2009

Randy Rutherford’s one-man autobiographical tale mined from youthful memories of puppy love, heartbreak, and his alcoholic step-father, is a wholesome - but not old fashioned - hour of entertainment.

Rutherford is not so much a thespian as he is an earnest and engaging reenactor of his own life. His knack for small details make scenes that much more vivid in the mind’s eye and plenty of gentle humour helps temper the not always pleasant memories. An elegant offering from an expert storyteller.

Weaverville Waltz is part of this year's Toronto Fringe Festival and continues until July 10th. For more information,...

The title of this photo of Randy is called This Might Feel a Little Funny. We like this photo of Randy.

I'll admit that I initially balked at the premise behind The Room’s newest project; *Red Machine: Part One* boasted a collaborative effort from seven playwrights and three directors, working together in a sectional tribute to the human brain.

In this first of the trilogy they set forth to pay homage to the hippocampus, the primary motor cortex and the temporal lobe through a series of interpretive but interlocking vignettes.

The common thread through each portion is Hugo, an author suffering from writer’s block (as well as periodic seizures). He wanders through a seedy hotel, encountering a series of bizarre characters...

Red Machine, Pink Brain

This modern take on the greek legend by Open Season Theatre explores the contentious relationship between a dainty and fragile young man, and his emotionally aloof father.

Meshing fable and realist drama, *Icarus Redux* is certainly a fascinating piece of theatre, enhanced by an evocative monochrome set design, but doesn’t satisfy in every respect. Although both characters seem to be gripped by occasional bouts of madness, that particular detail has few narrative consequences. The piece seems to slowly and contemplatively build steam, but a climax in the traditional sense of the word is absent. It’s a challenging production, but perhaps...

You looking at me? You never seen a guy with wings before?

Although not quite a parody, and not quite an homage, this TV medical drama inspired show seamlessly alternates between 'witty' and 'poignant' and offers a unique take on a familiar format.

Set in the fast-paced high-tension world of medical school, this show by Quickening Theatre delivers distinct characters, smooth and pointed dialogue, and plenty of intellectual stuffing. Committed performances and precise direction elevate the staging to the level of the script. An unnecessarily melodramatic conclusion drags the piece down a notch, but not enough to detract from an indulgent and enjoyable experience.

_Code Blue continues until July 11th as part...

Here's a photo of Adam: photos people, we need photos!

This now well known play about the murder of gay University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard is remounted by Theatre Western with tact and elegance.

*The Laramie Project* constructs the story through bits and pieces of testimony based on real interviews with Laramie's townsfolk that highlight the extent to which the murder affects their entire community, and to a lesser extent, all of America. It’s heady stuff for the student-age creative team, but they pull it off expertly with bold directorial strokes and very capable performances.

_The Laramie Project is part of this year's Toronto Fringe Festival and continues until...

No photo but here's a logo.

This casual one woman show about growing up in a death-obsessed family while living next door to New Jersey’s largest commercial cemetery has the potential to be a profound piece, but a lack of theatricality prevents it from connecting with the audience.

Writer/performer Lisa Haas’ conversational style works well with the personal content of her show, but her stage presence is characterized by a kind of nervous excitability that doesn’t engage. Little of the narrative is particularly funny or particularly compelling, and an abrupt conclusion after about 40 minutes leaves one unsatisfied. An earnest effort but a bland end product....

Lisa Haas

Thought For Food Productions’ retelling of Little Red Riding Hood is billed as a ‘vicious new version’ – no small boast, given how bloody the original fairy tales tended to be.

Regardless, *The Universal Wolf* makes good on its promise, giving each character a sociopathic streak and dousing their performance with plenty of blood, all in the styling of a French cabaret.

Unfortunately the narrative also overdoses with tongue-in-cheek cameos by great French thinkers, destined to be lost on anyone without a philosophy degree. Although the self-important academic undertones run the range from trite to infuriating (having to read an...

The Universal Wolf no doubt whispering sweet philosophies to LRR

Montreal’s Blacklist Committee for Unsafe Theatre presents a convoluted, half-baked, and unnecessarily lengthy present-day take on the Dracula legend.

Although the piece starts off promisingly, a lack of flow, a piecemeal plot, mediocre dialogue, uneven performances, and a slow but steady decay of logic makes for a regrettable show. The exception to this is actor Susanna Jones who plays Dracula’s right hand man with gusto and dedication. Her broken posture, all-seeing eyes, and permanently gaping grin make her an audience favourite.

Dracula in a Time of Climate Change continues its unholy run until July 11th as part of the Toronto...

What's Justin complaining about? This looks like fun!

Eddie, a former animation writer and all-around social misfit is having an extremely bad day. His lisping girlfriend dumps him, he is fired from his job as an ESL teacher, his AA sponsor encourages him to fall off the wagon, and his therapist seems determined to drive him to suicide.

There is a lot of solid comedic writing behind *Donny’s Day* - Eddie’s status as a clueless wise-cracker surrounded by straight men works particularly well - but there are more than a couple of rough areas too. Although all the secondary characters could be called ‘zany’, they are also archetypes...

No photo but here's a logo.

Based on a true story, Attention Theatre’s recreation of a brief and bizarre encounter between the 60s’ most famous champion of LSD and its most famous cult leader/murderer makes for a fascinating battle of minds.

Leary encounters a crisis of conscience when he discovers that his and Manson’s methods may not have been that different, forcing himself to defend his work from his own inner doubts while fending off the verbal manipulation of a madman. A sparse set, static lighting, and jail cells only denoted by chalk outlines on the floor enhance the mood of captivity, while a confident performance...

This is the real Timothy Leary. This is not an actor.

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