A View From the Bridge:

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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Photo from National Theatre Live (A Young Vic production). Michael Gould (lawyer) and Mark Strong (Eddie Carbone) Centre stage.

Coming….

OLT’S Goodbye Piccadilly Shows Genuine Heart

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

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Photo. Maria Vartanova.

The cast of Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of Goodbye Piccadilly faces the daunting challenge of finding and maintaining a convincing dramatic line for a play that springs from a preposterous situation and seeks to blend honest pathos with moments of potentially destructive comedy.

Douglas Bowie’s play doesn’t make it easy with sequences that, in less experienced hands, could disintegrate into farce. But under the guiding hand of director Sarah Hearn, the production finds balance and nuance as the play explores the strange circumstances surrounding a beloved local citizen’s death and the upheavals it causes among his survivors.And when it comes to survivors, there are more than we first expected. We initially meet Bess Brickley, sympathetically portrayed by Janet Uren, in a state of bustling excitement over the news that husband Brick has been awarded the Order of Canada. It’s November, and Brick is supposed to be off on his annual late autumn canoe trip in Algonquin Park — but he isn’t. The euphoria Bess has been experiencing is suddenly crushed by an overseas telephone call to the Brickley family’s rural Ontario inn. It comes from London, where Brick has been found dead on a park bench in Leicester Square.

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La Charge de l’orignal épormyable: blood curdling production of this Claude Gauvreau play on the U. of Ottawa stage.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

La Charge de l'orignal épormyable

Photo. Marianne Duval.

A blood curdling all feminine production of La Charge de l’Orignal Épormyable, under the direction of Guy Beausoleil,   plays this week at the U.of Otttawa . This is a rare chance to see a work by Claude Gauvreau, poet and playwright, who was one of the people who signed the Quebec  Manifesto Refus Global in 1948 and set Quebec culture on a new trajectory. 

This plays gives us an excellent glimpse of the poet, his tortured conscience, his vision of artistic production and his  heightened  idea of the poet who emerges as a god, a super presence that can save the world.   We see, among other things how his dialogue, becomes a verbal form of “Automatismse”, essentially a reference to the  visual art experiments of the period. , Gauvrau wrote partially in “ langue exploréenne”.  Portions of his text represent “non figurative” language composed of extra-linguistice elements (sound, rhythm, accents, )  that corresponded (in spoken language) to the  Automatist experiments in non-figuratuve painting in the 1950s where the sexual impulse  was considered central to artistic creation.  Most of those who signed the Manifesto Refus Global  were removed from their jobs and became pariahs of society  because it appeared that most of the artistic establishment in postwar Quebec was not yet ready to accept a form of “Modernité” that was inherited from the new European art Movements.

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GCTC Artistic Director Eric Coates Launches New Season 2015-2016.

News from Capital Critics Circle

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Paul Rainville and Eric Coates in George Walker’s The Burden of Self Awareness from the 2013-2014 Season. Photo: Andrew Alexander

Artistic Director, Eric Coates, Managing Director Hugh Neilson and associated artists took to the stage at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre to introduce GCTC’s new season for 2015-2016. Eric Coates is passionate about programming Canadian playwrights and developing new works and this season is no different.

The 2015-2016 season offers up political scandal; a tribute to our veterans; a local family holiday story; international intrigue; chilling vengeance and a visit from the Queen. The new season, subscription and ticket information were posted on GCTC‘s website at the same time along with a video of Eric Coates, Hugh Neilson and staff introducing the new season. www.gctc.ca.

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The Marriage of Figaro: Opera Lyra’s Near Perfect Operatic Event

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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Wallis Giunta as Cherubino, John Brancy as Figaro. Photo Andrew Alexander.

Wagner’s vision of Opera was essentially the Gesamtkunstwerk, a dialogue of all the arts. There is no doubt that the public often perceives Opera as essentially a musical performance (instrumental and vocal) but I have always felt that a performance of “théâtre chanté” which is where Mozart found the purist expression of his dramatic genius, must include all elements of a staged production to do justice to the meanings imbedded in that wonderful music.

Take the overture to the Marriage of Figaro . Last night, it t burst upon us at a most furious clip, under the impeccable playing of the musicians and the magical direction of Kevin Mallon. It left me out of breath and perfectly in the mood to receive what was coming: a light hearted, deliciously playful outpouring of “théâtre comique”. I was not disappointed….for the most part. The voices were excellent expressions of that dramatic genius as they transformed their recitatives and their arias into truly theatrical moments of comic acting, Opera buffa met Opéra comique in one of the most enjoyable evenings I have spent at Opera Lyra in a long while.

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The Marriage of Figaro: Stunning, clever production with wit and class

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

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Photo: Andrew Alexander

When The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s comic opera in four acts, premiered in Vienna at the Burgtheater on May 1, 1786, it was an instant success. Its lively overture and its brilliantly crafted arias, coupled with comical and lovable characters, thrilled the audience. The demand for encores became so numerous that even the emperor had to interfere in order to keep the performance at a reasonable length (he ruled that only parts written for a single voice could be repeated in any opera, although this edict may not have been enforced). The first reviewer wrote that the opera “contains so many beauties, and such a richness of thought as can proceed only from the born genius.”

