A decent young Italian couple find themselves caught in the web of a Dickensian moneylender in Cringeworthy , a dark tale by Alex Poch-Goldin (This Hotel, Jim And Shorty). Under the direction of Chris Abraham , the playwright takes on the nefarious title role, with Paul Fauteux and Tara Nicodemo as the innocent couple forced into a life of crime, deceit and addiction. The Planet 88 production, in association with Theatre Passe Muraille, opens May 25 at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). 416-504-7529.
Kate and her mates
More and more dance artists are turning to multimedia these days to stretch the possibilities of performance. Choreographer Kate Alton 's DESPAIR... and other conundrums combines movement with text by Andre Alexis , Jonathan Garfinkel , a performance by fab actor Yanna McIntosh and direction by Volcano's Ross Manson and Ker Wells . Is it dance, theatre, performance art or something else? It doesn't matter when artists of this calibre are on board. May 4 to 7 at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). 416-538-0988.
How can you provide care for others when you have trouble giving it to yourself? Check out Steve and Ellie, the couple at the centre of Care , who satisfy the needs of parents and children instead of looking at what their own relationship requires. Writer/performers Diane Flacks and Richard Greenblatt reunite after their hit Sibs with another seriocomic look at the trials of everyday family relationships, with Eda Holmes directing. Previews from April 18, opens April 25 and runs to May 28 at the Tarragon (30 Bridgman). 416-531-1827.
Hard to believe that Matthew Bourne 's reworking of Swan Lake is more than 10 years old. The longest-running ballet on London's West End has revolutionized the contemporary dance world, especially with its irreverent gender-bending and ability to bring ballet to a wider audience. To celebrate the work's 10th anniversary, Bourne has reworked the piece, and the touring show dives in at the Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge) May 2 to 7. 416-872-5555.
Fellowship of fun
While the investors in a certain unnamed show are wondering what to do with their $27 million mixed-reviewed musical, two Second City alumni are busy with their own precious project - namely, Rings! A Fellowship Of Fools . Paul Bates and Lee Smart , who collaborated on the funny Fringe show Overlords and the soon-to-be-remounted SARSical, play two guys who are trying to adapt a massive trilogy into a one-act musical. Best bit of news? It's only an hour long - not three and a half. The show runs indefinitely at 11 pm every Thursday and Friday night from April 13 at Second City's new digs (51 Mercer). 416-343-0011.
Labouring love's loss
A marriage in crisis is common, but Véronique Olmi 's Mathilde paints a striking picture of a husband and wife split apart by the wife's sexual desire and the unusual lover she's taken. Forced to deal with tension, hurt and resentment, the two wonder if they still feel love for each other. Translated by Morwyn Brebner and directed by Kelly Thornton , this Nightwood production features Martha Burns and Tom McCamus as the couple trying to reconnect with their early passion. Previews from April 28, opens May 3 and runs to May 27 at the Young Centre (55 Mill). 416-866-8666.
Comedy for a cause
Normally, we wouldn't venture west of High Park, but the comedy lineup for Comedians For Cambodian Children is so strong - and the cause so worthy - that we might make the trek. Mike MacDonald , Seán Cullen , Jon Dore , Derek Edwards , Gerry Dee and Debra DiGiovanni are among the funny folks contributing jokes to raise funds for Asian Outreach, the Tabitha Foundation, World Vision Canada and other orgs. Only question: how to get there? The comics storm Mississauga's Living Arts Centre (4141 Living Arts) May 18. 905-306-6000.