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

Mary, Mary: Good Cast and Director Grapple with an Outdated Show

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

cigaretette chaos Photo: T.H. Wall

If one looks at lists of theatrical hits of the 1950s and 1960’s in New York ,  one finds plays by Tennessee Williams (Baby Doll, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Eugene O’Neil (Long Day’s Journey into night), Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s dramatization of The Diary of Anne Frank, one of the most successful works of the season, not to mention Lorraine Hansberry’s ground breaking drama A Raisin in the Sun, and the Leonard Bernstein Musical West Side Story (1957), all productions that made theatre history. In the 1960’s, the big hits of the Broadway stage were musicals: Hair, Mame, Man of the Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof and the list goes on. It would seem then rather strange to speak of Broadway hits when locating Jean Kerr’s work Mary, Mary among the plays that defined the “Golden Age of the American Stage “ (New York ) of the 1950s or 1960’s.

(Continue reading » )

The Walk: a complex issue put together as a good one-hour show.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Otttawa 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.

(Continue reading » )

The Walk elicits differing views on this difficult subjet of women in the sex trade.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

A subject matter that has attracted social workers and social scientists of all disciplines from around the world:  research into the world of the sex trade, the sexual slavery of women and the trafficking of women. The subject matter, which is not new, has been the object of plays, films and many studies. Yet, in spite of all the interest and the outrage, the practice continues.

Since that is the case, what is the aim of another play about the same subject? What does this team want to capture. What do they want us to feel or see or understand?  That is the real question here. Why this play?

(Continue reading » )

A Walk with Mr. McGee: the prequel to Blood on the Moon at the Bytown Museum

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  


Jean-Nicolas Masson as Thomas D’Arcy McGee, cuts a fine figure as he  finishes the evening with a most uplifting and impassioned plea for what it is to  feel Canadian in this new nation of Canada. All this happens just before he is assassinated and that is where the play ends.  One could say that Talish Zafar has written a  prequel to Pierre Brault’s  award winning monodrama  Blood on the Moon. Speaking before the Canadian parliament in this final moment, McGee  seems to epitomize the spirit of what Canada has  become and it makes us realize that the death of this man in 1868 was a great loss to the country.  The speech, made up of  authentic  excerpts from earlier published speeches by McGee, embellished by playwright  Zafar , was flowing, patriotic prose, which gives one the sense of this  interesting and certainly timely script  staged by director Dillon Orr and performed in the tiny ground floor space of the Bytown Museum. Certainly not the best place for a play,  with bad acoustics, no lighting facilities and almost no room to manoeuvre for this four person cast, the space proved to be the most difficult obstacle to overcome.

(Continue reading » )

ERIC COATES is the new Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company

Reviewed by on    Arts News  

CoatesEric-300x254 Great Canadian Theatre Company announces new Artistic Director
GCTC Board Chair, Nhanci Wright announced today that Eric Coates will be the next Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. "GCTC is thrilled to have such an experienced and respected member of the arts community joining us as our new Artistic Director. Eric is an excellent choice to lead GCTC into the future," says Chair Nhanci Wright.

Mr. Coates will be stepping down from his current position as the Artistic Director of the Blyth Festival, where he has worked in a variety of disciplines since 1995 and joining the GCTC team in September.

(Continue reading » )

Henry V in the park: a timely French-English reconciliation

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Summer Theatre 2012  

This production of Henry V is a first for the Company of Fools, trying their hand at one of Shakespeare’s most accurate historical dramas with long monologues, multiple sites, many characters and epic war scenes. HenryfoolGetAttachment.aspx

In the first moments, the play is put into perspective for all to see.   “Chorus” presents Shakespeare’s own words as he invites us to imagine the scene, and “gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play”. Thus it clearly presents the characters as  actors who are going to perform an event where our imagination must fill in the gaps.   The  show revolves around actors,  a perfectly functional collection of objects including an empty chest that serves as a walled city, some wooden volumes and royal red curtains set up under the trees, as well as a group of puppets.  It’s all  about creating a play  and since that is the case,  men can play women’s roles as they did in Shakespeare’s time, or women can play men’s roles as they do now in our time. It all fits.

(Continue reading » )