Reviews

  • The Play:
    Flux, an in-concert reading of an operatic musical about
    Scottish history and war by Margaret Sweatman. The play is almost as
    confusing as the panel you are about to read.

    The Panel:
    Rebecca Applebaum is a Toronto-based actor and musician. Check her out at in Tara Beagan’s Foundlings tonight at the Gladstone Hotel Performance Gallery.
    Waylen Miki is Dora Award-winning theatre composer (in 2007 for Sarsical) and purveyor of many witticisms.
    Alison Broverman is a playwright and arts reporter who is just about SummerWorksed out by now.

    Rebecca: I'll start by saying...

    Flux, just another confusing kilt-wearing "opera"
  • Through his Gracing the Stage newsletter, Steve Fisher is an institution on the Toronto performing arts scene. We’re thrilled to provide Steve’s mini-reviews on this year’s SummerWorks Festival.

    (Never Underestimate) The Power: One Reed Theatre's a little more personal and introspective for this piece about three people's recollections and reactions to Toronto's blackout of 2003. Some of this is musical in nature, and Megan Flynn's musical numbers with two onstage (or just off it, anyway) backing players were charming; I also quite enjoyed Frank Cox O'Connell's story of bonding with a U.S. border agent while...

    (never underestimate) The Power; Photo: istoica
  • For the second review in a row I have to issue a spoiler warning (ironically, for similar reasons). So, if you’re seeing Crush stop reading, immediately.

    We’re in small city in Ontario, we’re in a trailer park. It’s the mid-nineties but it might as well be the mid-eighties. Crush is a coming out play and yes, depressingly, the gay guy must die. Twice I’ve had to endure this in one afternoon here in Toronto. What on earth is going on? I don’t doubt the sincerity of these playwrights but really, what is going on?

    Ronny...

    Crush, dangerous triangle
  • How exciting to leave a performance feeling energized and smitten, only to become embroiled in a long and animated show-inspired debate in the parking lot. Standing over the gleaming, rain spattered bulk of my mother’s car, watching for the meter maid, I couldn’t resist picking my (probably smarter) friend’s brain.

    After this evening’s performance of Any Night, I walked out into the no longer torrential Toronto night with words like “wow” and “creepy” on my mind and a general sense of satisfaction in my being, feeling pleased and smirking over the whole shebang. So what’s the debate?

    Any Night is...

    Medina Hahn contemplates whether Daniel Arnold is a dream man or a creep, photo: Stephanie Hall
  • Through his Gracing the Stage newsletter, Steve Fisher is an institution on the Toronto performing arts scene. We’re thrilled to provide Steve’s mini-reviews on this year’s SummerWorks Festival.

    Sex and The Saudi: Some of the amateur performers in this piece were actually quite charming, particularly Sasha Braganza's Samia (who did get the lion's share of the laugh lines). And I was willing to overlook the obvious pandering to a perceived audience (the religious fundamentalists) that would normally never attend an indie theatre performance (though I doubt most of that audience got past the title), because...

    Obligatory bikini photo, Sex and the Saudi.
  • We don’t usually have spoiler warnings here at Plank but I feel obliged to provide one with this review because my problem with Raising Luke is the subject of a big reveal towards the end of the play. So, if you like to be surprised and plan to see this play, come back later.

    First off, Raising Luke is the most beautiful and well executed play I’ve seen so far at SummerWorks. It’s simply gorgeous. The lighting is beautifully sculpted, evoking the atmosphere of a Catholic nunnery perfectly. The set is a model of simplicity: an altar that transforms into...

    Raising Luke, take Plank's advice, Claire and dump the MoFo; photo: Keith Barker
  • Through his Gracing the Stage newsletter, Steve Fisher is an institution on the Toronto performing arts scene. We’re thrilled to provide Steve’s mini-reviews on this year’s SummerWorks Festival.

    Fewer Emergencies: Director Brendan Healy simply and devastatingly stages this electrifying script by Martin Crimp, that starts out innocuously enough with emotionally removed narrators, who begin to channel the fears and anxieties of the people in their stories. The cast is all note perfect, but special mention must be made of Erin Shields, who shows enormous range, starting with light comedic banter, and eventually delving into a...

    The Girl with no Hands, photo: Christophe Jivraj
  • *The Play:* Marla’s Party, an offbeat domestic comedy by Darrah Teitel.

    *The Panel:*
    *Alison Broverman* is a Toronto-based playwright and arts reporter.
    *Andrew Templeton* is a Vancouver-based playwright and accidental reviewer

    Alison: You know what I like? I like a play that isn't afraid to be downright BATSHIT CRAZY. Marla's Party didn't always hold together for me, but it definitely entertained. I'm always interested to see how Judaism is portrayed in theatre (and elsewhere, but I just saw a play. I also saw "Pineapple Express" today, but you probably don't want to talk about that. The two main...

    Marla's Party, nothing like a family reunion to make you realize you're nuts!
  • When will you flee? This is the central question of Doug McKeag’s anxiety comedy, Doom 2012. This one-man show is an exploration of the catalogue of misery that awaits us if we don’t learn to read the signs. Although it references Biblical revelations, promises of rapture and Mayan calendars (from where the date 2012 originates) its main focus is on much more scientific or “rationale” predictions of doom such as global warming, peak oil and disease pathologies.

    This was a bit of a surprise – especially given the title – but a much more effective tactic...

    Doom 2012, more proof that people from Calgary are scary.
  • The Show:
    Talk 60 to Me is a verbatim play constructed by Oonagh Duncan from hours of interviews with 60-year-olds from all over Toronto.

    The Panel:
    Alison Broverman is a Toronto-based playwright and arts reporter. Last year she wrote a romantic comedy with a lot of make-outs in it (a LOT) and a few old people complained.
    Ann McDougall is a Toronto-based storyteller, playwright and performer. Old people love her.

    Alison: Even though I think "verbatim theatre" should be called something else, it is an interesting way to approach a play and I love...

    Talk Sixty, they think about sex and Alison is curious.

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