The 24th annual Rhubarb! theatre fest at Buddies offered some tasty works organized by fest director Kelly Thornton and assistant Erika Hennebury.
Among the tart offerings were Alex Poch-Goldin's Cringeworthy, with David Jansen as a fascinating, finger-chewing villain; Julian Doucet's Infoline, Bonjour, a scary and funny slice o' life drawn from actual phone calls; and Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine, an Edward Gorey-style alphabet fable by and with Anna Chatterton and Evalyn Parry.
Other highlights were R.M. Vaughan's Dead Teenagers, with Caroline Gillis giving another mesmerizing performance, and Greg MacArthur's Snowman, a quartet of eerie Far North stories brought to life by Veronika Hurnik, Phillipa Domville, Eric Goulem and Michel Protti.
breast in show
Toronto performers kick off International Women's Week with Mamm-O-Rama!, a benefit for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation presented by the Women's Committee of Actors' Equity. Mag Ruffman (Anything I Can Do) and Elizabeth Baird (Mamma Mia! musical director) host entertainment by Marcia Johnson, Catherine McNally, Barbara Gordon, Camille James,the B-Girlz and others. Monday (March 4), Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). 416-504-7529.
Two powerful but très different Montreal dance programs stormed the Premiere Dance Theatre on consecutive weekends. Full of restless, self-conscious tics and poses, Louise Bédard and Sylvain Emard's Te souvient-il? (February 15-16) took a hypnotic look at memory. Bédard and Emard made you aware of the air sculpted around movement, while Pierre Bruneau's set, a series of panels painted with phosphorescent pigments, absorbed the dancers' shadows, creating a ghostly effect full of unspoken thoughts and desires.
Last week's performance by Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal was at the other extreme -- raucous, sexy and cool. Crystal Pite and Dominique Dumais prepared two tasty appetizers leading up to Trey McIntyre's Blue Until June, a soulful main course of solos, duets and ensembles choreographed to Etta James tunes and beautifully danced by the charismatic troupe, who blended all the thematic threads masterfully. A retro 60s feel suffused this piece, as well as Mia Michaels's Fosse-esque No Strings Attached, a playful and oh-so-hip look at sex and relationships.