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

Come Blow Your Horn: Uneven but a pleasant and amusing tribute to the 1960s theatre scene celebrating OLT’s 100th.

Reviewed by on    Community Theatre  


Photo. Maria Vartanova

There is a very thin line between characterization and caricature and between stereotype and individual character.

In Come Blow Your Horn, playwright Neil Simon periodically steps over the line. So do director Sarah Hearn and her cast in the current Ottawa Little Theatre production. Even so, Simon’s 1961 debut play — semi-autobiographical as are several of the comedy/dramas that came later — holds up well, in part because Hearn wisely chooses to present it as a period piece and focus on character.

A number of Simon’s works offer examples of the ambivalence he felt for his older brother and this is particularly clearly demonstrated in Come Blow Your Horn when 21-year-old Buddy leaves the parental home to move in with 33-year-old Alan and emulate his playboy lifestyle. In addition, the sense of responsibility Alan feels for Buddy comes through loud and clear, which is why a number of his actions and words in Act II are a carbon copy of their father’s words and gestures.

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The Taming of the Shrew: spoof, comedic love story, post-feminist broadside or some combination of all three.?

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Photo: Andrew Alexander

Why do Shakespeare straight if you can spoof it? That’s the approach director Eleanor Crowder has taken with her all-male production of this early Shakespeare comedy.  Problem is, while the show is often entertaining, it ultimately can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be a spoof, a comedic love story, a post-feminist broadside or some combination of all three.

Scott Florence, well-versed in playing fast and loose with Shakespeare thanks to his years of experience with the irreverent A Company of Fools, sets the performance bar high as Petruchio, the wily, self-assured gentleman from Verona who tames  (or does he?) and marries the snarly, fiercely independent Kate. Sardonic, self-interested, a natural student of behavioural psychology, this Petruchio plays those whom he meets like yoyos. Florence is a delight to watch, especially when he channels Pommes Frites, the preening character he created for Fools shows like Shakespeare’s Danish Play.

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The Taming of the Shrew: Clearly, Bear & Co is still seeking a theatrical style

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  


Photo: Andrew Alexander

The evening begins with a long note in the programme by director Eleanor Crowder explaining her directorial choices. “He (Shakespeare) is running pure Commedia gags here, the staple of a company used to touring  market places and dodging rotten apples”.    That is not a good sign. First of all a European style frontal theatre is not a normally raucus commedia setting and no one could possibly reproduce that so why bring it up.? In any case, the show speaks for itself so if the director felt the need to explain, that means she feared we wouldn’t  get it.

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Magnetic North Theatre Festival Unveils 2013 Programme ‘CANADA, ON STAGE.’

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,





For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again . Photo:  Barbara Zimonick  with  Margo Kane and Lorne Cardinal

OTTAWA – The annual festival, which alternates between its home base in Ottawa and other Canadian cities every other year, is back in Canada’s Capital and will run June 7-15 at the National Arts Centre, University of Ottawa Academic Hall and Arts Court.


Brenda Leadlay. Photo:  Andrew Alexander

Magnetic North Artistic Director Brenda Leadlay proudly unveiled the programming for the 2013 Festival.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing Canada’s top theatre home to Canada’s Capital. You’re invited to immerse yourself in nine days of premiere plays, parties and parleys – a smorgasbord of the best in Canadian theatre,” she said.
Theatre-goers will enjoy fabulous performances and exciting social events and encounters with festival artists.
“It’s tantalizing theatre, to share and take-away.”

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The Trojan Women. The formality of the play lent itself beautifully to Anne Bogart’s Vision of Euripides.

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  

TrojanWomen_Akiko Aizawa, Ellen Warren, Makela Spielman_2

Akiko Aizawa, Ellen Lauren, Makela Spielman

Photo: Craig Schwerz

On the afternoon of April 15, the Siti Company was en route to Boston to enact The Trojan Women (After Euripides) when they heard the news of the bombing at the finishing line of the Marathon. Despite their horror and ambivalence about playing under the circumstances, they decided that as actors, their responsibility was to perform. And indeed, the convergence between the devastation of the city of Troy onstage and the explosions at Copley Square in the city of Boston brought a deeper and more personal meaning to the play, certainly to this member of the audience.

