Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preview: Hamlet

Socratic Theatre Collective presents
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Liz Bragg

Socratic Theatre Collective is proud to present its inaugural production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This gender‐bending production features a complete reversal of the original characters: all the originally male roles are now women, while the originally female roles are men. In exploring this concept, director Liz Bragg (founder and Artistic Director of Socratic Theatre Collective) is attempting to look at Hamlet in a different way. Her production asks the questions “What are the assumptions we have made about these characters? What changes when the genders change, and what stays the same?” Performing in the beautiful Hungarian Reformed Evangelical Church, the production creates a contemporary, yet timeless setting that brings the actors’ performances to the forefront. Bragg says, “Despite the gender reversal, we have tried to be very faithful to the text. Whether Hamlet is a man or a woman, the central themes remain the same. For us, this is a play about the moment between adolescence and adulthood, when taking responsibility seems like the most terrifying thing in the world.”

Click the header for ticket information.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WICKED reviews

The much loved musical Wicked has returned to the Canon Theatre for a third time. We've always really enjoyed the show. We wanted to share two great reviews from two leading theatre critics in the city, Richard Ouzounian and Martin Morrow. Morrow is seeing the show for the first time so it is interesting to hear his new perspective on the piece.

Toronto Star, Ouzounian

The Globe and Mail, Morrow

Click the respected titles above for reviews, and for tickets and info on Wicked click the header.

Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Directed by Joe Mantello
Starring Jackie Burns, Chandra Lee Schwartz, Richard H. Blake, Randy Danson and Gene Weygandt
At the Canon Theatre in Toronto
Playing until November 28th

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Move Forward - Interview with Marc Kimelman

This fall EAP has had the pleasure of getting to know dancer and choreographer Marc Kimelman. Although the circumstances of our meeting are the result of his ongoing battle with cancer, we are so happy that we have gotten to know him and are huge supporters of his benefit concert scheduled for this Monday, October 25th.

Toronto born Kimelman, was living in New York and was working hard to break into the professional dance world, when he was sideswiped by the news that he had Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He returned to Toronto to undergo treatment. While doing so he was inspired to host a benefit in support of artists living with cancer. Marc joined forces with the Actors' Fund of Canada and got tons of local talent on board to be part of this event. I Move Forward. In support of the event, which has sold out, we recently did an interview with Marc to learn more about what inspired him, how he is doing, and what is next up for him. If you are interested in contributing to Marc's fundraiser or if you want to find out how you can be a part of this event please click the header for more information. Although the benefit is sold out, I Move Forward has become so popular that there is a satellite event being hosted at the College Street Bar Monday night at 8:30. The after party is at the Foundation Room and is open to all. Please donate generously.

Q: Tell us a little about getting sick. How did you know you were sick?

I was in New York, and I had been there about six months. I was dancing and teaching a lot. And in hindsight I guess there were indicators that something was wrong. I was feeling very tired and I would do combinations that were not very long but I would get winded. But you just kind of keep going, thinking it will pass... Then one day I woke up and my whole abdomen was rock hard. And, it is funny, but I thought, man I am really getting into good shape. I went to rehearsal that day and felt terrible. When I got home I slept for like five hours. In the middle of the day. That was when I knew something was definitely up. Actors and dancers have such an awareness of their bodies. I knew something was up but I just wanted it to go away. So, I waited two days to see if if would pass and it didn't. When I got to the hospital in New York, the doctor put his hand on my stomach and his face when white. I had a Cat-Scan, and then they told me a few days later that I had cancer. They wouldn't let me go home to Toronto, because my blood levels were all weird. So there were insurance issues, but within a day I was able to come home and two weeks later I started treatment here. It was a very scary time. At first they didn't even know what type of non- Hodgkin's I had, there are many strains, some which are curable and some not. Thankfully mine was. But it took ten days of testing to determine that it was curable.

Q: How did you get through? And what has the process been to get to where you are now, which is cancer free?

