Whether it’s performed outdoors, in a hotel or on a stage in a huge festival, there’s a show for everyone
If you didn’t check into The Gladstone Variations last summer, don’t miss the remount of Convergence Theatre’s Fringe hit – one of NOW’s best 2007 productions – back for an indie run beginning July 14. A quartet of interrelated plays takes audiences through rooms and hallways of the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West), with surprises around every turn. To August 3. 416-504-7529.
One of the smartest Restoration comedies, William Congreve’s The Way Of The World ranks its characters by their elegant wit. At the centre of the multiple narratives are Millamant and Mirabell, lovers who dance around each other until the final curtain. The Soulpepper/National Arts Centre production, directed by Peter Hinton, features Caroline Cave and Mike Shara. July 2 to August 2 at the Young Centre (55 Mill). 416-866-8666.
With Michael Rubenfeld now at the helm, the 18-year-old SummerWorks returns with a collection of plays from, among others, One Reed Theatre, Anita Majumdar, Anand Rajaram, Claire Calnan and Jonathan Wilson. The Canadian Pavilion is back, and new this year is a music series and performance gallery. August 7 to 17 at various locations. www.summerworks.ca.
Michael Kennard and John Turner (Mump and Smoot) collaborate differently in Puzzle Me Red, creator/performer Kennard’s look at a figure who attempts to find the truths behind the strife and inequities reported in the media. Directed by Turner, the show uses clown and mask to look at the imbalances in our everyday lives. From June 17 to 28 at Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley). 416-368-3110.
Back for its second year, the festival of arts and creativity includes several theatre works. Highlights? In Abigail Richardson and Marjorie Chan’s kids’ opera Sanctuary Song, the central character is an elephant. David Craig’s Rocket And The Queen Of Dreams, with puppetry by David Powell, explores a child’s nightmares. The National Theatre of Scotland brings Black Watch, Gregory Burke’s play inspired by soldiers who fought in Iraq, and Dash Arts offers A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring 23 Indian and Sri Lankan actors, dancers, musicians and street acrobats. From June 6 to 15 at various Toronto venues. www.luminato.com.
Fringe turns 20
Celebrating one of those birthdays with a zero isn’t a scary thing for the Toronto Fringe, which gathers over 140 companies for the big bash. Running July 2 to 13 at theatres and other venues around town, this year’s Fringe, in collaboration with the Dance Umbrella of Ontario, includes eight slots dedicated to dance companies. Among the playwrights involved are Kate Hewlett, TJ Dawe, Melissa D’Agostino, Sky Gilbert, Mark Brownell, Robert Gontier and Dave Carley. www.fringetoronto.com.
Didn’t catch Canadian Stage’s Dream in High Park last summer? You have another chance with the remount of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set largely in a forest for which the High Park venue stands in nicely. New to director ahdri zhina mandiela’s urban take on the Bard are Xuan Fraser, Cara Ricketts, Monica Dottor and Rebecca Northan, joining returnees Maev Beaty, Antonio M. Cayonne, Richard Harte, Colin Heath and Matthew Kabwe. June 24 to August 31. 416-367-1652.
If you want more outdoor theatre, especially for young audiences, you can’t do better than the fifth Cooking Fire Theatre Festival, whose grassroots vitality begins with an organic meal and continues with five productions from Toronto, Pittsburgh and Portugal. Don’t miss the remount of Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse, featuring Alon Nashman as the play’s many characters, including a boy on a fairy-tale quest. June 18 to 22 at Dufferin Grove Park (Dufferin south of Bloor). www.cookingfire.ca.
You’ll lose track of the number of red noses at the third annual Toronto Festival Of Clowns, featuring performances for kids and adults. There’ll be a gala night featuring acts that have influenced Canadian clowning, a lunacy cabaret, a bouffon evening and full-length performances by troupes from Ottawa, Toronto and Saskatoon. June 26 to 29 at the Pia Bauman School of Creative Movement (6 Noble). www.torontoclown.com.
Three sibs seek happiness in different ways, and what troubles them becomes comic for the audience in The Sisters Rosensweig, Wendy Wasserstein’s partly autobiographical Broadway hit. Jim Warren directs the show for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, with a high-power cast that includes Rosemary Dunsmore, Linda Kash and Sarah Dodd. June 7 to 21 at the Jane Mallett Theatre (27 Front East). 416-366-7723.