Each month we round up the most noteworthy live theatre playing in Toronto.
Belleville / Berkeley Street Theatre / April 10 - May 4 / $22-$49
After a galvanizing evening courtesy of The Company Theatre some years back, I made a promise to myself to check out each and every play they take on. Their bold and in-your-face presentations are some of the city's most memorable contemporary productions: A Whistle in the Dark, Festen, Through the Leaves, The Test, Speaking in Tongues. Their newest, Amy Herzog's Belleville, features Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) in a parable about the entitlement of a generation struggling under the weight of its own potential. Let's hope Canadian Stage renews their partnership with Company or that another theatre offers them residency soon.
Independent Creators Cooperative / The Theatre Centre / April 17 - May 18 / $23
In a unique and inspired banding together, a group of theatre makers have struck a partnership called Independent Creators Cooperative, which allows them to present three exciting works in rep at The Theatre Centre's new home. Business As Usual (Viktor Lukawski, Adam Paolozza, Nicolas Di Gaetano) interrogates the practices of big business in the wake of the crash which shook its very foundations. Theatre Smith-Gilmour collaborators present a bouffon-inspired revisioning of the deaths of Ophelia and Desdemona in Death Married My Daughter. And Ralph + Lina is a reinvention of the modern melodrama about an Italian couple struggling to stay together during WWII.
Beatrice & Virgil / Factory Theatre / April 17 - May 11 / $30-$45
The follow up to his widely celebrated, Booker Award-winning novel Life of Pi, Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil is adapted for the stage by Lindsay Cochrane in a collaboration between Factory Theatre and Canada's National Arts Centre. A visit to a taxidermist inspires a journey through the complex story of a donkey and a howler monkey only reached and understood through art, imagination, and the little facts that help sketch the full picture. Given that an adaptation of the visually-stunning Pi was only possible with the most advanced big-screen technology, it will be special to see the celebrated author's work in a smaller, more intimate setting.
Trudeau and the FLQ / Young Centre / April 3 - May 10 / $25-$55
Even if history isn't your bag, you can't go wrong with a VideoCab production, the best in theatrical Canadian history mashups. And given that his son Justin is attempting to position himself as the golden boy of Canadian politics, the pop portrait of Pierre Trudeau seems particularly fitting at this present moment. Detailing a very dynamic period in Michael Hollingsworth's History of the Village of Small Huts, 1963-1970, this particular segment documents Quebec separatist violence, the rise of our most colourful and controversial leader, and the backdrop of the energetic Sixties.
The Gigli Concert / Soulpepper / April 2 - May 16 / $29-$74
The premise of Tom Murphy's The Gigli Concert is anything but straightforward -- a well-connected and potentially dangerous Irish contractor enlists the help of "Dynamatologist" doctor JPW King on a quest to help him sing like Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. As their seven-day exploration into potentially untapped musical talent unfolds, both men come out of the process with new outlooks on their place in the world. The production is directed by Nancy Palk and features Stuart Hughes, Diego Matamoros, and Irene Poole.
Soliciting Temptation / Tarragon Theatre / April 9 - May 4 / $27-$53
Governor General's Award-wining playwright Erin Shields (If We Were Birds) explores sex tourism in her newest play, Soliciting Temptation. In a sweaty hotel room, a traveling business man meets a young woman for discreet sex. It's in this space, where expectations shift and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred, that sex wades into dangerous and often surprising territory. The production is directed by Andrea Donaldson and features Derek Boyes and Miriam Fernandes.
Photo of The Gigli Concert
by Keith Bennie via blogTO