Outdoor winter theatre proves, once again, to be a fab idea (seriously!)

Published on: December 21, 2015

Filled Under: Featured, Reviews, Uncategorized

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Common Boots Theatre’s winter productions at the Evergreen Brickworks have become my favourite annual holiday tradition, and is the unofficial start to my holiday season! The production, its setting, and the sweetness of the story told, feels cozy and intimate – almost as though you have discovered the ideal wintery Toronto secret.

The weather – whether balmy, frigid or seasonably undecided – always helps to make this experience one of the most fun in the Toronto theatre scene. It is a chance to bundle up (or in the case of this opening night, dress appropriately for 14 degrees C.) and put those Canada Goose jackets to work. This is an evening tailored to, and perfect for, families – but could also earn some seriously impressive bonus points for a creative holiday-season date night. It’s got something for everyone!

The story of Tails from the City, written by Marjorie Chan, begins with 6 year old Billie (played by the adorable Eponine Lee) who is having a hard time getting into the happy-go-lucky Christmas spirit. After refusing to take part in a Christmas concert, Billie becomes enthralled with a family of pesky raccoons having a feast in the trash cans outside of her window. As we follow her dream-like escape into the night with the raccoons, we see her explore the other side of our city only known to the four-legged creatures with whom we share it.

Tails from the City is sweet and simple; perfect for all ages of theatre goers. The costumes are amazing – and combined with the impressive mimicry of the furry characters – it is easy to be transported into the nighttime world of our urban critters. The five person company is surprisingly small given the number of critters and supporting ‘biped‘ characters in this production. Michael Rinaldi is funny as always, and the yuppie couple (Courtenay StevensLucy Hill) were so entertaining that they surely inspired the audience with a new vocabulary of slang.  The interaction between Billie and her dad is lovely – and in true Common Boots fashion, the story wraps up with heart-warming sweetness.

Common Boots raised the bar with their 2013 production Weather the Weather, and although not perfect, Tails from the City does a commendable job following in its footsteps. Overall, a great night out, and an excellent addition to anyone’s holiday season.

Tails from the City is on now until December 30th at the Evergreen Brickworks (550 Bayview Ave. There’s a free shuttle that departs from Broadview subway station). For tix click here.

Photo: Eponine Lee and Kate Walker. Photo by Neil Silcox.

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