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Review: The Last Man on Earth

Posted by art On June - 3 - 20111 COMMENT

The Last Man on Earth
Co-created by Phil Rickaby, Dana Fradkin, Stephen LaFrenie, Janick Hebert, Ginette Mohr (Director), Richard Beaune (Dramaturg/Artistic Director), David Atkinson (Music), and Kimberly Beaune (Stage Manager/Production Manager)
Part of the Toronto Festival of Clowns
June 2 & 5 @ Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement

By Jessie Davis

We were led out the back door of Pia Bouman School of Dance, into a parking lot where the evening sun seemed determined not to leave us. Then, as our eyes adjusted to the burst of light, down into the darkness of the adjacent theatre. The setup, though cleaner and painted entirely black, is reminiscent of the freak show at Coney Island—a tiny, intimate space with a handful of amphitheatre-style seats—and we were fortunate enough to find ourselves in the front row.

Quite honestly, at the end of this grueling workday, I was happy just to sit down. I had no idea how thoroughly delighted and enveloped in whimsy I was about to become. Warning: this review contains an obscene count of the word adorable. There really is no better word to describe it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Aleph

Posted by art On May - 31 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Diego Matamoros. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

The Aleph
Directed by Daniel Brooks
Featuring Diego Matamoros

Runs until June 18 @ The Young Centre for the Performing Arts

By Jen Handley

For all the richly detailed characters and emotionally resonant moments Diego Maramoros creates, the most impressive aspect of his performance in The Aleph is that you’ll believe anything he tells you.

And that’s saying a lot. Matamoros and Daniel Brooks adapted The Aleph from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, a slow burner that might bring to mind a mid-twentieth century, Argentine version of one of Poe’s ideas. Without giving away too much, it’s safe to say that the play runs into a mind-bending twist, but it gets there so gradually and stealthily you barely recognize how fantastically outrageous it is even when it’s right in front of your nose. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: La Ronde

Posted by art On May - 24 - 20111 COMMENT

Tyson James heats up La Ronde.

La Ronde
By Arthur Schnitzler
Directed by Ted Witzel
Featuring Lauren Gillis, Mariana Medellin-Meinke, Marcel Dragonieri, Raffaele Ciampaglia, Michael David Blostein, Milan Malisic, Maarika Pinkney, Tyson James, Eve Wylden, and Beau Dixon
Runs until June 4 @ Club Wicked

By Jeff Maus

The text of La Ronde is a product of the early 20th Century. It is frank, adult, and earnest in its presentation of sex. The play is very ‘modern,’ in the dawn-of-the-twentieth-century tradition. Written in 1897 Vienna by Arthur Schnitzler, it’s scene structure, dialogue, and characters all have the recognizable progressive elements of the time. This makes for a dynamic juxtaposition with the more modern burlesque setting, and the Rocky Horror meets Bernardo Bertolucci sensibility of the production.

Not there just to shock the audience or spice up a conventional narrative, sex is literally what the play is about. It isn’t that the red light district’s presentation of the play at Club Wicked is free from shock or heat; it is for adults in every sense. I went in with no knowledge of the play or the production, and was surprised all the way through. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Zadie’s Shoes

Posted by art On May - 24 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

William MacDonald and Joe Cobden. Photo: Jeremy Mimnagh

Zadie’s Shoes
Written by Adam Pettle
Directed by Adam Pettle & Jordan Pettle
Starring Joe Cobden, Patricia Fagan, William MacDonald, Harry Nelken, Shannon Perreault, Geoffrey Pounsett and Lisa Ryder
Runs until June 5 @ Factory Theatre Mainspace

By Kerry Freek

What’s luck got to do with it? Benjamin (Joe Cobden), a gambling addict, has lost the money for his girlfriend’s alternative cancer treatment in Mexico. Unsure of his next actions, he goes to synagogue for the first time in years and meets Eli (Harry Nelken), an old man who claims to be a prophet. With three days until their scheduled departure, Benjamin must choose whether to place faith in Eli’s racehorse tip or come clean to Ruth (Patricia Fagan), whose illness and family troubles already weigh heavily on her mind.

The result? A fairly well constructed dark comedy. Refreshingly, writer Adam Pettle pulls no punches in Benjamin and Ruth’s relationship–Ruth may be physically weak, but she’s no fool. Fagan plays her with strength, honesty, and conviction. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Fronteras Americanas

Posted by art On May - 24 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Guillermo Verdecchia. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Fronteras Americanas
Written and performed by Guillermo Verdecchia
Directed by Jim Warren
Runs until June 12 @ Young Centre for the Performing Arts

By Kerry Freek

“I am lost,” confides Guillermo Verdecchia, writer and performer of Fronteras Americanas, as he leads the audience on a tour of the undefined (and therefore dangerous) borderlands of the Americas.

