THEATRE

The Bard heads out­doors; Fringe fun be­gins

NOW Magazine - Hot Summer Guide - - CONTENTS - By JON KA­PLAN

Spar­ring part­ners

Shake­speare’s wit­ti­est and most quar­rel­some lovers, Beatrice and Benedick, spark the ac­tion and, sur­pris­ingly, the emo­tions in Much Ado About Noth­ing, which also fea­tures a more con­ven­tional pair of sweet­hearts in the ro­man­tic Hero and Clau­dio. James MacDon­ald di­rects CanS­tage’s lat­est Dream in High Park, fea­tur­ing Juan Chio­ran and Tara Rosling as the bat­tling Bs, with Aviva Hoffman, Brett Christo­pher, Xuan Fraser, Kerry Ann Do­herty and Jim War­ren. Pre­views begin June 28, opens July 3 and runs to Septem­ber 4 in the out­door am­phithe­atre at High Park.

SummerWorks sizzles

Turn­ing 15 this year, SummerWorks has proven that it’s a po­tent breed­ing ground for orig­i­nal theatre. Un­der new artis­tic pro­duc­ers Keira Loughran and Kimahli Pow­ell, the ju­ried fest of­fers 42 pieces by es­tab­lished and new writ­ers, among them Sonja Mills, Hannah Moscov­itch, Nor­man Ye­ung, By­ron Aba­los and Mike McPhaden. Be­gins Au­gust 4 and runs

to Au­gust 14. Fac­tory Theatre (125 Bathurst) and Theatre Passe Mu­raille (16 Ry­er­son). 416-410-1048.

Mer­chant of Withrow

The Mer­chant Of Venice is a trou­bling play for to­day’s au­di­ences be­cause of the char­ac­ter of the Jewish money­len­der Shy­lock. Shake­speare in the Rough tack­les the play’s comic and se­ri­ous sides and of­fers this sum­mer’s most fas­ci­nat­ing piece of cross-gen­der and cross-cul­tural cast­ing: na­tive ac­tor Jani Lauzon as Shy­lock. Helmed by artis­tic direc­tor San

jay Tal­war, the cast also in­cludes Richard Alan Camp­bell, Carly Street, Richard Harte, Pip Dwyer and Jen­nifer Villaverde. Opens July 23 and runs to Septem­ber 5 in Withrow Park. 647-438-6742.

Sexy Shep­ard

Sen­su­al­ity and sav­agery burn through the works of Amer­i­can play­wright Sam Shep­ard. Soulpep­per las­soes one of his most riv­et­ing works, the cow­boy-themed and pas­sion­ate Fool For Love, with Ted Dyk­stra di­rect­ing Kevin Bundy,

Megan Fol­lows – no Anne of Green Gables here – and Stu­art Hughes. Pre­views from Au­gust 4, opens Au­gust 10 and runs to Oc­to­ber 1 at Har­bourfront Cen­tre Theatre (231 Queens Quay West). 416-973-4000.

Wives make merry

Had enough of Shake­speare in the parks? Try Dare­Den Theatre’s con­tri­bu­tion to the sum­mer Bard shows, The Merry Wives Of Wind­sor, pre­sented in the down­town court­yard of

St. An­drews United Church and at­tempt­ing to cap­ture the flavour of Lon­don’s open-air Globe Theatre. Den­nis O’Con

nor plays the self-im­pressed Fal­staff, with Al­le­gra Ful­ton, Catherine McNally, El­ley-Ray Snow, Rick Waugh and Eli Ham; Jean­nette Lam­ber­mont di­rects. Pre­views July 14, opens July 15 and runs to Au­gust 14. 117 Bloor East. 416-5047529.

Fringe benefits

The largest theatre event of the year keeps grow­ing. This year’s Fringe Fes­ti­val boasts an amaz­ing 134 shows cho­sen by lot­tery, with some re­turn­ing and some first-time Fringe artists. The roll call in­cludes T.J. Dawe, Ni­cola Gunn, Brock Simp­son, Kate Lynch, Ju­dith Thomp­son, Chris Abra­ham, Eli Batal­ion and Jerome Sable. Opens July 6 and runs to July 17 at eight venues and other bring-your-own sites. 416-9661062.

Shrew on the bay

Shake­speareWorks re­turns for its sec­ond sea­son and jumps right into the mid­dle of the battle of the sexes with The

Tam­ing Of The Shrew, di­rected by David Ferry with an eye to the play’s com­edy as well as its is­sues. His Kate and Petru­chio are El­iz­a­beth Saun­ders and Paulino Nunes, with Mar

ian Day and Paul Braun­stein also in the cast. Pre­views begin June 26, opens June 29 and runs to Au­gust 7. Ash­bridges

Bay. 416-872-1111.

Cirque works

Toronto au­di­ences have a thing for Cirque du Soleil, so it’s no sur­prise that the com­pany’s re­turn­ing to Toronto with its lat­est tour­ing show, Corteo, cre­ated and di­rected by Daniele

Finzi Pasca. Filled with clowns, ac­ro­bats and amaz­ing aerial work, Corteo be­gins Au­gust 4 and runs to Septem­ber 11 at the troupe’s trade­mark blue-and-yel­low tent at On­tario

Place. 1-800-678-5440.

Tara Rosling and Juan Chio­ran star in Much Ado About Noth­ing, open­ing

July 3 in High Park.

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