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

False Assumptions: The title says it all!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region.  


Poster from the production.

Lawrence Aronovitch’s latest play has an extremely interesting content.  It  revolves around the meeting between three eminent women mathematicians/scientists, emerging from different periods of  western history (400 BC, the 19th century and the early 20th century) who find themselves together  in a global space/time, on the upper level of the set, filled with  books and records. These are remnants of Marie Curie’ archives. These woman have been summoned back from the past by a young girl, a factory worker  who is dying of radium poisoning.  She wants explanations. 

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Harvey: Time for invisible rabbit to hop off stage

Reviewed by on    Community Theatre  


It is not an easy task to convince an audience of the existence of a six-foot invisible white rabbit. And it never happens in the current Kanata Theatre production of Harvey by Mary Chase.

In fact, the biggest surprise, in view of this presentation, is that Harvey won a Pulitzer Prize. Even in 1944, there were surely more effective and worthy shows than this comedic chestnut.

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María Pagés : a force of nature, a delicately wild “bruja” who inspired Nobel Prize winner José Saramago

Reviewed by on    Dance  


Photo courtesy of the National Arts Centre.

Flamenco acquired an entirely new meaning with this Self-portrait choreographed by María Pagés. The evening was made up of various moments inspired by the development of her personal and artistic life, each moment emerged from one of several  Flamenco rhythms that defined the form, the  style and the atmosphere of her choreography so she was never at all removed from the Flamenco origins of her work which showed  all the traces of its Sephardic, Arabic and Moroccan origins . What was exceedingly beautiful to watch was Mme Pagés herself unfolding like some gracefully wild creature reconnecting with the earth.

Her whole body flows to one sweeping movement as her arms curl up in the air, and then wrap themselves around her body as it appears to sink into the ground or expand into the air and then swoop back to the stage as she takes her cuadra in hand and lovingly imposes her domination on the group.  Her solos took her  somewhere  between the natural elements of the earth, and an enchanting witch who dissolves into the shadows, bringing a highly sophisticated  rereading of a dance form that is both  graceful, wild,  magic and animalistic, almost as if a new species had come to life.

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The Fools for World Theatre Day: Fourth Stage at the NAC

Reviewed by on    Arts News, Professional Theatre  

Ottawa Theatre ChallengeFools5802303.bin

Wednesday March 27th,2013
National Arts Centre,Fourth Stage
53 Elgin Street,  Ottawa.
The Doors open at 7:00 pm and the  fun begins at 7:30 pm

In  celebration of World  Theatre Day,theatre companies from across the region come together to compete in a “Contest of Creation.”The participating companies will have only 48 hours  to write,rehearse and produce a brand new piece of theatre from objects of inspiration provided to them by the other competitors.

A storm of creativity is unleashed and the results presented for the audience and panel of esteemed but easily bribed judges on  Wednesday March 27th,2013 at the National Arts Centre,Fourth Stage.  Hilarity is the result!  It’s all in good fun and the prize?  Why the world renowned and highly coveted Rubber Chicken Award and bragging rights as Ottawa’s Best Theatre Company!  Tickets are now  available through the NAC Box Office and Ticketmaster. Proceeds to the  ALS Society of Canada

Photo: Margo Macdonald and Scott Florence : the best of  Fools!

World Theatre Day, March 27. Events in Ottawa and the Official Message from Dario Fo in English and in French.

Reviewed by on    Arts News  


Dario Fo, the actor, writer and director who inherited and transmitted the Commedia dell’arte tradition,won the Nobel prize in 1997,

Today, his official message for World Theatre Day (2013), published by the International Theatre Institute,  follows in English and French, translated from Italian


A long time ago, the people in power  resolved the intolerance against Commedia dell’Arte actors by chasing them out of the country.


Portrait of Dario Fo. Photo taken at the Venice Carnival in Italy, February 2009.
Copyright © Marina Muolo

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LaTraviata in Concert. Opera Lyra sets higher standards

Reviewed by on    Opera  


Photo: Eddie Hobson.Jonathan Estabrooks sings Baron Douphol in La Traviata by Verdi for Opera Lya

Concert performances of opera can often be problematic., and you can experience a severe let-down when the performers essentially drop anchor once they arrive on stage, disregard the drama and proceed on the assumption that their only job is to sing the music.

But Opera Lyra happily sets higher standards. They have trotted out that old war horse, La Traviata, and delivered a thrilling experience both musically and dramatically.

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Deathtrap: A handsome-looking production that doesn’t always mask inherent problems in the script.

Reviewed by on    Community Theatre  


Photo: Glendon James Hartle

The big problem in discussing Ira Levin’s clever but nasty thriller is that there’s not much you can say about it without spoiling the audience’s enjoyment. The script revels in unexpected twists and turns, and is adept at orchestrating the kind of shock scene that gives you no advance hint that it’s going to happen.

On the other hand, no production should give you time to think too hard about the play because that will make you aware of just how preposterous it really is. That means maintaining a solid theatrical momentum which drives the story to its gruesome climax. It also means an appreciation of the fact that — for all its cunning with plot devices — the play is also a character piece.

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Deathtrap: A production that remains entertaining despite assorted weak moments

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,


Diana Franz. Photo: Maria Vartanova

Deathtrap has a powerful ending. The problem is that it dribbles on for one scene too many after that.

Ira Levin’s 1978 comedy/thriller was a hit that ran for four years on Broadway, a further hit as a movie starring Michael Caine, and it continues to be an effective send-up of the whodunit genre, with its many twists and layers.

A play about a playwright trying to overcome a writer’s block and write a hit thriller, the audience is set up to believe he is ready to kill for an idea. Just then, the perfect commercially viable play, written by one of his students, falls into his lap.

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Deathtrap: A return to the ‘80s that doesn’t quite make it

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

death2Lawrence Evenchick as Sidney Bruhl  Photo: Maria Vartanova

Ira Levin’s well known and very clever thriller about an older playright, a younger playwright  and play that is in the process of writing itself during the performance, has become a great classic of repertory theatre. Deathtrap has been performed many times in Ottawa, in both languages, since it appeared on Broadway and as a film. Now, it is back at the Ottawa Little Theatre representing the hit from the seventh decade of the OLT since it first appeared on the OLT stage in 1983, directed then by Susan Taylor. Lets quote the Ottawa Citizen review from that period: “ work properly (the play) must have perfect timing (and be ) a fast-paced, well executed production.”

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Clybourne Park: Real Estate and Racism at the Center for the Arts in Boston

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Photo: Craig Bailey. From left to right, Thomas Derrah, DeLance Minefee, and Michael Kaye.


Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer prizewinning Clybourne Park, a SpeakEasy production now playing at Boston’s Center for the Arts, uses Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 classic, A Raisin in the Sun, as a springboard to discuss race relations in the United States. A White man, living in an era when many believe we are moving towards a “post-racial” or color-blind America, Norris’s perspective diverges widely and wildly from Hansberry’s. A Raisin in the Sun was deeply personal to Hansberry. Its story of a Black family, whose purchase of a house in a segregated middle-class neighborhood aroused the White community’s hostility, was based on her parents’ experience. The oppressive racism of the period permeated her life. A Raisin in the Sun treats a working-class African American family’s efforts to achieve the American dream in the mid-twentieth-century.

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