Toronto theatre listings

This Week in Theatre: Chess, Bigger Than Jesus, Another Africa, Much Ado About Nothing, The Maids

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.

Chess: The Musical / Princess of Wales / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $20+
If you're going to make a musical about a board game, you'd be hard pressed to find one more fitting than chess. The musical features a battle between American and Russian chess masters for the affections of a woman. The chess metaphor is intended to reflect the tensions of the Cold War. The costumes look incredibly hoakey, but the real draw is the music, written by (ready for it?) ABBA's Bjรถrn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson with lyrics from Tim Rice.

Bigger Than Jesus / Factory Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $35
In the second chapter of the Rick Miller play-cycle on stage at Factory Theatre, Jesus is the superstar. Miller's critically-acclaimed and Dora Award showered production is a clever and thrilling examination of history's most-discussed figure. From the genius of Daniel Brooks, and with multi-media design from Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson, the show still impresses eight years after its debut. Miller looks to be having more fun at this one than he did during MacHomer.

Another Africa / Canadian Stage / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $29+
Canadian Stage starts its season with a pair of one-act plays from Volcano Theatre's highly-acclaimed The Africa Trilogy, which premiered at last year's Luminato Festival. The two are 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 decision 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. The second play of the pairing is the one to go for.

Much Ado About Nothing / Spadina Historic House and Gardens / 8:00pm / $20
Single Thread Theatre's tagline to their treatment of Much Ado About Nothing reads "Toronto, 1918. Old friends return home" with a poppy proudly presented alongside. Spadina House (pronounced Spa-dee-na) 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.

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. The Maids is a strong presentation from director Brendan Healy with a memorable performance from Diane D'Aquila as Solange. A pink satin-inspired design compliments the action. This is one of the highlights of the Fall calendar. Check out my review for a full comment on why it works.

Lead photo of Much Ado About Nothing

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