Sarah's Weekend List, May 20-23

Join the Charivari in Kooza! Now under the Big Top in the Old Port. PHOTO: Matt Beard | Cirque du Soleil
Sarah Deshaies produces the Andrew Carter Morning Show. Every Friday at 8:20am, she tells you about the big, quirky and off-the-beaten-path events happening in Montreal. Here is this week's list, with links for more information so you can get out and enjoy the city! Submit your event to



The Innocent is your guide to the fantastical world of Charivari in Kooza, Cirque du Soleil’s first big show under the big top in Montreal since 2019. At the Old Port until August 14. 

The Mondiale de la bière allows you to sample brews from all over the world. Free admission, but you’ll put in a loonie for each coupon, and each tasting is two to eight coupons. The event returns to Windsor Station and Rio Tinto Yard. Until Sunday. 

Rufus Wainwright at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Saturday at 8pm.  

Singer Jann Arden performs at MTelus, Friday 8pm. 

The following night, the iconic Engelbert Humperdinck visits Wilfrid-Pelletier, Sunday at 8pm. 

Torey Lanez, Lil Baby and Playboi Carti headline weekend-long rap festival Metro Metro, taking place on the Esplanade at the Big O, Friday through Sunday. 

‘90s alt-rockers The Deftones hit up Place Bell with Gojira and VOWWS, Saturday at 7pm. 

Swedish progressive metal band Pain of Salvation team up with Klone for Le Studio TD, Sunday at 8pm 

Montreal-based experimental soul band Chiiild (“child”) put on a Victoria Day concert at Le Studio TD with Toulouse, Monday 8pm. 

Long-running circus-cabaret Les Érotisseries returns after a pandemic break to present a new show themed on “consensual erotic personal essays”. Audience members decide to sit in the “wet” or “dry” sections, depending whether you want to participate or simple be a ‘voyeur’. Wraps up Saturday at Theatre Espace Libre. (Tickets are hard to come by, but last-minute spots may be available at the door.) 

Final weekend to check out April Fools, a new immersive rock musical cabaret created by Israeli singing sensation Keren Peles. Inspired by events in her own life, Keren spins a story about Eva, a woman who has it all - but is tempted to embark on an affair. Eva is joined by a female Greek chorus and her lover, firefighter Daniel. I loved the music, and the pop culture touches. And don’t forget to download the show app on your phone - it adds a surprising edge to the story! Nurses can get courtesy tickets - check in with the box office. Until Sunday. 

A young woman recounts her sexual assualt, along with a constellation of supporters and observers - with one exception from the narrative: that of her attacker. Talisman Theatre presents the English-language premiere of Rachel Graton’s Night from the 4th to the 5th. Isabelle Bartkowiak directs this contemporary story. Streaming on demand, pay-what-you-can until May 29. 

Les Amis de la Montagne celebrates Mount Royal Month with a series of discovery walks, a photo competition and more programming through May. On Saturday, explore the “therapeutic value of Mount Royal” in a tour that will take you to the gardens at Hotel-Dieu. 

The Montreal chapter of the 11th Annual Distinguished Gentleman's Ride will reunite motorcycling enthusiasts on Sunday, just one of several rides happening across Canada and the world. The Montreal gathering point is the Bell Centre, at 9am, with “kickstands up” at 11:30am. The riders are raising money for men's health charity Movember. 

The hilarious Scott Faulconbridge headlines the Comedy Nest, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm. David Pryde is the feature guest for Sunday Funday. 

On the bill at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room this weekend: Miss Booty Jones, Kitty Kin-Evil, Charli Deville and the delicious Miss Meow. Shows Friday and Saturday. 

New in theatres: The Crawley crew returns with Downton Abbey: A New Era. Cora, Robert and the gang trip down to the French Riviera to puzzle out the dowager countess’ mysterious inheritance. Back at the “farm”, a Hollywood movie shoot wreaks havoc. Per one CJAD listener: “Brilliant brilliant brilliant - you will love it.” 

Natasha Lyonne (creator and star of Netflix's Russian Doll) and indie singer Japanese Breakfast close out the current season of Saturday Night Live. Saturday, 11:30pm. 

Now streaming: The Kids in the Hall end a long hiatus on Amazon Prime. (Love it!) And Letterkenny spinoff Shoresy is now on Crave: Jared Keeso’s alter ego Shoresy is a gifted, trash-talking hockey player who joins the struggling AAA Sudbury Bulldogs.


