Reviewed by Paula Citron
Against the Grain Theatre
Music by Giacomo Puccini
English translation by Joel Ivany (adapted from Grist and Pinkerton)
Musical direction/piano accompaniment by Christopher Mokrzewski
Starring Laura Albino, Adam Luther, Justin Welsh, Lindsay Sutherland Bola, Stephen Heeds, Keith Lam and Gregory Finney
Jun. 2 to 5, 2011
Unfortunately, the performances of La Bohème are over, but pay attention to Against the Grain Theatre’s next production. If you love opera, you’ll want to be there.
The company is the brainchild of opera director Joel Ivany. His idea is what he calls “rebel opera”, which means non-traditional settings. Ivany did his own clever and amusing English adaptation, peppered with references to Toronto where the Bohemians now live.
The Tranzac Club is a well-known watering hole in town. The dance floor was the stage area, but the actual bar was the stand-in for Café Momus.
The performance used some talented young singers who sang and acted with gusto. Musical director Christopher Mokrzewski provided the dramatic piano accompaniment. There was a real buzz in the place.
Here’s a warning, though. Next time Ivany has got to build up the stage area with risers. Being on the flat made it difficult to see past the front tables. The first time, we forgive, but not the next.