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Showing posts from July, 2012

FringeTO Faves

Guest, HeidyMo ( and I discuss some of our favourite Toronto Fringe Festival faves:

With the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival being unjuried, sometimes you will luck out and see great shows and sometimes you can bounce from a spectacular show to a bomb in the span of 60 minutes. When I go to the Fringe, I hope to see a mix of indie and professional passion. This year, from my perspective at least, there seemed to be a bumper crop of wonderful plays. Here are some o my avourite plays, not because they were technically excellent, as many were, but because they resonated with me.

Liza Paul and Bahia Watson, past artist-in-residence grads from d'bi young's anitafrika dub theatre) are the creators and stars of Pomme is French For Apple, a play that dares to share the honest truth about the vagina, sexuality and platonic and non-platonic relationships. One of my favourite scenes, is the one in which Liza (playing the teenage daughter) asks her Caribbean …

Ruba Nadda Makes World Premiere at TIFF 2012

Toronto International Film Festival had its official launch with this morning's Press Conference at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey shared equal time in announcing the first slate of Gala and Special Presentation films. I was thrilled to hear that two Canadian women, would have Galas at TIFF in September: Ruba Nadda and Deepa Mehta. This is indeed a rare occurrence and one that I thought would elicit a noisy response from  media and invited guests; however, I had to remind myself that it was early in the morning, and that not everyone had had their coffee, at least I'm hoping that was the reason...
I've been a supporter of Ruba Nadda since interviewing her for her romantic comedy, Sabah, starring Arsinee Khanjian, and her romantic drama, Cairo Time, starring Patricia Clarkson. A true independent filmmaker, Ruba makes films that appear very simple at first glance but which stay with you long after you have seen them; they envelope rather than shout…

James Quandt on TIFF/Cinematheque's "Summer in France"

I love chatting with James Quandt, Senior Programmer for TIFF/Cinematheque. Even when I admit personal gaffes like thinking Small Change (L'Argent de poche) is directed by Louis Malle instead of François Truffaut, he may pause, but he politely lets it go. Some brain glitch of mine continues to assign credit for the film to Malle, no matter how often I remind myself of the truth! You can hear my mistakes as well as James' very qualified observations of the films and directors featured in Summer in France program (July 13 - Sept. 2).

FringeTO Review: The Ballad of Herbie Cox

My Rating: 5/5
With over 100 shows in the Fringe Festival, it's impossible to see all of them, so when Roland Cox handed my his show postcard, I couldn't promise that I would see the show. Two things that Roland did, made me try and schedule the show, and I am glad I did because it didn't disappoint. Without any fanfare Roland told me (and gal pal, blogger Heidy Mo) that the woman in the postcard was his wife (Victoria Chiu) and that "Yes, she really is that beautiful."). He then proceeded to do  the leap (shown left) in the middle of Lennox Avenue in front of the crowd waiting to go into the Randolph Academy. 

The Ballad of Herbie Cox, is a highly personal story for Chiu and Cox, as it details both sides of their racially and culturally mixed families through  dance, puppetry, and recorded and live narration. From grandparents through to their present union, the couple continually share the stage with very brief pauses  for quick costume c…

These Fringe Shows Are Worth Your $10 Bucks!

There is only 4 more days of Fringing left so I wanted to make sure to let you know about these fabulous shows.

My Rating:4/5 Stars
Morgonn Ewen has created a likeable, foulmouthed Annabelle, a Southern prisoner who hoots and hollers to cover a world of hurt. Out on a 1-hour pass to entertain you, Annabelle shares her life stories through songs whose upbeat chords will have you smiling until you catch the lyrics and hear the tribulations--that's when you'll start laughing hard! Because Ewen can actually sing, the songs have the additional impact of being a mellifluous treat for the ears.

Tarragon Theatre (Extra Space)
July 13 01:45 PM
July 15 07:30 PM

My Rating:4/5 Stars
Texting and conversing in person are two forms of communicating, but Dina wants to remind us all that there is a time and a place for each form. Dina (Jenny Salisbury) encourages you to text during the show, but never while she is trying to s…

TO REVIEWS: Are These Plays Worth 10 Bucks?

YES!(I would see this again) I've had bad experiences at the Fringe with plays that were longer than the average 55-60 minute performance. More often than not, I leave the theatre angry, demanding the universe to give me my time back.  Happily, with The Dinner and Antigone, I am thanking the universe for granting them the extra time to tell their stories properly.
ANTIGONE My Rating: 5/5 If you have any reservations about seeing this play because you've heard a G-20 reference, then put those aside. Contrarily, if you are seeing this because you're expecting a G-20 remake of Sophocles' play, then you might be disappointed. In Soup Can Theatre's version of the classic play about a ruler more obsessed with his own power than the well-being of his family or subjects, the G-20 is an underlying metaphor that referenced in set (the Fence), contemporary clothing, and the occasional inclusion of modern English. Cydney Penner plays Antigone with the feisty conviction of today…

FringeTO REVIEW: Samkon & Francis Go Swimming

Samkon & Francis Go Swimming
My Rating:4/5 Stars Lawrence and Kobonga are a dynamic comic duo. The politically incorrect Francis is deftly played by Shawn Lawrence, who delivers Vladimir Jon Cubrt's off colour (pun intended!) remarks and know-it-all opinions with an ease that immediately establishes his character. Like Samkon, actor, Emmanuel Kobonga is Congolese (or as Francis puts it, "Congolian"). Kobonga's portrayal of a newcomer to Canada necessitates a certain level of ignorance of some things said by Francis. Cubrt script has endowed Samkon with enough English to sometimes outwit and contradict Francis, and Kobonga's expressive face brings an innocence and awareness that prevents the role of Samkon from sliding into buffoonery. Actress Birgitte Solem rounds out the trio, as the stressed housewife who comes home to find an unexpected delivery in her driveway. The show belongs to the men, but Solem provides a nice balance between the duo, and even manages…