Part comedy, part autobiography, part post-colonial rant, this performance of the Governor-General’s Award-winning play sees Argentinian-born Canadian Verdecchia take on several stereotypes often attributed to people from Mexico and Central and South America. Indeed, the first “tour guide” we encounter wears a multi-coloured poncho and has a giant moustache. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Double Bill

Posted by art On May - 12 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Ins Choi, Brendan Wall, Jason Patrick Rothery, Mike Ross, Karen Rae. Photo: Sian Richards

Double Bill: (re)Birth: E. E. Cummings in Song & Window on Toronto
Created by the Soulpepper Academy
Window on Toronto Directed by László Marton
Featuring Ins Choi, Tatjana Cornij, Trish Lindström, Ken MacKenzie, Abena Malika, Gregory Prest, Karen Rae, Mike Ross, Jason Patrick Rothery, Andre Sills & Brendan Wall

Runs until June 18 @ Young Centre for the Performing Arts

By Jen Handley

Double Bill, which opened this week at Soulpepper, consists of two pieces on seemingly disparate topics: the poetry of E. E. Cummings, and the brief interactions with strangers that urban life involves. What ties the two sections of the show together, and what makes them both so compelling, is the intensity of creative collaboration that runs through each piece. The performance is in itself as much a comment on the surprising and beautiful moments that come from sincere human interaction as some of the poems it borrows, and the meetings it imagines. Read the rest of this entry »

Comedy and bloodshed go together like soybean butter and jelly – just ask any fan of Kick-Ass, Pineapple Express, or the Three Stooges. Maybe this is why so many comedians love UFC. Whatever the reason, as throngs of people – many comics included – descend upon Toronto for the big fight this Saturday night, Toronto comedy nerds stand to benefit as Doug Benson sticks around the city for two shows May 1 at Comedy Bar.

Doug Benson is one of those people you can’t help but love. For one thing, there are just so many opportunities to love him. Into stand-up? Benson has three highly enjoyable albums, now releases a new one every year, and performs live constantly (http://eventful.com/performers/doug-benson-/P0-001-000004119-4). Into improv? It’s not exactly a Harold, but Benson injects improvisation and dialogue into stand-up on The Benson Interruption, a long-running live show-turned-Comedy Central series and podcast featuring comics such as Nick Swardson, Sarah Silverman, and Thomas Lennon. Into movies? So is Benson, and he discusses them weekly with his funny friends on his very popular and always entertaining podcast Doug Loves Movies. Into technologically-sponsored humour? @DougBenson is a tweeting machine. And, finally, into marijuana? Benson’s material, while appealing to anyone on the spectrum between straight-edge and junkie (I assume), is definitely stoner-friendly, and he has been a long-time advocate for legalization and the old-fashioned art of letting your freak flag fly.

Ultimately, it’s easy to love Doug Benson because, no matter the context, you very quickly feel like you know him. He’s open, relatable, and engaging, and I’m not being sentimental when I say that I look forward to seeing him at Comedy Bar this Sunday in the same way I look forward to seeing an old friend. Okay, maybe a little sentimental.

Doug was kind enough to answer a few questions from MONDO. Read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Tom Barnett and Tony Nappo. Photo: Bruce Zinger

The cosmonaut’s last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union
By David Greig
Directed by Jennifer Tarver
Featuring Tom Barnett, Raoul Bhaneja, Fiona Byrne, David Jansen, Tony Nappo and Sarah Wilson
Runs until May 14 @ Bluma Appel Theatre

By Jen Handley

One of the big challenges of putting on a play about human beings that can’t connect with each other is that it’s hard to get them to connect with the audience.  In The cosmonaut’s last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union, playwright David Greig begins with a fascinating premise: two cosmonauts are marooned on a broken space capsule with nothing to do but desperately try to re-establish communication with the world, at first with their damaged technology, and eventually with their desperate imaginations. But the cosmonauts are only one part of the story; Greig recreates new versions of their situation in the everyday lives of characters down below. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kaeja d’Dance’s 20/20 Vision

Posted by art On April - 17 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Jericho, performed by Norway's Ut i Scenekunsten and choreographed by Allen Kaeja.

