Since August 8, the scene along Queen St. W has been seriously dramatic (it’s not us, we swear!), with plays popping up in some unexpected places: Trinity Bellwoods Park, Gallery 1313, the Gladstone Hotel, The Epiphany and St. Mark Church, The Great Hall, and more. There’s even a Performance Bar on Ossington (conveniently close to some of our favourite spots to eat). This can only mean one thing: the summer theatre season is in full swing with SummerWorks, an incredible curated performing arts festival! Programming theatre, music, dance and live art showcasing new Canadian work, the buzz-worthy fest is bursting with work from some of our country’s most exciting artists.

SummerWorks wraps on August 18, and tickets are totally affordable ($15 per performance!) so if you’re looking for weekend plans, here are a few festival highlights from the theatre-goers here On the Fourth Floor (read: from this rockiteer).

Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains
At the Scotiabank Studio Theatre; runs 75 mins on Friday August 16, 4:30 pm; Sunday August 18, 4:30 pm.

Called an ‘old-fashioned play with a hell of a lot of bite‘ by the Charlebois Post, Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains is a new play set against the backdrop of the Moscow riots. Three young Russians come to terms with political freedoms and flesh eating drugs in a world where animals are becoming human and humans behave like animals.  Bonus: it’s directed by Joanne Williams, one of the city’s hottest emerging directors and stars Victor Dolhai, Jonathan Koensgen and Ewa Wolniczek.

Summerworks Picks

Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains. Image courtesy of SummerWorks.

Family Story
At Gallery 1313; runs 75 minutes on Friday August 16, 7:30 pm; Saturday August 17, 9:30 pm; Sunday August 18, 2:30 pm

Part art exhibit, part theatre performance, Family Story follows The Milkaffers, currently living in the prairies of Manitoba, as they travel backward, forward and sometimes diagonally through time and space tracing the family tree and the relationships that keep it alive. Featuring TIFF 2013 Rising Star Cara Gee, the show boasts a serious group of actors and creators who bring the story (and accompanying art exhibit, the Milkaffer Family Museum) to life.

Summerworks Picks

Family Story. Photo courtesy of SummerWorks.

At the Lower Ossington Theatre; runs 90 mins on Friday August 16, 12:00 PM, Saturday August 17, 5:00 PM

Written and directed by the always awesome and buzzy Kat Sandler, and presented by Theatre Brouhaha, Delicacy was called a ‘favourite SummerWorks show‘ by Torontoist. Here’s the deal: two weeks after a wealthy Yorkville couple met an open-minded couple at a sex club, they invite them to their condo to see if lightning strikes twice. The hilarious, and emotional brouhaha that follows will leave both couples wondering if marriage is all it’s cracked up to be.

Summerworks Picks

Delicacy. Image courtesy of SummerWorks.

Murderers Confess at Christmastime
At the Lower Ossington Theatre; runs 90 Mins on Friday August 16, 2:30 pm; Saturday August 17, 12:00 pm

Two things we should say right off the top: we’re big fans of Tony Nappo (one of the performers); and also, this show has a bit of (partial) nudity, some coarse language, a few simulated sexual acts and a generous helping of mature/violent themes so is recommended for audiences 18+. In this show, from the company behind past SummerWorks hits Terminus and Mr. Marmalade, a cross-dressing kidnapper falls in love with his latest victim, a drug addicted housewife cracks under the pressure of the holidays, and an office worker is spurned by the object of his affection.

Summerworks Pick

Murderers Confess at Christmastime. Image courtesy of SummerWorks.

And if seeing a play isn’t your scene (see what we did there?) then check out some live art, have patio beers at the Festival Hub, or hit the Music Series: on Saturday (August 17) bring a beach blanket and sit under the virtual stars as Maylee Todd transforms The Great Hall into her own personal summer dreamscape creating a show on the ceiling. Cool, right?

For more information, check out Tickets are at each theatre venue one hour before the show, online or in person at the SummerWorks information booth (100A Ossington Ave.) between 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.