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

Le retour du “Cahier"…” à la fondation Clément: intense émotion par la grâce de Jacques Martial.

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre caribéen, Théâtre français  


—Par Roland Sabra —

Depuis 10 ans sa lecture du « Cahier d’un retour au pays natal » tourne autour du monde, Australie, Guadeloupe, Singapour, Fidji, Nouvelle Calédonie, New-York, Martinique, Paris, etc. avec aussi des retours, obligés, au pays natal de l’auteur. C’était le cas samedi soir à la Fondation Clément, en plein air. Moment inoubliable : les fils, au propre et au figuré, de Césaire, hallucinés et émus jusqu’aux larmes, et c’étaient de vraies larmes miraculeuses, ont vu de leurs yeux vu sur scène le Père de la nation martiniquaise. Alors que rien dans la corpulence de Jacques Martial ne renvoie à la frêle silhouette du poète, Césaire était là vivant parmi les siens. C’était Lui au premier jet du texte. Telle est la performance fabuleuse de Jacques Martial dans la nuit lumineuse d’un moment partagé.

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le 20 novembre: Swedish Playwright Lars Norén paints a portrait of an all too familiar murderer

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  


Christian Lapointe as Sebastian. Photo: NAC.

A young man stands alone in the acting space and stares at us for few minutes. He is an actor called Christian Lapointe. The acting space is in a rehearsal room at the NAC where the audience is seated on several rows of steeply raked seats watching him perform like a strange animal. He provokes us, he confronts us, he seems confused, angry, aggressive, and under extreme stress. He leaps about on all fours; he licks a dish full of water like a dog. He finally tells us he cannot take this life any more. He tells us he has one more hour to live, the time of the performance. And after that we will see what happens. “We have been warned”. In fact, the news told it all a few days before because this play by Norén, is based on notes and a video made by Sebastian Borre, an 18 year old school boy who made all this information available on line the day before he went into his former school and shot the students and the teachers. All this took place in 2006. The play was written several weeks later.

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le 20 novembre: Christian Lapointe electrifies!

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  


Christian Lapointe as Sebastian.  Photo: NAC

Lars Norén’s play, "20. November," is a monodrama based on the true story of a young man who injured five teachers and fellow students at the Geschwister-Scholl School in Emsdetten and took his own life immediately after. In the process of writing, Norén used parts of the young man’s diary, which was published on the Internet. His protagonist is an angry, confused, tormented misfit who only seeks to be included and accepted for what he is. He tells us the most disturbing truth, the one that we don’t want to know and don’t want to see. Is a young man who counts the minutes of the last hours of his life the only one to blame for his actions? To what extent is society, as it is today, a creator of events like this one?

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Opera Lyra announces a return to Bizet, Puccini and Gilbert and Sullivan!! Something for everyone..

Reviewed by on    Arts News, Opera  

Carmen Crop(1) Carmen at Opera Lyra.

Photos: from Opera Lyra

Today, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Tyrone Paterson announced he has programmed a season filled with passion, love and crime.  Bizet’s Carmen and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly will both be fully staged operas in Southam Hall, NAC.  Rounding out the season is an opera for families and students; Gilbert & Sullivan’s witty

Pirates of Penzance presented in the Arts Court Theatre.

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Absurd Person Singular: A rewarding response to the play by that canny ringmaster John P. Kelly.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,


Photo: David Pasho

In many ways, this is a sterling 40th anniversary production of one of Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s best and funniest plays. Despite one regrettable error in judgment, it’s rewarding to see the way in which that canny ringmaster, director John P. Kelly, responds to the demands posed by Absurd Person Singular. In chronicling the fortunes and misfortunes of three painfully disparate couples over three consecutive Christmases, Kelly certainly delivers on the comedy, but never at the expense of the inner darkness and desolation which tinges Ayckbourn’s portrait of a society and class system in convulsion.

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The Drowsy Chaperone: Seriously successful spoof

Reviewed by on    Community Theatre  

Photo by David Pasho

It is more than 15 years since friends celebrated the engagement of Bob and Janet in Toronto by putting together a collection of songs, entitled The Wedding Gift.

From this small beginning, the entertainment, now called The Drowsy Chaperone, evolved into a popular show at the Toronto Fringe, then on to larger houses in Toronto courtesy of top Toronto producer David Mirvish, until it became a Tony-award winner on Broadway with numerous productions in London’s West End, Los Angeles, Australia and Japan, not to mention touring across Canada.

Some might say there is more of a story behind The Drowsy Chaperone — a tale akin to the understudy who becomes a star overnight — than to the intentionally slight fictional plot. Certainly, the names of the bride and groom in the show are reminders of its origins and certainly it does exactly what it sets out to do: celebrate the genre while gently spoofing the musicals of the 1920s.

In the past, The Drowsy Chaperone, has run without intermission. While, at its current length, this would be hard on the audience, the first act is too long and drags towards the close. (However, it is difficult to see a better point to break the action.) (Continue reading » )

Hroses, An Affront to Reason: A hodge-podge of semi-defined concepts.

Reviewed by on    Photo by Barb Gray, Professional Theatre  

Hroses1APA_TEH_019_2013-03-05_16-57-56  Photo: Barb Gray
Some ideas should remain just that: ideas. Putting them on stage does no one any favour, least of all audiences. That’s the case with Jill Connell’s Hroses, a hodge-podge of semi-defined concepts and often vaguely poetic language that never figures out what it wants to be when it grows up.

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Hroses: An Affront to Reason. A play that divides the audience.

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Photo from Gigcity. ca (The production in Edmonton).

I might say something that many would not like here. In general I like the idea of putting a magical realism piece on the stage. It is rarely done, simply because it is exceptionally difficult. But, then, that can be said for any genre that is not concerned with a classical concept in storytelling. Now, to transfer a genre like this to a completely different medium, like theatre, takes a lot of knowledge and experience. Certainly, it cannot be done “word by word.” I respect Evolution Theatre because they are not afraid of challenging tasks, they experiment, and, above all, they bring to the Ottawa the theatre scene what it needs – new concepts and a daring approach. Their latest play Hroses: An Affront to Reason (in aco-production with Mi Casa theatre) proved to be all that.

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The Drowsy Chaperone : this cleverly contrived Canadian musical is a two-headed beast.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,


Photo:  Alan Dean

The Drowsy Chaperone, with its story about the trials, tribulations and ultimate triumph of young love, its song lyrics that are at times ridiculous but acutely aware of their own silliness, and its big, bright dance numbers, the show is at once a smart example of musical theatre and a good-natured jab at the genre.
That can be a tricky balance for a production to maintain, but Orpheus does it with panache and good humour.
Andrea Black, a strong singer and frisky performer, plays Janet Van De Graaff, an applause-loving actor and one-half of the show’s main love story.

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Hroses, An Affront to Reason: When a text loses the performance.

Reviewed by on    Photo by Barb Gray, Professional Theatre  


Photo Barb Gray

Nick Di Gaetano and Katie Smith

Studio A at Arts Court is an open and flexible space that allows for multiple relationships between performers and an audience. In this production, the audience surrounds the acting space, which occupies a large area in the middle of the room. A tarpaulin painted a dry sandy colour is spread out on the floor and at one end of the space we are greeted by a large, solid form with four strong appendages, a back and a head shaped object. One or two people can sit comfortably on its back. It is not supposed to imitate a horse , obviously, but it does suggests a horse-like form,  that is lifted up at various moments of the performance, and set down  on different spots of the acting space.

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