Caught a Wednesday matinee workshop of Diane Flacks 's new show Bear With Me , based on her book about first-time motherhood with her partner, Janice. It was a novel experience, not just because the material was taking its first onstage baby steps, but also because the audience was mostly mothers and their children, all under three years of age.
"We could call it a mommy matinee," offered Camilla Holland , currently on maternity leave from her position as general manager of Volcano , who was there with her three-month-old daughter, Rebecca.
From sleep deprivation to the worried-Jewish-mother-gene, from mood swings to weight gain and pregnancy belches and farts, Flacks covered the territory with charm and humour. Who before now has pinned the erratic grazing of a pregnant woman on the baby-to-be's ordering room service?
There's material in the show that some men won't relate to, but maybe that's just the difference between the sexes. Most of the show is both entertaining and emotionally true, right on the money according to the knowing laughs of the moms in the audience.
Flacks has awfully good concentration, too, and the frequent vocalizings of younger viewers never threw her off. Bear With Me, a Nightwood Theatre workshop presented in association with Buddies and directed by Kelly Thornton , is off to a healthy start.
Applications are now available for the 18th Fringe Festival , set to open July 5. As always, local, national and international performers - over 120 groups participate - get all of their box-office revenues.
Companies can apply for 60- and 90-minute, KidsVenue and Bring Your Own Venue slots. The first two slots offer seven performances in a fully equipped venue, while KidsVenue productions can have up to eight and BYOV up to 11 performances.
The application fee is $660 for all but the KidsVenue shows, which is $588.50.
Deadline for applications is January 31. Ontario, national, international and KidsVenue groups are selected soon after by lottery. For more information, call 416-966-1062 or e-mail email@example.com .
An intimate production of August Strindberg 's Miss Julie holds promise - at first. We're in the room where the action takes place, are even offered beer by a character during intermission. Viewers should be caught up in the passion of this piece, in which the upper-class Miss Julie makes a play for the valet Jean but is instead mastered by him.
The Studio BLR show at Siesta Nouveaux , however, captures little of the intensity of the script. There's almost no fire in either Charlynne Robertson 's Julie or James Young 's Jean, or any sense of the social gap between them.
Most importantly, the sexual conflict is missing, especially at such close range. Since neither actor believably inhabits the shifting, nuanced emotions of his or her character, there are no stakes in the games they play.
Ironically, there's more depth early in the play in director Lynne Rafter 's performance as the servant Kristine, the other woman in Jean's life.
See Continuing Theatre Listings for details.
You rarely get to see Irish writer Brendan Behan 's The Hostage , yet it's a landmark of 50s theatre. The recent Ryerson Theatre School production, directed by Eda Holmes , captures much of the work's humour and irony.
Set in a rooming house that doubles as a brothel - Joanne Dente 's set is nicely grubby - it deals with the kidnapping of a British soldier by IRA forces; they plan to kill him in reprisal if an IRA soldier is executed by the British.
What's striking about the show is its music-hall staging, in which characters regularly break into traditional songs, sometimes with satiric political lyrics. Holmes adds a narrating character ( Chelsea O'Connor ) to help today's audiences sort out the many characters (straight and gay) and the causes they espouse.
There's some striking work by the graduating students, especially Maya Boyd-Navazo as the sharp-edged, pro-IRA Meg, who runs the establishment with her partner ( Nils Hognestad ); the very funny Monika Schneider as the sometimes religious, sometimes tarty, crucifix-carrying Miss Gilchrist, who works for the St. Vincent de Paul Society but isn't above lifting her skirts for some action; and Brian Rieper as Leslie, the optimistic British hostage. But it's Janick Herbert 's convent-raised Teresa, the establishment's kind-hearted maid-of-all-work, who makes the biggest impression with a glowing, vivacious performance.