Review: Djinn Joint (Velvet Duke Productions – Primetime Festival)

Velvet Wells as dJerald the Djinn standing in front of bushes

Velvet Wells is dJerald the Djinn, a wish granting genie, in Djinn Joint, part of the Primetime Festival, an online performance festival. They’re also a lovely person… or the world’s greatest actor.

Djinn Joint is essentially an improv show. The audience submits wishes, some in advance, some during the show, and dJerald either grants them or doesn’t. Sometimes the audience votes on whether to grant the wish. Voting isn’t always as straightforward as giving a thumbs-up or raising a hand, it can be very creative. Continue reading Review: Djinn Joint (Velvet Duke Productions – Primetime Festival)

Review: A Tonic For Desperate Times (Theatre Gargantua)

Photo of Heather Marie Annis and Michael Gordon Spence in A Tonic For Desperate Times by Michael Cooper

Theatre Gargantua‘s A Tonic for Desperate Times, the company’s return to live theatre at the historic St. Anne’s Parish Hall, is just that: a look at the seemingly insurmountable personal and global stresses in our current world, which offers a degree of optimism and hope with its harsh realities.

A devised work directed by Jacquie P.A. Thomas and written by its perfomance ensemble, Heather Marie Annis, Sierra Haynes, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Michael Gordon Spence and Nabil Traboulsi, the show’s intent is to provide catharsis for a burnt-out, weary public. However, its goal isn’t to sugarcoat topics of illness, poverty, violence, and xenophobia; as any good catharsis requires the storm before the calm, the show pushes through the panic before showing us ways of coping.

Continue reading Review: A Tonic For Desperate Times (Theatre Gargantua)

Review: With Love and a Major Organ (The Audio Play) (QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre Primetime Festival)

cast - With Love and a Major Organ

With Love and a Major Organ (The Audio Play ) is part of the Primetime Festival, an online performance festival. It was live on November 3 and is now available on demand. That’s a really cool thing about digital performances, they create archives and can be presented again.

With Love and a Major Organ is a love story about love,  an adult fairy tale about giving your heart to someone. Literally, your actual heart. It’s about waking up and realizing that you have a heart and waking up and realizing that you don’t have a heart.  It’s about opening your heart to feeling. It’s about GoogleShrink and online speed dating. Continue reading Review: With Love and a Major Organ (The Audio Play) (QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre Primetime Festival)

Review: The Spectator’s Odyssey – o dell’Inferno (TO Live and DopoLavoro Teatrale)

Photo of a woman (Joyce Powell) standing in front of a painting of a clown painting children's faces. The whole photo is washed with pink light. It is from the show Red Journey

Toronto’s return to live in-person theatre is an opportune time for interactive and immersive theatre.  The Spectator’s Odyssey – o dell’Inferno brings the audience backstage into the deep confines of the St Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts and the dark recesses of the historic St Lawrence Market after hours.

The multidisciplinary exploration takes place through two unique experiences, ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’. These combine dance, theatre, music, virtual reality, and more.

In the ‘Red’ journey, the audience becomes Dante descending into the Inferno. We go through the various circles of hell in the darkened halls of the St. Lawrence Market.

In the ‘Blue’ journey, we become Ulysses exploring Homer’s The Odyssey.  We embark on an epic journey across the great unknown in the underbelly of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

Continue reading Review: The Spectator’s Odyssey – o dell’Inferno (TO Live and DopoLavoro Teatrale)

Review: My Own Private Shakespeare (Modernclassic Theatre Company)

Justin Hay on a darkened stage next to a throne

Modernclassic Theatre Company’s production of Justin Hay’s My Own Private Shakespeare is playing at the Assembly Theatre. The small space, with seats removed to allow social distancing, adds a layer of intimacy to the evening.

My Own Private Shakespeare is a one-person play performed and written by Hay, who is a Shakespearean actor. Although it’s not stated anywhere, the play feels autobiographical. It’s about a Shakespearean actor whose life is imploding. He sees parallels between the things happening in his life and some of Shakespeare’s texts and weaves them into his story. It’s wonderfully effective.  Continue reading Review: My Own Private Shakespeare (Modernclassic Theatre Company)