Category: Shows

La Bohème: Starving Artists, Paris and Love.

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Dimitri Pittas as Rodolfo and Grazia Doronzio as Mimì. Photo: Michael Cooper

So, you’ve visited the ballet. You love musical theatre, and you’ve been to the symphony (Yes, the Pop series counts) at least once. Congratulations, you’re ready to go to the next logical step: The Opera.

Lucky for you, one of the world’s most popular operas is in town at the Four Seasons Centre until October 30th…La Bohème!

La Bohème is funny, easy to understand and relatively short for an opera (only 2 hours and 10 minutes with one intermission). It is sung in Italian with the amazing use of SURTITLES. (More about that later.)

So what’s it all about? Rodolfo and Marcello are starving artists (the original hipsters, as my friend put it) living in a garret in Paris. Rodolfo meets Mimì and is enthralled. Romance ensues.  Marcello is busy dealing with the heartbreak from his on and off again dramatic lover, Musetta. What follows is a lively tale of  life, love and illness  in 19th century Paris with an ultimately tragic ending.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because it’s what the popular musical and movie, RENT is based on. It’s my favourite musical, and I had great fun comparing the characters in my head.

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Christian Van Horn as Colline, Joshua Hopkins as Marcello, Joyce El-Khoury as Musetta in a scene from La Bohème. Photo: Michael Cooper

I really enjoyed this opera! Yes, it’s sung in Italian but it’s translated for you with the handy use of Surtitles above the stage. Surtitles are translations of the operas sung or spoken dialogue that are displayed on a screen above the stage while the performance is going on. They were originally developed by the Canadian Opera Company and are now used around the world. Go Canada!

Every single line of this opera is sung, and it’s pretty funny to hear mundane lines such as, “I’m cold,” being sung in Italian in a dramatic fashion.

The second act was my favourite! It was hilarious and involved Musetta flashing her ankles in a very scandalous fashion. She wear a beautiful bustle dress.

I also loved seeing peeks of everyday 19th century life in Paris. We get to see a Christmas street scene with vendors and children. It’s very fun! The supporting cast did a fantastic job as well. As a whole, the opera had a larger cast than I expected it to.

The main cast includes:

Mimì: Grazia Doronzio / Joyce El-Khoury
Musetta: Joyce El-Khoury / Simone Osborne
Rodolfo:  Dimitri Pittas/Michael Fabiano/Eric Margiore
Marcello: Joshua Hopkins / Phillip Addis

Put on your fancy dress, grab your best friend or boy and go and see this opera. Tickets are selling fast and it’s only in town until the end of the month!

La Bohème runs from Oct. 3rd- Oct. 30th at the Four Season Centre in Toronto.

Mysteriously Yours: Uptown Abby

Uptown Abbey

Lord Upton (the Earl of Duke)
is running out of time… and money.

And, with no male heir, his American wife, Abbey, is desperately trying to marry off their daughters.

Things go from bad to worse when a body is discovered.

Whodunit?!

Was it one of the daughters? Lord or Lady Upton? The Dowager Countess? or… maybe the Butler did it!

Come and join the fun, and see if Lieutenant Carumbo can solve the case before everything is turned Upside Downton, in this classic Drawing Room Mystery!
A hilarious spoof of the popular British TV Drama.

I’ve always wanted to try a mystery dinner theatre, but just never got around to it. I was thrilled to be able to experience the new show at Mysteriously Yours, Uptown Abby.

In my head, I thought that a mystery theater would happen all around me, and that my dining partner may or may not end up dead between the first and second course.

I was only partially wrong. Although the room had a stage, it wasn’t used. Instead, the actors interacted with the audience and the performance took place all around us. Some people did end up dead…but they weren’t surprise actors acting as guests.

It was surprisingly lively and entertaining. It was especially hilarious, because my boyfriend unwittingly became the love interest of a main character. I’m laughing just thinking about it.

As someone whose never seen Dowton Abbey, I didn’t feel like I was missing out from any jokes. The cast was amazing- in particular, the Butler (actors name) was fantastic! And cute. 😉

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The food was also delicious! Above is daily soup, Stout Braised Beef, Chocolate Brownie and the Pulled Pork on crostini (Chef’s amuse-bouche).

I had a really fun night, go and check it out! Shows play every Friday and Saturday.

Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre
2026 Yonge Street, Toronto ON M4S 1Z9

 

Gemma Correll at the Magic Pony

 

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I had no idea that Gemma Correll was going to be at the Magic Pony until I glanced at my Twitter feed. I’m so glad I was able to go to the opening of her illustration show!

Gemma is a British illustrator that draws adorable comics about her outfits, cats, and pug dogs. She is very talented, and also very nice! I was lucky to meet her and have her sign a book for me. Gemma has illustrations on display and has created some fun merchandise that’s for sale. She’s also done adorable drawings on the walls with marker.

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The  Mr. Pickles Fan Club, is at the Magic Pony until May. 11th. Don’t miss out to see her cute drawings in the flesh!

The Magic Pony, 680 Queen St W, Toronto, ON

Amaluna Review

I recently went to see Amaluna, the 32nd Cirque du Soleil production. I had never been to Cirque before, so I wanted to wait until there was a theme that really appealed to me. This was it! The large blue and yellow Cirque tents are at the Portlands. You can pay $20 for parking down the road, or you can park directly in front of the tents for free! (well, we did, and many others, and it seemed okay);

We were seated in the second row from the top, and I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to see. However, once I got to my seat I knew there was nothing to worry about. The layout is perfect and you can get a great view from almost any angle. We were also able to move down a few rows into empty seats!

Before the show started, members of the cast wandered throughout the crowd and teased the front row members by stealing their popcorn and doing other funny stunts. It was fun, because you got to see the costumes up close!

So what’s the show about?

“Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon.

Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honours femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next.

In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony.”

I found the show mesmerizing. I had no idea what to expect, and when the show opened with a musical number, I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I realized that there was a full orchestra and that all of the music was being played/sang live. Wow! That cast was talented.  I found the story to be very loose. The show seemed more about the performances than the plot, and that was fine with me. I was fascinated with the water bowl pool. We saw some beautiful acrobats, aerialists and tight rope walkers.

The three performances that held me spellbound were as follows. One character very slowly managed to balance a large number of long bamboo sticks on her hand using her feet while rotating slowly. The only music was the sound of her steady breathing.

Another was the passionately charged trapeze couple in grey. Their dance was amazing and the heavy rock music fit perfectly.

Finally, the juggler captivated me by moving so fluidly. He made the balls he was juggling seem like part of him, and it was so much fun to watch.

The only part of this show that I did not like was the comic relief. These two french clowns would come out while the set was changing and do a little skit/love story thing and I just wasn’t feeling it. I think I found it a bit jarring to be immersed in the mood and set that the show created, and then suddenly pulled out of it.

That being said, you really should buy tickets to this show! Amaluna is in town until November 4th.

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