Mooney on Theatre Reviews

Review: US/THEM (BRONKS Theatre Company / Mirvish)

US/THEM tells the tragic story of the 2004 Beslan school siege from the point of view of the children inside. Not through the naive and innocent portrayal we most often see, but through the inquisitive, creative and detail-oriented child-like personalities that we all know and love. As the program states: “Children understand everything.” US/THEM first premiered in Belgium in 2014 and has been performed all over the world in multiple languages. The English version is brought to Toronto by the B

Review: Jungle Book (Young People’s Theatre)

Jungle Book – an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic works written & directed by Craig Francis & Rick Miller is on stage at Young People’s Theatre until March 21. It is an immersive theatre experience perfect for children and families. The mainstage theatre transforms into a multi-dimensional living storybook, teaching all about the importance of relationships, wildlife and the consequences of colonialism. This performance is recommended for ages five and up and is inviting school trips fro

Review: Radical Vitality, Solos and Duets (Compagnie Marie Chouinard / Canadian Stage / TO Live)

Absolutely absurd yet strangely serene, Radical Vitality is a reimagined collection of Canadian choreographic legend Marie Chouinard‘s work. Presented in part by Canadian Stage and TO Live at the Bluma Appel Theatre, the performance showcases over forty years of short solos and duets from the daring choreographer. I’ve been talking about Marie Chouinard’s infamous work, Petite danse sans nom, for over a decade. Although I had never seen it till tonight, it may be one of the best examples of t

Review: 8 minutes 17 seconds (Blue Ceiling dance)

What would you do if you only had 8 minutes 17 seconds? Blue Ceiling dance poses this question in its science-infused dance work presented in the Franco Boni Theatre in The Theatre Centre. It is the exact amount of time it takes for light to travel from the sun to the earth. It is how much time we would have if the sun were to die. Conceived and co-choreographed by Lucy Rupert, the evening consists of twelve performers using dance to explore a range of emotions and responses to this time constr

Review: The Roaring 20’s (Lunacy Cabaret)

A silly, yet snarky, and a little bit dirty, night of flappers, hula hoop artist, pantomime performers and much, much more, The Lunacy Cabaret presented The Roaring 20’s to a lively crowd at the Opera House on January 18th. The Lunacy Cabaret presents professional circus artists, clowns and comedians in a night where they can cut loose from constraints of stuffy corporate gigs and show what they want to a spirited crowd of friends and fans. The show starts with a land acknowledgment that calls

Winter of 88 (Nowadays Theatre) 2020 Next Stage Review

With the Iranian plane crash in the headlines and tense US-Iran relations in the news, I knew it was going to be a tough night with a timely work. Winter of 88, presented by Nowadays Theatre and part of the Next Stage 2020 festival, follows the faces and families behind the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988. Winter of 88 follows the traumatic and long-lasting effects on the director and writer, Mohammad Yaghoubi, and his experiences during the Iran-Iraq war. The story follo

Review: A Christmas Carol (Soulpepper)

Tried and true remount of family-friendly version of A Christmas Carol in its 13th year The holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is back at Soulpepper in its thirteenth season. Scrooge, the loveless and stingy character, played by Joseph Ziegler for the past eleven seasons of its run, gives even more meaning to my favourite holiday insult: “Bah humbug!” The play is showing at Toronto’s Distillery District, which has been overtaken by the city’s most popular Christmas market and huge lines surro

Review: The Nutcracker (Toronto International Ballet Theatre)

The Nutcracker arrives in Toronto for the Holiday Season! It’s Nutcracker time! Performed every holiday season without fail it is the world’s most popular ballet, with many different adaptations (or lack thereof) about the magical toy. Toronto International Ballet Theatre was back with stars of the Bolshoi Ballet, Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin, at Meridian Hall. Presenting a traditional take on the ballet, this performance features over fifty dancers of all ages, dazzling costum

Review: Impulse 2019 (School of Toronto Dance Theatre)

Student showcase offers a wide variety of dance pieces, now on stage in Toronto The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (STDT) presents IMPULSE 2019 at the Winchester Street Theatre, showcasing work from all three years of their professional training program. Celebrating fifty years of dance education, the modern/contemporary conservatory program produces some of Canada’s top performers. Opening the night is a work from STDT alumni and long-time Toronto Dance Theatre performer, Kate Alton. “Whatever

Review: IN ABSENTIA (JD DANCE / DANCEWORKS)

In Absentia is an imaginative work that sparks childlike wonder A mature fairytale in an absurd universe, IN ABSENTIA presented by JD Dance and Danceworks takes to the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. A fantastic work of dance, puppetry and lots and lots of cardboard. The stage is riddled with cardboard boxes and slabs, over 1000 pounds of it. Boxes of all different sizes are stacked, at some points to the ceiling, into different towers and walls. Many small slabs of ripped cardboard pieces hang a