Family, and my support system has been huge. It is one day at a time and I never thought ahead.
You just endure it. You know, you have no choice. I became fascinated by the medical field. These people have been working their whole lives to help me survive. Having not had them I would not be here anymore. Because of these medicines I get to live again, healthily. You know now I am cancer free. And it has been a five month process, which is so fast. It felt like hell. I mean you wake up every morning and it hits you. This isn't a cough or cold it isn't going to be gone tomorrow. But when I think back it was not a very long time. I was really sick and now I feel better. I got so lucky. I met a lot of people who have to do chemo for years. Half way through my treatment I could tell the cancer was gone. I was still feeling the effects of chemo but I didn't feel like I had cancer anymore. That is also when they do a CAT scan to find out, they want it to be 50 percent gone, and I was 90 percent, which is already considered remission. Anything over 75 percent they call remission. And hopefully in my case this is it, and it wont come back. Now I will have quarterly blood tests. But I know it isn't coming back. It just wont...

Q: What is (are) the difference(s) in the way you feel about your body now versus how you felt before?

I instantly felt more human. I felt deeply rooted to my body and everyone around me. It was such a heightened sense of awareness. That was new. I definitely have a better sense of self and groundedness. And I lost twenty pounds. And my new weight is better, for what I do, I can move around actually better now. I definitely have a deeper understanding of my body. Through tai chi and yoga, finding the breath and all that...

Q: Are tai chi and yoga things you have integrated into your life now or have yo always done them?

I had tried tai chi before, but with all the time on my hands during treatment, and I needed to be physical. To not dance was a huge challenge for me. So I started doing yoga for cancer, which totally wiped me out. So I reconnected with tai chi. And my dance now is so tai chi inspired. My stuff, (choreography) always changes based on where I am at, but right now, having spent so much time just doing tai chi, it is very interesting how it has influenced my work and telling stories. And I have been teaching it to dancers, who have been having a really hard time with it. Because dancers are used to moving fast, and doing kicks and turns. tai chi is so slow and controlled it is very important for dance. The movements are small.

Q: What changes have you seen in yourself and your life now?

A different sense of fragility. Feeling mortal. Before I felt invincible, I was going to take the world by storm. Having fun and feeling passionate. I am thirty, why would I have been thinking about anything other than that? And then bam, you're human. I know now that I will die some day. But I am so happy to be in this place with this awareness. Actually, we have a video which closes the show, and last night I was watching it, and I thought, "wow did this even happen," it feels far away already. Which is a good thing, but it has changed my perspective entirely. I am so much more grateful now. I have always tried to be mindful, and stay in the moment. Not to stress about the past or the future, it has been an ongoing struggle. You have to make an effort to be conscious of staying in the moment. My relationships with people and the planet has been heightened, I am making more of an effort to empathise and be compassionate.

Q: What inspired I Move Forward?

The event is the result of my experiences of meeting other cancer patients. I was getting quite sad in the hospital, pretty traumatizing sad. Not because of my situation, but from meeting my fellow patients and hearing their heartbreaking stories. Being at chemo all day and hearing this girl who has to wait tables all night till one in the morning. And the very next day I had chemo next to this man, who had to drive to Newmarket to work on a farm all day, doing hard labour, to support his two boys in school. You can't get better that way, having to delay treatment, and getting sick. One woman I knew died of a heart attack... because you don't know what the drugs are doing to your body. I myself, almost immediately took on the body of a ninety year old man. I really felt like these people needed to go home and rest, but they had to worry about fiances. Luckily we have free health care in Canada, but beyond that, many people don't have enough support to survive... They don't have the basics, rent and food etc... so that was really what got to me. I realized many of the people who were dealing with what I was dealing with were not blessed the way I was. And I wanted to do something for them. Especially the arts community since that is my community.

Q: So how have rehearsals been for you, are you in rehearsals now?

Yes we are, but not all together. There are eleven vocalists and eleven choreographers, and I passed the vocalists along to my Musical Director, Wayne Gwillim, and I have been going to all the dance rehearsals... The pieces were up to the choreographers, how they wanted to do them. So there is a lot of variety. "Let it Be" for example is one twelve year old girl dancing her ass off... And there are tap numbers, and I am doing a trio. I choreographed the number. It is a mash up of "What a Wonderful World" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow." and Thom Allison is singing.

