What's On This Weekend - November 17-19th

by Liza Mattimore

Photo featuring Jordan Cheng & Derek Kwan by Chien-Che Tang

Photo featuring Jordan Cheng & Derek Kwan by Chien-Che Tang

We have been looking forward to this one since we missed it at Summerworks this past summer. Mr. Shi and His Lover is an intriguing contemporary opera about the delusion of love. Featuring performers from Toronto and Macau, Mr. Shi and His Lover illuminates the real-life affair of a French diplomat in China who falls in love with a mysterious opera singer. But is she who she says she is? This classic tale is told through music inspired by Chinese opera and vintage pop from both East and West. Performed in Mandarin with English surtitles.

Approximate running time is 75 minutes, with no intermission. Check out Tarragon Theatre for more info and to purchase tickets. 


written by Wong Teng Chi & Njo Kong Kie
composer & music director Njo Kong Kie
directed by Tam Chi Chun
starring Jordan Cheng & Derek Kwan
percussionist Yukie Lai
pianist Njo Kong Kie
lighting design Fung Kwok Kee Gabriel
set & costume concept Tam Chi Chun
text translator Derek Kwan
surtitle operators Echo Zhou & Eleven Xu
stage manager Luby Lam
sound engineer Ryan A McNabb
associate producer Kevin Matthew Wong
co-producer & assistant lighting designer Erik Kuong


Alone in a room for the first time in years, a couple is brought back together again after a harrowing breakup. As Poison progresses, old wounds re-open, new truths surface, and the real reason behind their separation is learned. Delicate yet hard-hitting, Poison holds up a (hopeful) mirror to humanity where love and humour can still be found in the midst of so much pain.

We don't know much about this other than its reputation in Holland, where it is widely considered as one of the most internationally successful plays coming from the Netherlands. But we do know that the Coal Mine is behind this production and that is reason enough for us to head east. Everything they do sells out, so book early and don't miss this one. 

Jeff Ho photo by Dahlia Katz

Jeff Ho photo by Dahlia Katz

trace follows three generations of mother and son from the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong to Canada in the 21st century. Combining virtuosic original piano compositions with an incredible performance and lyrical text, this exquisite and stimulating one man chamber play offers a new look into the lasting implications of sacrifice across generations. We recently had a chance to interview writer, composer and performer Jeff Ho. We loved this piece and we know you will too.

See you at the theatre!

What's on this weekend ... November 10th -12th

by Liza Mattimore

Brrrrrrr, the cold weather has arrived. Time to bundle up and hide out at the theatre.  Lucky for you there are some great shows opening and closing this week for you to check out.  Here are our picks...

Photo Credit Alejandro Santiago

Photo Credit Alejandro Santiago

Opening this weekend at The Theatre Centre, Daughter was the most talked about show from the 2016 Summerworks Festival.  Described as both hysterical and disturbing Daughter dances on the edge of autobiographical and fiction in telling a story of modern parenting and the patriarchy that informs our society. Audiences who saw the show at the festival were left both shell-shocked and contemplative. The piece has sparked lots of conversation and is generating considerable buzz for it's lead and co-creator Adam Lazarus. This provocative one-man show about toxic masculinity, written by Canada’s Bouffon-King Adam Lazarus is co-created with Ann-Marie Kerr, Melissa D’Agostino and Jiv Parasram. 

Daughter interrogates questions of culpability and complicity in our society. It examines the subtle and not so subtle ways we condone and encourage misogyny; “boys will be boys”. It is being hailed as "must-see theatre, " 

Co-produced by The Theatre Centre and QuipTake with Pandemic Theatre
Written & Performed by Adam Lazarus
Co-created by Adam Lazarus, Ann-Marie Kerr, Jivesh Parasram, Melissa D'Agostino
Directed by Ann-Marie Kerr
Sound Design and Composition by Richard Feren
Lighting Design by Michelle Ramsay
Producer for Pandemic Theatre: Tom Arthur Davis


Interested in something a bit lighter perhaps?  Check out Hart House Theatre's production of The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee, which also opens this weekend.  This charming, Tony Award winning musical looks at a small-town spelling bee and uncovers the universal truth that winning is not, in fact, everything. With quirky contestants vying for the prize and some unconventional teachers running the show, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is sure to be the definition of hilarity and higher learning…used in a sentence!

