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

Outside Mullingar: Irish family drama with rich operatic undertones!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Born and brought up in New York, John Patrick Shanley , author of the screenplay for Moonstruck,   directed by Norman Jewison , captured a   modern Italian American love story that was told in the style of a Puccini opera. Now he has written  a play about  Irish families   deeply rooted in their  ancestral land,This one too has great  operatic undertones !  Structured as a series of solos, duos, trios and quartets, the  characters have to maintain  the music of the  accents  from Dublin to Mullingar in the northern most areas of the Republic , which is  what the  cast of Dave Dawson’s   production at the Gladstone did very well.  We were immediately immersed in a  swelling  of romantic  authenticity and thoughtful intensity   that keeps us captivated for the whole evening.    (Continue reading » )

Towards Zero: True to period production would have benefitted from some editing

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Little Theatre

Towards Zero
By Agatha Christie and Gerald Verner
Ottawa Little Theatre
Directed by Sarah Hearn

You know the drill of a classic whodunit: A small group of people, most of them with a grudge or a secret, gathers in an elegant country or seaside house, probably on a dark and stormy night. At least one among them is murdered (usually off stage) and it seems that the killer is an insider. (Continue reading » )

Outside Mullingar: A pleasant evening’s entertainment

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Photo: Black Sheep Theatre

Outside Mullingar
By John Patrick Shanley
Black Sheep Theatre Company
Directed by Dave Dawson

It is no surprise that a romantic comedy set in Ireland should focus on a land dispute between neighbours and begin on a rainy night in the aftermath of a funeral. Neither is it unusual for the talk to center on death: Tony, the professional curmudgeon on one side of the fence, predicts that Aoife, the widow next door, will die within the year and adds that he does not expect to live more than two more months.

Both predictions are correct (yes, this is a comedy — Irish style). Before the two months are up, Tony delivers his zinger: he does not intend to leave the family farm to his only son, Anthony, because he fears that the young man will never marry. (Continue reading » )

Kill Me Now packs a wallop at the NAC

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

It’s more than 40 years since a young, award-winning Canadian playwright named David Freeman told an interviewer that what he yearned for most in life was a meaningful physical relationship with another human being.

It was a poignant admission, because Freeman had been born with cerebral palsy. And throughout his life he resisted marginalization by a culture unable to get a handle on the notion that his kind were as capable as anyone else of an entire range of human emotions, including sexual need and desire.

These emotions were given caustic, funny utterance in Creeps, his 1971 stage triumph about the plight of disabled youth trapped in the coils of an unfeeling rehab centre. Its premiere at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre was a groundbreaking event — not simply because it broke  taboos by bringing subject matter like this to the stage, but because of its importance in legitimatizing Canadian drama at a time when playbills across the country were crammed with imported material from Broadway and London’s West End. (Continue reading » )

Kill Me Now: A Play About Courage and Love

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

By Brad Fraser, A Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg) Production coproduced with the NAC English Theatre.

Disability comes in many guises. And each of the character’s in playwright Brad Fraser’s latest play, Kill Me Now, is disabled to a greater of lesser degree, whether through physical or mental challenges or emotional and relationship issues.

But, says Fraser in the program notes, “this is not a play about disability. It is a play about courage and love.”

So it is. At the centre is the love between father and son. In the next circle of love is that of a sister for the older brother who raised her and an aunt’s caring for her nephew. Then the love ripples out to include friends and lovers. (Continue reading » )

Brault is back at the Gladstone in May. Elmyr de Hory returns!!

Reviewed by on    Arts News, Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Photo: McGihon /Postmedia Pierre Brault.

 Coming to the Gladstone in May,  2017  WATCH for it!!
A piece of relentless theatre history rejuvenated by the  Gladstone..
Artist, fraud, chameleon, victim.  Elmyr de Hory was all of these, and arguably the most notorious, successful and prolific art forger of the twentieth century.  Never fully recognized as an artist in his own right, and eternally frustrated by this fact, de Hory turned to painting in the style of his contemporaries, including Matisse, Picasso and Modigliani, and passing off the results as originals with astonishing success.  After decades spent toiling in anonymity, Elmyr de Hory, at once the swindler and the swindled, finally reveals his own private truth as told by playwright and actor Pierre Brault.

