Sweet romcom reunion – Joan Burrow’s play Gloria’s Guy @ FireWorks

fireworks-bannerGot out to Alumnae Theatre last night to see Joan Burrow’s play Gloria’s Guy, one of the three plays running in rep as part of the FireWorks program up in the studio space.

Directed by Anne Harper, Gloria’s Guy is a sweet romcom reunion of high school friends Peggy (Jennifer Monteith), Gloria (Anna Douglas), Eva (Erin Jones) and Leslie (Sangeeta Wylie), with the unexpected addition of Peggy’s mom Jessie – their former high school teacher – aka “Mrs. Mac” (Liz Best) and the surprise appearance of Gloria’s high school sweetheart Guy (Robert Meynell), who was a no-show on prom night.

It’s October in cottage country, where Guy has returned home after practising law in Los Angeles to work with his brother Jim at the family hotel/cabin, and the gals have come up for a wedding. Old wounds are opened up, secrets are revealed and the gang learns that you can never really go back again – only forward. Nice work from this ensemble cast. Best is hysterical as the nosy and meddling, but well-meaning, den mother of the gang; Douglas gives Gloria a lovely combination of vulnerable and pissed off; and Jones is outrageously funny as “Eva the Diva,” the wild girl of the group who has a secret of her own. Douglas and Meynell have good chemistry, rounding out the mixed feelings of former high school romance, painful moments and the awkward, but curiosity-filled, surprise reunion between Gloria and Guy.

Funny and warm, with its messy family and friends dynamics, Gloria’s Guy is a feel-good, tender romcom good time.

Gloria’s Guy has one more performance: Sat, Nov 30 at 2:30 p.m. Shirley Barrie’s Measure of the World has two more performances: tonight (Thurs, Nov 28) at 8:00 p.m. and Sat, Nov 30 at 8:00 p.m. Norman Yeung’s Theory plays on Fri, Nov 29 at 8:00 p.m. and Sun, Dec 1 at 2:30 p.m., with a noon roundtable about the play before the Sunday performance. All happening upstairs in the Alumnae Theatre Studio.

That’s it for me for FireWorks – I won’t be able to make it out to see Theory (by Norman Yeung, directed by Joanne Williams), but you can check out the post I wrote for Alumnae Theatre’s blog on the SummerWorks 2010 production. I hear the script has been tweaked somewhat, with the lead character now having a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend.

Panto-style comedy fun for all ages – Cabbagetown Theatre’s Cinderella…if the shoe fits!

So much fun this afternoon at the 1 p.m. matinée of Cabbagetown Theatre’s Cinderella…if the shoe fits!

Writer/director Kim Sprenger had a hand with the script from Liam Doherty, Stephen Flett and assistant director Basil Tamkei, as well as the cast; this is a show that was written with both adults and kids in mind, with plenty of laughs and fun for everyone. Cinderella features an amazingly funny and talented group of actors, including Cabbagetown Theatre veteran Wendy Akerboom (Fairy Godmother), Adriana Crivici (stepsister Willa), Michael Man (Prince Charming), Jennifer Monteith (Cinderella), Eunjung Nam (stepsister Nilla) and Tennille Read (Stepmama).

A small but appreciative audience came out for the second matinée of the day (they do 5 shows a day on Sat. & Sun.), braving the rain to join in the fun. And what big fun it was! Akerboom is hilarious as the saucy Scottish Fairy Godmother, opening the show reading Fifty Shades of Grey to herself (a little something for the grown-ups in the audience) – as this is a family show, she was reading silently – then asking the audience for a suitable family-friendly story to tell. Monteith is adorable as the BBQ-loving Cinderella, dreaming of being invited to a party as a guest one day, instead of as the hired help. Crivici is hysterically goofy as stepsister Willa, while Nam is a riot as the vacuous mean girl stepsister Nilla – and Read takes the mean hot mama role to a whole new level with her cougar on the prowl Stepmama, ginormous fake eyelashes, slinky dress and all. Man gives Prince Charming a sweet, dreamy gentlemanly quality, politely putting up with the step family’s shenanigans during his pursuit of the lovely, mysterious young woman he danced with at the ball.

The minimalist and colourful set, designed by Debbie Wong, evoked a fairytale world with its painted canvas backdrop and hanging printed fabric. And some really nice staging too, from the various styles of dance choreography employed during the ballroom scene to the slow motion action of the step family tossing Cinderella into the cellar when the Prince comes to call with the glass slipper. Engaging and inclusive, there’s audience participation – and you may be the one to catch Stepmama’s eye.

A nice modern adaptation of the story, with references to Facebook, Twitter and texting. And I loved the modern-day ending too – but you’ll have to go see that for yourself. It’s a happy finale for all, as the Fairy Godmother gets things going, inspiring an all-out dance party that segues into the curtain call – all to the music of Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest.” And you gotta love that.

You still have several chances to see Cinderella…if the shoe fits! Tomorrow (Sun, Sept 9), there are five matinée performances: noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. & 4 p.m. at the Necropolis Chapel (200 Winchester St., Toronto – across from Riverdale Farm). The show runs about 30 minutes and tickets are $5.   http://cabbagetowntheatre.com/

And, while you’re there, check out the vendors and exhibits at the festival. The Cabbagetown Festival, which also wraps up tomorrow.   http://www.cabbagetownfestival.org/

Just in case you missed these pics from the teaser post, here they are again:

Wendy Ackerboom as the Scottish Fairy Godmother
Jennifer Monteith as the BBQ-obsessed Cinderella
Eunjung Nam & Adriana Crivici as Willa & Nilla


Big wacky panto fun coming up with Cinderella…if the shoe fits! @ Cabbagetown Festival

Get ready for some big wacky fun with Cabbagetown Theatre’s panto production of Cinderella…if the shoe fits! at this year’s Cabbagetown Festival, opening Friday, September 7 at the Necropolis Chapel.

Here’s what the folks at Cabbagetown Theatre have to say about the production:

Join the adventures of a BBQ-obsessed Cinderella as she attempts to break a branch off the family tree and escape the torments of her nasty family. Fairy Godmother lends a helping hand to get Cinderella to the Prince’s Ball, where she must compete against her dance-challenged stepsisters and man-magnet Stepmama for the Prince’s affections. Will the shoe fit? Audiences will have to find out!!

Cinderella…if the shoe fits! is written and directed by Kim Sprenger, featuring the talents of returning favourite Wendy Akerboom as Fairy Godmother with Jennifer Monteith as Cinderella; Tennille Read as the cougar-iffic Stepmama; Adriana Crivici and Eun Jung Nam as the nasty stepsisters, Willa and Nilla; and Michael Man as the ever-so-charming Prince.

Cinderella…if the shoe fits! runs at the Necropolis Chapel (200 Winchester St., Toronto – across from Riverdale Farm) Fri, Sept 7 – Sun, Sept 9. Performances are: Fri, Sept 7 at 7:30  p.m., with shows at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. & 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The show runs 30 minutes and tickets are $5.   http://cabbagetowntheatre.com/

And, while you’re there, check out the vendors and exhibits at the festival. The Cabbagetown Festival runs Thurs, Sept 6 – Sun, Sept 9.   http://www.cabbagetownfestival.org/

Wendy Ackerboom as the Scottish Fairy Godmother
Jennifer Monteith as the BBQ-obsessed Cinderella
Eun Jung Nam & Adriana Crivici as Willa & Nilla











DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: In the post about TIFF, I incorrectly listed the opening as this past Sunday (which was actually the day single tickets went on sale). The festival opens today (Thurs, Sept 6). The error has been corrected in the original post.