Surprisingly, since we are such big musical nerds, and we love everything William Finn does,  neither of us has seen a production of this show before, and are really looking forward to the opening tonight.  Definitely check this one out if you're in need of some heart warming this weekend.  

Music and Lyrics by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
Additional material by Jay Reiss
Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine
Directed by Cory Doran

John Wamsley, Chip Tolentino / Jesus / Dance Captain
Erin Humphry, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere
Kevin Forster, Leaf Coneybear / Carl dad
Hugh Ritchie, William Barfee
Braelyn Guppy, Marcy Park
Vanessa Campbell, Olive Ostrovsky
Amy Swift, Rona Lisa Perretti /Olive’s mom
Art Carlson, Vice Principal Douglas Panch
Carson Betz, Mitch Mahoney / Dan dad / Olive’s dad
Giustin MacLean,  Piano
Stephen Woodjetts, Keys
Micaela Morey, Reeds
Kyra Krilly, Cello
Pieter Huyer, Drums


Raquel Duffy and Albert Schultz, photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

Raquel Duffy and Albert Schultz, photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann

On at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts  is Edward Albee's absurdist masterpiece The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? starring Raquel Duffy and Albert Schultz. The Goat... is an oddly delightful and depraved parable about Martin (Schultz) who has a love affair with a goat.  It is a wacky boundary pusher in which Albee challenges audiences to consider the often arbitrary limits of society's tolerances.

It is a funny, albeit uncomfortable play, and this production is getting priase both for it's excellent direction by Alan Dilworth, and strong performances from both Duffy and Schultz. The Goat or, Who is Sylvia is onstage at Soulpepper until November 18th.  You can learn more, or purchase tickets here



LORENZO SAVOINI, Set and Video Designer
ALEXANDRA LORD, Costume Designer
KIMBERLY PURTELL, Lighting Designer
SIMON FON, Fight Director
KELLY MCEVENUE, Alexander Coach
ROBERT HARDING, Production Stage Manager
MEGHAN CALLAN, Stage Manager
GREGORY MCLAUGHLIN, Assistant Stage Manager


Closing this weekend is Nighwood Theatre, in association with Crow's Theatre's Lo (Or Dear Mr. Wells). We featured this one a few weeks back when it opened and have been hearing great things about the piece.  It closes this Saturday and several of the remaining shows are already sold out.  So if you want to catch this one you had better hurry and book your tickets soon.  

Have a great weekend, stay warm and as always see you at the theatre.

What's on this weekend ... October 27-29th

by Liza Mattimore

There is quite a lot on stages around town these days, and a bunch of buzz worthy shows are closing this weekend so you are definitely gonna want to shake off the cold and head to the theatre. Here are our top picks...

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools Co-creators Evalyn Parry and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools Co-creators Evalyn Parry and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

Kiinalik in the Inuktitut language refers to a knife's sharp edge and literally means the knife "has a face".  By embodying their heritage, co-Creators Evalyn Perry and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, two women from vastly different worlds come together to put a face to colonialism, power, gender, sexuality and the rapidly changing climate that lies between them.  Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is part concert and part conversation, a meeting place somewhere between North and South.  

We were able to see this show during the opening last night and were absolutely spellbound.  Although Kinnalik is perhaps not as tightly conceived as some of Evalyn's other work this is a fantastic and clear collaboration. Kiinalik is a theatrical piece that will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.  Justin and I were mesmorizied both by Kaitlin Hickey's incredible set which features actual ice blocks, and the live video by Elysha Poirier which gave context and grace to the transcendent music of Evalyn, Laakkuluk and cellist Cris Derksen. 

