Catch an Oscar contender at TIFF, see AC/DC live and six other things to do this week
Watch Jake Gyllenhaal’s film festival opener
Montreal director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) comes to TIFF for the third time in as many years. His destructive and devastating new drama, Demolition, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Davis, a newly widowed New York investment banker who starts to destroy everything he owns, and Naomi Watts as Karen, a pot-smoking single mom who becomes his unlikely source of support. Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11. $20–$48. Princess of Wales Theatre and Roy Thomson Hall, 300 King St. W. and 60 Simcoe St., tiff.net.
Fill in for a no-show suitor in an unscripted play
In Blind Date, the clown-nosed and adorably innocent Rebecca Northan surveys a Paris bistro for her absent admirer. Instead of accepting that she’s been stood up, the actor-comedian picks an audience member at random to take his place. The result is a 90-minute improvisational blind date—an unscripted back-and-forth between an adept actor and an embarrassed amateur, rife with the potential for amusing awkwardness, uneasy sexual tension and comically candid banter. No two shows are alike. Tuesday, September 8 to October 4. $55–$60. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., tarragontheatre.com.
Join a pedal-powered music festival
Cyclists bike from park to park at the sixth edition of the Toronto Bicycle Music Festival, catching gigs along the way. Those will include performances by the Constantines frontman Bry Webb (at Christie Pits Park), Girls Rock Camp grads the Overtones (at Allan Gardens), the Heavyweights Brass Band (at Grange Park) and accordionist Willow Rutherford, who will provide a soundtrack for the cycling from her bike-drawn mini-stage. Sunday, September 13. FREE. Various locations, torontobicyclemusicfestival.com.
Get tangled in a Soulpepper-staged love triangle
In order to save their show, an operetta writer convinces a heartbroken composer that an overheard tryst involving the lead diva—whom the latter desires—was merely a scene being rehearsed. Soulpepper first staged The Play’s The Thing (P. G. Wodehouse’s comedic adaptation of Ferenc Molnár’s The Play at the Castle) back in 1999. Now, the production returns for its third run under the direction of Hungarian veteran László Marton. Wednesday, September 9 to October 14. $29.50–$94. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.
Let there be rock at AC/DC’s Downsview show
The veteran Australian rockers are back in black—or in short pants, at least—at Downsview Park for a well-deserved headlining set, having upstaged the Rolling Stones there at SARSstock in 2003. They’ll be down two long-serving members—Malcolm Young (for health reasons) and Phil Rudd (legal troubles)—but, between Brian Johnson’s unmistakable screech and Angus Young’s ageless schoolboy shenanigans, they’ll have no trouble shaking the crowd all night long. Thursday, September 10. $139. Downsview Park, 35 Carl Hall Rd., downsviewpark.ca.
Drink beer on a boat
This weekend, the River Gambler shoves off from the harbour with a whole lot of craft beer on board. Fifteen Ontario breweries will be pouring their suds during this summer’s second Craft Brew Cruise. Admission includes five sample tokens and a commemorative mug, and additional tokens and snacks will be on sale. This is one three-hour tour that could turn out just fine (until the beer runs out, that is). 19+. Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13 (two cruises per day). $45. 333 Lake Shore Blvd. E., torontocraftbrewcruise.com.
Introduce your youngster to Treasure Island
Solar Stage Children’s Theatre kicks off its new season with Katie Leamen’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate-filled tale. When Billy Bones dies, he leaves young Jane Hawkins with a map to Captain Flint’s treasure. She sails the high seas in search of Treasure Island, only to be interrupted by pirates, mutiny and a few other surprises along the way. Ages five and up. Saturday, September 12 to Sunday, September 27. $16. Solar Stage Children’s Theatre, 100 Upper Madison Ave., solarstage.on.ca.
Listen to The Sadies support yet another icon
First they joined forces with the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie. Then they were Margaret Atwood’s backing band at one of Jason Collett’s Basement Revues. Now the Sadies are taking the stage with Robyn Hitchcock, an English singer-songwriter—best known as the frontman of the Soft Boys and the Egyptians—who dazzled critics in the 1980s and ’90s with his surreal, sad and often comic portrayals of everyday life. Friday, September 11, to Sunday, September 13. $25. The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., collectiveconcerts.com.