See a play in a pizza parlour’s basement, party with Belle and Sebastian and seven other things to do this week
Check out the next big Britpop star
While you endure the interminable wait for Adele’s next album, check out Jessie Ware this week at the Danforth Music Hall. Last fall, the British singer-songwriter with the raspy alto released her sophomore album, Tough Love. It’s a collection of infectious soul songs tinged with gospel and R&B, all anchored by Ware’s rich vocals. April 4. $40.50–$50.75. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., 416-778-8163, ticketmaster.com.
See a Tony-winning farce inspired by Anton Chekhov
When Mirvish isn’t producing splashy Broadway-ish spectacles, it’s staging smaller theatrical jewels as part of the Off-Mirvish series. The company’s latest quirky drama is Christopher Durang’s Vania and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won the Tony for Best Play two years ago. It’s a loopy, freewheeling Chekhov spoof about three siblings confronting middle age and existential angst. Stealing every scene is the puckish Luke Humphrey as Masha’s boy toy, Spike: he’s an uproarious physical comedian, throwing his near-naked body into the role with Chippendale gusto. To April 5. $19–$99. Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.
Raise a glass to spring at the season’s first beer festival
Good Friday becomes Great Friday at the Evergreen Brick Works, which kicks off this year’s spring beer festivities with the boozy garden party Brewers’ Backyard. Six Ontario craft breweries will be pouring foamy pints—including Junction Craft Brewing, Mill Street Brewery and Boshkung Brewing Co.—with food truck snacks from Urban Carnivore and FeasTO to sop up the suds. April 3. FREE. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., brewersbackyard.com.
Witness the ultimate dance-off at the Lightbox
There are two kinds of people in this world: Footloose fans and Dirty Dancing devotees. This week, the TIFF Bell Lightbox aims to settle that rivalry once and for all with a savage three-day battle. On Tuesday, it’s Swayze in the Catskills, championed by local film critic Kiva Reardon; on Thursday, it’s Bacon in the Bible belt, defended by writer-comedian Anne T. Donahue; and on Friday, it’s the final showdown, with the winner getting a triumphant victory screening. You can vote online, or on your ticket stub. March 31 to April 3. $13. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 250 King St. W., 416-599-8433, tiff.net.
Gorge on matzo balls with Zane Caplansky
Hanukkah gets all the glory, but those in the know agree that Passover is the superior Jewish holiday—it has the best story, the best rituals and, by far, the best food. For the fifth year running, the Jewish-deli czar Zane Caplansky will be dishing out a seven-course seder at his College Street restaurant to commemorate the epic exodus. Expect piles of fluffy matzo balls, Manishevitz galore and, if you’re lucky, a rousing chorus of “Dayenu.” Email [email protected] to reserve your spot. April 4. $55 adults, $25 kids. Caplansky’s, 356 College St., 416-500-3582, caplanskys.com.
Check out some feverish, feminist fabric sculptures
The Iranian-Canadian artist Hoda Zarbaf uses old baseball caps, dolls, underwear and upholstery fabric to create her huge, surreal sculptures. The pieces are trippy, explosive and sly, employing traditional female crafts—crochet, tatting, sewing, stuffing—to reimagine sex, childbirth and love through a woman’s eyes. In one piece, Zarbaf creates a fabric orgasm with a rainbow explosion of polka dots, stripes and neon colours. April 1 to 30. FREE. Walnut Contemporary, 201 Niagara St., 416-271-6599, walnutcontemporary.com.
Watch a great piece of theatre in a pizza place’s basement
One of the best plays in the city right now is running in the basement of a Magic Oven pizza parlour on the Danforth, where The Coal Mine has produced a blistering take on Bull, by the New York playwright Mike Bartlett. As a trio of office workers wait to find out which one is getting fired, the two alphas gang up on their diffident colleague, taunting him with mind games, manipulation and passive-aggressive torment. The claustrophobic subterranean space fits the savage script brilliantly: the audience, like that sad-sack office clerk, has no way to escape. To April 5. $25. The Coal Mine, 798 Danforth Ave., 416-880-7693, brownpapertickets.com.
See the world through Edward Burtynsky’s eyes
In 2011, as part of his decade-long exploration of man-made water systems, the superstar eco-photographer Edward Burtynsky flew over the Texas Panhandle in a Cessna, shooting from a pinhole in the floor of the aircraft to capture farmers’ use of central-pivot irrigation, which results in eerily perfect crop circles. In his exhibit this month at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Burtynsky has blown up the images to gargantuan, wall-size proportions, transforming each patch of farmland into an abstract mural of geometric strips and spirals. The photos reveal Burtynsky’s meticulous eye, sublime sense of wonder and rocky ambivalence: it’s clear he can’t decide if playing God will be our salvation or our downfall. April 2 to 25. FREE. Nicholas Metivier Gallery, 451 King St. W., 416-205-9000, metiviergallery.com.
Attend a dance party with Belle and Sebastian
Over the past two decades, the Scottish twee pioneers have released eight albums, each one more delicate, precious and misty than the last. Their 10th record, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, sharpens that sound into something fast and propulsive: true to its name, it’s a bona fide dance album, bubbling with electro-cranked melodies and clubby thumps. Fans can get the best of both worlds at the group’s Massey Hall concert on Wednesday, where the set list will blend the dream-pop of B&S past with the synthy sound of B&S present. April 1. $49.50–$59.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.