This Week in Theatre: Luminato Festival, The Loyalists, Odysseo, Lost in Yonkers, Much Ado About Nothing
This week in theatre rounds up the most noteworthy live theatre playing right now in Toronto. It includes just-opened shows as well as productions that are about to close.
Luminato Festival / Various locations / Various times / $49-$100+
Robert Wilson. Philip Glass. Robert Lepage. Some of the most influential theatre artists of our generation converge on Toronto for the sixth annual Luminato festival. The theatre offerings this year are incredibly strong. Presented for the first time in North America outside of New York City, the Wilson and Glass collaboration Einstein on the Beach is an unequivocal theatrical triumph. It's exciting to see a new production of this landmark work. Quebec theatre artists are also a feature. Michel Lemieux, Victor Pilon and their Montreal based company stage a retelling of Beauty and the Beast starring Diane D'Aquila, and Robert Lepage brings his latest achievement, Playing Cards 1: SPADES, to this year's festival.
The Loyalists / Victoria Memorial Park / 7:00pm/ 9:00pm / $25
With its newest show The Loyalists, a re-creation of 1813 Toronto under American occupation, Single Thread Theatre continues its commitment to presenting high-quality performances in found space. The company has been busy at work creating the town of York in anticipation of its audience citizenry. Spectators can wander into stores, follow chosen characters, and even find employment. This promises to be a unique theatrical experiment to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Those who purchase tickets start out at Bar Wellington (520 Wellington St. West).
Odysseo / White Big Top - 429 Lakeshore Blvd East / 8:00pm/ 2:00pm / $50-$100+
I haven't camped out under the White Big Top to sneak a peek at some of the horses that feature as part of Odysseo, but I hear the equine spectacle is astounding. With this show, Cavalia has (over Cirque) the world's largest touring big top, the biggest stage, and a great number of horses. All of these combine in a two hour dream under the big top. While I think I'd rather the Handspring puppets of War Horse, you sometimes can't beat the real thing.
Lost in Yonkers / Jane Mallett Theatre / 8:00pm/ 2:00pm / $42-$80
Happy Days star Marion Ross stars in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. Simon's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play is a coming-of-age story in which two boys are sent to stay with their grandmother and their aunt Bella in, you guessed it, Yonkers, New York. Ross plays the curmudgeonly old grandmother who teaches the kids a thing or two about life. Neil Simon can feel pretty hollow if the elements don't come together. Let's hope director Jim Warren expertly balances the comedy with some of the more poignant moments.
The Lawyer Show: Much Ado About Nothing / Berkeley Street Theatre / 8:00pm/ 2:00pm / $55
The barristers are back for their annual Shakespearian production. This year, Much Ado About Nothing is the comedy of choice. The actors playing Beatrice and Benedict will surely use their courtroom skills for the verbal sparring that defines the mature couple at the centre of this devilish romp. Billed as the legal event of the summer, the play features some 35 lawyers trading the bar for the Bard. This year's play is directed by Christine Brubaker, Michelle Alexander, and Kelly Thornton.
Photo from The Loyalists by Shauna Jean Doherty