Winnipeg theatre fans treated to flurry of activity this week

Winnipeg theatre fans have their pick of four different shows and a festival hitting the stage this week. From improv to Greek sex comedy, here’s what’s coming up.

Political theatre, ancient Greek sex farce, improv, Elizabethan classic and more hit stage

Stephen Sim, Nadine Antler and Lee White at the Winnipeg Improv Festival. (Janet Shum)

The period post-Fringe Festival and before the big professional theatres start their seasons has often been quiet for Winnipeg's theatre scene — but not this week.

Theatre fans have their pick of four different shows and a festival hitting the stage this week. Here's what's coming up:

Wrecking Ball

If you like the idea of mixing politics and theatre, this is the event for you. Theatre Projects Manitoba is hosting the local edition of Wrecking Ball — a cross-country evening of new work on political themes. The Winnipeg version is being curated by playwright Deb Patterson, and writers Trish Cooper, Frances Koncan and Fraz Wiest have taken on the challenge of writing short pieces based on current political headlines — with less than a week of rehearsal. You can expect to hear Harperman and a distinct "anyone but Conservative" message.

See it if: You don't expect anything too polished but love theatre that's not afraid to talk politics.

When and where: One night only — Monday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., at Le Garage (166 Provencher). Admission by donation.

More details at:Theatre Projects Manitoba

Alumni of the Black Hole Theatre company present Lysistrata, opening this week. (Black Hole Theatre Company)

The University of Manitoba's Black Hole Theatre Company gets ready to say goodbye to its decades-old performance space with this tremendously ambitious production of a classic comedy of ancient Greek theatre. The company welcomes back dozens of alumni, representing more than 30 years of Black Hole history, for what will be one of the last shows in the underground theatre (the company moves to new digs in 2016). Tickets aren't cheap, but it's also a fundraiser for construction of the new theatre — so a fitting way to send off one of the city's more challenging performing spaces.

See it if: You've ever been involved in theatre at the U of M, you want to support the next generation of Winnipeg theatre or you love raunchy ancient Greek sex jokes.

When and where: Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 8 p.m., Black Hole Theatre (not-very-conveniently located in the basement of the U of M's University College). Tickets: $50.

More details at:Black Hole Theatre Company

Kevin McDonald, Lee White and Stephen Sim at the 2014 Winnipeg Improv Festival. This year's edition kicks off Tuesday. (Janet Shum)
Winnipeg Improv Festival 

The 2015 edition of the popular improvised theatre festival is highlighted by the one-night-only return of the Fringe Festival mega-hit D&D Improv. The Big Stupid Improv Show, another Fringe favourite, also gets a run, Kid in the Hall Kevin McDonald joins local improv heroes CRUMBS for a show, and there's a handy "festival sampler" to kick things off at the King's Head on Tuesday night.

See it if: You love to laugh. Or like to laugh. Or at least approve in principle of laughter.

When and where: Sept. 29 - Oct. 3, various venues (mostly Gas Station Theatre). Ticket prices vary.

More details at: Winnipeg Improv Festival

Theatre By the River's production of Edward II opens Thursday. (Theatre By the River)
Edward II 

While not going quite as far back as ancient Greece, local independent company Theatre By the River is sticking with the classics as they wrap up their 10th anniversary season. Edward II is by Christopher Marlowe — a contemporary of Shakespeare, though performed far less often, which makes this a production worth seeking out. It's been adapted by local writer Kendra Jones, and Shakespeare in the Ruins company member Sarah Constible directs an impressive cast.

See it if: You like the classics, but feel like you've seen Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet often enough.

When and where: Oct. 1- 4, University of Winnipeg's Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. Tickets $20 ($15 students, industry, underemployed).

More details at: Theatre By the River

Danny, King of the Basement runs at MTYP for the next three weeks. (Manitoba Theatre for Young People)
Danny, King of the Basement

Manitoba Theatre for Young people gets a jump on the other local professional companies with their season debut — the return of this much-loved play by David S. Craig, about a boy from an impoverished home who discovers the kids with more "stuff" have their own problems too.

See it if: You like children's theatre with a strong, positive message.

When and where: Public performances each weekend from Oct. 2-18. All tickets $18.

More details at: Manitoba Theatre for Young People


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