A new Weyni Mengesha play, a Back to the Future screening and nine other things to do this week
Butcher, a celebrated director’s new political thriller
Weyni Mengesha (Da Kink in My Hair, Kim’s Convenience) directs a new thriller about a war criminal who shows up at a Toronto police station dressed as Santa Claus. The drama is morally murky and meticulously specific—two U of T linguistics profs even created a language for Lavinia, the main character’s fictional homeland. Saturday, October 24 to November 14. $17–$30. The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. W., theatrecentre.org.
A timely Back to the Future screening party
The year 2015 just isn’t what the Back to the Future series imagined it to be when Marty McFly and Doc Brown travelled 30 years forward in their DeLorean: Nike sneakers don’t tie themselves, the Chicago Cubs still haven’t won a World Series, and hoverboards have yet to be invented. Revisit the future we’ve been denied as the Royal screens the trilogy’s first two films, followed by an Enchantment Under the Sea after-party. Saturday, October 21. $10. The Royal, 608 College St., theroyal.to.
Baram and Snieckus’s couples comedy
Matt Baram (of Nickelodeon’s Make It Pop) and Naomi Snieckus (of CBC’s Mr. D) were life partners before they became a comedy power couple, and their shared history informs this satirical work. By culling awkward and outrageous personal stories from their own relationship—spanning the first kiss to the popped question—the duo transforms marriage into a vaudeville act that ebbs and spikes between cute banter and adversarial farce. Wednesday, October 21 to November 1. $20. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., thenationaltheatreoftheworld.com.
A dinner out for a good cause
On Wednesday, 59 restaurants across Canada will participate in Restaurants for Change by donating some or all of the proceeds from their dinner service to support Canadian food programs. In Toronto, 18 places are taking part—including all of the Bucas, the Drake Hotel and Drake One Fifty, Edulis, Actinolite, Rose and Sons and Richmond Station—to raise funds for The Stop and Regent Park community food centres. It’s a great excuse to treat yourself to a night out and let someone else do the cooking. Wednesday, October 21. Various locations, restaurantsforchange.ca.
An Indigo Girls show complete with symphony orchestra
Since Amy Ray and Emily Saliers found fame with the acoustic anthem “Closer to Fine” in 1989, they’ve recorded more than a dozen albums; championed environmental, LGBT and Indigenous causes; and had side hustles founding non-profits, writing books and running restaurants. For this performance, their flawless harmonies and jangling guitar lines will blend with the swelling strings of a symphony orchestra. Thursday, October 22. $59.50–$149.50. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., roythomson.com.
Fashion Week, a sneak peek at spring’s hottest styles
The twice-annual style extravaganza is back, with runway shows and studio presentations (most of which are open to the public) from top local labels like Pink Tartan, Hayley Elsaesser and Sid Neigum. In addition to getting a peek at spring’s hottest looks, there are plenty of other ways non-insiders can take advantage of the event, including schmoozing at a magazine party, attending a film screening and scoring free food. Monday, October 19 to Friday, October 23. David Pecaut Square, 55 John St., worldmastercardfashoinweek.com.
A new, homegrown take on Pyramus and Thisbe
For the first time in 10 years, the Canadian Opera Company will perform a real Canadian opera. Composer Barbara Monk Feldman has adapted Ovid’s melodrama about two lovestruck teens from feuding families (it was Shakespeare’s source for Romeo and Juliet). Her version forgoes operatic opulence in favour of stark, serene chamber melodies. Tuesday, October 20 to November 7. $25–$233. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., coc.ca.
Feature, Art Toronto’s rising rival
This contemporary art fair, now in its second year, is a smaller, more selective alternative to the city’s 15-year-old heavyweight, Art Toronto, which runs the same weekend. Organized by the association behind Montreal’s Papier, the event will feature work by artists from 29 Canadian galleries, including Toronto’s Stephen Bulger, Montreal’s Battat Contemporary and Vancouver’s Equinox Gallery. Sunday, October 22 to Wednesday, October 25. $15. Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front St. E., featureartfair.com.
A homecoming show with Toronto expat Peaches
The synth-punk MC’s signature song, 2000’s “Fuck the Pain Away,” tells you everything you need to know about her: she’s unapologetically abrasive, explicitly sex-positive and, most of all, she doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Those qualities have resulted in a fascinating career marked by electro-clash anthems, feminist film work and gigs that feel more like illicit raves than concerts. Tuesday, October 20. $25. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., ticketmaster.ca.
Buffer Festival, an IRL meeting place for YouTube stars
Buffer is a blend of YouTube FanFest and TIFF, presenting the Internet’s best vloggers and video creators. The third annual edition organizes its three days of screenings, panels and meetings by genre—gaming, beauty, music, LGBT and more—and features more than 100 YouTubers who, whether or not you’ve heard of them, are bona fide cyber celebs: animator and pro gamers sWooZie, St. Catherine’s fun-fact fanatic Matthew Santoro, and Jacksfilm, the man behind the cringe-inducing “Your Grammar Sucks” series. Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25. $20. Various locations, bufferfestival.com.
The Other Side of the Cubicle, a businessperson’s play
This new comedy wonders what life might have been like had its characters opted for an artist’s studio instead of a Financial District skyscraper. And who better than the Bay Street Performers, a theatre troupe made up of investment advisors and headhunters, to ask the existential question? All proceeds will support an arts program for children and youth. Wednesday, October 21 to Sunday, October 25. $25–$100. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., buddiesinbadtimes.com.