There were lots of theatrical sweets from the Danish companies that visited Toronto for Harbourfront Centre's SuperDanish fest. Its storytelling was occasionally hard to follow, but Teater Rio Rose 's Ta' Ti' Ting had some wondrous moments of staging. Their other show, See Me , was a charming clown piece featuring Folmer Kristensen as a Chaplinesque figure
Folmer also appeared in Teatret V. Hans Rønne 's Ditto , a non-verbal piece that was sometime repetitious but included a splendid bit involving a blackboard-and-chalk meal.
Det Lille Turnéteater 's two-hander version of Hamlet , featuring Peter Holst and Morten Nielsen , worked best for those who already knew the story. The chemistry between the guys was fine, as was the involvement of double bass players Jesper Egelund Pedersen and Christian Glahn .
It was easy to follow the sometimes inspired staging and character shifts, but the text - part Shakespeare, part rewritten lines, part modern phrases - worked less well. By the end, we admired the company's cleverness rather than felt moved by the show.
The best production was Teatret Møllen 's Lennie And George , adapted from John Steinbeck 's Of Mice And Men. More sophisticated than the Hamlet, the show involved several levels of storytelling by the three actors - Klaus Andersen, Kurt Bremerstent and Anders Valentinus Dam - and an effective design by director Gitte Kath .
Too bad that the theatrical component of SuperDanish didn't include the amazing Nightwood Theatre production of Sonja Mills 's The Danish Play . It deserves another Toronto outing - it's already toured to Europe and Edmonton and opens next week at Ottawa's National Arts Centre - and should have been included in the Harbourfront Centre festival.
For two years Lisa Pijuan 's been cultivating works-in-progress through RED , an ongoing multidisciplinary series of live performances. Now she's expanding the event into the First Annual RED Festival (October 24-27), four days that offer over 50 pieces by cutting-edge artists. Curated by Pijuan, the event is presented by GirlCanCreate and the Lula Lounge . There's lots of great talent here, with new works by writer/performers Evalyn Parry and Anna Chatterton , puppeteers Mark Keetch and Noah Kenneally , playwrights Marjorie Chan and Jennifer Fawcett , musicians Aviva Chernick and Kevin Quain , clown Helen Donnelly , dancer/choreographer Lucy Rupert and monologist Chris Gibbs .
See listings, page 95, for details.
The stage at Ryerson Theatre was packed with performers and their creations for the graduating class's opening show, James Reaney 's The St. Nicholas Hotel . No wonder. The production of the middle part of Reaney's The Donnelly Trilogy, which closed last weekend, had 29 actors playing 83 characters.
Info about the Donnelly feud and history would have been useful in the program, but director Kelly McIntosh did a good job defining the various sides in the drama even if we couldn't immediately sort out who was who in the story. The stagecoach rides were pretty thrilling, and there was some fine acting as the story shifted from one narrative viewpoint to another.
Standouts in the large company included Sarah Dryden as the family matriarch, Justin Tilley as her son Will, Annie Grier as his first love, Maggie, Matthew Gorman as a young man who allies himself to the family and, as enemies of the Donnellys, Sophia Walker as the spiteful Mary Donovan and Nick Abraham as a merchant and would-be political bigwig.