March, 2017

Catch Me If You Can: Production quality more memorable than forgettable froth of material

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Photo: Orpheus Theatre

Catch Me If You Can
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Orpheus Musical Theatre Society
Reviewed by Iris Winston

The Catch 22 of Catch Me If You Can is that the apparently innocent charm of the anti-hero/con artist is at odds with the reality of his crooked early life. It is also even more difficult to fit the story of the imposter/forger/thief into an upbeat and believable musical than it was to give jolly versions of other con artists in such musicals as The Producers or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. (more…)

Lawrence Aronovitch’s Finishing the Suit an insightful portrayal of grief and mourning

Reviewed by Kat Fournier

Photo: Andrew Alexander

This is a true heartbreaker. In Bear and Co’s latest offering at the Gladstone Theatre, Ottawa-based playwright Lawrence Aronovitch pens a script that delves into the grief of lost love. This world premiere is largely set in a tailor’s shop in 1070s New York, where being a publicly gay man is criminal. A young, nameless tailor works on a bespoke suit for a funeral. In the midst of his work, his mind wanders to his life’s greatest loves – the Duke of Windsor and a fiery Irish actor – who are now both dead, and suddenly conjures their ghosts onto the stage. (more…)

Precious Little: A Play with a Lot to Say

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

Photo: A.R. Sinclair

The theme that holds together Madeleine George’s somewhat disparate plot in Precious Little is language. Brodie the protagonist, a linguist beautifully played by Lee Mikeska, has devoted her life to finding and preserving disappearing languages. When the play opens she is forty-two and realizes that in the process of building her academic career has let the personal side of her life slip. An unmarried lesbian who is feeling middle age encroaching, she made the decision to be artificially inseminated. Because of her age she undergoes amniocentesis to determine if all is right with her pregnancy. The results point toward retardation but are inconclusive. Part of the play revolves around Brodie reaching the decision to keep the baby, although she does not discuss abortion. (more…)

The Gladstone unveils a fine new play with Finishing The Suit

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Photo: Andrew Alexander

Lawrence Aronovitch’s new play, Finishing The Suit, comes to us simply, without pretension. But this tender drama about a lonely gay tailor coming to terms with a crushing personal loss deserves attention from anyone who cares about good theatre.

This Bear @ Co. Production is at the Gladstone until March 11, and it may be recommended not only for a beautifully written 70-minute script, a piece both psychologically and culturally observant, but also for a trio of strong performances from Matt Pilipiak, Isaac Giles and David Whiteley. (more…)

Infinity: outstanding production of a problematic play

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

In terms of production quality, Infinity is probably as good as anything we’ve seen on an NAC stage in a while.

There’s Ross Manson’s excellent direction — responsive to the dramatic demands of Hannah Moscovitch’s script, adroitly managing its fluctuating rhythms and moods, seeking to give it substance and fluidity despite the authorial ambushes lying along the way.

In this, Manson is beautifully complemented by designer Teresa Przybylski’s deceptively simple cycloramic setting, which at times seems to be dissolving into destinations unknown. And she is supported here by lighting designer Rebecca Picherack who is making her own valuable contribution to a world of shifting shades and textures. (more…)

Finishing the Suit: Bear & Co. delivers a sensitive and clear production

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Photo: Andrew Alexander

Finishing the Suit

By Lawrence Aronovitch

Bear & Co.

Directed by Joël Beddows

Coming to terms with the past is the only way to prepare for the future. Even then, putting grief to rest is incredibly difficult.

This is the theme of Lawrence Aronovitch’s fine play, Finishing the Suit, currently having its premiere production from Bear & Co. at the Gladstone.

The title is partly drawn from the reality of completing a morning coat (also referred to as a mourning coat in the context of the script). It is also a metaphor for sewing up the past through memory and conversation.

Directed with sensitivity and clarity by Joël Beddows, the three-person cast tells of the two people that have had the greatest impact on the tailor (Matt Pilipiak), The two, David (David Whiteley) —who is to wear the morning coat in death—and Jimmy (Isaac Giles) are both dead, but remain alive in the tailor’s heart and remembrance, almost to the exclusion of his daily existence. (more…)

Now We’re Talking! NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley Opens the Conversation on the 2017/18 Season

News from Capital Critics Circle

Now We’re Talking! NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley Opens the Conversation on the 2017/18 Season.

March 6, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – From adaptations of classic novels, to powerful stories told in various musical styles, to real-life events brought to the national stage with stunning visuals, the 2017/18 NAC English Theatre season offers a wide array of experiences fostering meaningful exchange between audiences and artists. (more…)

NAC DANCE UNVEILS A NEW SEASON OF DYNAMIC PERFORMANCES THAT CELEBRATE DANCE AND LIFE IN MOTION

News from Capital Critics Circle

March 6, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – NAC Dance is proud to unveil one of its most spectacular and expansive seasons to date. Featuring 48 performances by 20 companies, it includes 3 Canadian exclusives, 2 co-productions, 11 artists and companies making their NAC debuts, and many great Canadian artists from home and abroad.   (more…)

Infinity: Ideas more interesting than unsatisfying whole

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Infinity

By Hannah Moscovitch

A Volcano (Toronto) production at the National Arts Centre

Director: Ross Manson

Clever rather than entertaining, playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s 2013 drama Infinity intertwines alternative theories of time with the affinity between mathematics and music overlaying the drama of a dysfunctional family.

At the centre of the storm of ideas and her inability to preserve relationships is Sarah Jean — at times an eight-year-old having a tantrum (three-year-old style); at other times, a serious graduate student in mathematics; but mostly, a confused and unhappy young woman trying to make sense of her life through unsatisfying sexual encounters and crude words and imagery. (more…)

Past Reviews