Before we announce the winners of the 2019 MyEntWorld Critics’ Pick Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series. Nicole Underhay has long been one of my favourite actresses in the country. In Coal Mine Theatre’s hilarious and brutal Hand to God, she weaponized her natural sunniness to deliver a brilliantly dark and perfectly pitched […]

  Kelly Bedard

Before we announce the winners of the 2019 MyEntWorld Critics’ Pick Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series. Five years ago, I interviewed the effusive and self-effacing Sergio Di Zio for the first time. Though he’s known for his screen work (you probably know him from Flashpoint but he’s in everything), he was nominated for […]

  Mark Kreder

What do you get when you combine sharply written dialogue, deft direction and an all-star ensemble? Coal Mine Theatre’s production of Marjorie Prime. In 90 minutes, I was taken on a journey that challenged the way I perceived the world around me, my relationships and my ideals. For me, it was Nick Blais’ lighting design […]

  Kelly Bedard

Coal Mine Theatre debuted with a Stephen Adly Guirgis text back in 2014 and his style of hard-hitting, emotionally complex American drama/black comedy has become something of the house style in the seasons since. Their return to the playwright isn’t as impactful as their debut with a more uneven cast and a less enthralling script but the floor […]

  Alisha Maclean

The Coal Mine’s presentation of Knives in Hens is a beautiful rendition of the mid-nineties play written by David Harrower — Director Leora Morris has skillfully and lovingly brought the Scottish work to Toronto in a way that captures the audience well for the 80 minute production. A small farming community’s characters know little more than what […]

  Kelly Bedard

Hand to God is a really fucking weird play. Excuse the language but there’s really no other way to fully get the point across. This is some weird shit. Playwright Robert Askins has crafted a pastel-coloured Southern Gothic puppet show about demonic possession and religious hypocrisy that’s also a pointed mental health allegory and a […]

  Lorenzo Pagnotta

The Father by Florian Zeller, directed by Ted Dykstra and Oyin Oladejo, is a brave close look at aging, specifically with Alzheimer’s Disease. The title character, known as André (Eric Peterson), demonstrates with great accuracy several key characteristic of living with dementia. Further, Peterson’s interpretation of the progression of some of these characteristics is carefully […]

  Amy Strizic

The opening night of Coal Mine Theatre’s improv holiday show, The Wonder Pageant, was a hit, a WONDER-ful success. All performers demonstrated comedic accomplishment, unlike your author, and were fully able to get a somewhat stilted audience to laugh and sing along to their new and inspired songs. While the whole cast thrived as an […]

  Kelly Bedard

Theatre can be a gamble so sometimes it’s nice to see something you’re relatively sure about going in. On stage now in Toronto there are three such shows- one a critical favourite (Second City), one from a never-fail company (Coal Mine), and one with the sort of dependable source material that’s impactful no matter what […]

  Kelly Bedard

Before we announce the winners of the 2017 MyEntWorld Critics’ Pick Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series. Most people know Noah Reid as a screen actor. He scored his first film credit in 1996 and has shown up in pretty much every major Canadian television show in the last two decades (and a […]

  Lisa McKeown

Poison, currently on at The Coal Mine Theatre, is a story about two people. Actually, it’s a story about three people. We open on a man (Ted Dykstra) waiting in a lobby. Eventually, a woman (Fiona Highet) enters. There is immediate tension. What follows is a simple but heartbreaking story about grief. Originally written by […]

  Kelly Bedard

Spoiler-free Review Annie Baker is one of America’s greatest living playwrights, a master of naturalistic contemporary storytelling rife with mysterious spirituality and painfully honest but sugarless emotion. You should run to the Coal Mine just for the privilege of seeing her work, let alone seeing her work thoughtfully presented by a fantastic trio of performers. […]

  Kelly Bedard

Coal Mine Theatre is drawn to disturbing programming about mankind’s darkest truths. Their productions are often visceral, unpleasant, gritty, caked in blood, laced with profanity and only sometimes ultimately uplifting. Orphans is all of those things except the last one. Though funny and at times even sweet, it might be the darkest display of humanity […]

  Kelly Bedard

This is a big thing to say considering the consistently critically beloved status of Toronto’s Coal Mine Theatre since its bombastic debut with The Motherfucker with the Hat back in 2014 but I’m pretty confident that Superior Donuts is the best thing the Indie 2.2 company has ever produced. At least it’s my favourite. Tracy […]

  Duncan Derry

The blatant irony of a title like Breathing Corpses, as with something like The Walking Dead, is that it is the ostensibly living characters who are all to some degree deceased: both because their lives are caught in a deadlock, and also because by the end of the play we know that many of these […]

In the month or so leading up to Fringe, there isn’t much going on in the indie Toronto theatre scene but two Canadian-written…

  Kelly Bedard

I hate plays with fake accents. Unless your name is Oliver Dennis (or you work at the Shaw Festival), your British accent is not as good as you think it is and I’d really rather you just not use it. And a British accent (usually a posh one, sometimes cockney) is the accent most Canadian […]

There’s something of a false hierarchical narrative around Shakespeare performance that suggests the grander the stage, the stronger the performer, the mecca that is the Stratford festival theatre serving as the (Canadian) pinnacle where only the best of the best are allowed to tread the boards. If you’re somehow unconvinced that this narrative is nonsense, […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Immigrant (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company) You know Mark Harelik, or at least you know his face. He has a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory; he was Topanga’s dad on Boy Meets World; he’s in an episode of Breaking Bad! The reason Mark Harelik is here to be a familiar face in […]

  Kelly Bedard

Creditors (Coal Mine Theatre) The final piece in Coal Mine Theatre’s fantastically successful inaugural season is a dark domestic drama from August Stringberg set in a 19th century world of rampant misogyny and even more rampant psychotic jealousy. The solid production benefits greatly from director Rae Ellen Bodie’s background in dialect coaching (there’s a clarity […]

  Kelly Bedard

The latest productions from Coal Mine and Safeword share a common goal: to leave you shaken. They share some other things too (small casts, hip tones, interesting spaces) but it’s that shared goal that stands out. That’s not what all theatre artists are doing; most want to entertain you, to move you, maybe even inspire […]

  Kelly Bedard

Before we announce the winners of the 2014 My Theatre Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series. Flashpoint star Sergio di Zio made a massive splash on stage in 2014 in the first major production at the new Coal Mine Theatre on the Danforth, the Canadian premiere of The Motherfucker with the Hat. As […]

  Kelly Bedard

Sextet (Tarragon) This new theatrical dramedy from Morris Panych is a six-person character piece that plays out almost in real time between three motel rooms occupied by a string sextet on tour during a snow storm. It’s emotionally complex but conceptually simple, a combination that pretty much always reaps great rewards, particularly with a cast […]