A soulful night with Emily King, a hotel-inspired circus spectacle and five other things to see and do in Toronto this week
A soulful serenade
1For the first decade of her career, Grammy-nominated singer Emily King ran her musical operation out of her mom’s New York City apartment. To record her third full-length album, Scenery, King scored her first real studio space: a cricket-infested garage in the Catskills. From such meagre provisions, she was able to craft some of her smoothest, most polished R&B to date, drawing influence from the genre’s heyday in the ’80s (irresistible grooves, funky bass, expertly coiffed hair) while remaining modern and inventive. Also contributing to Scenery is Tom Elmhirst—the sound engineer who refined hits for Adele, Amy Winehouse and David Bowie—making King’s latest set of songs into the perfect vehicle for her soulful, pitch-perfect voice. Monday, February 4. $20. The Mod Club.
A hotel-inspired circus spectacle
2Montreal’s contemporary circus company Cirque Éloize has created their most imaginative performance to date. Inspired by the troupe’s innumerable hotel stays over 25 years of touring, the show uses an original score and a geometric, funhouse-inspired set to transport audience members through an entire century of hotel lobbies—from the glamour of the roaring 1920s to a Jetsons-style hotel in 2040—with no shortage of tightrope magic, intricate juggling and gravity-defying stunts. Wednesday, February 6 to Saturday, February 16. $67.75–$96. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
A heart-rending dementia drama
3Veteran television actor Nicholas Campbell—best known for his role as a justice-seeking coroner on Da Vinci’s Inquest—stars as an aging parent grappling with the onset of dementia in The Father. French playwright Florian Zeller cunningly puts audience members inside the mind of the main character to convey the hurricane of emotions experienced by a once-powerful man losing his grip on memory and reality. Wednesday, February 6 to Sunday, February 24. $25–$42.50. Coal Mine Theatre.
A whimsical libretto
4The title of Mozart’s bittersweet comedy of errors loosely translates to, “all women do it,” and in this context, “it” means cheat. Convinced by a wise philosopher that there’s no such thing as a faithful woman, two young soldiers test their fiancées’ fidelity in a game that comes perilously close to heartbreak for all. This Canadian Opera Company revival of director Atom Egoyan’s sprightly 2014 production of Così Fan Tutte manages both whimsy and realism in its approach to the fragility of love and happy endings. Tuesday, February 5 to Saturday, February 23. $70–$350. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A glittery ice festival
5The sole perk of Toronto’s frigid temperatures is that they’re optimal for throwing an ice festival. This weekend, the streets of the Yorkville Village will be lined with dozens of glittering sculptures carved from more than 70,000 pounds of ice. Each frosty creation is inspired by Toronto’s film industry (or “Hollywood North”), so expect to see XXL boxes of popcorn, life-sized paparazzi tableaus and an Oscar trophy replica—some of which will be carved live on site. Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10. Free. Village of Yorkville Park.
A Shakespeare shake-up
6This isn’t the Hamlet you read in high school. Instead, director Ravi Jain boldly remixes Shakespeare’s classic tragedy with gender-bending and colour-blind casting. Canadian film actor Christine Horne stars as the troubled prince of Denmark, and Jeff Ho plays his girlfriend, Ophelia. The deaf actor Dawn Jani Birley, who plays Hamlet’s pal Horatio, interprets the entire play in American Sign Language. It’s a remarkable performance that landed her a Toronto Theatre Critics’ Award during the acclaimed premiere at the Theatre Centre in 2017. Wednesday, February 6 to Sunday, February 24. $49–$79. Berkeley Street Theatre.
A Drake birthday extravaganza
7The Drake is turning 15 and to celebrate, they’re throwing a four-day danceathon in the recently renovated Drake Underground. The new space is outfitted with a sprawling mural by L.A. artist Andrew Schoultz—known for his kaleidoscopic, colourful street art—and a neon sculpture by Toronto’s Shellie Zhang. As for the party, the lineup includes performances from soul/R&B band Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs and disco collective Beam Me Up, as well as tarot card readings (perhaps they’ll be able to predict how bad your hangover will be). Thursday, February 7 to Sunday, February 10. Free. The Drake Underground.
An earlier version of this story misidentified Dawn Jani Birley as hearing-impaired