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Le Festival TransAmérique: 22 mai – 8 juin, Montréal

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage, Arts News, Theatre in Canada  


Call Info Festival for tickets and information.



Ils ont bousculé, marqué, enchanté le public de Montréal, et c’est avec un réel enthousiasme qu’ils le retrouveront bientôt à l’occasion du Festival TransAmériques.

Chef de file de la nouvelle danse européenne, Boris Charmatz est de retour dans la métropole après 10 ans d’absence pour une fascinante Levée des conflits qui réunit 24 danseurs. Transportée par l’effervescence qu’elle a connue l’an dernier, la compagnie italienne MOTUS a choisi Montréal pour la création mondiale de Nella tempesta. Marie Brassard confie elle aussi au public du Festival la découverte d’un nouveau spectacle envoûtant, Trieste. Après l’ébranlement de Tempest en 2011, le chorégraphe samoan Lemi Ponifasio revient en force avec une œuvre essentielle : Birds with Skymirrors. Ginette Laurin poursuit l’Onde de choc de 2010 avec KHAOS qui souligne près de trente ans de belle création d’O Vertigo. Enfin, l’inépuisable Louise Lecavalier se réinvente chorégraphe dansSo Blue.

Autant d’artistes – et bien d’autres – avec lesquels renouer dans un mois…

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6th Rideau Awards announces the winners in both English and French language theatres in Ottawa (2012-2013)

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,



Zone, at the Nouvelle Scene. Photo avec la permission du Théâtre La Catapulte.

Meilleure production en français: Read the review in English:

Winners for both English and French language theatres listed below.

Greg Kramer : Best actor English Theatre.

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The Laramie Project: Algonquin College’s Production is a Fine Example of Verbatim Theatre.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region.  


Photo: Andrew Alexander

The Laramie Project, first produced in 2000 is a particularly powerful form of docudrama conceived by Moisés Kaufman and Tectonic Theatre Projects. This group of actors from New York decided to create a staged work based on the story of Matthew Shepherd, the young man beaten to death in 1998, the victim of a hate crime in Laramie Wyoming.

The play tells us how the actors made 60 visits to Laramie, conducted 600 interviews with all the towns people, with witnesses, family, friends, police and everyone who had anything to say about the crime.

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Edmond: Mamet and the Hintonburg Theatre take on New York in the Carleton Tavern

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region.  


Photo. Courtesy  Chamber Theatre Hintonburg.

Chambre Theatre Hintonburg is back at its favorite venue, the Carleton Tavern on Parkdale Ave, performing on 10 square feet of space amid noisy tavern patrons and theatre aficionados. The mixed crowd is a great atmosphere for certain kinds of theatre and this time, they have chosen a relatively unknown play by David Mamet that suits the tavern site perfectly.

Edmond is about the descent of a man into hell, his own private hell, represented by a violent, and terrifying New York city. Edmond is the first play that Mamet ever located in New York but he certainly has captured the essence of that city bathed in fear, as it was in the 1980’s, the pre Giuliani era before the arrival of that tough mayor (1994) who cracked down on crime.

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LA Réunification des deux Corées de Joel Pommerat

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  

Photo: Élisabeth Carecchio. 

Texte de Philippe du Vignal ,

Les Marchands, Je tremble, Cercles/ Fictions, Au Monde, Le petit Chaperon rouge, Cendrillon, Ma Chambre froide (voir Le Théâtre du Blog)…. Joël Pommerat  a su en quelque vingt ans construire une œuvre théâtrale des plus singulières et des plus poétiques. C’est sans doute l’auteur français vivant avec Novarina le plus connu à l’étranger. Et, fait assez rare dans le théâtre actuel, il a aussi mis en scène ses pièces, et l’on on y  reconnaît tout de suite sa signature: texte à l’écriture exigeante sur des thèmes comme la vie économique de la société française observée au quotidien, la famille et les relations entre gens d’en-haut et gens d’en-bas, mais comme approchés dans une vision aussi étrange que poétique, conception d’un espace scénographique frontal ou en rond où les éléments de décor d’Eric Soyer-qui signe aussi les lumières, tout aussi exigeantes et  d’une intelligence et d’une beauté exceptionnelle-apparaissent comme par magie, mise en scène  et direction d’acteurs d’une rigueur absolue .

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