Q: And how are you feeling in rehearsal, health wise?

Great, I go to rehearsal whenever I want. It has been so much fun. And the show is amazing. I am so excited. And it sold out, which is great. I want to feel like I have made an impact. The experience of watching my family, and knowing what I put them through. Not intentionally but, you know. I want other people to have some of that sense of relief that I had, when I got the call that I was cancer free.

Q: For those that don't have tickets how can they still be involved if they want to be?

Well, there is the satellite event which is at the College Street Bar, and all of the proceeds from that are also going towards the Actors' Fund. And we are still accepting donations from anyone and everyone. If people want to make donations they can go to the website. and click on the sponsorship link. From there they can follow the instructions for making donations. Anything helps.

Please support Marc and the Actors' Fund. Cancer touches everyone of us at some point, and artists, who often struggle with financial security, are sometimes hardest hit but the financial burden of illness. Please join us in helping Marc move forward.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Out and About - Toronto Theatre

Wednesday night was a big night out for EAP this week. We had plans to attend the Canadian Council for the Arts reception at the Four Seasons Centre and then go home early. But our good friend Sharron Matthews let us know, via Facebook, that THE Julia Murney was in town performing at Roy Thomson Hall as part of the TSO's pop series. If you aren't familiar with Ms. Murney, you need to watch this, she's amazing!

Anyway we are getting ahead of ourselves. The Canadian Council reception was wonderful. The was a very good turn out of local arts persons. Several Board members, including the charismatic Vice-Chair Mr. Simon Brault spoke about the current goals of the Council, and outlined their strategic plan for the next five years. Mr. Brault who is also the author of the recently published, No Culture, No Future talked a lot about the importance of utilizing the Council's arts contacts more effectively and embracing new technology, hence the strategic plan for the next five years is called Strengthening Connections. We actually took some audio recordings of Mr. Brault and others during the event, and are going to try and get a few highlights up here on the blog, when we figure out how to do that.

After the reception we made our way down to Roy Thomson Hall to get $20.00 rush tickets for Broadway Divas. What an inspired program. Broadway Divas was presented as part of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's pop series, and was conducted by the legendary Steven Reineke. Reineke is best known for his work with The New York Pops, and is considered the foremost pop conductor today. He performs annually at Carnegie Hall and throughout North America.

We knew we were in for an amazing night of music when the orchestra opened with the overture from Gypsy, perhaps one of the most incredible overtures ever written. And it only got better from there. Ms. Murney was joined in concert by another Broadway veteran, Jennifer Laura Thompson. Ms. Thompson is perhaps best known for originating the role of Hope Cladwell in Urinetown, for which she received a Tony nomination. But vocally Ms. Murney really stole the show. Her rendition of the Kander and Ebb classic Ring Them Bells was almost as good as Liza's, (Minnelli that is, not me.)

We knew we'd love Ms. Murney but it was a surprise to discover that the real star of the program was Mr. Reineke, who developed and conducted the program. The pop series is a great way for the TSO to reach out beyond the Symphonic crowd, and Broadway Divas was a fantastic night of music. Let's hope that Mr. Reineke will make a stop in Toronto a regular thing. Thanks again to Sharron for alerting us to the show. We are glad we didn't miss this once in a lifetime chance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PREVIEW: A Raisin in the Sun

Opening this week at Soulpepper is another classic tale. A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry, tells the story of a three generation black family's experiences living in the South Side of Chicago sometime between WWII and the 1950s. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first play with a black director (Lloyd Richards) on Broadway. The Original Broadway cast even included Sidney Poitier!

