This Week in Theatre: Best of The Fringe, Backbeat, Caribbean Dreams, Altar Boyz, Macbeth
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.
Best of the Fringe Theatre Festival / Toronto Centre for the Arts / 7:00pm/9:00pm / $16.50
Hosted at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, The Best of Fringe is a second chance to see some of the most acclaimed shows from this year's festival. Shows are selected by a panel of independent producers who consider box office takings and media response. This year features Help Yourself, Mahmoud, pomme is french for apple, Rare, The Shape of Things, The Taming of the Shrew, The Wakowski Brothers, and With Love and A Major Organ.
Backbeat / Mirvish - Royal Alex / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $40-$100+
Yet another musical featuring the tunes of the most popular band ever, The Beatles. Backbeat explores the early details of the band's formation at the docks of Liverpool. Before Ringo there was Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe. Later referred to as "the fifth Beatle," Sutcliffe's departure from the band and from his best friend John Lennon for a girl named Astrid Kirchherr is the stuff of music legend. Kudos to Mirvish who reminds patrons that, "Rock 'n' roll will be played at a volume appropriate to this music (It ain't chamber music.)"
Caribbean Dream / Annex Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $15-$25
Shakespeare meets Caribana in an adaptation from Marvin Trini Ishmael of the Bard's most famous comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Set at Keele and Finch during Toronto's annual festival, this production of the Dream is sure to have an infusion of spectacular costumes, music, and dance. The production runs for one week only at the Annex Theatre.
Altar Boyz / Lower Ossington Theatre / 7:30pm/4:00pm / $45
In the musical comedy Altar Boyz, a pure and holy group of small-town guys perform Christian-themed songs for screaming young teens. A send up of the boy band phenomenon, which has seen a late resurgence with One Direction, Alter Boyz satirizes the strange middle ground between being a wholesome American Christian and a sexualized pop star.
Macbeth / Humber River - Casa Loma / 7:00pm / PWYC
It's hard to believe that the Humber River Shakespeare Company is now in its fifth season. The company first presented Twelfth Night in communities along the Humber River in 2008. I caught their 2010 production of The Taming of the Shrew on the beautiful Old Mill grounds — it was cleverly done. They've chosen to present Macbeth this season. The Scottish play with the title-hungry lead lends itself to a wooded setting, albeit one with a stormier backdrop.