A talk with R.L. Stine, Home Alone in concert and eight other things to see, do and hear this week
A Ross Petty Christmas Carol
1 It wouldn’t be a holiday season in Toronto without a Ross Petty panto. This year’s cast of Canadian stage and TV vets will mug and ad-lib their way through Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, billed as “a family musical with a Scrooge loose.” Stratford regular Cyrus Lane stars as the legendary Christmas curmudgeon. Until Sunday, December 31. $27–$69. Elgin.
A talk with R.L. Stine
2 What sort of twisted mind conceives of a haunted mask, a terror tower and a killer dummy? Explore the creative process behind hundreds of Goosebumps and Fear Street books at “Inspiration is a Monster,” an onstage interview with R.L. Stine. Wednesday, November 29. $30. Art Gallery of Ontario.
The Gardiner Museum’s Christmas tradition
3 Twelve Canadian artists celebrate the holiday season at the Gardiner Museum’s annual 12 Trees exhibition. Co-curated by artist and author Douglas Coupland, and inspired by the theme “Let There Be Light,” the installations use light as a symbol for hope and unity. Look for the disco-ball Christmas tree. Until Sunday, January 7. Free with museum admission. Gardiner Museum.
Home Alone in Concert
4 Since 1990, watching Macaulay Culkin brutally mangle Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern has become a beloved Christmas tradition. Well, now you can watch Home Alone while listening to the TSO play John Williams’ heartstring-tugging score. The Etobicoke School of the Arts junior chorus joins in for an evening of holiday cheer and slapstick comedy. Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 1. $50–$126. Roy Thomson Hall.
An offbeat London love story
5 No, British playwright Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg isn’t about Walter White’s meth-making alter ego. The title refers to the theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, whose work in quantum mechanics comes into play when motor-mouthed Georgie, a North American woman in her 40s, latches onto Alex, an elderly Irish butcher, in a London train station. Theatrical powerhouse Carly Street (Venus in Fur) returns to Canadian Stage for this intriguing drama about a July-December relationship. Tuesday, November 28 to Sunday, December 17, Berkeley Street Theatre
A 16th-century Christmas concert
6 The Tallis Scholars, directed by Peter Phillips, set the benchmark when it comes to Renaissance singing. Their intonation is spot-on, their interpretations honour the history of the genre, and their polyphonic melodies dance around each other with effortless splendour. In this Christmas concert of modern and Renaissance music, they’re joined by Canadian soloists from Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music and U of T’s Schola Cantorum. Listen for the angelic Videte Miraculum, composed by the group’s namesake, the 16th-century English composer Thomas Tallis. Sunday, December 3. $10 and up. Grace Church on-the-Hill.
A Cold Specks concert
7 Toronto’s doom-soul queen, Cold Specks, recently learned that her father helped found a famous Somali band in the 1970s before war split up the group—and her family. Fool’s Paradise, her brooding new album, is an attempt to connect with her ancestral history, inspired by Somali songs and old VHS recordings of her dad’s performances. Thursday, November 30. $15. Mod Club
A funky ballet
8 Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah is the most gleefully iconoclastic option of all the Messiahs, injecting a joyful dose of African-Caribbean culture into the classic. The high-energy, hot-blooded show combines tap, jazz and modern dance with Quincy Jones’s funky, R&B-inflected take on Handel’s 18th-century score. Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 3. $20 and up. Fleck Dance Theatre.
A grumpy foil to the holiday spirit
9 The Second City’s holiday revue, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sweater, takes aim at tired Christmas traditions. The satirical sketches and songs riff on fruitcakes, family gatherings and Donald Trump—because not even a holiday comedy can escape his gravitational pull. Thursday, November 23 to Friday, January 5. $26 and up. The Second City.
Vibrant dispatches from Northern Ontario
10 While portaging in Northern Ontario, Toronto painter Steve Driscoll stumbled upon an abandoned fishing village near Sault Ste. Marie. The eerily empty cabins and abandoned properties in this modern ghost town inspired Time Simply Passes, his evocative new show at Angell Gallery. The restless, intensely colourful images depict man-made structures being swallowed back into their natural surroundings. Driscoll painted them on light boxes, allowing the rustic settings to shimmer and glow. Friday, November 17 to Thursday, December 21. Angell Gallery.