Lucy, The Slut of Avenue Q (photo by Emily Cooper)
A bunch of us CharPo-nauts had a discussion on Facebook this week, after the Tonys, and wondered what musicals were worth a download from iTunes. Certainly none, we felt, from among this year's nominees - so what about from other years? More than one among our number mentioned a peculiar little work, done with puppets, about life in an ugly/funny urban centre. That is, of course, the multi-Award winning Avenue Q which, since its creation a decade ago, still stands the test of time. With songs like, "What do you do with a BA in English" and "I'm not wearing underwear today" it is a musical that raises hackles even as it delights and has the audience in the aisles laughing. (Look what our Toronto editor said about a production there.) (Vancouver)
Yup, it's festival season and in Toronto this week it's Luminato. Each show there is a jewel in its own right, but once again a standout is about a big-name director - in this case Atom Egoyan with his production of Feng Yi Ting. Egoyan on stage is much like Egoyan in the cinema - luminescent, icy pictures and aesthetics enveloping meaning (submerging it sometimes). This time out Egoyan's foray is into Chinese mythology with opera...in Mandarin. The revival of his COC Salome was revered this season. Will this fable be as fabled? (Toronto)
Then, of course, there is Fringe with Ottawa exploding with alt theatre this week. Ottawa's is a perfect-sized Fringe for the city - not too much and with word-of-mouth and blog buzz playing a big part. So allow us to draw your attention to a trio of works that have drawn ours: Sappho...in 9 Fragments, a dance-theatre fusion that has made noise across the pond (read its creator's first-person piece about the work); The Hatter, a solo about Alice in Wonderland's mad one (read its creator's first person piece about the daunting task of Fringing the work); La voix humaine - an opera! Yup! And a terrific, crawl-under-your-skin one it is (read an interview with its producer).