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Showing posts from July, 2011

SummerWorks 2011: August 4th-14th

SummerWorks, Toronto's Indie Theatre and Arts Festivalis comng up soon, so watch this spot for reviews and interviews!

Mexican Jail Pic Gets 3 Emmy Noms!

Congratulations to Presumed Guilty for it's 3 Emmy nominations. Below is a reposing of my review as well as my interview with the directors at TIFF 2009.

It's hard to watch this documentary without shaking your head or wanting to raise your clenched fists in frustration at the Mexican "in-justice" system. It's almost like you are watching a satire, where the main characters have to navigate in a world of insane and absurd logic. Unfortunately, for Toñio, he is spending 20 years behind bars based on evidence provided by one witness. The other three witnesses that were never interviewed in his case all stated that they saw him at work during the time of the murder he was supposed to have committed. Given the fact that Toñio works in an open market, where he is highly visible, how could he have been accused of this crime? The answers will boggle your mind. In Mexico, since you are presumed guilty, you have to prove your innocence. The catch. If everyone presume…

Fringe Review: Disappointing Breaking News

Breaking News
by Brett Haynes
presented by Triangle Pi Productions from Toronto, ON
Director: Brett Haynes
Cast: Andy Trithardt, Darcie Young, Jordan Probst, Sarah Sherman, Zach Apostoleris, Kate Kudelka, Andrew Petker, Noa May Dorn, Rick Jongejan, Lindsay Francisco, Claire Burns, Patrick Foran, Greg Moar, Lucas James
Genre: Comedy
St. Vladimir's Theatre
30 Min.
Patron's Pick: Performance added Sunday, July 17 (416-966-1062 or for details)

DESCRIPTION: ‘Breaking News’ is an interactive, absurdist piece that follows the reactions to the 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles’, ‘The War of the Worlds.’ The piece, even though mainly fictitious, includes actual quotations, reactions, and recorded documentation of the aftermath to this famous broadcast.

My Rating: ** 2/5 Stars
My Review: I did not like this play. I know this is contrary to many people's point of view, but when there are actors on stage when you enter the theatre, I expect them to be in character. The…

Fringe Reviews: Gravely Russian

So, I had a chance to check out two more of the 9 companies that participated in my 5-Minute Fringe show. Did either one convince me that theirs was a "must see" show at the Toronto Fringe Festival? Have a read:

Gravestone Posse
by The Canadian Space Opera Company
presented by The Canadian Space Opera Company from Toronto, ON
Genre: Play, Comedy
Cast:Nike Abbott, Don Berns, Paul Koster, Jorge Moreira, Rhonda Riche, Jeff Santos, Tracy Shea-Porter, Dave Till, Scott Watkins, Cary West, Mallory Williams
Warning: Gunshots
CIUT Radio Station, Hart House
7 Hart House Circle (U of T Campus)
Map Room
60 min.
Sun, July 17 8:00PM (final performance)

DESCRIPTION: The creators of the 2008 Fringe hit “Casa De Los Fantasmas” (**** - EYE) return with another chilling radio drama! Tired of the endless bloodshed, James “Blasting” Pitt, deadliest gunman in the Wild West, wants to settle down with a wife, family, and Sears Roebuck catalog. Little does James know his victims have returned from…

Fringe Review: Go F#$% Yourself, Nikki and Terry (You Know What I Mean)

Go F#$% Yourself (You Know What We Mean)
by Ted Hollister’s Cow (Terry Clement & Nikki Payne)
presented by Ted Hollister’s Cow from Toronto, ON
Director: Terry Clement and Nikki Payne
Cast: Terry Clement, Nikki Payne
Genre: Comedy, Sketch
Warning: Strobe Light, Fog Machine, Gunshots, Nudity, Sexual Content, Graphic Violence, Mature Language, Audience Participation

DESCRIPTION: Nikki Payne and Terry Clement join forces to present an experimental comedy sketch show under the name of “Ted Hollister’s Cow”. Songs, sketches, stand-up and other forms of comedy starting with the letter “s” will be thrown at the audience in an attempt to make them laugh. “Go F#$% Yourself” is not a show for children OR serious adults.

