See a play in an abandoned high school, bid farewell to Dame Edna and seven other things to do this week
See a play in an abandoned high school
One of the season’s most ambitious theatre creations is Sheridan College’s Brantwood 1920–2020, an imaginative lark that takes place in the abandoned Brantwood School in Oakville. The cast will play out scenes and songs from the school’s fictional history in different classrooms. Ticket-holders arrive at Sheridan College, where, appropriately, a school bus will transport them to the Brantwood campus. April 11 to May 3. $35. Sheridan College, 1430 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 905-815-4049, sheridancollege.ca.
Hear a superstar concert pianist (and wolf whisperer)
In the rarefied world of classical music, the French pianist Hélène Grimaud is an extraordinary weirdo. She’s a synaesthete, which means she sees music as much as she hears it. She raises and breeds Canadian wolves on a two-hectare conservation ranch in upstate New York. And she’s a musical maverick, known for her pensive, rippling riffs and trance-like performance style. This week, she plays a program inspired by water, including Toru Takemitsu’s dreamy Rain Tree Sketch II; Liszt’s shimmering Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este; and, our favourite, Debussy’s La Cathédrale engloutie, a haunting prelude inspired by a mythical underwater cathedral that supposedly rises to the surface on clear days. April 19. $35–$75. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208, rcmusic.ca.
Check out Emily Carr’s lush landscapes
Earlier this year, London gallery-goers discovered a dazzling new art star: Emily Carr. A recent exhibit devoted to the long-dead Canadian naturalist was the sixth-best attended show ever at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, drawing 35,000 visitors. Now the retrospective, From the Forest to the Sea, travels to the AGO for a four-month visit. It comprises nearly 100 radiant, rambling land- and seascapes of the British Columbian wilds, as well as a newly discovered illustrated travel journal that chronicles Carr’s 1907 trip to Alaska with her sister Alice. April 11 to August 9. $19.50. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.
See two jazz wizards share the stage
The alliterative jazz stars Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock both came up on the Miles Davis circuit, honing their craft in the ’60s and ’70s playing backup for the blues bandleader. In 1978, they set out on a major tour with just two pianos and a sparse stage—an acoustic anomaly in a frenzied era of psychedelic jazz-rock fusion. Nearly four decades later, they’ve reunited for another whirlwind world tour, which hits Roy Thomson Hall this week. Expect funkified experimental jazz from Hancock; Latin-laced bebop from Corea; and, when they take the stage together, an indescribably dissonant combination of the two. April 14. $39.50–$199.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.
Kickstart your art collection
Back for its second year, the Love Art Fair is a mutually beneficial trade-off for artists and buyers: emerging painters, sculptors and illustrators get to sell their work and broadcast their brand, while newbie art aficionados have the opportunity to seed their collection at a steal (every piece is priced between $100 and $10,000). A few surefire hits: Marjorie Campbell’s ghostly faux taxidermy, Paul Morstad’s baroque Victorian illustrations, and Alma Haser’s dysmorphic portraits. April 17 to 19. $10–$12. Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes’ Blvd., 905-842-6591, loveartfair.com.
Say goodbye to Dame Edna
Dame Edna Everage is a friend of the Queen, a sharp political advisor and a jet-setter who winters in Switzerland and summers at Martha’s Vineyard. And after this month, you might never see her again. Australian comedian Barry Humphries, who created his arch alter-ego 30 years ago, says he’s retiring his lavender wig this year after his current world tour, which hits the Princess of Wales Theatre this week. Edna is more than just a blowsy caricature: she’s a shrewd social critic whose conversational routines skewer class, taste and celebrity. Enjoy her while you can. To April 19. $29–$99. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.
Take in a gloriously goofy operatic extravaganza
The COC specializes in stripped-down, modernist productions of classic operas, often staged by icy intellectuals like Robert LePage and Atom Egoyan. Which makes it such a treat when they schedule something like this season’s production of The Barber of Seville—an outlandish melodrama that’s so silly and ornate it feels practically retro, with a circus of clowns and mimes and madcappery gilding Rossini’s bubbly score. April 17 to May 22. $49–$424. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, coc.ca.
See a Hitchcockian thriller at Buddies in Bad Times
For the past few years, Jeff Lillico has been one of the city’s most stalwart supporting players at CanStage and Soulpepper. He’s finally hogging the spotlight as the title character in Buddies’ production of the psychosexual thriller Tom at the Farm, by the Quebecois playwright Michel Marc Bouchard. The meaty part was worth the wait: as Tom, grieving for his recently deceased lover, Lillico walks a delicate line between mourning and madness. April 11 to May 10. $20–$37. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555, buddiesinbadtimes.com.
Think deep thoughts with José González
On his latest album, Vestiges and Claws, the introspective Swedish singer-songwriter José González channels Thoreau: his wispy voice runs through a series of layered tracks involving faith, science, the cosmos and classical guitar. He plays this week at the Phoenix, and we suggest showing up early for the opening act, Ólöf Arnalds, an otherworldly Icelandic folk-jazz-fusion singer who plies the violin, cello and charango (an unusual Andean lute). April 13. $20. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., ticketfly.com.