Culture: Yoyo Ma, Children’s Festival & Top Girls

MUSIC: Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach

MUSIC: Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach

I write these previews mainly because I think you’ll be interested in going to the event. But here I hesitate: I don’t want the competition for tickets to see one of classical music’s pre-eminent performers play Bach’s Suites for Cello. One of the few beatified moments of my adult life – if you’ll permit the reminiscence – came as I sat in an idling Toyota RAV4 and listened, on repeat, to Ma work his magic on “Suite No. 1.” Musically, it’s twice as thrilling as the opening riff of Van Halen’s “Jump” – although not half as likely, one suspects, to induce body surfing among the expected sold-out crowd. May 12, Chan Shun Concert Hall.

THEATRE: Top Girls

Top Girls What would you give up for success? Sleep? Your health? Perhaps time with family? For Marlene, who’s just landed a promotion at a girls-only employment agency, the correct response is both different and more gendered. To help settle the question, she throws an imaginary dinner party of women from history, and together they examine the price women pay to succeed in a “man’s world.” Named by the Guardian as one of the top plays of the 20th century, Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls assures a clash of wit and human seriousness. May 9 to 30, Vancouver Playhouse.

EVENT: Vancouver Children’s Festival

Fred Penner If music is the language of the soul, Fred Penner has some explaining to do for his best-known (and creepiest) song, “The Cat Came Back.” (Why? Because it just couldn’t stay away.) The Winnipeg-born musician anchors the mainstage at this year’s Vancouver International Children’s Festival, which is, for our most diminutive denizens, a glorious week of puppetry, storytelling, music and magic. Adults seem to like it too: with a cumulative audience approaching two million since its 1978 inception, the festival is a perennial Vancouver favourite. May 11 to 18, Vanier Park.