BLOOD LUST Critics are sometimes seen as bloodsuckers, but Irish playwright Conor McPherson turns the image around with St. Nicholas, in which a discontented theatre reviewer becomes caught up with and eventually pimps for a band of vampires. Acme Theatre's shortened version -- directed by Dean Gabourie and featuring Adam Bramble -- was a SummerWorks 1999 hit, and now it returns as a full production. Opens tonight (Thursday, September 21) at Artword (75 Portland), with Friday's show a funder for the Daily Bread Food Bank. 408-2783.
POLITICAL PITCH Playwright and politician Wendy Lill (The Glace Bay Miners' Museum) is seeking a second term as a federal member of Parliament. A champion of culture as a facet of the Canadian political agenda, Lill is guest at a fundraiser at Buddies in Bad Times tonight (Thursday, September 21). The $50 event begins with the screening of an NFB film about Lill, followed by a reception and cash bar. 12 Alexander. 591-8637.
BABY MAKES THREE There's a little of Peter Pan but not much promise of a happy ending in Linda Griffiths' The Darling Family: A Duet For Three. Griffiths' emotionally demanding script looks at a couple facing an unplanned pregnancy. Presented by Kinetic Theatre and Mea Culpa Productions, the show features Michael Valliant-Saunders and Sasha Wentges, with Keri Steele performing original music. It opens tonight (Thursday, September 21) at the Canadia dell'Arte Studio Theatre (186 Munro), with the September 27 performance a benefit for Jessie's, a centre for teen mothers. 465-7393.
BRASSY BEASTS More than 40 artists from The Lion King perform in Animania, a benefit cabaret for the Canadian Cancer Research Society. Presented by Cheetah Productions, the evening of music, song and dance plays Harbourfront's Brigantine Room (235 Queen's Quay West) on Monday (September 25). $20. 973-4000.
DAFFY DUOS A pair of goddesses wreak unintentional havoc on humanity in Parallel Lives, which No Model Types Theatre remounts from tonight (Thursday, September 21). Written by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, the Toronto production, directed by Lori Delorme, features Joanne D'Angelo and Luisa Durante as a number of wacky partners. George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire). 433-3202.
PITCHED PASSIONS The Canadian Opera Company opens its season with a contrasting pair of works, Verdi's marvellous Otello (begins tonight, Thursday, September 21), based on Shakespeare's play and here directed by Stratford vet Robin Phillips, and Smetana's masterpiece The Bartered Bride, a lively blend of Czech folk music and comic figures (opens Friday, September 22). Hummingbird Centre (1 Front East). 872-2262.