This Week in Theatre: Another Africa, Much Ado About Nothing, Spring Awakening, The Maids, The Great American Trailer Park Musical
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.
Another Africa / Canadian Stage / 8pm/2pm / $29+
Canadian Stage starts its season with a strong remount, a pair of one-act plays from Volcano Theatre's highly-acclaimed The Africa Trilogy, which was presented at last year's Luminato Festival. Two very different stories about relationships between Africa and the West. Shine Your Eye features a computer hacker, and daughter of an assassinated hero, who must make a decide to pursue a future in Africa versus one in the West. In Peggy Pickit Sees The Face of God, two white couples, one who goes to Africa to work in a crisis zone for six years and the other who stays home and lives a conventional Western life, share a dinner. Tickets for the Trilogy went fast during Luminato; don't miss your chance this time around.
Much Ado About Nothing / Spadina Historic House and Gardens / 8:00pm / $20
Single Thread Theatre's tag line to their treatment of Much Ado About Nothing reads "Toronto, 1918. Old friends return home" with a poppy proudly presented alongside. Spadina House would seem like a perfect setting for a post-war approach to one of the Bard's most memorable comedies. It'll be interesting to see how much Canadiana can be teased out of the plot. For the price of admission, you get a chance to see the show and take a peek at one of Toronto's most historic house and gardens.
Spring Awakening / Lower Ossington Theatre / 8:00pm/4:00pm / $45 - $65
You can find plays with sexual undertones across the stages of Toronto this fall, with In the Next Room at Tarragon and The Maids at Buddies. Add Spring Awakening to the mix, now on-stage at the Lower Ossington theatre. The sex at study in this rock opera concerns the blossoming desire of German teenagers. Lea Michele, of Glee fame, played Wendla in the original Broadway production. It's been one of the most successful musicals in recent memory after picking up seven Tony awards in 2007. The production at the Lower Oss. allows you to enjoy the music without the big-budget ticket price.
The Maids / Buddies in Bad Times Theatre/ 8:00pm / $23
Jean Genet's classic The Maids gets a treatment from the same creative team that brought vision to Sarah Kane's Blasted, one of the more difficult modern plays to translate to the stage. Like Blasted, The Maids is a dark psychosexual thriller with compelling yet very human characters. It's the type of queer classic that a place like Buddies should have the gall to tackle alongside new work â Artistic Director Brendan Healy brings yet another elevated play to his lineup.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical / Hart House Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $15-$25
Toronto has a rich rockabilly history, as referenced in the recent Tale of a Town - Queen West. I think the rockabilly once served up by Handsome Ned will be different from the songs in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which bills itself as a "tongue-in-cheek, rockabilly romp." The description reads like an episode of Maury Povich, but who's to know if paternity tests are at the centre of any plot lines. It's a bit of a head-scratcher that Hart House offers a musical like this alongside the likes of Shakespeare's Macbeth, but it's not far off from Jerry Springer: The Opera, which played there two years ago.
Photo of Lucky Ejim in Another Africa by John Lauener courtesy of Canadian Stage
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