Each week, Drama Club looks at Toronto’s theatre scene and tells you which shows are worth checking out.
Addicted to Bad Ideas. Photo courtesy of Luminato.
Because you’re worth it, Toronto, L’Oréal’s Luminato Festival has descended upon your fair city, bringing things such as Neil Gaiman, Randy Bachman, and religious controversy to Hogtown. But worry not, dramaphiles, there’s theatre too! From faux-punk rock shows, to nine-hour epics, to children’s operas, to Edgar Allan Poe, there’s something for everyone (who can afford the mostly expensive ticket prices) to enjoy.
After the fold, we give you the skinny on our picks for plays at Luminto, plus more theatre news.
Fruits of the Luminato
Lipsynch. Photo by Eric Labbe.
The most talked-about theatre ticket at this year’s fest is definitely Robert Lepage’s Lipsynch, which is, it’s true, actually nine hours long (more like eight and a half, actually, but still!). Given that the show is helmed by Lepage, features a top-notch cast (featuring Torontoist fave Rick Miller), and is, by all accounts, a breathtaking experience, the problem with this show is likely to be less about nodding off in hour five and more about being able to fit the marathon production into your schedule. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve already missed it last Saturday and Sunday. And although it’s playing tonight, it’s part two of the three-night version of the show, so you’re out of luck there too. So, your absolute last chance to catch this epic, which spans seventy years, is if you’ve got basically the entire day free on Saturday or Sunday.
You’ve also only got two more chances to catch The Children’s Crusade, which finishes out its run tonight and tomorrow. This brand-new opera about one of the many unpleasant (if possibly apocryphal) aspects of the Crusades, features the talents of both the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and The Toronto Consort. For a rather different mood, you could try Edmontonian Catalyst Theatre’s Nevermore, a gorgeous-looking production exploring the world of the Gothic short stories of Edgar Allan Poe that rides into town with lots of good buzz after its appearance at Magnetic North in Ottawa.
One of the things we’re most excited for is also one of the most non-traditional pieces of theatre at the festival: Addicted to Bad Ideas. Presented for a single performance on Friday at 11 p.m. at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, the show examines the legend of old B-movie star Peter Lorre through a concert by cabaret/punk band World/Inferno Friendship Society. It fits into the festival’s Poe theme (Lorre starred in the film version of The Raven) and sounds like a beautiful marriage of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and E! True Hollywood Story.
On Stage This WeekBody & Soul, a new show commissioned by Dove (does that make it a “soap opera”?) and created by acclaimed Canadian playwright Judith Thompson through collaboration with an all-female collective, opens Saturday night at Tarragon’s Extra Space. The play is performed by a cast of twelve forty-nine–seventy-five-year-old non-actors who share their real-life stories with the audience. It runs until June 21.
Wajdi Mouawad’s super-popular Scorched returns to the Tarragon Theatre yet again tomorrow night. This combination of foreign tragedy and tawdry family soap opera has been greatly lauded, and this a wonderful chance to try to catch it if you’ve missed its previous sold-out runs. It plays until June 27.