The theatre scene continues to thrive this fall in Toronto, with a mixed bag of high, low and virtually no budget productions across the city.
And as great as your sweatpants and Netflix combo is now that the temperature’s dropped, get off the couch and swap that HD for a dose of live action instead.
Whether you’re a lover of high-tech theatre, Shakespeare, or vulgar, over-the-top, ridiculous musicals, we have you covered (naturally).
Here are 6 notable Toronto theatre productions that are either on stage now (so hurry) or coming soon.
The Art of Building a Bunker
Looking for a light mix of humour and tragedy that’ll make you feel better about your job?
The Art of Building a Bunker recounts a week in the life of your “average Joe” employee, Elvis, as he endures mandatory workplace sensitivity training. It stars seasoned Toronto actor Adam Lazarus.
Through a variety of bizarre and vibrant characters (all played by Lazarus), the equal opportunity satire reveals that “sensitivity training” can be anything but as Elvis is forced to develop some needed compassion for his coworkers and deal with his own issues at the same time.
The Factory Theatre, October 16 to November 2.
Evil Dead the Musical
It’s the ultimate theatre for those non-theatre people.
We saw it last year, and trust us, the hilariously over-the-top, shamelessly ridiculous Evil Dead – The Musical takes all of the elements of the cult classic horror films Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness and combines them to make one of the craziest theatrical experiences of all time.
As in, if you’re sitting in the coveted “Splatter Zone,” you’ll leave covered in blood (and with some of the outrageous songs stuck in your head, guaranteed). Let’s just say that if this play doesn’t break the ice in a first date, we don’t know what will.
Randolph Theatre, October 31 to November 9.
The Tragedy of Macbeth
One of our favourite local theatre companies, Sterling Studio Theatre, presents its first production of the season with The Tragedy of Macbeth, now housed at The Theatre Machine.
What can you expect? A “new world where secret societies reign” production of Macbeth; where The Tragedy of Macbeth meets Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. Oh, and if you get them while they’re hot, there will also be a limited number of interactive seats where you can eat, drink and participate in the story.
Directed by Sterling’s Founding Artistic Director Sophie Ann Rooney, it stars some renowned TV, stage and film talents.
Presented by Sterling Studio Theatre, December 6 to December 20.
If you’re into high-tech theatre (as, in a $1.4 million dollar price tag), check out the Canadian Stage’s Helen Lawrence.
The Canadian production is created by internationally renowned visual artist Stan Douglas and acclaimed screenwriter Chris Haddock. Inspired by post-war film noir, Helen Lawrence reflects Vancouver’s political landscape in 1948 during a time of historic upheaval when the bustling metropolis struggled to reorganize itself after World War II.
The tale of loyalty and power (and a history lesson at the same time) is a mixed media production that intertwines theatre, visual art, live-action filming and computer-generated simulations of historic sites, and is performed on a blue-screen enclosed stage. Filmed and live images of the actors allow the story to unfold as both a film and a play.
Bluma Appel Theatre, Oct. 12 to Nov. 2.
The Motherf**ker With the Hat
Looking for a juicy, foul-mouthed tale of love and addiction?
The Motherfu**er with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis tells the story of Jackie and Veronica and their long-term addiction to both each other and alcohol and other habits. Their wild love story is put to the test when Jackie finds another man’s hat in their apartment upon returning home from prison and embarks on a mission to track down “the mother*cker with the hat.”
Profane and hilarious (yet smart and insightful), this will likely make a good choice for the non-Shakespeare types.
The Coal Mine, November 9 to 30.
Want entertainment value along with a wake-up call on one of the most important contemporary world issues today?
Alanna Mitchell’s critically acclaimed production about the state of the global ocean returns to The Theatre Centre this fall for an extremely limited engagement (Oct. 29-Nov. 2). Directed by artistic and general director Franco Boni with Ravi Jain and performed by Mitchell, Sea Sick is a deeply personal solo performance by the award-winning Canadian journalist and author (no, she isn’t even a trained actor) that reveals how the global ocean is changing and why it matters.
It’s safe to say this likely won’t be too much of a heartwarming “feel-good” production (though parts are peppered with wit and humour), but worth checking out – especially if you’ve yet to check out the Theatre Centre’s new arts hub and incubator.
The Theatre Centre, October 29 to November 2.