A Raisin in the Sun
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Featuring Awaovieyi Agie, Barbara Barnes-Hopkins, Dion Johnstone, Matthew Kabwe, Abena Malika, Diego Matamoros, Charles Officer, Kofi Payton, Alison Sealy-Smith, Bahia Watson

The Young Centre for the Performing Arts
The Distillery District
October 19th - November 13th

For more information and to purchase tickets click the header or click here!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

REVIEW: Priscilla, Queen of the Spectacle

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: the musical
is brash, bright, and ballsy. Pun definitely intended. From the first notes She (Priscilla) comes at you full throttle with her disco pulse, reigning supreme as the queen of extravaganza musicals.

All the components are there, a great cast, stunning costumes, and a kick ass soundtrack. If you were looking for a quiet, contemplative night at the theatre you'd better look elsewhere. But good luck trying to pull your eyes away from the bright lights and good times at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

You are in for some surprise too. As with any great story there is more to Priscilla than meets the eye, or ear, as the case may be. And this production holds up to the original film. Audiences are definitely in for one wild and heart-warming ride.

The cast, fronted by Broadway veteran Will Swenson, Priscilla legend Tony Sheldon and up-and-comer Nick Adams sizzle together onstage. The trio have great chemistry, and the ensemble sound and look amazing onstage. Swenson's Tick/Mitzi sets the perfect tone for the shows more challenging and heavier themes. While, Mr. Sheldon, who originated the role of Bernadette in the Australian production, is a clear star. Surprisingly, Priscilla will mark his Broadway debut and we'd bet he gets nominated for a Tony. Nick Adams, (pictured above) as the young, bratty but lovable, Felicia holds his own, but lacks some of the nuance and depth of character that Swenson and Sheldon bring. Perhaps it is a case of life imitating art and vise-versa. Felicia is a naive and tender young man, full of piss and vinegar, and still learning. Like his character, Mr. Adams seems a little under developed in the role. His inconsistency with the accent was problematic, but if he's anything like Felicia, Adams will continue to rise to the challenge. It is a big opportunity for him and he is a joy to watch.

As we mentioned the costumes are a real highlight of this show. With over 300 different pieces, the sheer volume of colour, size and boldness will overwhelm the senses. Considering the large cast and the choreography the costumes only add to the sheer magnitude of the production. They help to emphasis the concept of space, which is so vital to the original film. How to convey the immensity of the Australian outback onstage is a considerable challenge. But the costumes, in all their grandness lend themselves to thinking about this show and Its larger than life attitude.

And then there is the bus. Priscilla herself. This show would be impossible to produce without one, and the use of a rotating platform and mechinised door allowed for scenes both inside and outside of the bus, creating very effective divisions of space. Of course there is an outrageous quality to putting a bus on a stage but it is essential to the telling of the story and if you can't make Priscilla a spectacle perhaps it shouldn't be made at all. Big musicals definitely have a place in the current climate of successful musical theatre and Priscilla is the grande dame of them all.

For those who fear that Priscilla may be playing to a niche audience or that it will seem shallow rest assured there is a lot that goes deeper to this show. Some of the criticism of the stage production has centred around a perceived sanitization of the original film's grit and ugliness. But we'd argue that there is still a lot of tension lingering under all the gloss and glitter. The characters still face social, sexual and gender identity issues with tenacity and diva fierceness.

The message in Priscilla is about self-discovery and the constant journey that is life. And who's to say that should not be set to disco music? Priscilla is running in Toronto for 12 weeks! We highly recommend this one. It's a real crowd pleaser!

For tickets or more info click here!

LM and JH

Monday, October 18, 2010

DANCAP announces line-up

Last week Dancap announced its line-up for their up-coming season. All shows are being put on at either, the Four Seasons Centre or The Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts. I think most exciting is the Tony Award winning musical Memphis and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal.
We are very happy to see Dancap still healthily competing with Mirvish in the big musical department. It just would have been nice to have some of these shows in our city and on our stages for longer runs. You can't always get what you want though and the joy of seeing these shows outweighs any disappointments.
For tickets and more info on Dancap click the header or click here!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Les ballet C de la B - Out of Context - For Pina

Out of Context -For Pina, Alain Platel's latest piece for Les ballet C de la B, opened last night at the Harbourfront Centre. What began when nine dancers walked unassumingly onstage and began to strip, was followed by eighty five minutes without pause; and was greeted by an enthusiastic ovation from the breathless crowd at Its close.

