All posts by Michelle Barker

Review: Catalpa (Blood in the Alley Productions)

Catalpa comes to Toronto theatre with one man and a lot of talent

To say that one-man shows make me nervous would be an extreme understatement.  In fact, I sat down with my show partner, Shirdil, in the backspace of Theatre Passe Muraille and audibly groaned when I opened my programme for Catalpa and saw only one actor listed. I’m pleased to report, however, that this is one of two circumstances when my fears of one-man shows were completely unfounded. Continue reading Review: Catalpa (Blood in the Alley Productions)

Review: The Crucible (Soulpepper)

The Salem Witch Trials come to Toronto theatre with Soulpepper’s “emotionally profound” production of The Crucible.

It dawned on me as I sat in the Baillie Theatre waiting for The Crucible to begin that I find it super funny that audience members get so much delight when they enter the space, house lights on, to find an actor already onstage – sleeping, comatose, what have you.  “That’s a real person!  She’s breathing!” I heard a woman exclaim in delight.  “And I expect there will be more where she came from.” I muttered under my breath.  She politely ignored me.  Bless. Continue reading Review: The Crucible (Soulpepper)

Review: Rent (Lower Ossington Theatre)

A fresh take on the classic Rent plays at Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre

I know what you’re thinking: another review of another production of Rent.  Well, read on, my cynical friends.  Read on.

For those of you that are just joining the world of musical theatre, Rent tells the story of a group of 20-somethings struggling to make it in New York while trying to overcome financial woes and the AIDS epidemic.  As you might have guessed from the description, Rent is part feel-good romp, part emotional social commentary, all woven together with catchy rock-operatic numbers. Continue reading Review: Rent (Lower Ossington Theatre)

Review: The Last Five Years (Clearwater Theatre Company)

You know what they say: “There’s two sides to every story”.  The Last Five Years, presented by Clearwater Theatre Company in Tarragon’s Extra Space, is an exploration of this very notion.

The Last Five Years is a musical inspired by Jason Robert Brown’s failed marriage.  It’s a two-hander where Cathy’s story is told in reverse-chronological order and Jamie’s is told chronologically.  It explores the complexities and heartbreaks involved in the declination of a relationship. Continue reading Review: The Last Five Years (Clearwater Theatre Company)