What's it like not to remember who you are? Mike McPhaden explores both the comedy and the mystery of that upsetting premise in the award-winning Poochwater , returning February 2. Patrick Conner again directs McPhaden in this 50s-set piece that leaps quickly from the scary to the hilarious and back again, with Jeff Miller joining the cast as a confused tenant who has a run-in with a quirky war vet. The Poochwater Collective production plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson). 416-504-7529.
Demand is through the roof for irascible political commentor and stand-up Lewis Black , who's best known for his reports on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. He might not talk about the Crossfire incident, but count on Black to make sense of his country's polarization and the war in Iraq. A second show's just been added for his March 5 appearance at Massey Hall (178 Victoria). 416-872-4255, 416-870-8000.
Macbeth goes east
One of the most successful re-imaginings of the classics we've ever seen is Modern Times Stage Company 's take on Shakespeare 's Macbeth , inspired by a form of traditional Persian theatre that gives equal weight to movement, imagery and text. Director Soheil Parsa and lead actor Peter Farbridge are responsible for the thrilling adaptation, voted one of NOW's top 10 shows several years ago and a hit at Iran's Fadjr International Theatre Festival. Stavroula Logothettis plays Lady M, with a cast that includes Juana Awad , Karim Morgan , Alon Nashman and Yashoda Ranganathan . Performances begin March 5 at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). 416-504-7529.
After spending a lot of his time making dance movies, Allen Kaeja lets local audiences see his latest full-length choreography, Asylum Of Spoons . An ensemble piece about an eccentric family gathering (danced by Karen Kaeja , Piotr Biernat , Susan Lee , Teena Walker and Lincoln Shand ), Spoons was a hit at Ottawa's Canada Dance Festival last summer, even earning a comparison to the work of Pina Bausch. March 1 to 5 at the Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West). 416-973-4000.
There's no better place to catch some tasty new plays than at the annual Rhubarb! festival, which spills into all the venues at Buddies in Bad Times. This year's fest, the 27th, is curated by Moynan King and David Oiye . It features new works by Corrina Hodgson , Salvatore Antonio , Yvette Nolan , Hannah Moscovitch , Anna Chatterton , Shoshana Sperling , Teresa Pavlinek and a slew of others, and includes a trade forum for indie theatre and dance groups presented in association with Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. The three-week fest kicks off February 2 at Buddies (12 Alexander). 416-975-8555.
Memories of a childhood in the Barbados light up the Winnipeg winter in Cast Iron , Lisa Codrington 's rich tale of a Bajan woman in a Canadian nursing home who recalls her past with wit, humour and the occasional moment of tragedy. The show, which began life in the Fringe several years ago, gets its first mainstage presentation in a Nightwood and Obsidian co-pro featuring Alison Sealy-Smith and directed by ahdri zhina mandiela . First performance is February 12 at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman). 416-531-1827.
Legendary comic Tommy Chong had a rude awakening recently when he was busted for selling drug paraphernalia. Ironic, because the guy best known for being one-half of the 1970s stoner duo Cheech and Chong admitted that he doesn't smoke up any more. After serving a nine-month jail term, the Edmonton-born comic - now in his mid-60s - is back on the stand-up circuit. And this spring, he and partner Cheech Marin begin filming on a new movie called Grumpy Old Stoners. Now that's more like it. Chong appears with his long-term partner, Shelby Chong , at Yuk Yuk's Downtown (224 Richmond West) on January 29. 416-967-6425.