Opera Lyra’s production of The Marriage of Figaro is not set in 18th-century Spain (as the original), but in turn of the 20th century England. This change in historical period is noticeable mostly in costumes, but as the libretto is suited to any era (with a few small tweaks), it does not hurt the production.

For the last three years, Opera Lyra has been finding its way with more or less success and we waited for 30 months to witness a performance as good and as exciting as La Bohème (September 2012). This time, the task was even harder because of the very characteristic plot in comedic opera (opera buffa) which centers on two groups of characters: a comic group of male and female personages and a pair (or more) of lovers, without much complexity in characters. (more…)

NAC Announces its 2015-2016 Dance season –

News from Capital Critics Circle

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The 2015-16 season showcases the best dancers, choreographers, and designers from around the world, the line-up includes artists from 14 countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dada Masilo: Swan Lake

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Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation January 28-30, 2016  A star-studded collaboration between the RWB, Canadian author Joseph Boyden, choreographer Mark Godden, and Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. Going Home Star was 10 years in the making, first envisioned by late Cree elder/activist Mary Richard and RWB Artistic Director André Lewis. Searing and sensitive, this powerfully emotional classical ballet is the deeply resonant love story of Annie and Gordon, a pair of contemporary aboriginal young people coming to terms with a soul-destroying past. Without truth, there is no reconciliation. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet was last at the NAC in January 2015, performing The Handmaid’s Tale.

Hong Kong Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty March 3-5, 2016. Embrace the timeless enchantment of one of the world’s favourite fairy-tale, The Sleeping Beauty. This sumptuous production, staged by Cynthia Harvey, features technical brilliance and bravura dancing, stunning sets and costumes by Mark Bailey, and Tchaikovsky’s magnificently seductive score. This fast-paced ballet delivers family-friendly fun with all the essential fairy-tale ingredients: storybook characters, romance, fate, good versus evil— and of course, true love! Hong Kong Ballet makes its NAC debut.

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Intercultural conversations/conversations interculturelles : Nineteen local companies awarded grants for the upcoming seasons.

News from Capital Critics Circle

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Photo: Amy Keith
Acteurs gauche à droit (left to right)
Cynthia Cantave, Charles-Smith Métellus, Vanessa Schmit-Craan  

Capital Critics Circle is happy to present pass on this excellent news about Intercultural Theatre. We reviewed “The Other Theatre’s” production of Macbeth at the Segal centre and we are very happy this company received an award. Their production was excellent and gave us a new and unique vision of Shakespeare as seen through a group of Haitian professionals of the stage, based in Montreal. All our congratulations to the winners…(note http://capitalcriticscircle.com/?s=Macbeth&x=0&y=0  for a review of Macbeth.

Encouraging theatrical dialogue between the various cultures in Montreal
Nineteen local companies awarded invaluable grants for their upcoming seasons

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The Marriage of Figaro. This Opera Lyra Production Ranks High!

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

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Photo: Barb Gray. John Brancy and Sacha Djihanian

It’s pretty obvious that Opera Lyra is making a pitch to the Downton Abbey fan club by attempting an early 20th Century take on The Marriage Of Figaro.

Halfway through the overture, we get a glimpse of servants being assembled in front of the stately English exterior of “Highclere Castle” and inspected by a dignified butler. The scene is a somewhat tiresome contrivance, and not really in synch with Mozart’s music. And, let’s face it — the the music is what counts in this production, and, happily, the playing of the overture already has us appreciating the silken elegance of the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s contribution to the evening under conductor Kevin Mallon.

So when it comes to honouring the Mozartian soundscape, the delights the production provides are manifest. For the most part, this is a beautifully sung Figaro, featuring some stellar work from the principals, and in particular a notably engaging performance on all fronts from Wallis Giunta in the trouser role of the lovelorn pageboy, Cherubino.

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THe Best Brothers : Two Shining Performances at the GCTC

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

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Photo: Barb Gray

There’s no denying the pleasure of Andy Massingham’s performance in The Best Brothers, the latest offering from GCTC. His portrayal of Kyle, a twitchy gay realtor coping with the aftermath of his mother’s death, isn’t merely rich in comic detail: it also seeks to anchor it to psychological truth. And if this fine actor doesn’t entirely succeed, blame it on the ambushes inherent in Daniel MacIvor’s problematic play.

It would be easy for audience members to settle back and simply enjoy Massingham’s contribution to the evening as a “performance.” His Kyle is a jumble of emotions — anxious, impulsive, street-smart, capable of saying and doing outrageous things. We suspect that something hilariously awful will occur during the deceased’s funeral, and Kyle (or, rather, Massingham) doesn’t let us down. But even as he turns the moment of eulogy into chaos, Massingham also manages to remind us of Kyle’s essential kindness of heart — and his vulnerability.

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