totem toronto

This Week in Theatre: TOTEM, Exit the King, Dreams Really Do Come True!, Church Girl, The Winter's Tale

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.

TOTEM / Grand Chapiteau at the Port Lands / 4pm/8pm / $65+

The world's premier circus troupe, Cirque du Soleil, returns to Toronto with TOTEM, an ambitious presentation that traces the evolution of humankind from amphibian state to its desire to explore the skies. The show captivates with unbelievable acrobatic feats and dazzles with incredible visuals from the first moment an acrobat drops from the rigging. Take a look at my full review of TOTEM for a first look at the show. The price is steep, but this show is worth it.

Exit the King / Young Centre for the Performing Arts / 7:30pm / $28 - $65

There's something rotten in this Kingdom. The horrible news just keeps on coming for a 400-year old King on the throne of an already struggling country. Soulpepper offers up another absurdist Eugène Ionesco play with Exit the King. Albert Schultz directs a witty new translation from Australian actor Geoffrey Rush. Oliver Dennis stars as the title character making an exit. Look for Dennis to delight in the central role after a number of memorable character parts.

Dreams Really Do Come True! (And Other Lies) / Second City / 8:00pm/10:30pm / $15-$29

Second City launches their new main stage show on August 30th, Dreams Really Do Come True! (And Other Lies). One of the city's most talented comedic troupes explores the oft-quoted phrase "you can achieve anything you set your mind to." From lotto 649 (just imagine) to ridiculous weight loss programs, the lies we tell ourselves become the material for clever and poignant sketches with Second City. Maybe you'll see your own personal mantra debunked on stage. It's not you, it's me.

Church Girl / Sony Centre for the Performing Arts / Sept. 2nd and 3rd. 8pm/3pm / $55+

This show uses a lot of hyperbolic language in billing itself as one girl's incredible journey from pastor's daughter to stripper: "this hard-hitting stage play dares to answer the question so many have asked, 'what would make a well-rooted church girl trade in her choir robe for a g-string?'" I'm not sure if "so many" are asking the question, but I'm sure they'll tell us the story in a unique and musical way. It's like a reverse Sister Act.

The Winter's Tale / Dream in High Park / 8pm / PWYC ($20 Suggested)

It's your absolute last week to catch Shakespeare under the stars! Canadian Stage has taken a gamble in choosing one of Shakespeare's later works, but The Winter's Tale is a summer treat. It straddles both tragedy and comedy, is spread across two different locales, and has 16 years separating the two plot lines. If the summertime location in High Park isn't enough to entice you, it also features a cameo by a bear. The play features strong performances and hints of magic in the final act.

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