Winter has arrived – with a very loud bang – and with it, the desire to do as many indoor activities as possible. Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen asked our theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck about winter shows in Toronto. “I love Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” she wrote. “Any recommendations for plays on now or in the next few weeks?” Nestruck has more than a few – but you’ll have to be patient:
Alas, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell’s 1998 rock musical about a transgender singer whose sex-change operation was botched, is not on stage in Toronto right now.
The Lower Ossington Theatre was the last local theatre to do Hedwig, but its production closed back in September. The LOT rotates through a roster of low-budget versions of rock musicals, however, so you could see Avenue Q, Evita or Jesus Christ Superstar there over the coming weeks. (Caveat emptor: The company is controversial in Toronto for only paying its actors honorariums – and the sound-proofing is shoddy – but it is a good place to catch up-and-coming musical-theatre talent.)
I’m afraid if it’s edgy, musical fare that you’re looking for, it’s the wrong time of year. Cinderella: The Gags to Riches Family (which does feature producer Ross Petty in a dress, mind you) opens on November 21 for the holiday season. Donny & Marie: Christmas in Toronto – essentially a live Osmond Family Christmas special – runs from December 9 to December 21 at the Princess of Wales. And James and the Giant Peach is on at Young People’s Theatre starting next week – not, despite what you might think from its title, a sequel to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but an adaptation from the Roald Dahl children’s story.
If it’s just plain edgy theatre that you seek, I really enjoyed Stephen Adly Guirgis’s profane comedy – cover any nearby children’s eyes – The Motherf**ker in the Hat at the Coal Mine (until November 30), as did my colleague Martin Morrow. Likewise, Canadian Stage’s hit production of the S&M-themed comedy Venus in Fur returns for Christmas-time counter-programming on December 18; you can read my review from 2013 here.
Otherwise, I suspect the musical you’d most enjoy is still a couple of months off – Cannibal! The Musical, a new stage adaptation of the cult film by South Park’s Trey Parker. It opens February 10, so get excited Book of Mormon fans.
Read more reviews from J. Kelly Nestruck here