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

F*****G Stephen Harper!

Reviewed by on    Ottawa Fringe 2011  

Everyone should see this one man event because whether one agrees with the ideas expressed here or not,  it shows  how a fearless political activist turned performer goes straight for the theatrical jugular  – a rare occurrence in Canadian Theatre.

One could say that he has taken as  his model  Ric Mercer’s  style of political exposé, drowning his enemies in gales of laughter, although it is clear that Salerno is much more radical than our man from Newfoundland.  Rob Salerno tells all about the Conservatives, and their leader, at least we get Salerno’s perspective and it makes for an evening of surprises.  Gasps, gurgles, guffaws and muted giggles great the whole series of revelations that pop up on the screen at the back of the stage. . Ottawan’s are so polite but then it is also the kind of show that works especially well in  Ottawa where the main characters are the local MP.s

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Ottawa Fringe 2011. Five Lies a pleasant little encounter..

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

The venue is not the most comfortable but this play is a well constructed and  pleasant little encounter which  feels like a  modern fairy tale bolstered up by arguments that suggest  strong moral fibre. Not that one looks for moral lessons at the theatre, even less so at the Fringe. Thus the subject matter of Five Lies is rather  a surprise.

Mark is standing on the edge of a roof, looking down at the city below. At first it’s  not obvious what he has in mind but as soon as a slightly motherly “guardian” angel, known as Phyllis, appears , asking him, in a very matter of fact way..what are you thinking!!  It becomes obvious.

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Ottawa Fringe 2011. Subnormality.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

To base a theatre play on a comic (and a popular one) is a brave move. Often, what works on paper does not work in a live show. Comic characters are very hard to translate into reality because of their exaggerated traits and freedom of physical movement, which is possible only in a space not encumbered by gravity. The Ottawa-based company “Troupe de la Lune” chose to do just that. Their production of the play “Subnormality” is inspired by a web-comics series of the same name by the cartoonist Winston Rowntree which is published bi-weekly on Rowntree’s webcomic-site. Its main characteristics are satire, absurdity, weird, often unearthly characters and very long monologues and dialogues presented in “thought balloons.”

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Ottawa Fringe 2011. Momma’s boy

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

This appears to be a performance that takes the form of a folktale of the North, with audience directed monologues, replacing the story teller and of course music.

Ginny has come home to the North (Sioux Look Out) where her mother Daphne lives alone. Ginny has just ended a relationship and is seeking a nice quiet place to finish her thesis. She is enrolled in a programme at the U of Toronto.  Her mother is happy to see her daughter home and spends her time obsessively shifting coffee cups, like checkers, on a table in the middle of the stage.

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Ottawa Fringe 2011: Peter’n Chris Save the World

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region.  

By Chris Wilson and Peter Carlone Peter ‘n Chris Save the World delivers a fast-talking, fast-paced comedy about two slightly ADD characters out to save the world. The brainchild of Chris Wilson and Peter Carlone, the show leaves audiences practically convulsing in laughter at the scene changes and witty, tongue-in-cheek dialogue. The strength of the show lies in the duo’s comedic timing and capacity as physical performers. The story is there, but it is secondary, seeming to serve as a backdrop for Peter and Chris’ antic on stage. Although a few of the jokes fell somewhat flat, the show struck a chord with the audience. After all, while utterly hilarious, it does touch upon contemporary issues such as our all-consuming fear of boredom and increasing desire to do something- anything- to achieve a sense of purpose. For Peter, Chris and myriads of others, this amounts to fighting to save the world, even if they don’t fully understand what they are doing or how they are meant to do it. Perhaps this is a snapshot of life today, a criticism of our rush to always act at the expense of understanding and real passion. Or perhaps I read too much into it. Either way, this clever, manic comedy will leave you laughing and lighthearted.

Fringe 2011: The Interview

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,


Is old Mr. Anderson senile? Clever? Does one negate the other? Are the two cops good, bad, just doing their jobs? And what will it be like when you and I and those two police officers are old? Will we feel powerless or will we – and does Mr. Anderson – still find ways to bend the world to our desires?

The Interview, a multi-award winner at the 2010 Eastern Ontario Drama League One-Act Play Festival, prompts questions. It’s also a highlight of this year’s Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Written by Ken Wilson, the one-act drama balances suspense, comedy and humanity in its story about Mr. Anderson (the outstanding Dan Baran) who lives in a nursing home where a murder has occured. Ken Godmere and Michael Kennedy play the two cops investigating the killing. Klaas van Weringh directs. And the audience, which never quite figures out the truth of what happened, leaves the show asking each other a lot of questions about what might have happened.

The Janigan Studio has poor sight lines, so choose your seat carefully.

The Interview

by Ken Wilson

Directed by Klaas Van Weringh

Featuring: Dan Baran as Mr Anderson, Ken Godmere as Detective Smith,

and Michael Kennedy as Detective Thorpe

* * * * * * * * * *

Ottawa Fringe 2011. Complex Numbers is Titillation for the Gullible

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

A bit of Fringe fluff written only with the audience in mind. But isn’t all Fringe theatre written to please an audience you might ask?  Of course it is, but in this case  the desire to please  is masked by a pretext of investigating the idea of non-monogomous marriage, whereas the real play is aimed at titillating a rather gullible audience. And the guffaws around me at the strategic moments in the conversation proved my point.

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Ottawa Fringe 2011: My Mother’s Daughter Tells Stories From the Perspective of Four Different Women

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Reviewed by Maja Stefanovska

Ottawa, June 20, 2011

My Mother’s Daughter explores the way our identities in the present are shaped by our interactions – or lack of interactions – with those in our pasts. It is not an easy matter to tackle but complex and, as the play shows, sometimes painful. The stories are told from the perspectives of four very different women who lay their personalities- both the aspects they show to outsiders and the ones they struggle with internally- and histories for us to see.

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Ottawa Fringe 2011. Walk: The Connection of Art and Real Life.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

The Walk explores the omnipresent problem tied to the trafficking of women sold into sex slavery. It is the story about the destiny of millions of young women, some of them mere children who are caught in the chains of lucrative business – an organized crime that involves all structures of society worldwide. Although a story that has been told numerous times (but then – which one is not!), it takes a different turn in playwright Catherine Cunningham-Huston and director Nathalie Fraser-Purdy’s vision. During the Fringe festival, I belive, we witness the connection of art and real life, the attempt to merge theatre and action.

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