This Week in Theatre: Alligator Pie, Once, Heaven Above, Heaven Below, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
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.
Alligator Pie / Soulpepper Theatre / Various Times / $23
An adaptation of the poems of Dennis Lee, Alligator Pie is an energetic and family-focused performance from collective creators Ins Choi, Raquel Duffy, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest and Mike Ross. Of the 20 odd poems lively dramatized with music and props, some soar with creative energy, while others need a bit more time in the oven. But it's the cleverness of the presentation - an earnest approach to the material - that makes this an adaptation with a lot of potential. Check out our full review.
Once / Mirvish - Royal Alexandra Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $35-$100+
Its remarkable success in 2007, taking home the Academy-Award for Best Original Song, ensured the stage adaptation of Once wasn't too far behind. After winning eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical, the stage version has proven to be just as popular with audiences and critics as was the film. An ensemble of performers, who simultaneously act and play their own instruments, chronicle the romance between a Dublin street musician and the woman who takes an interest in his songs.
Heaven Above, Heaven Below / Theatre Passe Muraille / 7:30pm/2:00pm / $15-$28
Theatre Passe Muraille is revisiting old stories this season. The recent Moss Park was a sequel to George F. Walker's 1993 Tough! and it's followed up by Linda Griffith's Heaven Above, Heaven Below, itself a sequel to her moving 1991 play The Darling Family. 20 years later, two old flames run into each other at the wedding of a mutual friend and rehash the good times.
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea / 442A Dufferin / 8:00pm / $15-$20
Aaron Willis directs John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, a deeply affecting drama about how love can set us back on the right path. In a dive bar in the Bronx, Danny and Roberta get to talking over their drinks - he's a truck driver prone to violent outbursts and she's a divorced mother haunted by a sexual assault in the past. Their coming together creates a personal change, inspired by the possibility of a new start for them both.
Old Age Ain't for Sissies / Tarragon Theatre / 8:00pm/2:30pm / $20-$25
As research for his newest play, Chalmers Award winner Rex Deverell interviewed over 150 seniors across the GTA to compile the challenges and triumphs of older age. The research has inspired Old Age Ain't for Sissies, a forum theatre project featuring older actors with an array of backgrounds and experiences. To avoid characters falling into despair, the company's facilitators will invite audience intervention to reach productive and innovative conclusions.
Photo of Alligator Pie by Cylla von Tiedemann