Alice in Wonderland in all of its iterations has primarily focused on Wonderland being a mental representation of Alice and her current situations. Whether it was from the original story about Alice embracing the nonsensical and learning to question, or the American McGee games that took Wonderland and Alice to more mature/darker realms of living […]

If you believe a hair salon an unlikely place to find community, you’d be wrong. In fact, in Trey Anthony’s iconic play ‘da Kink in my Hair, directed by Weyni Mengesha, it’s even more than that: it’s a place of healing, a forum where the vulnerable or voiceless step into the spotlight for a moment. […]

  Kelly Bedard

The expansion of the Shaw Festival season to include a duo of holiday shows every December has proven to be a truly winning innovation. The mini-season in the winter forms a welcome bridge between the festival’s regularly scheduled April-October season and makes the company feel like a full year player rather than a summer getaway. […]

  Kelly Bedard

On stage until December 18th in a well-cast and capable production at Crow’s Theatre, Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet tells a fictionalized account of the life of Ira Aldridge, one of the first Black actors to become a prominent Shakespeare performer.   The production is a testament to Crow’s heads up approach to casting within the […]

  Kelly Bedard

The success of Hannah Moscovitch’s new play Post Democracy largely comes down to wether or not Jesse LaVercombe manages to make you think he’s generally a somewhat okay guy.   The rest of the production is strong in less crucial ways. Teresa Przybylski’s stylish set has a cleverly critical total lack of character and is […]

There is a joke once seen on tumblr that describes different nationalities’ approaches to death in stories. American writers write I WILL DIE FOR LOVE! British writers write I WILL DIE FOR COUNTRY! And Russian writers write I WILL JUST DIE! An overly simplistic take but this critic’s first thought when seeing that joke was […]

John Patrick Shanley’s difficult drama Doubt has aged oddly. First produced in 2004, one year after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team won a Pulitzer for its reporting on abuses in the Catholic Church, the play twists itself into knots attempting to keep as much, ahem, doubt as possible alive in the audience’s mind, presumably as […]

Running through Saturday at the Chain Theater in Manhattan (312 W 36th street), Maiden Productions’ take on Connor McPherson’s The Night Alive is phenomenal. Boasting a lights-out cast, visionary design, and accomplished direction, Maiden delivers an outstanding inaugural production and solidifies itself as a company to keep tabs on.   The Night Alive centers on […]

The Canadian Opera Company’s fall season presents a well-balanced duo of contrasting classics to signal that, even without the world renowned artistic director we recently lost to Paris, the COC is back on its feet.   First up, The Flying Dutchman is a quick hit of Wagnerian sorrow coming in at only 2 hours and […]

Commissioned by Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Beautiful Renegades tells the somewhat indulgent story of the company that came before Peggy Baker Dance Projects as they made a mark on Toronto’s limited dance scene in the 1970s. There are long sequences of contemporary dance adapted from actual works staged at the time spliced between scenes written […]

  Kelly Bedard

Kim’s Convenience makes me a little bit sad. Don’t get me wrong, the hit CBC show is never even a little bit sad. That’s what makes me sad. Five seasons of lighthearted sitcomery, a controversial ending marred by behind the scenes drama, new CBC shows for two of its supporting actors, and post-Canadian major franchise […]

  Kelly Bedard

It’s confusing to me that there hasn’t been more August Wilson at the Shaw Festival (though in Canadian theatre in general). Especially as our major institutions have been putting in the effort to include more diverse voices in their seasons, bumping uncomfortably against limiting mandates that are by design exclusionary. August Wilson fits beautifully in […]

A restorative 90 minute tour of the heart by way of a gruff Canadian poet, The Shape of Home is an original narrative concert born in isolation with roots in a familiar form. Joined by fellow multi-instrumentalist super-talents Beau Dixon and Raha Javanfar, it’s thrilling see perennial favourites Frank Cox-O’Connell and Hailey Gillis reunite for […]

  Kelly Bedard

The world of Crow’s Theatre’s Uncle Vanya is filled with glorious light courtesy of the ever-reliable Kimberly Purtell and set in a beautiful almost semi-immersive stage design by Julie Fox. It’s looks like a painting and it feels like a return to form for Crows- a starry ensemble anchored by Tom Rooney and directed by […]

I love the concept behind Soulpepper’s bold Lear Family Double Bill that pairs a very solid production of Shakespeare’s King Lear with a new play by Erin Shields that imagines what might have happened seven years earlier to inform the behaviour of the characters in King Lear. Shields’ play Queen Goneril focuses not just on […]

  Kelly Bedard

The final piece of Outdoors at the Shaw programming I saw this year (I sadly missed A Short History of Niagara), Fairground is a kid-inclusive interactive fair that morphs into a roving concert showcasing members of the musical company (plus Kristopher Bowman). The break dancing from season standout Kevin McLachlan and pet puppets are the […]

  Kelly Bedard

Another hit from the Outdoors at the Shaw programming, this original narrative concert written, curated and directed by Jay Turvey is an unblinking and critical but ultimately joyful examination of where we were 100 years ago and how far we have (and haven’t) come.   The major events and artistic achievements of 1922 are chronicled […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Outdoors at the Shaw programming is what happiness is made of. Created by the cast who performs it, this superb Shavian variety hour tours audiences around the beautiful Festival Theatre grounds, treating us to pleasures ranging from a cooking demonstration to a magic show to snippets of script and song. The show earnestly embraces […]

  Kelly Bedard

The Shaw Festival has elevated The Doctor’s Dilemma into a moving and impactful tent pole of its excellent post-pandemic season.

  Kelly Bedard

Just to Get Married is the best sort of Shaw Festival programming, a refreshing treasure unearthed from well-worn ground. It’s every bit the mandate, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

  Zach Adler

Renaissance Now Theatre & Film delivers a capable production of Macbeth thanks to its strong supporting cast and inventive staging; however, the potential of a “Redux” remains underdeveloped and its leads struggle to carry momentum.   What starts as a fairly standard interpretation of Macbeth breaks wide open in Act 1, Scene 3: Angus (a […]

Stratford programmed a duo of dark and twisty Shakespeare plays to launch its refurbished Tom Patterson theatre this season. Though the wildly expensive renovation seems like a huge change when you first enter the beautiful new building, the actual experience of watching a play on the relatively similar stage remains pretty much the same. The […]

Stratford’s big flagship production this year is Chicago, promising programming for its darkness and modernity compared to the festival’s usual musical fare. With two leading female characters and a few great supporting ones, the musical also presented a great opportunity for the festival to highlight some overlooked talent and maybe even recruit some new stars. […]

  Kelly Bedard

Onstage at Oshawa’s Regent Theatre for four days only, this thrice-postponed iteration of a homegrown cult hit is a shaky attempt at commercial theatre production with community theatre limitations. I admire Mansfield Entertainment’s concept of bringing large-format theatre to a community that could use a serious arts infusion and the professional designation should mean that […]

  Kelly Bedard

We’ve been waiting for this one. The young Shakespeare enthusiasts who came up watching Slings & Arrows only to graduate into a decade of shy Shakespeare from the festival we were indoctrinated to adore, this is the production we’ve been waiting for. We wanted new blood, we wanted new ideas, we wanted someone under the […]

Gaslight The 1938 play that inspired the idiom “gaslighting” has dipped briefly into the public domain, allowing the Shaw Festival to commission Johnna Wright and Patty Jamieson to adapt the story into this new version. It’s a clever thought, giving audiences the backstory behind such a ubiquitous concept (one that is very much not self-explanatory) […]