Variations Mile End is a dance school now launching a space for improv and comedy performances on the Plateau. Performer and manager Jason Grimmer launched comedy classes during the pandemic, and now students and comedy lovers can visit Théatre VME for performances. Four shows this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 9:30pm. 

New feature film Peace by Chocolate tells the story of the Hadhad family, who fled Syria during the civil war, and eventually arrived in Canada in 2015. They continued the family trade by launching a chocolate factory in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The movie, directed by Jonathan Keijser, features Syrian actors (Hatem Ali, Yara Sabri) as well as a wealth of Montreal talent (Dawn Ford, Arthur Holden, Paul Van Dyck Laurent Pitre)... and a cameo by the Prime Minister. In theatres, including Cinema Forum, Cinéma du Musée and Cinéma Odeon Quartier Latin. 

The Insectarium has reopened post-renovation with a fresh look at all the creepy, crawly, pretty creatures. The team redesigned the space to give visitors an intimate look at what it is to be an insect: in the Alcoves, vibrating floors and ultraviolet projections allow you to imagine how insects feel and see the world. Visitors get to move like an insect, too, slipping through cracks or trodding on rods hanging from the ceiling. Then you get to observe bugs up close, followed by a trip through the Dome, and finally, a greenhouse-like space, the Great Vivarium, where roaming butterflies are the special attraction. 

And reminder that the first signs of spring will also be visible nearby at the Botanical Gardens, and the Planetarium and the Biodome are also open - but getting your timed ticket in advance is an absolute must! A little further away, on Ile Sainte-Hélène, the Biosphère is also open. 

At the Montreal Science Centre, explore evolution in Human or explore the process of invention in Fabrik - Creativity Factory. Plus, the movie theatre is open, so you can sit back and learn about Sea Lions and the Great Bear Rainforest - in IMAX 3D! 

Stranger Than Kindness is a new exhibition based on the life and work of Nick Cave, the  Aussie-born artist known for his deep baritone and religiously-tinged lyrics probing love, religion and violence. We start in his hometown Wangaratta, then travel to London then Berlin, then a loving recreation of his actual home office. Over 300 bits of ephemera, from lyrics to letters, books to bits of hair, bring the show to livid life. Keep your eyes peeled for an email Leonard Cohen wrote to Cave after tragedy hit his family… Cohen is one of Cave’s inspirations, and that’s partly why Stranger Than Kindness is stopping off here after its inaugural run in Copenhagen. The show opens Friday at Galerie de la Maison du Festival, 305 Sainte-Catherine. Until August 7. 

At the McCord: Piqutiapiit celebrates and elucidates the incredible craftwork of Inuit women. Montreal-based, Kuujjuaq-born artist  Niap is the driving force behind the show. We view the tools and the practical works they helped to craft, including beadwork and clothing. And there is original work from Niap, who is currently artist-in-residence at the McCord. 

Also check out the fascinating exhibit JJ Levine: Queer Portraits. The Montreal artist presents 52 intimate images of people who self-identify as queer, selected from three different series taken between now and 2006. 

Indie venue Montreal Improv is back, at its new home in St Henri. Catch one or more of the four shows up this weekend! Tickets and schedules here

Cabaret Celeste is a new show at the recently renovated Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel. A meeting room has been converted to a cozy cabaret space for this Cirque Éloize production, which was cancelled hours before its original opening back in December (thanks, Omicron). Celeste draws inspiration from the astrophysical… think tarot, horoscopes, planets and deities … and it is by equal turns sensual and silly! I loved the creative clay juggling act, and the master of ceremony’s Cyr wheel act. The talented and gorgeous Coral Egan provides the vocals through a slew of pop songs, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Coldplay to Leonard Cohen. 

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Nicolas Party: L'heure mauve, a look at the Swiss artist’s pastels, watercolours and sculptures, set against murals he’s painted in the Museum… plus with 50 works selected by Party from the Museum’s collection. The show title is a reference to ‘that fleeting moment when the fading light casts purple hues over the landscape’ - how dreamy! 

Exporail, the Canadian train museum in St Constant presents: Train, a Railroad to Dreams: A World in Miniature. It’s an homage to toy trains… so you start with the smallest of the trains, then pivot to marvel at the 50 life-size vehicles on display in the Grand Gallery.


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