Eye-Catching Toronto Theatre for the Week of August 6th, 2012

Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of August 6th, 2012: ** Shows marked with the double asterisks and in red are the ones that make Wayne, our Managing Editor, wish he could exist in multiple parallel universes so he could check them all out.

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**A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM by William Shakespeare (Canadian Stage Shakespeare in High Park). Lovers and actors meet and mingle in an enchanted forest in this classic comedy performed outdoors. Opens Jun 26 and runs to Sep 2. Pwyc ($20 sugg), 14 and under free. High Park Amphitheatre, Bloor W and Parkside. canadianstage.com.

AVENUE Q by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Lower Ossington Theatre). A college grad moves to NYC and works through the transition to adulthood in this musical puppet show. Opens Jun 22 and runs to Oct 7. $45-$60. 100A Ossington. 416-915-6747, lowerossingtontheatre.com.

BACKBEAT by Iain Softley, Michael Thomas and Stephen Ward (Mirvish). The Beatles seek fame in Germany and lose their original bassist when he falls in love with a local photographer. Opens Jul 21 and runs to Sep 2. $36-$130. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King W. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

HELLO (Huge Picture Productions). The leader of a vigilante group wrestles with existential questions during an alien invasion in this multimedia musical. Opens Jun 21 and runs to Aug 31. $25. Electric Theatre, 299 Augusta. 416-317-8715, hugepictureproductions.com.

**MEMORY IN THE MUD (Words In Motion). This movable drama and tour tells the stories of brick makers, POWs and Depression-era transients who spent time at the Brick Works. Opens Jul 11 and runs to Sep 29. $20, child $10. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview. ebw.evergreen.ca/whats-on/memory-in-the-mud.

ODYSSEO (CAVALIA) Theatre artists and horses create a spectacle combining equestrian arts, stage arts and special effects. Opens May 15 and runs to Aug 12. $29.50-$119.50. White Big Top, 324 Cherry. 1-866-999-8111, cavalia.net.

SPEED-THE-PLOW by David Mamet (Soulpepper). Movie industry big shots use sex and schemes to succeed in Hollywood. Previews Jul 5-14. Opens Jul 16 and runs to Sep 22. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca

**THE SUNSHINE BOYS by Neil Simon (Soulpepper). Two vaudeville veterans must overcome their mutual dislike to reunite for a TV special. Previews Jul 14-25. Opens Jul 26 and runs to Sep 22. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

WAR HORSE based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford (National Theatre of Great Britain/Mirvish). An English boy sets out to find his horse after it’s sold to the cavalry and shipped off to France during WWI. Previews Feb 10-27. Opens Feb 28 and runs to Sep 30. $35-$130, rush $29. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King W. 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

And the rest…

ADVENTURES IN SLUMBERLAND (Frolick). This all-ages show about a young boy’s dream world is an adaptation of Winsor McCay’s comic strip Little Nemo In Slumberland. Opens Jul 1 and runs to Aug 26. $10 or pwyc. Olympic Island Lagoon Theatre, near Centre Island ferry dock, over the bridge. frolick.ca.

CLOUDS OVER T.O. by Sten Eirik (Guildwood Festival Theatre). A man struggles with urban living and debt in this adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Clouds set in present-day Toronto. Opens Jul 19 and runs to Aug 12. $20, kids under 12 free. Guild Inn Gardens, Greek Theatre, 201 Guildwood Pkwy. guildfestivaltheatre.ca.

FALL 2012 MAINSTAGE REVUE Second City presents a collection of sketches, songs and improvisations. Opens Jul 17 and runs to Aug 22. $24-$29, stu $15. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

HISTORY OF FORGETTING by David Anderson and Krista Dalby (Clay & Paper Theatre). This play looks at modern hubris and our lack of humility in the face of the past. Previews Jul 25-26. Opens Jul 27 and runs to Aug 26. Pwyc ($10 sugg). Dufferin Grove Park, Dufferin S of Bloor. clayandpapertheatre.org.

I JUST LOVE THAT I’M SO INTO YOU The Flying Beaver Pubaret presents dialogue, monologue and interactive games with Heather Gold and Mariko Tamaki. Aug 10 7:30 pm. $10-$15. 488 Parliament. 647-347-6567, brownpapertickets.com/event/259803.

IN A DARK HOUSE by Neil LaBute (Unit 102 Actors Company). Two estranged brothers reunite and confront the abuse in their past and how to overcome it. Previews Aug 9-11. Opens Aug 16 and runs to Sep 1. $20. Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin. unit102tix@gmail.com.

ISLAND SOUL Harbourfront Centre presents an arts and culture festival with dance by Caribbean Folk Performers and the Jouvay mas spectacle by Theatre Archipelago. Aug 3-6. Free. 235 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

MIND READER (Bobby Motta). Mentalist Motta performs a weekly interactive show. Indefinite run, Wed 8 pm $15. The Annex Live, 296 Brunswick. 647-692-3403, bobbymotta.com.

OLEANNA by David Mamet (Unit 102 Actors Company). A power struggle ensues when a female student accuses a professor of sexual harassment. Previews Aug 8-10. Opens Aug 15 and runs to Aug 31. $20. Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin. unit102tix@gmail.com.

PETER PAN by JM Barrie (UC Follies Theatre Company). The classic story of the boy who never grows up is performed outdoors. Bring your own blanket. Opens Aug 8 and runs to Aug 18. $10, stu/srs $8, Wed pwyc. Hart House Circle, 7 Hart House Circle. uofttix.ca.

READY, SET LAUGH! Second City presents an all-ages collection of sketches, songs and improv to benefit the SickKids Foundation. Opens Aug 2 and runs to Aug 31. $14, family pack $48. 51 Mercer. 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.

SUMMERWORKS Annual festival showcases theatre that encourages risk, questions, and creative exploration while insisting on accessibility, integrity and professionalism. Opens Aug 9 and runs to Aug 19. $15 for single show, $40 for 3, $85 for 7, $120 for 10. Various locations. http://summerworks.ca.

**THE BEST OF FRINGEKIDS! 2012 (Theatre Direct/Fringe Toronto). Three kids’ shows from last month’s Fringe Fest (Something From Nothing; The Tempest – A Puppet Epic; Tick) return to the stage. Opens Aug 7 and runs to Aug 12. $12.30. Wychwood Barns Theatre, 76 Wychwood. 416-537-4191, theatredirect.ca.

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) (The Classical Theatre Project). Three actors perform 37 plays in 97 minutes in this interactive show performed on the garden terrace. Opens Aug 8 and runs to Aug 29. $50, stu/srs $30.Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace. 416-915-6750, completeworksabridged.com.

THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller (Soulpepper). A small, devout Massachusetts town is thrown into chaos with accusations of witchcraft in 1692. Previews Jul 25-Aug 8. Opens Aug 9 and runs to Sep 22. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

THE ROYAL COMEDIANS Mikhail Bulgakov (Soulpepper). This play looks at the life of French dramatist Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière. Previews Jul 24-Aug 6. Opens Aug 7 and runs to Sep 21. $51-$68, stu $32; rush $22, stu $5.Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.”

TOP SKETCH CANADA Black Swan presents a sketch and improv competition w/ Josh Bowman, Matt McCready, Joe Delfin, Joel Buxton, Alicia Douglas, Meredith Cheesbrough, Ron Sparks, Laura Bailey and host Jen Littlewood. Opens Jul 18 and runs to Aug 22. $5. 154 Danforth. jen.littlewood@gmail.com.