Rating: ****½ 4½ /5 Stars
My Review:Go F#$% yourself, Nikki Payne! I say that with love because you entertained the crap out of me, and I say that with utter condemnation because you have ruined, absolutely ruined, one of my favourite songs! Damn you, for ma…

Fringe Festival: Halaal or Haraam?

Heading off to a show, so no time to write reviews at this point, but I did put my ratings. My thoughts will have to wait for a another day. Happy Fringing.

by Alexander Carson & Nick Martin
presented by Le Carsonage from Toronto, ON
Director: Ben Carson
Genre: Play, Comedy
Warning: Mature Language
Factory Studio Theatre
55 min.
Sat, July 16 7:00 PM

DESCRIPTION: John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, and Peter Falk. Three friends in Manhattan in 1960. Three impresarios in their own right. It’s raining and it’s dark out. In an adventurous game, each take turns trying their hand at love and courtship. When the game’s over, and the booze is finished, what happens next? A play about love, life, friendship, and baseball.
Rating: **** 4/5 Stars (Picture of Peter Falk borrowed from wikipedia; Boyfriends didn't have a website)

Get Happy
by Nicholas Power, Alisha Ruiss and Company
presented by Public Gesture Productions from Toronto, ON

Fringe Reviews...I Love You, Jonathan Kline

They weren’t part of my 5-Minute Fringe special, but I managed to squeeze some other plays into my schedule.

The Editor
by Jonathan Kline
presented by Brain Box Theatre from Toronto, ON
Warning: Sexual Content, Mature Language

DESCRIPTION: The Editor: A Love Story is not to be missed! Well, it’s not exactly a love story, per se. It’s more of a philosophical story with romantic elements. Never mind. Let’s just call it “The Editor”. No subtitle. It’s by the winner of the 2010 Toronto Fringe’s 24-hour playwriting contest. So at least the writing’s good. Um. Maybe...clear? Clearer than this. Ugh.

Rating: **** 4/5 Stars
Condidering that I saw a truncated version of this play, it was surprisingly accomplished. The leads were not available to perform the show that day, so an former U of T Drama student and a bio-ethicist and model, stepped into the roles with only two days preparation. Great selections! I had forgotten they weren't the original actors until the new lead…

Finally...Fringe Reviews

So, I’ve finally had the chance to see a couple of the plays mentioned during my 5-Minute Fringe show on July 2nd and here are my thoughts and ratings:

Finally An Epic Cycle
Rating: **** 4/5 Stars
You’ve heard the phrase, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Thank you, Finally for sticking to a simple story that is well told and well acted. Everyone shines in this ensemble because they are all equally talented. Convincingly playing Gen, the confounded ex-girlfriend who is trying to win her ex-boyfriend (Michael Rode) back with Leaf tickets is the fresh and lovable Sarah Cody. Gen’s sardonic, comic-book nerd roommate, Will, is charmingly played by Luke Marty. There are scene stealing characters like the robot jock girl (Cassie Muise), and a Quebecois bounty hunter/bike messenger (je t’adore, Derek Perks), but considering that these cast members also play other roles with the same competence demonstrates that good casting and acting is not anathema to the Fringe. Good on ya, guys! You won’t be di…

Are They Trying to Seduce You?

Hey, TmTm listeners. Here is a list of the titles, show times of the 9 Fringe companies that dropped by CIUT's second floor studio to convince you to go see their shows. Who succeeded, who didn't get you to fall for their sweet words? Only their box office takes will know for sure;-) All tickets are an affordable $10. For complete information on How to Fringe, please visit the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival website at

Excuse Me, Would You Like to Buy a Bar?by Wesley J. Colford
(search our title on Facebook)
presented by Don’t Panic Productions from Toronto, ON
Director: Marc Richard
Genre: Comedy, Drama

Outside of time, six people are trapped in an absurd cycle of broken dreams and regret. Their only hope: one boy on a mission to sell the most chocolate bars and be the best. A play that challenges the intentions and methods of teachers and paren…