Infinity Mirrors, a Lang Lang concert and 10 other things to see, do, hear and read this week
Mirrors, mirrors on the wall
1Thousands of Torontonians have spent ages on the AGO website hoping to score a ticket to the gallery’s colossal Yayoi Kusama retrospective, Infinity Mirrors. This weekend, it finally arrives. Inside Kusama’s rooms, reflective walls turn simple collections of sculptures and lights into never-ending pumpkin patches and awe-inspiring glimpses of the cosmos. Also featured in the show: playful paintings, quirky sculptures and a timeline of Kusama’s career. Saturday, March 3 to Sunday, May 27. $30. Art Gallery of Ontario.
A powerful ballet trilogy
2The National Ballet of Canada launches its winter season with Made in Canada, a trio of great works by seminal Canadian choreographers. Robert Binet draws inspiration from Lawren Harris’ vivid, mystical Canadian landscapes for The Dreamers Ever Leave You; James Kudelka’s beloved The Four Seasons sets Vivaldi’s concerti to the story of a man’s life; and Crystal Pite’s Emergence, shown above, draws parallels between the insect world and contemporary human society. Wednesday, February 28 to Sunday, March 4. $39–$265. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A Drake-approved R&B show
3The most exciting duo in Drake’s orbit is Dvsn, the tag-team effort of singer Daniel Daley and veteran OVO beatmaker Paul “Nineteen85” Jefferies (a.k.a. the producer responsible for “Hotline Bling”—and all of the GIFs and SNL sketches that came with it). Their sultry 2017 album, Morning After, is a few notches headier than Drizzy’s elevator-music-meets-hip-hop hit. Daley details hookups and breakdowns in a tormented falsetto, while Jefferies pumps out slow jams oozing with spectral synths and body-rumbling bass. Wednesday, February 28 and Thursday, March 1. $33. Rebel.
An East Coast comeback epic
4Newfoundland Renaissance man Joel Thomas Hynes has written a Governor General’s Award–winning novel, scripted plays, and acted on screens big and small, including roles in The Book of Negroes and Orphan Black. So it’s hardly a surprise that he both wrote and stars in his latest project, Little Dog, a bitterly funny CBC series about a boxer who walks away from a championship fight, mid-match. Five years after throwing his career away, he gets a chance at a rematch, only to find that his biggest hurdles are now outside the ring. Thursday, March 1. CBC.
Britain’s bawdiest podcast
5Nobody likes to think about their parents having sex, so just imagine if your father put his dirtiest thoughts down on paper for the world to read. That’s the origin story of My Dad Wrote a Porno, the wildly popular British podcast about a man’s quest to deal with (and perhaps even celebrate) his dad’s sordid past as an erotic novelist. Jamie Morton, along with co-hosts James Cooper and Alice Levine, will read a chapter from one of his dad’s sexy paperbacks for a live podcast recording at Massey Hall, sharing the show’s hysterical awkwardness directly with Canadian fans for the first time. Sunday, March 4. $45–$59.50. Massey Hall.
Lang Lang and his 15-year-old protégé
6Pianist Lang Lang joins the TSO for a special arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, where he’ll share the keyboard with 15-year-old piano prodigy Maxim Lando. The TSO will also perform The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe will top off the evening of crowd-pleasers. Thursday, March 1. $59–$199. Roy Thomson Hall.
A theatrical meta-masterpiece
7Theatre Passe Muraille celebrates its 50th anniversary with a welcome revival of Michael Healey’s self-referential hit, The Drawer Boy. The funny, touching play follows a young city actor who moves in with a pair of elderly farmers to conduct research for Passe Muraille’s legendary 1970s creation The Farm Show. In the course of his interviews, he inadvertently stirs up memories and dark secrets from their past. This new production is directed by Nina Lee Aquino of Factory Theatre, which has recently reinterpreted other Canadian classics like Salt-Water Moon and Banana Boys. Wednesday, February 28 to Sunday, March 25. $38. Theatre Passe Muraille.
A cutting-edge contemporary music festival
8During New Creations, the TSO puts Beethoven, Brahms and the boys on the back burner, and devotes itself to new faces, sounds and rhythms. The festival’s nine works, programmed over three evenings, include the world premiere of a double concerto by Toronto composer Gary Kulesha; a violin and cello piece by German composer Wolfgang Rihm, composed specifically for its two performers; and a symphony drawn from Doctor Atomic, American composer John Adams’s opera about the Manhattan Project. Saturday, March 3; Wednesday, March 7; and Saturday, March 10. Passes from $30. Roy Thomson Hall.
Eleven days of non-stop sketch comedy
9Highlights of this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival include appearances by vertically blessed comedy troupe TallBoyz II Men and viral U.K. stars Flor and Joan; a restaging of last year’s Fringe hit 32 Short Sketches About Bees; the 100th edition of Toronto’s Rapp Battlez; and sets by local performers including Bruce McCulloch (pictured above), Jon Blair, Carson Pinch, Kirsten Rasmussen, and Mark and Andy. Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 11. Single tickets $16–$20; festival pass $90. The Theatre Centre and Comedy Bar.
A tilting, twirling dance spectacle
10Choreographer-director Yoann Bourgeois puts six performers through a gravity-defying trial in He Who Falls, a blend of music, theatre and acrobatics atop a stage that spins and swings. Its North American premiere, presented by Canadian Stage, promises to be an eye-popping athletic achievement and a poetic showcase of the strength and versatility of the human body. Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 4. $35.10–$99. Bluma Appel Theatre.
A gripping new crime series
11East Coast author Lisa Moore earned a spot on the 2013 Giller Prize short list with Caught, a gritty novel about the cat-and-mouse manoeuvres of a New Brunswick cop and convict. The story races onto the small screen in a five-episode miniseries this month. Allan Hawco, best known as the bad-boy ex-cop in Republic of Doyle, plays the drug-dealing fugitive, on the lam after a daring prison break. But a hard-nosed police officer, played by CanCon legend Paul Gross, is on his heels, intent on putting him behind bars again. Premieres February 26. CBC.
An ice-cold beer fest
12At Winter Brewfest, Toronto’s biggest indoor beer festival, choose from more than 150 beers from dozens of breweries big and small. Also on site: food trucks, live music and even yoga (to work off that beer belly). Friday, March 2 to Saturday, March 3. $29.95–$79.95. Enercare Centre.