 In his own incomparable style, Brault crafts myriad characters, from Orson Welles and Zsa Zsa Gabor to de Hory himself and the artists whose work he forged, to tell a fascinating story that explores the very nature of art and identity.


Portrait of an Unidentified Man premiered in Ottawa in February, 2005 as part of the National Arts Centre English Theatre subscription season.  It was subsequently revived at the NAC in July, 2005 due to popular demand.  The following year the production toured to the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, London’s Grand Theatre, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in St. John’s, NL. and a New Zealand tour in 2009.
Read some of the reviews of that period even if the shows are off the air…

(Continue reading » )

17 Border Crossings or Around the World in 20 Years

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage   ,

boarderimages (4)

After a three year lapse, the innovative company Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental has returned to ArtsEmerson in Boston, this time with 17 Border Crossings. The earlier production Red Eye to Havre de Grace was a devised musical and dance piece, directed by Thaddeus Phillips, which focussed on trying to solve the mystery of Edgar Allen Poe’s death. Similar to Border Crossings and other works of Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental, travel was an important element, although the plot was far more developed.

Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental as its name suggests has no home. It is a travelling theatre that creates pieces which sometimes, as in the case of 17 Border Crossings, can be years in the making. It is based on trips that Thaddeus Phillips, the playwright and actor in this solo show, took over more than twenty years, starting in his youth. It is directed by Phillips’ wife and collaborator Tatiana Mallarino. The setting designed by Phillips is spare, consisting of a table, chair, microphone, radio and a long metal bar hung with lights that can be raised and lowered. In part, the bright lights serve to transition from one voyage to another. In one scene Phillips cleverly uses them to give the impression he is riding a bicycle. Phillips’ performance is reminiscent of Spaulding Gray’s monologues, but without the narcissistic intensity, while his set and David Todaro’s lighting recall Robert Lepage, but at a simpler level. Phillips audited Lepage’s work over a long period and appeared in his Miracle of Geometry. Lepage’s influence can also be seen in Phillip’s movement work.

(Continue reading » )

Colloque sur Migration/Représentation/Stéréotypes

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,

Antony and Cleopatra
Stratford Festival 2014

 

 Colloque  aura lieu les 28-30 avril 2017, à l’Université d’Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada Des informations sur nos conférenciers principaux :  http://artsites.uottawa.ca/studies-migration/fr/conference/key-notes/

nos événements spéciaux et nos présentations: http://artsites.uottawa.ca/studies-migration/fr/conference/ se trouvent sur le site Web du colloque.

 Le programme du colloque  : http://artsites.uottawa.ca/studies-migration/fr/conference/conference-program/

 Au plaisir de vous rencontrer en personne dans une semaine. English follows. (Continue reading » )

Encount3rs/ Rencontr3s : World Premiere of three commissioned works at the National ArtsCentre.

Reviewed by on    Dance   , ,

Photo. Barb Gray
Alberta Ballet Caelestis

In view of an exceptional arts  event to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada,  three choreographers and three composers were chosen from across Canada,  to create  specially commissioned works by the NAC. This was an exceptional opportunity  for audiences across the country but also for the artists to meet other companies and other dancers from other parts of Canada. They were invited to  develop their own work freely and to have the rare chance to work with a complete orchestra .Each event lasted 30 minutes in Southam Hall and the whole evening which opened last night and lasted just over two hours, left much to ponder about the future of dance in Canada. (Continue reading » )

Saint Lawrence Shakepeare returns this summer with the Three Musketeers

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,

St. Lawrence Shakespeare announces MainStage cast, it’s brand new
“SideStage” plan, and the title of it’s popular Community Play!
!
April 18, 2017 – The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival announced details of it’s
programming and the casting for the summer season! !
Following last year’s swords and sandals hit Julius Caesar, this summer will transporting
the audience to ancient Egypt for the romantic sequel, Antony & Cleopatra in addition
to producing an original musical adaptation of the rollicking and swashbuckling story
The Three Musketeers. !
The MainStage cast features a host of talent! Returning for their 3rd consecutive years,
are veteran actor Richard SheridanWillis, who blew audiences away last year in the
title role of Julius Caesar, as well as the award-winning fight director, actor and
choreographer, Jonathan Purvis. ! (Continue reading » )