Over the past 12 months, the Rover crew roamed far and wide across the metropolitan area in search of the city’s crème de la crème arts offerings. Bearing in mind that subjective feelings and standards are part of the stock-in-trade of the critic, here are their selections for the best of what the city put forward in 2009. And don’t be shy to comment when you feel a grievous wrong has been committed against one of YOUR favourites.
Erica Ruth Kelly: It’s a toss-up between The Sputniks, a play I saw at the Wildside Festival, and The Improvised Shakespeare Company who played at Zoofest. They were both remarkable.
Tao Fei: Dark Matters by Crystal Pite/Kidd Pivot Agora de la danse, April 29-May 9.
Mélanie Grondin: My favourite play this year was Le Mariage de Figaro at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. I’ll admit that it’s a classic and that this choice may seem safe, but the play truly stayed with me, much more than any other play this year. The decision to use Mozart’s music throughout the play was brilliant and whenever I hear arias from Le Nozze Di Figaro, I think of the play and I want to see it again.
Anna Fuerstenberg: There was Souvenir, the musical which kicked off Stephan Petroantonio’s New Wave Festival of Musicals. Haunted was nearly perfect. The whole Motel Suite by Tableau D’hôte Theatre, with emphasis on Problem Child brilliantly directed by Liz Valdez, was ambitious and addictive. Finally, the Haunted Hillbilly was terrific: Faust meets Nashville and Mephistopheles. I was delighted by the play readings at both Tableau D’hôte and Infinitheatre, a sure sign that the theatre community is growing up.
Marvin Allen: The best thing I reviewed was easily The Beatles: Rock Band. It came out in September, and I’m still playing it. Do you know why? Because they keep releasing new albums for it, every month since it came out. I downloaded Abbey Road in October, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in November, and a few days ago their Rubber Soul album came out, and it’s fantastic. Whether you’re a Beatles fan or not, this is a great music experience. It’s like an interactive music history lesson that anyone can get into.
Sarah Fletcher: The Objectified film documentary. Gary Hustwit’s documentary brings a new perspective to the manufactured objects of our everyday existence. You will never look at your toothbrush the same way again.
Andrew Hlavacek: Xavier Dolan’s J’ai tué ma mère is probably the best and most significant.
D.W. Lee: Black Dahlia Murder’s album Deflorate. It’s everything a metal album should be: complex and progressive, yet short, to the point and heavy as fuck. Their performance at Metropolis showed that the music is far from being the result of the studio trickery so prevalent in metal these days; this band destroys it live as well.
Sarah Fletcher: Dalai Lama at the Bell Centre. The Dalai Lama spoke about compassion before an audience of 14,000 at the Bell Centre. Inspiring words from a humble monk.
Photo: Le Mariage de Figaro