Out of Context feels more like contemporary performance art than most modern dance. The use of dissident sounds as the soundtrack is certainly not new for contemporary dance, but vocal contributions from the dancers might be. Singing, or vocalizing in general, are usually a terrifying prospect for a dancer, but in this case, the cast of Out of Context seem to enjoy their diva moments. And even hammed them up a bit much to the audience's amusement.

There were some very funny moments in Out of Context but it was the sort of humor that is born out of familiarity and recognition. It was an exploration of animalism and innocence. Case in point, was the section of the piece where dancers made baby-like faces while an actual toddler looked on smiling. Young children have such a humanising affect on adults and that connection grounded the piece and made it joyous for the audience. But it was not all light and frothy. Out of Context is very demanding of the dancers and showcased incredible strength, precision, fluidity and timing.

The timing was especially important and difficult since much of the sound was recorded, and as mentioned, rarely approached anything melodic. Initially it was hard to know what to make of the farm noises, dancers breathing and muffled static. Contemporary dance is often criticized for being unappealing to a general audience for its seeming ambiguity and vagueness, but Out of Context avoided that by being refreshingly cohesive and captivating. At Its core the piece reflected a kind of innocence and primitivism, both aggressive and nubile. The choreography did at times veer too heavily toward the spastic but overall Out of Context - For Pina was wholly engrossing and beautiful.

Out of Context - For Pina runs until Saturday at the Fleck Dance Theatre at the Harbourfront Centre. Click the header for ticket information.


Opening this week at the Princess of Wales Theatre is the highly anticipated and much talked about PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL. On the eve of opening night the vibe around PRISCILLA was really buzzing as it was announced that the one and only Bette Midler was joining the production team of the show!
EAP is getting the opportunity through a dear friend in the arts to see the show tonight! We will be reviewing the show and it should be up on the blog in a few days.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, PRISCILLA tells the outrageous and, yet at the same time, moving tale of three friends who to have been booked to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert. They head west from Sydney aboard their flamboyant bus, Priscilla and thus the story begins.

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL had its world premiere in Sydney in 2006. It traveled in the sub continent and received much critical praise in Melbourne and New Zealand, becoming the most successful Australian musical of all time. The London production is now in its second smash hit year in the West End at the Palace Theatre. Beyond Toronto and Broadway, further international dates are also in discussion for productions in Brazil, Scandinavia and Germany.

At the Princess of Wales Theatre
300 King Street West

For tickets or more info on the show click the header or click here!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Preview: Death of a Salesman

The iconic masterpiece Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller is opening this weekend at Soulpepper. Company founders Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk play Willy and Linda Loman in this homage to those disappointed by the promise of the American Dream.

Death of a Salesman
Directed by Albert Schultz
October 16th - November 13th
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
55 Mill Street, The Distillery District

For more information or to buy tickets please click the header or click here.

Billy Twinkle Extended

It was announced last week that Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy, Ronnie Burkett's masterpiece, has been extended until October 31st, at Factory Theatre. EAP was fortunate to see Billy Twinkle last Friday. We loved the show. Mr. Burkett is clearly not only a master puppeteer but also a compelling actor and comedian. The two-hour, one-man performance was funny, thoughtful and highly entertaining.

The show follows Billy Twinkle as he grows up in Saskatchewan, develops his puppetry, and settles into a "showbiz gig," as a cruise ship performer. When we meet Billy, he is dissatisfied, and has lost his love of puppets. While contemplating ending it all, Billy is visited by the puppet ghost of his most influential teacher, Sid Diamond. Sid and Billy re-tract their relationship, and Billy's life, to great humor and aplomb.

