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Carmen Grant and Tom Rooney play in Stratford’s modern-dress Measure For Measure.
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Jenny L. Wright is Miss Adelaide in Guys And Dolls.
Shakespeare's Measure For Measure, introduces one of his most duplicitous characters. The seemingly saintly Angelo, left in charge of Vienna by its duke, lusts after the young novice Isabella and promises her brother's life if she gives herself to him. Using the backdrop of a corrupt state, the play takes a powerful look at desire and mercy. Martha Henry directs a first-rate cast that includes the always fascinating Tom Rooney as Angelo, Carmen Grant as Isabella and Geraint Wynn-Davies as the duke, who has some secrets of his own. Runs to September 21 at the Stratford Festival's Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford. 1-800-567-1600.
Dice and dames
The classic Broadway musical Guys And Dolls brings together New York gamblers, burlesque acts and the Salvation Army in the story of Sky Masterson, a high roller who, on a bet, tries to lure a prim Sally Ann sergeant to a dinner in Cuba. Add crap game organizer Nathan Detroit and Hot Box tootsie Miss Adelaide, unable to reach the altar despite a 14-year engagement, and the result is a tuneful, funny and ultimately touching show. The Shaw Festival's Tadeusz Bradecki directs a cast that includes Kyle Blair, Elodie Gillett, Shawn Wright, Jenny L. Wright and Thom Allison. Runs to November 3 at the Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake. 1-800-511-7429.
Sowing and reaping
The Farm Show, a seminal 70s Canadian collective creation, evolved from Theatre Passe Muraille artists living and working with farmers in and around Clinton, Ontario. Now the nearby Blyth Festival, known for cultivating stories that speak to local audiences, taps into similar material with Beyond The Farm Show. Spending time in the nearby community, actors Marion Day, Catherine Fitch, Tony Munch, Jamie Robinson and Rylan Wilkie and director Severn Thompson gathered new stories for the stage. Thompson's the perfect person to work on the project: her parents, Paul Thompson and Anne Anglin, were part of the original Farm Show. June 26 to August 16. Blyth Centre for the Arts. 1-877-862-5984.
Tom Stoppard's clever Arcadia wonderfully combines entertainment and intellect in a play set in one British country house during the 19th and 20th centuries. The plot intentionally blurs the lines between past and present, as the lives of the 1805 household touch a pair of modern scholars seeking to resolve questions about Lord Byron, a precocious mathematics whiz, various romantic liaisons and landscape gardening. Insightful director Eda Holmes helms a production for the Shaw Festival featuring Gray Powell, Kate Besworth, Diana Donnelly, Nicole Underhay and Patrick McManus. It's sure to engage the mind as well as the emotions. Runs July 14 to September 7 at the Studio Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake. 1-800-511-7429.