Things to do

The Weekender: Circus kicks, comics, and Sondheim

ArtsEmerson presents the US premiere of “Reversible,” the new production by circus troupe The 7 Fingers, at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.
Cimon Parent
ArtsEmerson presents the US premiere of “Reversible,” the new production by circus troupe The 7 Fingers, at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Greetings, Weekenders!

Glad to see you made it through that abbreviated Labor Day workweek that somehow felt twice as long (time is so weird). I don’t have an extra day to offer you this week, but I do have a pretty serious stack of things to keep you busy between doses of Pumpkin Spice. Read on!

RALLY THE TROUPES: You won’t believe your eyes! Because not only does Montreal contemporary circus troupe The Seven Fingers feature — dramatic pause — eight people, but they also summon a lot more tension than I just did there with their repertoire of acrobatics, dance, illusion, theater, and music. The live-cooking feast of feats that was 2016’s “Cuisine and Confessions” stoked Boston’s appetite for the Fingers, but the time-traveling “Reversible” takes to new dimensions altogether. It’s up through Sept. 24 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Find tickets here. And for more entomological kicks, Cirque du Soleil has just one final US weekend of its “OVO” (in which humans try to freak me out as much as bugs do, and nearly succeed) through Sunday at Agganis Arena. Come for the show, stay for the lighting of the ceremonial citronella candle that disperses it. Find tickets here.


SOLO MISSION: You may know her best as one side of the B-52’s cosmic stereo field, but Cindy Wilson, at 60, is also coming into her own as a solo artist with “Change,” a brand-new debut album of what the Globe’s Maura Johnston calls “gently percolating, expansive electro-pop” on Kill Rock Stars (nice!), and a tour that swings her through the Middle East Upstairs (nice!!) on Saturday night. Grab tickets here. And do not be trying to harmonize with her: For the last time, we love you but you can’t be Kate.

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LAUGH IN: If you want to know what the world is laughing at, just flip on over to the national news section and imagine being far, far away. Or, wait, no, actually, don’t — trying to shift focus here. If you want to know what the world is laughing at, just head on over to the ninth installment of the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, which runs through the weekend and brings in laffworthy talents in improv, sketch, and music from all over the place. Among the highlights, there’s the French improv troupe La Carpe Haute on Friday, the fantastic Aparna Nancherla on Saturday, and several chances to see Chicago’s Defiant Thomas Brothers (more highlights here in Nick A. Zaino III’s roundup). Find the full lineup and tickets here. (And get ready for another impromptu ab workout with the approaching, similarly named but entirely different Boston Comedy Festival coming later this month.)

WITNESS ACCOUNT: Opening this weekend is “Whose Streets?,” a “riveting” documentary on the events that roiled Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and 2015 that according to Ty Burr in his three-star review, “just about bubbles over with anger, resistance, and hope.” (It also offers a look at the birth of smartphone-driven citizen journalism.) Co-directed by Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis, the film follows activists Brittany Ferrell, Tef Poe, Kayla Reed, and others through a narrative stitched together from smartphone videos, surveillance footage, TV reports, and other views from within the uprising. Opens Friday.

Bill Skarsgard as demon clown Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.”
Warner Bros. Pictures
Bill Skarsgard as demon clown Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.”

RECURRING NIGHTMARE: Long regarded as the “Infinite Jest” of Gen-X middle-schoolers, Stephen King’s “It” managed to lurk in the sewers of a generation’s subconscious for decades despite everyone only reading the first 300 pages. Now those traumatic memories can be freshly dredged up in the form of Andy Muschietti’s deeply creepy adaptation of King’s 1986 clown-fueled horror show. And while reviewer Tom Russo tosses only 2½ stars down its drain (calling it “horror that’s more efficient than terrifying”), I’d see it now, if only because the approaching season of “Stranger Things” might be enough to puncture this whole BMX-bike horror phase we’re stuck in. Opens Friday.

FURTH SERVED?: If that recent Barrington Stage production of “Company” has you on a Stephen Sondheim kick, spare your family members your Spotify playlist and keep it rolling with the Huntington Theatre Company production of “Merrily We Roll Along,” with performances Friday through Oct. 15 at the Huntington Avenue Theatre. It’s a fresh take on an old classic (and onetime flop) directed by Maria Friedman, who played Mary back in Sondheim and George Furth’s 1992 revision of the show. I’d snatch these up quick — this is the third season the Huntington has opened with a Sondheim musical, so they’ve got a good thing going. Find tickets here.


COMING UP ROSES: Oh, you thought that was all the Sondheim I had for you this week? Oh no, no, no. There’s also the Rachel Bertone-directed (and choreographed) production of (everybody gasp with me now) “Gypsy,” up through Oct. 8 at Lyric Stage Company. Of special note is this show’s Mama Rose, Leigh Barrett, who Globe theater critic Don Aucoin says carries the production with “the avidity and assurance of a supremely skilled performer who knows she is tackling the role of a lifetime.” Find tickets here.

FINE PRINTS: For a breathtaking battle between two masters of 18th-century Japanese printmaking, check out “Showdown! Kuniyoshi vs. Kunisada,” praised by the reviewer Cate McQuaid as a “whopping good” exhibition of works from Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Utagawa Kunisada — artists with a “knack for labyrinthine and ornate patterning and feisty composition.” It’s on view at the Museum of Fine Arts through Dec. 10, and you can find more information here.


“The Deuce” is HBO’s new porn ’n’ prostitutes drama from David Simon (“The Wire”), and the Globe’s Matthew Gilbert says he “could have watched [it] with the sound off” for its” “visually spellbinding” production design and period perfection. It features Maggie Gyllenhaal and two whole servings of James Franco — way more than the recommended weekly dosage, but you’ll be fine. That’s Sunday at 9 p.m.

From left: Pernell Walker, James Franco, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in “The Deuce.”
Paul Schiraldi/HBO
From left: Pernell Walker, James Franco, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in “The Deuce.”

That gives you a DVR decision to make, as “The Deuce” will be in direct competition with the return of SundanceTV’s 2013 series “Top of the Lake.” While Gilbert found the first season “riveting,” this time out, it “returns as a lesser thing — engaging and entertaining, for sure, but lazily written.”

And for thine ears this weekend, you can’t really go wrong with a new album from The National. Reviewer Terence Cawley calls “Sleep Well Beast” the band’s “most sonically engaging National album yet.” And for those who fondly recall the regular byline of one Joan Anderman in the Globe, her band Field Day (along with fellow Globe alum Dan Zedek) has just dropped a new EP, “Go No Go,” which the Globe’s Zoë Madonna digs for its “riff-driven songs” that “burst with crunchy-soulful harmonies, slightly fuzzy guitars, and boisterous heart.”


And that, my Weekender peeps, is all I’ve got in the bag. (Oh, that and a pair of white shoes, because this newsletter is a rebel and doesn’t care for your rules, man.) However you go about spending your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday. See you next time!

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.