Thus Spoke sizzles at SummerWorks.
The only problem with SummerWorks is trying to see all the good productions during its 11 days.
Theatre, music, live art and dance shows from Toronto and across the country are included under the juried fest's big umbrella.
Lots of these look to be strong, including works by festival favourite Cliff Cardinal, Evalyn Parry, the Bicycles and Maggie MacDonald, Quebec artists Étienne Lepage and Frédérick Gravel, Will Eno, Erin Fleck, Jonathan Seinen, Alex Eddington, Allison Cummings, M. NourbeSe Philip and Guy Sprung.
In Kafka's Ape, Sprung's adapted a Kafka story whose central figure, an intelligent ape named Redpeter, delivers a lecture on his evolution into a human mercenary.
August 7 to 17 at various west-end venues. summerworks.ca.
Dusk Dances makes a splash.
Apart from snagging an invite to someone's cottage, one of the highlights of summer in Ontario is Dusk Dances, which travels to various provincial parks bringing the magic of movement to people of all ages.
This year's edition is one of the best, and includes new choreography by Sylvie Bouchard, Peter Chin, Milan Gervais and Sis Robin Hibbert, as well as revivals of works by Kate Franklin and Meredith Thompson and Julia Aplin that appeared previous seasons.
From Monday (August 4) to August 10 in Withrow Park. Evening performances include dance classes before the shows begin. 416-504-6429 ext 89, duskdances.ca.
The Bard's fairy tale
You don't often get to see a staging of Shakespeare's late play Cymbeline, and you surely haven't seen Cymbeline's Reign, inspired by Henry Brooke's 18th-century adaptation, which cuts some the original characters.
The fairy-tale-like story involves a secret marriage between Imogen, daughter of British king Cymbeline, and Posthumus, a member of her father's court. Then there's an evil queen, her arrogant and villainously comic son and the work's real baddie, the smoothly duplicitous Iachimo.
The always adventuresome Shakespeare in the Ruff, now in its third season, returns to Withrow Park with its unique take on the play. Brendan McMurtry-Howlett directs a cast that includes Hume Baugh in the title role, with Kaitlyn Riordan, Jesse Griffiths, Melee Hutton, David Patrick Flemming, Andrew Joseph Richardson and Victor Dolhai.
Performances from August 12 to 31. shakespeareintheruff.com.
Diego Matamoros, one of Soulpepper's best performers, takes on the title role in Molière's masterful Tartuffe, playing the pious hypocrite who gulls the rich Orgon and insinuates himself into the man's household.
One of the great comic roles in Western theatre, Tartuffe is a sanctimonious fraud bent on maintaining his hold on Orgon through claims of religiosity while doing his best to seduce the man's wife, Elmire.
Directed by regular Soulpepper guest Laszlo Marton, the production also features Oliver Dennis, Raquel Duffy, Brenda Robins, Gregory Prest and William Webster along with members of Soulpepper Academy.
Performances begin August 7 and run to September 20. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.
Yup, we're curious about Kurios.
Cirque du Soleil has always delivered some mind-bending, jaw-dropping acts, but the troupe's new show, Kurios, takes that aspect as its main theme. Subtitled Cabinet Of Curiosities, it showcases the curio cabinet of an inventor who then introduces acts that defy all natural laws.
The wonder begins August 28 at the Grand Chapiteau. cirquedusoleil.com.