Review: Revisor (Kidd Pivot / Canadian Stage)

Canadian Stage brings Kidd Pivot’s latest dance-theatre hybrid work to Toronto

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 comically showcases greed and political corruption. Young’s adapted script is recorded by Canadian actors whose voices have highly expressive cadence and emotions. This recording becomes a score for the eight dancers in the work.

These superhuman dancers mouth and move to the recorded script in a cartoon-like manner. The audience laughs at each character’s over the top personality and ignorance while still in awe of their gorgeous choreography. Every movement down to the tilt of the head is perfectly placed for each character. The dancers move like rubber bands, softly floating into incredible strength and balance work. Intricate partner choreography effortlessly flows together. The ability to move to the pre-recorded dialogue adds an incredible expressiveness not possible when performing in more traditional ways of dance or theatre.

The production of any Kidd Pivot work is a masterpiece in itself. The props have large characters in either their design or their use on stage. Beautiful wooden desks and doorframes with the added satirical antique looking costumes bring you into this other world. The lighting design perfectly captures the dancers through unique ways, such as the simplicity of a light flickering to a narrated dialogue or a light highlighting a frightened character hidden under a bed.

About halfway through the performance, the costumes and text are mostly stripped away. While Pite journies back through the story you have already seen, however this time with a different soundtrack. The score is a manipulated voice describing the dancer’s movements, interactions or revisions to movement. Pivot takes the title of the work to new heights, constantly revising what is happening on stage, in the play, in the theatre and dance world –  showing the complexities of contemporary dance in a way I have yet to see.

There is nothing like a Kidd Pivot production. I will surely be buying another ticket before the show run is over on March 16th. I highly suggest getting your tickets soon as even in the large theatre, they are bound to sell out with this extraordinary work.


  • Revisor is playing at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East).
  • It is playing till March 16, 2019 at various run times.
  • Tickets are $51 – $111 , available online or at the box office.Photo of Ella Rothschild, Cindy Salgado, Jermaine Spivey, Tiffany Tregarthen, Doug Letheren, David Raymond, Rena Narumi, Matthew Peacock. Photo by Michael Slobodian.