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

All the Way falls short at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theatre

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Bryon Cranston. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

All the Way, currently playing at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theatre (ART), was originally produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as part of its project to explore U.S. history. “American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle,” is commissioning up to thirty-seven new plays of differing styles and genres that tackle significant moments of political and/or social change. Thirty-seven, the number of Shakespeare’s plays, alludes to the kind of characters the Festival hopes the project will create.

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Moi dans les ruines rouges du siècle. snapshots from the past filled with love

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  


Sasha Samar

Where do our most intense feelings hide within us, and what does it take to unleash them?  Some found the answer to this question on Wednesday night (September 25, 2013) during a performance of Moi, dans les ruines rouges du siècle. I heard some young people saying that they felt a yearning to live a life as warm and filled with love as the main character’s (Sasha) in his native Ukraine. I cannot imagine a better compliment for any artist.

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First Friday Night Fight at the GCTC not much of a fight, but lots of fun! Opinion in the Hill Times

Reviewed by on    Arts News   , ,

First Friday Night Fight at the GCTC was a bit of a fizzle   (original title)

This is a piece I sent to the Hill Times after attending the first Fight Night Debate at the GCTC after Proud. It was published as an “opinion” on the Hill Times blog. Monday, September 23, 2013.

These new Friday Night Fight debates organized by GCTC Artistic director Eric Coates in the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre after each of this season’s plays, are an excellent idea. Inviting guests who are not necessarily involved with theatre but who have reputations in other fields, could be a good way to attract a non-theatre going public, and even incite the more passive of us to speak up.

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À tu et à moi: une présence post-moderne qui remonte aux origines de la danse moderne

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  

tu Ç tu et  á moi - 4 - A.CChoeur avec les oranges. Mise en scène de Joël Beddows. Photo: Alexandra Campeau.

L’Atelier de l’Université d’Ottawa, s’inscrit dans une démarche à la fois artistique et savante, menée par le Centre de Recherche en civilisation canado-française.  Il s’agit pour ses animateurs de sortir des chemins battus du réalisme et de contribuer au renouvellement esthétique du théâtre franco-ontarien, tout en formant  une nouvelle génération de chercheurs et de praticiens s’intéressant à ce théâtre francophone hors  du Québec.
Le texte de Sarah Migneron tient  à la fois d’une partition pour voix, et d’un scénario de situations mises en espace par un chorégraphe (on parle de dramaturgie corporelle),  où se mêlent  les voix et les corps qui  font penser aux chorégraphies de la célèbre Martha Graham.

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II (DEUX) du Théâtre du Nouvel Ontario et du Théâtre de la Vieille 17. Un défi de taille.

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  


Jean Marc Dalpé (Mercier) et Elkahna Talbi (Maha)

Photo: Mathieu Girard

II (Deux) de Mansel Robinson, traduction de Jean-Marc Dalpé, mise en scène de Geneviève Pineault.

Zones théâtrales, une  biennale qui regroupe des artistes des scènes  francophones du Canada, a présenté neuf spectacles créés  en Ontario,  Québec, et Acadie (Nouveau Brunswick). qui mettent en scène des  univers à la fois réalistes, singuliers et poétiques, qui s’ouvrent sur des aventures intérieures des plus troublantes.
Deux textes ont retenu l’attention :  II (Deux)  de Mansel Robinson  (Toronto), traduit en français par le comédien et l’auteur dramatique  d’origine franco-ontarienne Jean-Marc Dalpé,  qu’il joue avec Elkahna Talbi. Et À tu et à moi de Sarah Migneron, avec onze comédiennes/danseuses  sur le plateau.  Chaque  spectacle fondé sur  un choix esthétique différent,  présente une réflexion sur le processus de jeu et l’orientation de l’acteur dans l’espace.

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Private Lives: Slack pacing plagues production of Noel Coward classic

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  


David Whiteley and Alix Sideris . Photo: Andrew Alexander

Noel Coward had no qualms about knifing his audience emotionally, but he did it with sparkle, his language a kind of pirouette that, lunging suddenly, could disembowel.

This production of Coward’s most popular play, which we saw in a preview before opening night, thrusts the knife a lot but dances rarely and winds up saying little for all the talk that occurs.

The plot is simple and deliciously silly. Elyot (David Whiteley) and Amanda (Alix Sideris) have divorced each other and remarried. They accidentally meet while honeymooning at the same hotel with their new spouses: in Elyot’s case, Sybil (Bronwyn Steinberg) and in Amanda’s, Victor (Steve Martin).

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The 39 Steps. A spoof and a spy thriller

Reviewed by on    Community Theatre  

First a novel, then a movie, finally a spoof of both. John Buchan’s acclaimed 1915 spy story was made into an equally acclaimed suspense movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935. (John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, a former Governor General of Canada, instituted the Governor General’s literary awards in 1940.)

Patrick Barlow’s 2005 comic adaptation of Buchan’s spy thriller tips the hat ironically at both genres. This version of The 39 Steps, while amusing and giving an almost frame-by-frame mocking tip of the hat to film noir, will not appeal to every taste. In the interests of full disclosure, I am one of those not thrilled by the style of comedy with its repetitive format and protracted jokes.

Nevertheless, such moments as escaping through very mobile window frames or dancing through assorted and equally mobile doorways are very funny. They are well executed in the effectively timed Kanata Theatre production, directed by Sandy Wynne.

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Tribes at Boston’s SpeakEasy: Thought Provoking Play Packs Emotional Wallop

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage  

doubletribesGetAttachment.aspx Photo: Craig Bailey. Erika Spyres and James Caverly.

Nina Raine’s Tribes, currently playing at Boston’s SpeakEasy Theatre, is a powerful drama whose plot revolves around Billy (James Caverly), a deaf young man whose dysfunctional family is in denial about his deafness. Under the guise of helping Billy experience a richer life, his overbearing father (Patrick Shea) discouraged him from learning sign language. The scheme backfires with Billy living on the fringes, even in his own home, unable to fully comprehend what is going on, despite his ability to lip read.

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NO GREAT MISCHIEF at 1000 Islands Playhouse – Stunning Production!!!

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


David Fox and R. H. Thomson. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

NO GREAT MISCHIEF is an adaptation by David S. Young of Alistair MacLeod’s prize-winning novel. It’s about the MacDonald family’s history that has been elevated almost to the status of myth, beginning with their emigration from Scotland to Cape Breton. Brothers Alexander and Calum explore their family’s memories and relationships. In the play’s words, “. . . the legacy of life handed down across the centuries.” The series of stories are pulled together by Alexander’s lyrical narration. This production has almost a dream-like quality that captures the spirit of the book.

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Proud: A Funny Play Lacking in Sharpness

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  


Photo of Michael Healey: Amanda Lynne Ballard

Michael Healey’s “Proud” has been loudly publicized. Tarragon Theatre refused to put it on, allegedly fearing that it might bring a libel suit from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is the main character. With this kind of background, one would expect the play, a political satire about current political events and figures, to pack quite a sharp punch. However, Healey decides to take another approach. While the play is full of funny moments, it actually presents a very balanced view of the Prime Minister. Sure, he can be shrewdly calculating and socially awkward, but he’s also shown in moments of compassion and excitement. All this paints a very honest picture of a passionate man with clear goals.

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