We are thrilled to hear that the show has received overwhelming critical and popular acclaim and we highly recommend that if you haven't seen Billy Twinkle you hurry over to Factory Theatre before the run ends. Click the header to ticket information, or to learn more about upcoming shows at Factory.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preview: IMPRINTS: the ancestry project

IMPRINTS is a new work that focuses on the role the past plays in determining behaviour and self-identification. It will examine the functions of genealogy, genetics and storytelling in shaping the individual. We follow the fantastical journey of a woman who, through extraordinary circumstances, finds herself inhabiting the experiences of her long dead forebears.

About the company: Gargantua is artist driven and works as a creative ensemble, producing groundbreaking projects in two-year cycles. Seasons therefore consist of the creation, development and performance of new work as well as the remounting of past productions for regional, national and/or international touring. Artistic collaboration has no boundaries for Gargantua. Gargantua is a company that believes in the creative potential within artists and are committed to the continuous exploration of their talents. Gargantuan artists animate, sing, light, design, write, compose, move, draw, film, dance, perform, play, transform – it is a collective creation. The result of this multidisciplinary creation is an ever-evolving, increasingly informed, proudly provocative style all their own.


Tuesday October 12 – 8:00pm*
Friday October 15 – 8:00pm
Saturday October 16 – 8:00pm
* Special performance includes a post show discussion with the creators. Great night for University and College students.

Imprints will be performed @ The Theatre Centre
(1087 QUEEN ST W, Toronto)

FOr more info or to buy tickets, CLICK HERE!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soul Sink - Review

In many ways it is more difficult to write a bad review that a good one. But in the case of Birdland Theatre's SoulSeek it is also unavoidable. The show, on now at the Walmer Centre until October 23, is painful to watch. SoulSeek, seems promising with Its focus on the themes of love, death and grief, but trying to cipher through the overblown language, bad acting, and bizarre staging means all of the potential meaning is lost.

Vita (Zorana Kidd) is in a coma, following an attempted suicide, brought on by her husband's death. But rather than the peaceful slumber of the near dead, Vita is being dragged around the underworld by her guide Morpheus (Andre Sills.) She is searching in vain for Terry, her husband. Terry, (David Ferry) is perhaps the only interesting thing about SoulSeek. Mr Ferry, of Blasted fame, appears onstage in video form in several sequences, but is never physically in the show. It can not be a good sign when the only compelling scenes involve an actor who isn't actually in the play.

Andre Sills as Morpheus is fun to watch. He has great energy, but his constant fumbling over lines makes it difficult to form a strong attachment to his character. Not that he can be solely blamed. His lines are so overbearing that even the most accomplished classical actor would have trouble with them. As for Ms. Kidd, watching her is akin to arriving at the party already in full swing. Vita's ramblings are so disconnected and bizarre you can only wonder if you missed the acid hits they must have handed out at the door. I often found myself wondering if it was just me who wasn't getting it, but the more I watched the more I realized SoulSeek isn't a metaphor It's a mess.

There are some redeeming things about SoulSeek. The use of video is very effective and works well. And Camellia Koo's set is visually interesting, particularly the hanging crosses on the back wall. Unfortunately it is not a religious story, so again, the set leaves you confused. Ultimately, SoulSeek should leave you feeling cathartic about love and loss, but instead makes you wish you too were in a coma. At least then, you might have been spared. We hate to deter theatre goers from seeing shows, but given how many great productions we have seen this fall, we'd say SoulSeek is one to miss.

Ticket information is available by clicking the header.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Birdland Theatre, the 6 time Dora award winning producers of Assassins, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and The Pillowman, is thrilled to announce the world première of a show like no other!

SoulSeek is a bold and surreal new work about the journey of one woman’s soul and the search for the meaning of love in a place she never expected to find herself. A sweeping account of the challenges we face in a world where our digital traces are saved for eternity, it is a refreshingly multidimensional and funny account of finding the true nature of our memories. Combining electronic, base driven music with video and theatre, SoulSeek is a multimedia tale about a woman bent on reinventing her own destiny - and possibly the world.*

Directed by: Stefan Dzeparoski
Starring: Andre Sills, Zorana Kydd, David Ferry and Janet Porter