Review: Spirit (Bangarra Dance Theatre/Canadian Stage/TO LIVE)

Bangarra Dance Theatre, one of Australia’s top dance companies, make their Toronto premiere with Spirit, performing a collection of stories and dances in a celebration of the Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander’s traditions. With mesmerizing movement and captivating physicality, the large seventeen member company take to the Bluma Appel Theatre, co-presented by Canadian Stage and TO Live. Dusted in what appears to be white powder or paint, the dancers flock and float around the stage,

Review: The 9th! (ProArteDanza)

The 9th! is a sombre piece, rich with movement and emotion ProArteDanza celebrates its fifteen anniversary with the Toronto Premiere of The 9th!, a take on Beethoven’s most beloved symphony. Presented at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre, eight dancers take on this virtuosic contemporary modern choreography. ProArteDanza always does a great job leading audiences of all levels through contemporary dance. In this performance, they provide strong program notes which give great insight int

Review: Minorities (Canadian Stage)

Unapologetically bold and powerfully provocative minorities makes its Canadian debut at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theatre. Choreographer Yang Zhen questions the personal disconnect of social identity within the new generation of ethnic minorities in China through dance, theatre, and vocals. The space bathes in red. Red painted microphones within red circular hoops, and small red chairs sit at the front of the stage. White mannequins with different traditional garb have red tape covering

Review: Program Two (Fall For Dance North)

Energy and variety on stage for Program Two of Fall for Dance North Celebrating five years, Fall For Dance North returns to Toronto at Meridian Hall. With three mainstage programs, this review will follow program two of the festival. Program two features four eclectic works, all of which include live music. Fall For Dance North brings leading dance companies from all over the world to Toronto and makes them accessible to a wide audience as all tickets, for any night and any seat, are only fifte

Review: Program Three (Fall For Dance North)

Program Three of Fall for Dance North rounds out an exciting bill of theatre Celebrating five years, Fall For Dance North returns to Toronto. Program three comes with a scene change, taking place at Ryerson Theatre instead of Meridian Hall. Fall For Dance North brings leading dance companies from all over the world to Toronto and makes them accessible to a wide audience as all tickets, for any night and any seat, are only fifteen dollars. Make sure to read our reviews of program one and program

Review: Program One (Fall For Dance North)

Dance is both moving and accessible at Fall for Dance North Celebrating five years, Fall For Dance North returns to Toronto at Meridian Hall. Although I was already in love with dance, I’ve fallen head over heels for this festival. Leading dance companies from all over the world are brought to Toronto and made accessible to audiences as all tickets, for any night and any seat, are only fifteen dollars. This review will follow the first of the three thematic mainstage programs presented this we

Review: Toi, La Maladie (YOHURA)

Ren Datura is a self-taught dancer and neo-burlesque artist from Toronto, who narrates the performance through recordings amplified in the space. At times she is audibly joined by french-speaking ex-partner Yohan Durand. However, the recordings mostly express her pain in their break-up. Durand is a self-taught diaboliste, based out of Lyon, France. Both Datura and Durand perform solos to their strengths, as well as a duet, which are interspersed with pieces by guest performers.

Review: Jacqueries Part 2 (Jacob Niedzwiecki)

Immersive theatre meets dance in this piece set in a technological surveillance State Exciting and immersive, Jacqueries Part 2 transforms the Citadel + Compagnie theatre into a stark surveillance state. Mixing technology, dance and audience engagement; coder and choreographer Jacob Niedzwiecki leads the audience through this beautiful yet grim world. Harsh lighting and strict paths made of banker boxes and barrier belts lead you to stern-faced performers. They ask if you are comfortable givin

Des-Echoes (Daniel Bear Davis and Caro Novella) / Fadeout (Anne-Flore de Rochambeau) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Two contemporary works of contrasting themes are brought to the 2019 SummerWorks Stage. One humorous and intimate, while the other is isolating and eerie, Des-Echoes and Fadeout are strong additions to the festival. Starting with only a bar of light highlighting the lower half of her body, choreographer and performer Anne-Flore de Rochambeau, slowly begins to articulate only her hands and fingers in Fadeout. The movement is pained and precise as if to slowly explore the space for the first time

The Nine Brains of the Human Mind / those, on the surface (The School of Toronto Dance Theatre) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Emerging choreographers take the SummerWorks stage with a double bill of modern/contemporary dance. The Nine Brains of the Human Mind and those, on the surface are choreographed by Kari Labrentz and Tanveer Alam and produced/danced by The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. These work-in-process pieces are part of the SummerWorks Lab programming. those, on the surface, choreographed by Kari Labrentz in collaboration with the dancers opens the show, playing with altered identities based on diverging...
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