Orpheus strikes gold with Shrek: The Musical

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire

Music by Jeanine Tesori

Based on the Dreamworks animation motion picture and the book by William Steig

Orpheus Musical Theatre Society  directed by Jenn Donnelly

Shrek: The Musical will never win a place in the annals of great Broadway shows, but the production it receives from Orpheus is nevertheless an ongoing delight.

Forget the fact that the prime reason for its arrival on the Great White Way was somewhat cynical and opportunistic —  to capitalize further on the enormous success of the Dreamworks animated movie about a misanthropic swamp-dwelling ogre named Shrek and his rescue of a princess from a tower. Ignore, if you can, the readiness of the stage adaptation to remain faithful to a marketing dictum pursued by the filmmakers — that young audiences find flatulence funny. Accept the reality that Jeanine Tesori’s score can be pretty underwhelming. (more…)

Shrek the Musical: Ogre gets girl has some incredible design elements!!!

Reviewed by James Murchison

Poster for Orpheus musical in Ottawa

There have been some remarkable musicals already this early in Ottawa’s theatre season. We had the remarkable Jonathan Larson biographical musical Tick Tick Boom kicking off for Orpheus in the studio theatre at Centrepointe and the clever, innovative Ordinary Days at GCTC. We are now into the Christmas season and the more traditional musical formula is upon us.

Shrek, the classic story of ogre gets girl, ogre loses girl, ogre gets girl wrapped up in a message of inclusion and be true to yourself comes to the Centrepointe theatre from the dedicated and talented community of Orpheus. Oops, I forgot the spoiler alert. Oh well, I doubt that there would be more than two percent of the public that isn’t already familiar with the original DreamWorks animated film of the same name. (more…)

Shrek the musical:Orpheus lands a show of stunning quality and great visuals!

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire; Music by Jeanine Tesori/ Based on the Dreamworks animation motion picture and the book by William Steig

Orpheus Musical Theatre Society  directed by Jenn Donnelly

A terrific production can make a believer out of a curmudgeon of a reviewer who has always hated body-noise and bathroom jokes. No doubt about it.

Orpheus Musical Theatre Society‘s Shrek the Musical overcomes the limitations of the script, the generally unmemorable score and assorted loud belches and regular breaking of wind to land a show of stunning quality and great visuals. It also offers a low-key presentation of the message that love and acceptance come in many forms. (more…)

Student review: Voices from the Front

News from Capital Critics Circle

source-for-Voices from the Frong

photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre

Natasha Lomonossoff from the theatre criticism class of Patrick Langston at the University of Ottawa

With exceptional vocal performances and material inspired by letters of Canadian soldiers at the front of the two world wars, Plosive Productions’ work Voices from the Front strikes a tone that is both realistic and touching. The play, a work co-created by Teri Loretto-Valentik and John Cook and directed by the former, is presented in the tradition of the Gladstone’s annual radio play and narrates the experience of war in the format of a radio broadcast. The staging aspect of this format, however, takes a back seat to the letters and speeches which are read out loud to the audience; it is the delivery of these in which the show derives most of its emotional strength.

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Student review” ” Voices from the Front”, The Radio Show : Remembering the Voice

News from Capital Critics Circle

Taylor Stewart  in the Theatre Criticism class of Patrick Langston.

Voices from the Front: The Radio Show is a pure, emotional power house that commemorates the brave men and women of the Canadian military. It delivers a performance as powerful as a a service at a Cenotaph yet is wholly different.

The show was written by John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik from the letters of Canadian Soldiers during World War I and II. This is a piece of verbatim theatre, meaning the majority of the text is preserved as it was written by the individuals who originally wrote the letters; however, they have been added to for the purpose of a flowing narrative or filling in details that would add to the fiction of the show. Using these letters Cook and Loretto-Valentik have created the characters of Will Cooper and his son, Wilfred Cooper. The two are enlisted men serving in WWI and WWII, respectively. The show consists primarily of the actors reading the letters that Will and Wilfred have written to their families. (more…)

Capital Critics Circle announces annual theatre awards

News from Capital Critics Circle

Vigilante,   Photo by David Cooper,                        Best professional production

Photo: Maria Vartanova

Photo: Maria Vartanova
Other Desert Cities

 
The Capital Critics Circle today announced the winners of the nineteenth annual theatre awards for plays presented in English in the National Capital Region during the 2016-2017 season. The winners are:

Best professional production:    Vigilante written, composed and directed by Jonathan Christenson, Catalyst Theatre, in association with the NAC.

Best production community:  Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Geoff Gruson, Ottawa Little Theatre

Best director professional: Esther Jun for her direction of The Last Wife (more…)

Semperopera”s Swan Lake moves forward to a heightened emotional and psychological performance!!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

photo Ian Whalen

Photo Ian Whalen
Semperoper  Dresden Ballet company

The renowned  Semperoper Dresden Ballet under the artistic direction of Canadian Aaron S. Watkin,  has just whirled through  Ottawa this past  weekend with their moving romantic  performance of Swan Lake, one of the world’s  most famous narrative ballets.

Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, performed by the orchestra of the NAC under the direction of Mikhail Agrest, the tragic story inspired by  Russian folk tales concerns the handsome prince Siegfried who falls in love with Odette, the young  woman bewitched by an evil magician who can only retain her human form for a brief time every day but who can be released from the spell if she has the  true love of a human.   (more…)

The State of Siege (l’état de siège): A political warning

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

État de siège

État de siège, Photo de Jean Louis Fernandez

Albert Camus’ 1948 play The State of Siege (L’État de Siège) is presently touring the U.S. in a production by Paris’ celebrated Théâtre de la Ville. This is the company’s third visit to this country, but its first to Boston where it opened on November 9 at ArtEmerson’s Majestic Theatre.

Camus was invited to write the play by the actor and mime Jean-Louis Barrault then also France’s leading director. As early as the late 1930s, Barrault began developing ideas for a drama based on the plague. At first, he collaborated with Antonin Artaud whose interest lay not in dialogue, but in creating a powerful theatre of ritual, imagery, and movement which ultimately through assaulting the audience’s senses would have a cathartic effect. The two men split up because Artaud’s ideas were too extreme for Barrault and the converse was true for Artaud. (more…)

Voices From The Front evokes the words and memories of two world wars

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Voice from the Front. Plosive Productions.

Photo courtesy of Plosive Productions

 

Voices FromThe Front: The Radio Show

Conceived by John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik

A Plosive production at the Gladstone Theatre to Nov. 11

On one level, Voices From The Front — the latest entry in Ottawa theatre’s popular Radio Show series — may seem simplicity itself. Yet its impact can be powerful.

There’s a row of microphones along the front of the Gladstone Theatre’s playing area. Behind, there’s a row of chairs for the performers as they await those moments when they come forward to read. And in one corner, there’s a piano and the three singing Gladstone Sisters who will be making their own important contribution to the evening. (more…)

Voices from the Front:Radio format and the written material dont always mesh

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

Most years, Plosive Productions’ annual Radio Show takes place close to Christmas with a seasonal or light-hearted theme: adaptations of classics like Miracle on 34th Street or Winnie-the-Pooh, for example.

This time, Plosive has scheduled the show – Voices from the Front – around Remembrance Day and focused on much grittier material: the letters written to family and sweethearts by soldiers serving at the front in the First and Second World Wars.

If you’ve ever read any of these letters, particularly on their original, now-yellowed paper, you know how effecting the words can be.

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Past Reviews