Mooney on Theatre Reviews

Review: KIRA, The Path | La Voie (Lua Shayenne Dance Company / Luminato)

KIRA, The Path | La Voie brings a lively and rhythmic energy to the Luminato Festival, with a mix of dancers and percussionist who perform Fara Tolno, choreography and composition. Tolno is a guest artist with the Lua Shayenne Dance Company, specializing in Guinean dance and music. Lua Shayenne, artistic director of the company, took to the Fleck Dance Theatre stage as a performer in the work. The show opens with a line of musicians near the back of the stage, a solo drummer, Tolno begins and i

Review: Undivided Colours (inDANCE / Co.ERASGA)

inDance presents solo performances by Asian-Canadian dance artists on stage in Toronto inDANCE and Co.ERASGA present Undivided Colours, four solo works by seasoned Asian-Canadian dance artists. Reflecting, re-imagining, mixing dance styles and stories from their personal heritages and perspectives, the four solos take the Dancemakers Centre For Creation stage. The show begins with William Lau’s Female Warrior Wu – Preparing for Combat. Dressed in blue, pink and red traditional Chinese garb, th

Review: Against Nature (Citadel + Compagnie)

An award-winning adaptation mixing dance and opera returns to Toronto Presented by Citadel + Compagnie, the 2016 Dora nominated Against Nature returns to the Citadel. The opera and dance mix adapts French/Dutch author Joris-Karl Huysman’s 1884 novel À Rebours through the direction and choreography of James Kudelka. After living a luxurious life in Paris, Jean des Esseinte, an aristocrat played by Alexander Dobson, flees to the countryside to live in solitude. In an attempt to escape society, h

Review: Light Years (Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre)

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) presents Light Years at the Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre, a mixed dance bill showing the technical prowess and maturity of its young company’s members. All under the age of 19, the technically strong and agile dancers perform five works – two world premieres, two CCDT premieres and one returning piece. The show opens with Alien Grace, choreographed by the artistic director of the company Deborah Lundmark. The main company members are dressed in s

Review: I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron (Canadian Stage)

A beautiful ode to the late poet Xu Lizhi, I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron gives a voice to migrant workers, expressing the hidden lives and hardships of those working in grim factories in Shenzhen, China. Presented by Canadian Stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre Njo Kong Kie performs, produces, composes and directs the musical and theatrical mix. In 2010, fourteen deaths of Foxconn workers, previously invisible to the world, grew to international recognition when Xu Lizhi’s poetry was transla

Review: The Things I Carry (Dancemakers / Theatre Passe Muraille)

Developed as part of the Migrant Bodies Project, The Things I Carry is a solo performance by seasoned artist Lee Su-Feh. Presented by Theatre Passe Muraille and Dancemakers, Su-Feh tells stories while reflecting on her life and other’s surrounding the topic of migration. Greeted with complimentary tea, I entered the classroom turned performance space within the Scadding Court Community Centre. The colourful mismatched foldable chairs surround a blue tarp which lays on the floor, creating a casu

Review: Series 3 – Into the Fire (Dance Matters)

Series 3 – Into the Fire presented by Dance Matters at the Pia Bouman School brings together a mixed programme of highly physical and mostly contemporary dance works. The final series of the season features a mix of eerie yet quirky creatures, a sensual yet combative duet and a fiery flamenco collaboration between a dancer, vocalist, and musicians. Fadeout, created and performed by Anne-Flore de Rochambeau of Montreal opens the show. A bar of light in the centre of the stage only highlights the

Review: Mixed Programme (Ballet BC / Live TO)

Ballet BC brings their mixed program of three works to Toronto Live TO presents Ballet BC at the Bluma Appel Theatre with a three work Mixed Programme. The three contrasting works showcase the beautiful company dancer’s technique and versatility. From a colourless yet quirky work to a colourful and soulful piece to the music of Jimi Hendrix, the mixed programme has something for everyone. Not to mention, it also features the highly sought after choreography of Crystal Pite. The night opens wit

Review: Revisor (Kidd Pivot / Canadian Stage)

Kidd Pivot’s Revisor completely revamps the relationship between contemporary dance and theatre. Performed at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre, the highly sought after choreographer, Crystal Pite, reworks what is possible in the hybrid form, creating one of her most brilliant works yet. Co-creator and writer, Jonathon Young, takes on Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 Russian play, Revisor, or The Inspector General when translated to English. The play follows a satirical story of mistaken identity which

Review: Persefony Songs (Toronto Dance Theatre)

Persefony Songs, is a beautifully reimagined work of Christopher House’s Dora nominated Persephone’s Lunch (2001). Initially inspired by the epic of Homer’s Odyssey, the work has been repurposed eighteen years later to create a new hour-long piece as part of Toronto Dance Theatre’s reimagining repertoire project presented at the Fleck Dance Theatre. The space opens with dozens of wooden skids hanging from the ceiling. In the back corner of the stage we find a six-member band, dressed all in bla

Review: Series 2 – Rebel Yells (Dance Matters)

Dance Matters presents a series of highly physical and intimate works for Toronto audiences Series 2 – Rebel Yells presented by Dance Matters is a collection of highly physical, intimate and thoughtful dance works. Performed at the Pia Bouman School of Ballet, the show contains five pieces, mainly performed through a contemporary dance medium, with the exception of a Kathak Indian solo dance work. ‘After the smoke settles, what will we be left with, if not joy?’ was the highlight of the night.

