August 10, 2019

TOROS hits all the right notes

Mamma Mia review by Toros alumnus Alisha Fournier.

When I was 16 years old, Marty Southcott told me to stand straight, hold my head high, and said if I were to hit a wrong note then “I’d better hit it loud and proud”. Make your mistakes loud she would say. And then we would fix them together. The Southcott’s personified what it meant to be community and their legacy lives on in this year’s TOROS production of Mamma Mia.

Stepping back into the Capitol Centre to see a Toros play for the first time in nearly a decade felt like coming home. It took all my strength not to jump on stage to join in the first number. I’m sure those sitting next to me can attest to that!

I moved to Toronto 13 years ago, and I’ve seen plays in Toronto’s entertainment district, plays by travelling theatre companies, and nothing has yet to compare to the enthusiasm, heart and joy that Theatre Outreach Onstage exudes.

From beginning to end, the cast of Mamma Mia were full of contagious energy, hitting all the right notes.

Emma Webster doesn’t shine as Donne - and that is perfect. For a 17-year-old, she sure pulled out an aura of an exhausted 30-something single mother who ‘works all night and works all day.’ She was raw and driven. Her rendition of “The Winner Takes It All,” left me with goosebumps.

Maya Cesarano and Megan Collins’ hilarious antics as Tanya and Rosie left me laughing and excited for more. Cesarano had me convinced she was 40, and honestly, I wanted to hang out with her and hear more stories about her (previously), wealthy ex-husbands. Both of Tanya and Rosie’s numbers were highlights of the show and I couldn’t have been happier to get lost in their world.

After my mad dash to the washrooms at intermission, (seriously, can the washrooms just be gender neutral by now? The ladies line up is ridiculous in comparison to the men.)  I heard someone enthusiastically call out my name. An old family friend whom I hadn’t seen since she was pregnant gave me a big hug.

“I’m not saying this as hyperbole,” I told her, “but your daughter is incredible. I think she’s better than Amanda Seyfriend in the movie.”

Yes, the old friend I ran into was none other than Maria Falconi's Mom, beaming proudly in the audience. And proud she should be. Maria captured the stage as Sophia. Her voice pure and sweet embodied the ethos of the show. When she sang “Thank you for the music,” I heard it in my heart.

And at its core, that’s what makes TOROS so special. The heart of each performance. The joy on the actors’ faces.

All three Dads had me in stitches, while the dancing in combination with the fantastic Abba harmonies left me and the audience wanting more. We didn’t need any encouragement from ‘Donna’ to get up and dance and sing during the curtain call.

TOROS’ rendition of Mamma Mia was more than just a musical that night - it felt like coming home. And what I know from the Southcotts, that’s what theatre is all about.

By Alisha Fournier

 

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