Review: Window On Toronto

By Amber Landgraff

Window On Toronto, Soulpepper’s latest Lab series, was completely surprising and totally charming.  I was caught off guard by how much I enjoyed it.  I went to see the show with my friend Simon and we both found ourselves laughing, along with the rest of the audience, for the whole whirlwind 50 minutes.

The show’s premise involves looking at a busy Toronto street from the point of view of a hotdog vendor.  The audience joins him as he interacts with a cast of wacky characters.  As another audience member stated upon leaving the show, “I’ve never seen anything like it!”

The hot dog vendor starts the action by opening the hotdog stand and then sitting in the audience.  His interactions with the different characters coming by his shop tie the show together.

Interestingly, even though the show is chock full of movement, the hotdog vendor himself rarely moves. Instead he maintains his position sitting in the audience throughout the show.  I felt like this was a good way to pull the audience into the action, as we are literally seeing things from his point of view.

When we first sat down I was worried that the small window framing the visible stage was an awkward and difficult choice.  But as soon as the play started, I was mesmerized.  From start to finish the little window onto Toronto had me captivated.

I really appreciated the choice to use all the edges of the window as part of the stage. It allowed for some really interesting staging choices.  My favorite of these were the elaborate skating scene (it actually looked like they were skating!), the tiny puppet show, the forgotten violin musical interlude, and the man who was attacked by the flock of seagulls he was feeding.

The ensemble cast played over 100 different characters over the course of the 50-minute show.  There are recognizable moments, and then there are moments that border on the absurd.  The recurring characters involve a crazy, lovable series of misfits literally running across the stage.  Simon likened it to watching a television screen, except it was live.

If you are looking for a light-hearted, fun, funny show I would seriously recommend seeing Window On Toronto.  It is creative, energetic, and fun from start to finish.


–       Window On Toronto is playing at Soulpepper Theatre’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts

–       Remaining show times are August 27 and 28 at 8:00 pm and August 28 at 2:00 pm

–       Tickets are 21.52 plus HST