, outside of a major theatre or comedy festival. For six shows, the fiery ginger rips up Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, to perform and record his material for an upcoming promotional cd. This show features new arrangements of songs by Marilyn Manson, The Spice Girls, Kylie Minogue, Heart, and Madonna - infused with jazz and filtered through a theatrical lens. Single White Douche continues a long-time partnership with co-creator and musical director Mim Adams. Joining the team for the first time is pianist, and fellow redhead, Anne Barnshaw.
EAP will be checking out Shawn's show on Friday. For tickets and info click the header.

Shawn Hitchins is a Single White Douche
Live At Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Sept 9,10,11 & 16,17,18 - 8pm
12 Alexander St, Toronto ON
Box Office: 416.975.8555 $10adv-$15