2019 Progress Review: Blood on the Dance Floor (ILBIJERRI Theatre Company)

A tragicomedy mixed with a hopeful love story – Blood on the Dance Floor presented at the Progress Festival is an emotional mix of theatre, dance and storytelling. The one-man show is performed by Australian Jacob Boehm of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. Boehm connects his identities–gay, Black and HIV positive–through a motif of blood, which defines his fears and generates discrimination against him. The work is curated by The Theatre Centre and Native Earth Performance Arts.

Review: SKOW (Citadel + Compagnie)

SKOW, an acronym for ‘some kind of wonder,’ is a full-length solo work performed by Johanna Bergfelt. Presented by Citadel + Compagnie, SKOW follows Bergfelt’s life and things that inspire a sense of wonder in her, as both a noun and a verb. A highly respected and established dancer and teacher, Bergfelt is paired with equally as high-profile choreographer William Yong of Zata Omm Dance Projects. As a fan of both artists, I jumped at a chance to see the work. Walking into the theatre, you are g

Review: This Shape, We Are In and Slow Dance (Toronto Dance Theatre)

Toronto Dance Theatre presents an experimental double bill at the Winchester Street Theatre. Marie Lambin-Gagnon’s Slow Dance begins the night with a conversation between dancers and objects in an otherworldly environment. Followed by a reimagined This Shape, We Are In, choreographed by New York’s Jeanine Durning. Gold, glitter, tulle and a vast amount of colourful fabric transform the Toronto Dance Theatre studio into an alternate world. Dancers remain in stillness for an extended period, cove

Review: Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic (The Qaggiq Collective)

Performed entirely in Inuktitut – Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic by The Qaggiq Collective is a unique and important experience for Canadian audiences. Presented at Tarragon Theatre, the performance follows Kiviuq, the eternal wanderer and legendary hero of Inuit stories through five different narratives. The company uses shapeshifting creatures, throat singing and drumming to take you on a magical journey across the Arctic. Before the performance, I received multiple emails inviting me to read t

2019 Next Stage Theatre Festival Review: Anatomy of a Dancer (Breakaway Entertainment)

Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? A question I and many other dance enthusiasts have been plagued with all our lives! Although they state you do not have to choose, Breakaway Entertainment makes a strong case for Kelly. Anatomy of A Dancer: The Life Of A Song & Dance Man presented at the Next Stage Theatre Festival pays homage to Kelly, one of America’s most influential performers. Chronicling his life from Pittsburgh to Hollywood, his romances, famous performances and many of his contributions to the

Review: The Nutcracker (Toronto International Ballet Theatre)

The magic of the Tchaikovsky score paired with gorgeous ballet dancers never fails to spark the Christmas spirit inside of me. Toronto International Ballet Theatre performs the classic story of The Nutcracker with its typical grandiosity, bringing smiles to mine and many faces of all ages in the audience. The performance retains many Nutcracker traditions, however features a few unique artistic touches. The performance begins with a sad sigh from the audience as an announcement is made that t

Review: A Christmas Carol (Three Ships Collective)

What would Christmas be without A Christmas Carol? With multiple renditions happening around the city every year, The Three Ships Collective with the support of Soup Can Theatre, present a site-specific adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic novel. Taking place at the historic Cambell House, the audience follows the Victorian-era penny-pincher, Ebenezer Scrooge, room to room as you watch his story of self-redemption courtesy of apparitions of Christmas past, present and future. Built in 182

Review: A Very Leila Christmas (Theatre Passe Muraille)

Through a Persian princess’s eyes, Christmas begins when the Starbuck’s cups turn red, sugar walking sticks are sold, and the arguing begins about when it’s appropriate to play the music with the bells in it. A Very Leila Christmas, presented by Theatre Passe Muraille and A Bad Girl Leila, is the best way to get into the REAL Christmas spirit. An immigrant to Canada, Leila has an exciting job at a Rogers call centre during the holiday season. As she begins to learn about Christmas, she offers t

Review: Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover (Onelight Theatre)

Persian mythology is brought into modern day storytelling in Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover. The fully immersive multi-media work is created with boundless cloth and a single performer who takes on multiple roles at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Created by Shahin Sayadi of Onelight Theatre, the performance explores the struggles of tradition within a small community. In a small fishing village on the Persian Gulf, Farhad loses the love of his life to childbirth, resulting in a lifetime h
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