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

Suds, the Rock Musical with the 47 hit songs: A Tuneful Season Opener at 1000 Islands Playhouse

Reviewed by on    Musical Theatre, Professional Theatre, Summer Theatre 2013  


Photos. Mark Bergin

There’s something to be said for light entertainment, especially when it’s well done and SUDS, the season opener at the 1000 Islands Playhouse is very well done. It’s an enjoyable piece of fluff that draws on 60s nostalgia using 47 hit songs of the period, (I counted), to tie together a totally improbably plot. Set in a laundromat, it concerns young Cindy’s lack of a love life and the attempts by not one, not two, but three guardian angels to help her out.

The script is really just an excuse to tie together the terrific songs. Unlike so many later juke-box musicals, writers Melina Gilb, Steve Gunderson and Bryan Scott got permission to use the cream of the 60s crop. The script, though funny, is kept to a minimum and the concentration is on the almost non-stop music.

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Trieste: An evocative atmosphere still in search of a story

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage   ,



Photo:  Minelly Kamemura.

Trieste, Marie Brassard’s haunting performance, which premiered at Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques on February 25th and is inspired by the Italian city of the same name, is a performance that happens around a script. There are many beautiful aspects to the play: Brassard is a born story-teller – her voice is smooth and deep and she uses sound and images expertly to transport the audience to a city which seems more out of this world than of it. She sits on a chair under dim lighting and presents her travelogue of Trieste, the Italian city on the Adriatic Sea known for attracting artists such as James Joyce, Sigmund Freud, and Dante. Although not much to look at (by European standards, at least), the city is saturated with their spirits and leaves a lasting impression on those that visit. Brassard is an expert at creating a dream-like atmosphere and her skills truly shine in Trieste. It’s easy to get caught up in the seductive pull of her piece and forget that, while technically well done, the story is tstill a work in progress.

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An Enemy of the People: Creative chaos is a necessity in this refreshingly contemporary reading of Ibsen at the Festival TransAmérique.

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


Photo: Festival TransAmérique

What makes this production of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People so refreshing is the relaxed, hyper realistic presence of these excellent young actors, whose characters have been reconfigured in a contemporary urban space. Jan Pappelbaum’s modern loft-like set, where Dr. Thomas Stockmann lives with his wife and baby, and receives his friends, seemed to be constantly shifting like a flashing video creation. Thoma Ostermeier’s reading of the play is fresh, bright, contemporary and ear-splitting; the characters are also part of a rock band that roars over the sound system as soon as one of the members puts on the earphones.

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Nella Tempesta:Theatre that explores political expression at the TransAmérique in Montréal.

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


Photo: Festival TransAmérique

The Motus theatre was founded in 1991 by Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò Francesconi in the Italian town of Rimini. It took them only five years to achieve international recognition and to earn the name of the Romagna felix of experimental theatre for their innovative approach to theatre. Consisting of big projects encompassing a few shows each, Enrico Casagrande describes it as a form of theatre that aims to be an instrument of investigation, knowledge and action.

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Fiddler on the Roof: A Tevye with heart

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the area   ,


Photo. Alan Dean

It is close to 50 years since Fiddler on the Roof debuted on Broadway and it remains one of the best-loved musicals of all time. Through its initial run in 1964, which garnered numerous Tony awards, it became the first Broadway show to top 3,000 performances. As well as becoming a popular movie in 1971, it has been the subject of a number of revivals on Broadway and in London’s West End, a wide assortment of professional and community productions across the English-speaking world and music from the show is a regular part of bar and bat mitzvah celebrations.

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CLUE…less : Physical style mystery theatre heats up as the dinner cools down!!

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Photo. Andrew Alexander

Eddie May’s recent show is exactly the kind of theatre that its patrons would want to see. Based on Parker Brothers board game with a smithering of Murder by Death logic in the mix, it has seven hyper active characters who are all being blackmailed because of their criminal past. Drawn into a closed space by a mysterious person who will only remain a voice, they are manipulated by the voice and the situation and other things, until the identity of the blackmailer (and possible murderer) is discovered! In the meantime, the audience is asked to make suggestions about the blackmailer’s identity as the past of each of our intruders is brought to light. The text, which was written recently involves characters who do work “up on the hill” which made me wonder why they didn’t put in more topical pot shots at the politicians but as they said, they are not being topical. Still, any writer working in such a comic atmosphere could not have resisted the chance, given all the marvellous material at their disposal in the press recently. This makes me feel that writing is not the main focus of this group. They prefer action and that is what we got.

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Festival TransAmérique à Montréal.

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

An international programme of theatre and dance.    Shows have English and French subtitles 

Continues until June 8­  

1-866-984-3822   Birds with Skymirrors ..from Samoa


Du 22 mai au 8 juin 2013, Montréal sera de nouveau le territoire de prédilection des artistes de danse et de théâtre qui donneront vie et sens à la 7e édition du Festival TransAmériques. Dans leur désir de changer le réel, de faire entendre, sous le fracas de la pensée dominante, la voix de la différence, les artistes d’ici et d’ailleurs réunis cette année au FTA créent un théâtre, une danse qui portent notre espoir d’un monde meilleur. Ils appellent au dialogue avec 22 spectacles – dont huit coproductions du Festival, six créations mondiales et trois grands événements gratuits –, ainsi que de multiples soirées spéciales, rencontres et films.

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A Flea in Her Ear: Stylish Farce Despite Bad Translation

Reviewed by on    Community Theatre  


Photo Wendy Wagner

Actor Dale MacEachern deserves a big bouquet for his contribution to Kanata Theatre’s new production of A Flea In Her Ear.

But, no, better make that two bouquets. MacEachern takes on dual roles in the Georges Feydeau farce, and excels in both. We first see him as the somewhat stolid but emotionally distraught Victor Chandebise, an affluent Parisian whose declining libido at home has led wife Raymonde to question his faithfulness. MacEachern etches out this characterization with shrewd psychological observation and comic efficiency, and then shows equal ease in creating the buffoonish Poche, drunken porter at the notorious Frisky Puss Hotel, a shambling oaf who happens to look exactly like Victor.

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In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. A play that liberates us all!

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Photo Andrew Alexander

From left to right: Michelle LeBlanc, Sarah Finn, David Frisch, Robin Toller, Sascha Cole, Dilys Ayafor. In the foreground, David Whitely as Dr. Givings

Sarah Ruhl’s naughty little contemporary comedy takes place in the early 1890s. It is centred on that highly controversial illness called “hysteria” which eventually became a way of defining sexual dysfunction specifically related to women in the sexually repressed Victorian era. The creation of a new-fangled apparatus called the Vibrator , thanks to the discovery of electricity, was thought to offer the most effective cure by massaging those sensitive female parts to the point of causing the “paroxysm” which was supposed to release all the pent -up fluids that were causing the inner strangling of the body. A bit later. Freud’s research linked hysteria to the subconscious and the way the body somatised the symptoms related to repression, such things as headaches, dizziness, paralysis and all sorts of illnesses , according to the doctors, that could be relieved by using the vibrator.

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La nuit juste avant les forêts: Brigitte Haentjens returns with a powerful performance of Bernard-Marie Koltès

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  


Photo: Angelo Barsetti

Sébastien  Ricard.

French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès died at the age of 41, but not before leaving a body of dramatic work that cut deeply into contemporary theatre.  Although La Nuit juste avant les forêts is his first play, (1977), it seems even more relevant to us today than it might have when it was created over 30 years ago.

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