All posts by S. Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman has great faith in the power of theatre to make change, and has been putting his money where his mouth is on that one for some time. A writer, performer, and lecturer, Bear works full time as an artist and cultural worker and loves to see as much live performance as possible – making this a fantastic gig for him.

Review: Porch View Dances (Kaeja d’Dance)

unspecified“Charming, idiosyncratic” Toronto dance show is great fun for the whole family

This has been a particularly satisfactory week to have an out-of-town guest from a small town in BC – first we took him to a Fringe show, then to see All’s Well That Ends Well in High Park, and last night to catch the opening of Porch View Dances in Seaton Village. It’s an eclectic list, and Porch View Dances was the perfect ending in some ways – it’s such a peculiar and delightful event.

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Review: Matilda (Mirvish)

image_16-6MatiltaTour0359rKids triumph over horrible adults in Mirvish’s production of Matilda the musical in Toronto

There’s no one for children triumphing over horrible adults like author Roald Dahl, whose tales thrilled me as a child and please me still. Having skipped the Matilda movie (as I tend to do if I liked a book, because Hollywood ruins everything) I arrived to the musical at the Ed Mirvish Theatre with some trepidation but also some optimism. My optimism was rewarded – Matilda is quite delightful.

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Folk Lordz: Warriors & Fools (Rapid Fire Theatre) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Todd Houseman and Ben Gorodetsky

Folk Lordz: Warriors & Fools surprised me. I expected the kind of storytelling you get where someone stands and tells you things – I figured this (at Factory Studio) would be a two-person version. Instead, it’s…well? It’s a Cree-Yiddish improvised cultural storytelling (#becausefringe). And it’s a real treat.

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EXIT (Compact Entertainment) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Gabriella Sundar Singh, Will MacKenzie, Nigel McInnis

The history of student productions making the leap from schools to Fringe stages is…checkered, let us say. EXIT, which is playing Tarragon Theatre Mainspace at the Toronto Fringe Festival 2016 is an example of one that should perhaps have stayed put. Though the concept is interesting, I did not find the show fully realized at this point in its development.

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Fire In The Meth Lab (2Hoots Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival Review

Photo of Jon Bennett

In Fire In The Meth Lab, playing at St. Vladimirs during the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival, I finally found my first real pleasure of the Fringe this year – a title with which I could answer the classic Fringe query: “Have you seen anything great?” I have now; it’s Fire In The Meth Lab. It’s just great.

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How May I Mate You? (The Poorhouse Players) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

cast of How May I Mate YouHere’s what I can say about How May I Mate You? (at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace 2016 Toronto Theatre Festival) — the group of sixteen-year-olds beside me LOVED it. They laughed at all the jokes, and left the theatre chattering happily about how much they’d liked it. Maybe I’m just too old for this show, but I never really got any better than “mildly amused” during this hour-long performance.

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my silly yum! (jot and tittle) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Picture of two mushrooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a pun in the title of my silly yum!, also at George Ignatieff Theatre for Toronto Fringe Festival 2016, but it took until hearing someone say it out loud at the very end of the show to hear it. By that point we had seen the tiny, 30-minute show – all little puppets and felted mushrooms and Sims-style noises that sounded like language but were mostly just nonsense, and that, unfortunately, we never really got.

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Pirates Don’t Babysit (Black Sea Theatre) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Picture of a pirate and a baby

Waiting to see Pirates Don’t Babysit at George Ignatieff Theatre for Toronto Fringe 2016, I enjoyed the wash of that familiar Fringe feeling for the first time this year — a line, a line speech, being dunned for a button and so on. Then we entered the darkened theatre, me and my kid companions, and set sail on an imaginative (and fairly charming) pirate adventure.

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Review: Monumental (Luminato)

img_8023_0Monumental was a cacophonous movement and sound theatre piece as part of Luminato Toronto

The Hearn is imposing even from a distance, and Monumental even more so within the space. Even when you are not sure how to get there, you can see the giant smoke stack stabbing into the sky. It is the perfect place to be washed in the music of post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor, entranced and horrified by the movements of Holy Body Tattoo, and lost in consideration of the text that appears on three large screens that frame the stage. This is an immersive experience. You are small, and the industrial world is in decay. It is a terrible, and beautiful, and profoundly bodily experience.

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Review: Body Politic (Buddies In Bad Times Theatre and lemonTree Creations)

Body Politic by Nick Green at Buddies in Bad Times TheatreThe Body Politic looks further into Toronto’s queer history on stage at Buddies in Bad Times

One might worry, if one were less nerdy than I am, that two gay historical productions in a single season could be considered an excess of history all together at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. But for those of us who relish the stories of what happened before we arrived and our connection to the people who helped create the current political moment (for good or ill), The Body Politic satisfies a particular kind of itch.

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