Toronto Theatre Features

Mooney on Theatre’s Hot Tickets for Fringe 2013

Our top picks for Toronto’s hottest theatre festival

Mooney on Theatre’s staff are, in general, a pleasant lot: there’s a reason people think we’re nice! But when Fringe rolls around, there are usually a good dozen assignments which have our writers climbing over each other and arguing like nine-year-olds.

“No fair! You got to review the decadent, juicy cabaret last season!”
“I never get to see Laura Anne Harris! Why can’t it be my turn?”
“If you don’t let me have the piece about gay pick-ups, I’m telling Wayne!”

Well, the dust has settled, the schedules have gone out, and Megan has sent four of us to the naughty corner. But wouldn’t you like to know which shows got our staff most excited? We’ve picked the top 6 most contentious Fringe shows from this summer’s festival and asked the lucky writer who landed the assignment to give us a short blurb on why they’re into it.

So: what are this season’s Mooney on Theatre Hot Tickets? Click the jump and find out!

Continue reading Mooney on Theatre’s Hot Tickets for Fringe 2013

Five Rules to Break at Fringe

The first rule of Toronto’s Fringe theatre festival is not to follow any

The notion of there being a “proper” way to “do” Fringe is odd, right? Here’s a festival dedicated to independent and outside-the-box arts: how can you possibly have rules? Doesn’t that completely miss the point?

But the truth is that, yes: Fringe has rules. And not just rules about sex in the beer tent. There are unspoken rules: things we all do, patterns to our behaviour, assumptions we all make.

And some of these unspoken rules are very, very silly.


Rule 1: Stand in line to get a good seat.

If there’s one thing people know about optimal Fringe technique, it’s the importance of standing in line. Do you want to get a bad seat? Of course not: so get there early, and stay put!

This advice is completely, completely wrong.

A typical Fringe venue might seat 30 people. In a venue that small, there aren’t any bad seats. In fact, if you can keep a secret, the best seats for most Fringe shows are right down in the very front row–and people usually avoid them like the plague!

So why are you standing around in the sun? You’re in the Annex! The neighbourhood’s bursting at the seams with book stores, art galleries, coffee shops, neat little parks, discount stores, and pleasant, leafy streets which are just perfect for idle wandering.

You might need to wait in a line to get a ticket. And Fringe never seats latecomers, so you absolutely must be back at the venue a few minutes before the curtain. But once you’ve got your ticket, go explore! Go taste! Go read, go gaze, go walk, go do literally anything but stand around waiting for the doors to open. You’ll thank yourself later.

Continue reading Five Rules to Break at Fringe

Preview: Write Club (WRITE CLUB Toronto)

Write Club

A literary death match to tell your friends about on stage at The Garrison in Toronto

When Catherine McCormick threatens to assault you with chicken bones, you pay heed. Write Club Toronto’s Chief Whip doesn’t mess around.

The third Tuesday of every month Catherine McCormick and Alicia Merchant, the demure foil to McCormick’s brazen bullhorn, host Write Club, a live literary event, at the Garrison.  Write Club Toronto is an off-shoot of its Chicago parent event, created by the acerbic and hilarious Ian Belknap. Continue reading Preview: Write Club (WRITE CLUB Toronto)

The World of Supernumeraries

It’s Toronto’s chance to get on stage with the Canadian Opera Company with an open casting call for supernumeraries

I’m happy to say that I attended my first opera not too long ago when I saw Tristan & Isolde on opening night at the Four Seasons Centre. As much as I loved it, I still felt like I had so many questions about the opera and the mechanics of creating such an intense production. For a show that was as minimalist in terms of set, costume and sheer number of bodies on stage as Tristan was, I wondered how even bigger productions function.

Enter the leaflet for the open casting call for supernumeraries at the Canadian Opera Company. I saw it at nearly the same time that my editor asked me if I would be interested in developing a story about the supernumeraries, or “supers”, of the opera world. Continue reading The World of Supernumeraries