20/20 Vision by Kaeja d’Dance
Choreography by Allen and Karen Kaeja
Collaborators: Edgardo Moreno (Composer), Elysha Poirier (Media)
Featuring Karen Kaeja, Courtnae Bowman, Zhenya Cerneacov, Mairéad Filgate, Stéphanie Tremblay Abubo and special guests Ut i Scenekunsten (Norway)
April 12-16 @ Enwave Theatre

By Tina Chu

Kaeja d’Dance’s anticipated 20/20 Vision opened last Tuesday night at Enwave Theatre in celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary. A future-spective instead of a retrospective, 20/20 Vision presents a thrilling glimpse into the future of Kaeja d’Dance, and while it satiates the expectations for the showcase, the performances of 20/20 Vision also build anticipation of what is yet to come for the renowned company.

The creative project of partners, Karen and Allen Kaeja, 20/20 Vision presents four pieces, two of which are choreographed by Karen and two by Allen.

The show begins with a piece about waiting. The Visitor features Karen’s engrossing choreography and a vigorous performance from interpreter Stéphanie Tremblay Abubo. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: The Simian Showcase

Posted by art On April - 8 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

MONDO’s art department doesn’t often have the opportunity to geek out as much as its neighbouring departments, Comics and Film. It’s just our luck, it seems, that tonight Monkeyman Productions, the self-described “geekiest theatre company in Toronto,” will present four new plays in its Simian Showcase, running at the Imperial Pub until April 16. Videogames, time travel, LARPing, and steampunk culture—it’s all covered. Art department editor Kerry Freek talked with two of the directors over gmail chat earlier this week.

Neil Silcox

First up, Neil Silcox, director of Camilla Maxwell’s Chun Li.

MONDO: How’s the production going? Are you ready for opening night?
Neil:  Yeah, I’m feeling really good about it. We had our Tech/Dress last night and it went over really well with the people who hadn’t seen it before.

MONDO:  Great! What exactly attracted you to “geek” theatre? I’ve seen you in other shows (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night) and this seems like a bit of a jump away from Shakespeare.
Neil:  That’s a part of what drew me to it. I found myself in—not exactly a rut, let’s say a groove. The top or my resume just kept saying Hart House, Hart House, Canopy, Hart House, Hart House, Canopy. I really loved working with those people, but I thought I needed to diversify. So anyway, one day I’m sitting on the subway and Marty Choderek [one of Monkeyman’s founding members] plops down beside me and we got to talking about Monkeyman and I asked if they were looking for directors. Read the rest of this entry »

Research Intersections Within Practice: Artists and Librarians
Organized by Effie Patelos and Tammy Moorse
March 16 @ the AGO

By Tina Chu

Presented by the Ontario Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America, this panel brought together the minds of Adam Lauder, the W.P. Scott Chair for Research in E-Librarianship at York University’s Scott Library; Amy Marshall Furness, the Special Collections Archivist at the E.P. Taylor Research Library and Archives of the AGO; Ian Carr-Harris, Artist and Professor at OCAD University; Eric Schwab, Manager of Digitization and Preservation at the Toronto Public Library, David Poolman, Artist and Professor at Sheridan, and Lisa Steele, Artist, Vtape Founder and the Visual Studies Graduate Program Director at the University of Toronto. Read the rest of this entry »

Nicholas Campbell in The War of the Worlds. Photo: John Lauener.

Art of Time Ensemble’s The War of the Worlds
Starring Nicholas Campbell, Don McKellar and Marc Bendavid with foley artist John Gzowski
Directed and conducted by Andrew Burashko
Music composed and arranged by Don Parr
March 31 – April 3, 2011 @ Enwave Theatre

By Jen Handley

“And if someone rings your doorbell,” murmured Don McKellar to a mesmerized audience on Thursday night as The War of the Words came to a close, “Remember, it’s not Martians—it’s Hallowe’en.” And although the performance was utterly convincing, it pretty much proved that whimsical point. That’s because this War of the Worlds isn’t just a restaging of the classic Orson Welles Martian invasion radio play, it’s a staging of the staging of it. Art of Time’s production manages to tell the story not just of an alien invasion, but also of a bid for notoriety that was both an artistic and professional gamble, and, in doing so, the ensemble adds a second cast of heroes to the original play without changing a word. Read the rest of this entry »

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MONDO is a non-profit, weekly, Toronto-based, online magazine that focuses on arts, culture, and humour. We’re interested in art of all kinds (music, theatre, visual art, film, comics, and video games) and the pop culture that we inhabit.The copyright on all MONDO magazine content belongs to the author. If you would like to pay them for more content, please do. To contact MONDO please email us at editor@mondomagazine.net

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