by Lynn on May 7, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer


Sometimes I’ll post shorter reviews, such as now under the umbrella of “Shorts”. The following two reviews of Oraltorio, A Theatrical Mixtape and The Other are part of The Riser Project at the Theatre Centre that gives technical support and mentoring to the next generation of theatre artists. Great idea.

Oraltorio, A Theatrical Mixtape

At the Theatre Centre, Toronto, Ont.

Written and performed by Motion
Directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa
Music and sound by DJ L’Oqenz
Set and props by Jackie Chau
Costumes by Mariuxi Zambrano
Lighting by Andre du Toit
Choreography by Roger C. Jeffrey
Videos Designer, Ramon Charles.

The wondrous Motion tells in rap, hip hop and popping poetry black history from slavery to fist in the air, emphasising Black Lives Matter always. Motion is constantly in motion emoting emotion and passion, her words are pointed and crisp in the microphone, no mic-drop here. The whole show is a “BOOM.”

Aiding and abetting, laid-back and cool is DJ L’Oqenz, who is eloquent in turning the turntables, creating sound that pulses and pricks the air, underscoring the poetry that pricks the brain and heart.

Mumbi Tindyebwa directs with the ebb and flow of liquid, never jarring, always enhancing.

Oraltorio, A Theatrical Mixtape is compelling, throbbing and pulsating with life.

On until May 12, 2016.

The Other

At the Theatre Centre

Written by Matt MacKenzie
Directed, Designed,Choreographed and performed by Monica Dottor
Sound by Lyon Smith.
Cast: Monica Dottor
Lara Ebata
Natalie Fullerton
Alida Nyquist-Schultz
Holly Treddenick

Sharon and Claude are having an affair. He’s married. She pines for him. He makes her believe he will leave his wife for her. Sharon knows the wife. This makes things tricky. Sharon knows she’s the other woman. She feels at sea in most situations. Her family immigrated from India to Canada which certainly didn’t help her feeling ‘other’, distanced from a sense of being comfortable and belonging.

Her claim to fame is that she makes fantastic pickles, the recipe of which she got from her Bubbie. She brings a jar to dinner parties. People count on those pickles but always leave the last one in the jar because they are too embarrassed to eat it Sharon takes the jar with the last pickle home and throws it away. A perfect waste of a good pickle, if you ask me. But I digress.

The gifted Monica Dottor directs, choreographs and designed this whimsical production as well as leads the ensemble. She has a sense of impish whimsy that is dazzling. There is humour every time she reaches up and holds the picture of her Claude (the cad), mustachioed and smug smile next to her cheek and bats the miniature doll representing Claude’s wife out of the way. There are dances with red heart cushions, red balloons and bungee cords attached to the ankles. She delves through every feeling of heart-ache in always evocative dance pieces with her ensemble of dancers, using the music of mournful love songs (“Love Hurts”, “All By Myself”, I’m too heartsick to name others, but you get the point.)

If there is a quibble it’s that while Matt MacKenzie has a quirky sense of humour regarding Sharon and her cad Claude, the writing seems laboured and too obvious to be funny after a time. As I said, it’s a quibble. The Other is a dandy show.

On until May 14, 2016.

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