Toronto Theatre

This Week in Theatre: I Love You Because, Bliss, The Wooster Group, My Granny the Goldfish, Sex, Religion & Other Hangups

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.

I Love You Because / Toronto Centre for the Arts Studio / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $30-$45
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the source material for I Love You Because, a newish musical from Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham. It follows a young greeting card writer whose life is turned upside down when he falls for a flighty photographer. With direction from Darcy Evans and a strong cast in the form of Jay Davis, Michael DeRose, Gabi Epstein, Elena Juatco, Cara Leslie, and Jeff Madden, the musical talent is definitely strong. Let's hope the writing more resembles 500 Days of Summer than The Lonely Guy (yes, both films about guys who write greeting cards).

Bliss / Buddies in Bad Times Theatre / 8:00pm/2:30pm / $19-$33
Québécois dramatist Olivier Choinière's Bliss promises to be a special play. It has its professional English Canadian premiere, in a translation by the incredible Caryl Churchill, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre this week. In what can be described as a dark portrait of celebrity culture, Choinière follows Celine Dion from her farewell concert to the bedroom of her biggest fan, who spends the majority of her time chained to a bed by her family. A highly surrealistic play, Bliss delves into our obsession with celebrity figures.

The Wooster Group's Version of Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carré / World Stage - Fleck Dance Theatre / 8:00pm / $15-45
Since the mid-1970s, New York City's The Wooster Group has been experimenting with text and technology, creating new works by unraveling and retelling original plays. Re-envisioned plots of Hamlet, Phèdre, and Three Sisters join their most famous work, L.S.D. (...Just the High Points...). Presented at this year's World Stage is a take on Tennessee Williams' autobiographical play Vieux Carré, about a struggling gay writer and a boarding house full of eccentrics. The play was critically panned when it opened, so it'll be interesting to see how the Wooster Group injects some life into the text.

My Granny the Goldfish / Factory Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $20-$40
Anosh Irani, author of the Dora award-winning play Bombay Black, brings us My Granny the Goldfish, a play about a Granny from Bombay who visits her grandson in a Vancouver hospital. Originally a part of Factory's Crosscurrents Festival, the now full length play explores the middle ground between Granny's "cure alls" and her grandson Nico's protesting. Rosemary Dunsmore directs Kawa Ada, Yolande Bavan, Veena Sood, and Sanjay Talwar in this comedy in which laughter really is the best medicine.

Sex, Religion, & Other Hangups / The Second City / March 25 at 10:00pm / $15
With a tag line like "James Gangl is looking for a girlfriend," it would be easy to lump this show with big-screen comedies that examine the so-called man-child syndrome. Gangl is a thirty-something actor with an overactive imagination who spends 70 minutes recounting the courting of a commercial snow bunny. But Gangl's play delves deeper than the on-paper synopsis. This is a thoughtful and poignant comedy with an honest reflection on the intersection between sex and religion — if you missed it the first time, it's playing for one night only.

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