A royal play for fans of The Crown, a chat with a Michelin-starred chef and six other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A hysterical royal rumble
1Fans of The Crown, The Queen and other behind-the-throne dramas will lap up King Charles III, a satirical fantasy about Elizabeth II’s son and heir. Mike Bartlett’s forward-looking hit, produced by Studio 180 Theatre and presented by Mirvish, imagines an aging Prince Charles finally wielding the sceptre upon his mother’s death and wreaking havoc by forgoing royal neutrality. Written in Shakespearean style, the play frames William and Kate as Macbeth-style schemers, Harry as a rowdy Prince Hal type in love with a commoner (ahem, Meghan Markle), and the late Princess Diana as a restless ghost. Saturday, February 10 to Sunday, March 4. $39–$92. CAA Theatre.
An evening with a Michelin-starred chef
2Chef Magnus Nilsson runs the world-renowned kitchen at Fäviken, a Michelin-starred restaurant in a remote Swedish village that’s become a staple on the list of the world’s best restaurants for its stellar Nordic cuisine. This week, Nilsson stops by the ROM to discuss his culinary philosophy—which includes an emphasis on hunting, foraging, harvesting and fishing for his own ingredients—with Canadian farm-to-table aficionado Jamie Kennedy. Tuesday, February 6. $20. ROM.
A brilliant Mozart remix
3In Mozart’s comic opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio, barbaric Middle Eastern pirates kidnap two women and sell them to a Turkish harem, where they’re held until their “enlightened” European fiancés come to the rescue. Director Wajdi Mouawad’s new take on the opera (sung in German with English surtitles) confronts the show’s troubling white saviour complex with a spoken prologue that gives the damsels in distress more agency and provides a nuanced understanding of the contrasts between East and West. Another highlight: the stunning set, including a cage-like globe that represents the harem. Wednesday, February 7 to Saturday, February 24. $50–$350. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Stories for the travel ban generation
4Djamila Ibrahim, an Ethiopian-born author who’s advised the Canadian government on citizenship and immigration, leans on her experiences in her debut short story collection, Things Are Good Now. It’s a book fit for an era of border walls and Brexit, filled with tales of displacement and belonging: a young Muslim-Canadian fleeing her devout family, a maid trapped in the Syrian Civil War, a man dreading his lover’s inevitable departure, an erstwhile freedom fighter stuck cleaning washrooms after immigrating to Canada. These are grass-is-greener parables about the longing to leave one place and the disappointment of arriving in another. Sunday, February 11. House of Anansi.
A baroque vision of Toronto
5If Rembrandt or Caravaggio had lived in 21st-century Toronto, their paintings might have looked something like Keita Morimoto’s. The Osaka-born artist infuses the city’s neighbourhoods—Kensington Market, Etobicoke, the Financial District—with a romantic, baroque flair. First, he photographs his friends in a studio, then he digitally inserts them into gorgeously rendered paintings of the city. The works are both marvels of modern artistry and tributes to the old masters, resulting in novel imaginings of familiar scenes like the Spadina streetcar or Chinatown’s Pho Hung restaurant. Thursday, February 8 to Saturday, March 3. Nicholas Metivier Gallery.
A Tony-winning dinner party
6The tired family-reunion scenario gets a fresh makeover in The Humans, Stephen Karam’s funny, eerie and compassionate drama about the precariousness of modern living. It centres on an aspiring composer and her boyfriend, who host her cash-strapped working-class parents, ailing lawyer sister and dementia-stricken grandmother for Thanksgiving dinner in a creepy Manhattan apartment. Winner of the 2016 Tony for best play—and shortlisted for the Pulitzer—The Humans makes its national debut at Canadian Stage with Shaw and Stratford alumni both onstage and in the director’s chair. Tuesday, February 6 to Sunday, February 25. $39–$99. Bluma Appel Theatre.
Glenn Gould, reimagined
7Justin Bieber, Sting and Akon have all called on Toronto violinist Andrew Forde to lend a fiddler’s flair to their tunes. This month, Forde steps into the spotlight with Ideas of North, a modern remix of the music and philosophies of Glenn Gould. Forde’s performances are steeped in the classical traditions of Schubert and Bach, but burst with ingenuity: hyperactive trap beats, sampled melodies and a sizzling rap verse by Shad. Forde brings the project to Koerner Hall, where he and surprise guests will both honour and challenge the portrait of Canada that Gould painted a half-century ago. Friday, February 9. From $20. Koerner Hall.
A Persian hip-hopera
8In its experimental music series, Tap:Ex, Tapestry has intriguingly combined opera with punk rock and turntables. Forbidden, the company’s latest effort, melds opera with Persian music and hip-hop, with music by Iranian composer Afarin Mansouri. The libretto, by Afro-Caribbean hip-hop artist Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, is a sung, spoken and rapped conversation between a young girl and Lucifer, exploring ideas of guilt and shame. Thursday, February 8 to Sunday, February 11. $45. Ernest Balmer Studio.