The Walmer Centre Theatre, 188 Lowther Ave.
October 7 - 23, 2010
Monday – Saturday 8 PM
Click the header for more information about tickets and Birdland Theatre.
*courtesy of Birdland Theatre

Billy Twinkle - Preview

Billy Twinkle is a middle-aged cruise ship puppeteer who dazzles audiences with his Stars in Miniature marionette night club act. His saucy burlesque stripper Rusty Knockers titillates the tourists, octogenarian Murray Spiegelmann invokes sidesplitting laughter with the inflatable balloon in his pants, Bumblebear juggles and roller-skates and steals the hearts of every audience, and Biddy Bantam Brewster brings a bit of highbrow hilarity to the high seas with her drunken aria. Billy is the best in the business and on top of the world as he floats along through life.

Until he is fired by the cruiseline. Standing at the edge of the ship contemplating a watery demise, Billy is abruptly called back to reality when his dead mentor Sid Diamond appears as a hand puppet. Sid literally will not leave his side, and forces Billy to re-enact his life as a puppet show in order to remember and rekindle the passion Billy once had for puppets, people and the dream of a life that sparkles.

For anyone stuck in the middle — mid-career, mid-love, mid-life — caught between our own past and future, this requiem for a golden boy shines a little light on the wonder of youth meeting the wisdom of age with a kick in the pants to finish what we started.

courtesy Citadel:

Billy Twinkle had been getting very strong reviews, and EAP is looking forward to seeing it on Friday. On at the Factory Theatre until October 24th, we have a feeling you don't want to miss Billy Twinkle. Click the header for ticket information.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

World Stage 2010-11 Opener!

Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2010-11 is kicking off it's season next week with the renowned artist Alain Platel, artistic director of les ballets C de la B (Ghent, BE), and the Toronto premiere of Out of Context – for Pina.

This new work which debuted in Brussels in January of this year has since toured Europe and Asia to strong reviews and is now taking to the stage at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre. EAP will be there next week and we are very thrilled to be invited. As many of you know Liza went to school for dance so the addition of regular Dance previews is exciting for EAP!!!

World Stage and the Harbourfront Centre declare that; "The foremost dance company in Belgium, les ballets C de la B and Platel have been at the forefront of leading edge dance and dance-theatre for over 20 years. As a choreographer and director, Platel employs a language of movement connected to the unconscious. Through a cast of virtuoso dancers he explores the tension between a wide range of uncontrolled movements and the traditional building blocks of choreography, such as the simultaneous execution of actions in Out of Context – for Pina.

As the title suggests, Out of Context – for Pina is dedicated to the late modern dance legend Pina Bausch, whose vast body of work has not only heavily influenced Platel and les ballets C de la B, but the work of innumerable international artists across genres. The piece is both a reflection on Bausch and a consideration of ritual. Platel also draws inspiration from his past role as a special needs instructor working with children afflicted with various disabilities. It was there he discovered the unexpected beauty of the misshapen that frames so much of his work. Platel and les ballets C de la B last dazzled Toronto audiences with Foi and La Tristessa Complice"(The Harbourfront Centre, World Stage Press Release).

We are really excited about the show and the photos are really interesting so make sure to check this out if you are into Dance!

Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2010-11
Out of Context – for Pina
Alain Platel/les ballets C de la B
October 13-16, 8 p.m.
Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West, 3rd Floor Queens Quay Terminal
Tickets: $15-$49
Box Office: 416-973-4000,
Complete information about performance times and tickets is available through the Harbourfront Centre box office by phone at 416-973-4000, or online at
(photos courtesy of Chris Van der Burght)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter

When a mysterious millionaire writes her a letter calling her the most beautiful girl in the city and vowing to marry her, Julia is outraged. Though they are strangers, Fernando is determined that his betrothed love him and is undeterred by her protestations. They marry, but when accusations of infidelity arise, both Julia and Fernando have to parse through the facts in an attempt to separate reality and fantasy. This bold metaphysical fable is an investigation of the nature of love, power, desire and reality.

On now at CanStage!

Sep 18 - Oct 16, 2010 bluma.

