Capital Critics' Circle
Le cercle des critiques de la capitale

Reviewing Theatre in Canada's Capital Region
La critique théâtrale de la région Ottawa-Gatineau

Eastern Ontario Drama Festival One Act Play Competition: 2010

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

Ottawa Little Theatre celebrated its 98th season by hosting the Eastern Ontario Drama League’s One-Act Play Festival. This festival, originating in 1933, is comprised of nine plays, between 25 and 60 minutes in length, performed by community theatres from all over Eastern Ontario.

In past years, quality of production has varied, some established theatre companies displaying more experience and polish than others. But in the past fifteen or so years that I have been attending these festivals, this gap has narrowed and it is no longer these companies  that prevail. This year, has continued the trend with Perth, Almonte, Manotick and Kemptville all receiving favourabale comments from adjudicator Laurel Smith.

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Taming of the Shrew: in present day costumes, the Kanata production becomes a tale of wife abuse rather than a romantic comedy

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

It is just possible to swallow the theme of a husband having dominion over his submissive wife when William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is presented as a period piece. Even then, it frequently raises the hackles of contemporary audiences. When it is delivered in near-present-day costume, the director leading with his chin and the outdated concept is much more difficult to accept. Through this lens, Shrew becomes more of a tale of wife abuse than a romantic comedy.

In the Kanata Theatre production, director Jim Holmes uses such costumes as an ABBA jumpsuit to lighten the mood and emphasize the comedy aspect. This works to a degree, but is hard to justify dramatically. Even more of an effect for its own sake is a Mexican dance and multi-coloured skirts as part of a wedding celebration. (All that just to throw sombreros over an Italian fountain?)

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