Music may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Italy, but that doesn’t mean Italy has no music to offer. Juno Award nominee Michael Occhipinti proves that with The Sicilian Jazz Project. Combining modern jazz with Sicilian folk songs, the group features some of Canada’s top musicians and some of Italy’s finest traditional vocalists, including Roberto Occhipinti, Dominic Mancuso, Louis Simão, and Barry Romberg.
It’s the 100th anniversary of the Wychwood Carhouse, and the Wychwood Barns Community Association is dancing with happiness. In fact, it’s celebrating with Boogie at the Barns, a three-part instructional series on dances from eras past. Join Bees’ Knees Dance for lessons on swing (April 22), the Charleston (May 6), and boogie-woogie (June 10). The first hour will be devoted to learning, with the second hour opening up for a full-on dance party so you can test out your new moves!
It’s 1977, and a group of friends in England are gathering for a soirée. A pretty standard concept, that’s for sure, but Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party takes things to another level with a playful romp through the lives of these suburban socialites. Witness the hilarity and awkwardness as the hostess from hell metaphorically tears her guests to pieces.
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
Up until Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez made that movie, the word “Gigli” was associated with images of beauty, the splendour of the opera, and, more specifically, the renowned Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. In Irish playwright Tom Murphy’s The Gigli Concert, originally written in 1983 and on stage now at Soulpepper Theatre, the singer’s voice represents not only beauty, but hope itself—the one saving force that can pull its two central characters from deep depressions. And, thankfully, the journey to the other side is infinitely more watchable than the previously mentioned Hollywood film.
Zack and Abby are the couple that others envy—the ones who seem to have it all. But secrets hide behind the beautiful home, the loving marriage, and the promising careers. Company Theatre’s Belleville—produced in association with Canadian Stage—explores the darkness that’s revealed in this seemingly perfect relationship after Abby finds her husband at home one day when he’s supposed to be at work.
Despite its provocative title, there’s actually very little that’s controversial about Mike Bartlett’s Cock, making its Canadian premiere at the Theatre Centre. Its subject matter might have been viewed as more controversial in 2009, when the play premiered at the Royal Court in London—but after five years, this story of a love triangle between two men and a woman has lost part of its taboo-challenging appeal. Luckily, though, its emotional appeal has endured.
If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.
Erin Shields’ Soliciting Temptation, premiering now at Tarragon Theatre, was highly anticipated—it’s the first new play since 2010 from the eminent female playwright, known for the Governor General Award-winning If We Were Birds. In some respects, it lives up to the hype. It deals with the difficult, often-overlooked subject of child sex tourism, and it does so thoughtfully and with nuance. The overall experience, though, is somewhat underwhelming, because the compelling ideas explored are undercut by an implausible premise.