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is a co-Production of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille. The show is on at Buddies until November 5th. Tickets available here.

directed by ERIN BRUBACHER
live video by ELYSHA POIRIER
lighting design by REBECCA PICHERACK
set design by KAITLIN HICKEY
stage manager CHRISTINA CICKO


Opening this weekend at the Streetcar Crowsnest is Nightwood Theatre's Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells.) We are eager to see this new play by Rose Napoli which examines a student/teacher relationship through the lens of feminism. Lo wrestles with issues of burgeoning sexuality, and consent, literature and passion, right and wrong. Developed through Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip playwright’s unit this new work is sure to give you pause. Click here for tickets.

Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells) 
Written by: Rose Napoli
Directed by: Andrea Donaldson
featuring: Vivien Endicott Douglas
Sam Kalilieh
On until November 11th.  

Fiona Reid, Claire Burns and Anne van Leeuwen in The Chance

Fiona Reid, Claire Burns and Anne van Leeuwen in The Chance

Closing this weekend is Leroy Street Theatre's production of The Chance by George F. Walker.  In this dark comedy, a down on her luck Walmart worker (Fiona Reid) finds a cheque made out to cash, but instead of returning it she schemes with her stripper daughter (Claire Burns) and best friend Amie (Anne van Leeuwen) to keep the money and start a new life.  The show has been getting great reviews with critics and looks like a raucously good time.  You've only got a few more days to catch this one at the Assembly Theatre. Tickets available here. 


We are pretty excited about the chance to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephen's adaptation of the best selling novel by Mark Haddon, and directed by Marianne Elliott.  We loved the book and it is wonderful to see that the stage adaptation is inspiring fans around the world. The Curious Incident ... is both a Olivier and Tony Award winner and critics and audiences here have been loving the show, with particular praise for Joshua Jenkins who stars as Christopher. The show is being heralded for both technical wizardry and powerful storytelling with real heart, putting it high on our list of shows to see this weekend. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is onstage at the Princess of Wales until November 19th.  For more information and to buy tickets click here


Now this next one is a bit tricky for us. Cliff Cardinal's Huff has been both a critical and audience darling since its debut at Native Earth two seasons ago. 

Huff tells the story of a young native boy named Wind. After his mother’s death, Wind’s fantastic dream world bleeds into reality when he’s preyed on by the Trickster. With biting humour, and raw imagery, Cardinal’s award-winning solo show shines an unflinching light on life on the Reserve.

Now in remount at Soulpepper we'd love to send you down to the distillery without reservation.  However, about two weeks ago Cliff made a callous and poorly timed joke on his facebook page, which is public by the way, about what kinds of sexual acts he'd happily perform on Harvey Weinstein for a chance to star in Pulp Fiction 2. It truly wasn't very funny and even when community members ripped him apart for his bad timing and generally dismissive attitude Cliff doubled down and refused to take any responsibility for his hurtful words. Does that diminish his hard-hitting, self reflective and wildly creative solo work? Does it mean you shouldn't go see his play?  We will leave that up to you. But we thought you should know.  

Huff starring Cliff Cardinal
JACKIE CHAU, Set & Costume Designer
MICHELLE RAMSAY, Lighting Designer
ALEX WILLIAMS, Sound Designer

Huff closes on October 28th. Tickets can be purchased here.

Ryan Rosery and Virgilia Griffith in Other Side of the Game. Image by Dahlia Katz

Ryan Rosery and Virgilia Griffith in Other Side of the Game. Image by Dahlia Katz

And of course you absolutely can not miss Other Side of the Game.  We wrote about it last week, and we definitely want to encourage you to go out and see this incredible piece.  First time playwright Amanda Parris explores issues of identity, devotion, friendship and community in her debut play produced by Cahoots Theatre and Obsidian TheatreOther Side of the Game runs until November 5th at the Aki Studio. Get your tickets here.

 Welp, there you have it, our recommendations for show this weekend. See you at the theatre.