Click the header for ticket information.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sharron Matthews Cabaret

We urge you to check out our girl Sharron Matthews at the Global Cabaret Series which is on at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts. As many of you know we gush about 'our girl' Sharron all the time so it only makes sense to scream at you to go see her today!
She has had a well deserved, very successful year so we are thrilled that she is taking to the Cabaret Stage again. SM just performed her New York cabaret debut at the Legendary Joe's Pub in July and raised 30,000 $$$ to take on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August for her World Domination Tour.

Concert tickets are available for purchase online until 2 hours before start time. After that time, tickets can be ordered by phone at 416.866.8666 or in person at the Young Centre box office.

Sharron Matthews

Saturday October 2nd @ 7pm
Sunday October 3rd @ 3:15pm

For more info CLICK HERE!!!

Preview: The Clockmaker

EAP has been hearing great things about Tarragon's 40th season opener, Stephen Massicotte’s latest work, The Clockmaker. The Globe and Mail, The Star and Now Weekly have all had good things to say about it and we wanted to take a moment and give you the information regarding the show.

The show is about a humble clockmaker who is besotted by a married woman who brings a shattered cuckoo clock into his shop. As he unravels the mystery of how the clock came to be destroyed, their relationship deepens and he vows to make her the most splendid clock the world has ever seen (Tarragon Theatre press release).

It sounds pretty interesting and according to many people who have seen it, what makes it so affecting is how thought provoking the piece proves to be.

Written by Stephen Massicotte. Directed by Bob White.
Featuring Claire Calnan, Christian Goutsis.
Presented by Tarragon Theatre. To Oct. 24.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8pm, $37-44; Saturday and Sunday matinees, 2:30pm, $37. Students $22, seniors $32-$37; Friday and Sunday rush seats, $10.
Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827.

Review: Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings

Last night EAP saw Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings and both of us had mixed reviews of it. The 80-minute show is set around two friends Ali Ababwa (Marcus Youssef) and Ali Hakim (Guillermo Verdecchia) who are staging a show called Yo Mama, Osbama, or How I Stopped Worrying and Came to Love the Half-Black President. It starts off pretty funny with a really cute two part opening about the 2008 U.S. elections, when the "hopes and dreams of America" were allegedly about to change with the news of Obama's win. There are some chuckles in the first fifteen minutes, especially with the addition and support of their "yellow" assistant Hong Kong, played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.

However, the show begins its steady decline into mediocrity when RCMP Constable Dhaliwal (Anita Majumdar) enters and accuses the two of funding and thereby, supporting the Agrabanian People’s Front, which Canada views as a terrorist organization. She begins hearings almost immediately upon entering, demanding the audience act as witnesses. If convicted Ali and Ali face deportation, but not to their native Agraba, a fictitious war torn country, but to hostile Azerbaijanistan, also not real. We both thought it would have been more compelling to use actual places. If this is meant as a political satire that is supposed to make you feel something, which it clearly is, they should have hit harder.

The tone also does not sit well. It ranges from absurd to sentimental and it feels contrived and shallow. This time around Ali and Ali needed to go deeper into the political dichotomy of the west and bang out some serious satirical social criticisms. Being predictable with their jokes, staging and following popular cliches is no way to be progressive in a genre that thrives on being witty and cutting.

Be that as it may, the audience was definitely laughing and we were too. Ali and Ali are very charismatic. And they are also talented ad-libbers. When things went a bit array during one of their puppet scenes they had everyone in snitches including some of the other actors. The Obama/America bits were by far the strongest of the show. Somehow the more serious plot-line regarding Canadian Government actions didn't connect. Also the sub-plot of Constable Dhaliwal's familial troubles was under developed and ultimately went no where.

In some ways we almost wished that instead of Ali and Ali the Deportation Hearings we could have seen Yo Mama Osbama, the fictitious plot line introduced at the outset.

Ali and Ali... runs until October 17. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8pm, Sundays, 2:30pm. $15-$32. Sunday matinees, PWYC.
Factory Studio Theatre, 125 Bathurst.