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

Same Time Next Year: A delightful opener for this year’s festival

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Poster: Classic Theatre Festival, Perth

Same Time Next Year
By Bernard Slade
Classic Theatre Festival
Directed by Laurel Smith

Adultery has never been more respectable than it is in Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade.

Written in 1975, the award-winning romantic comedy is as amusing and gently charming in 2017 as it was 42 years ago. Then, it was topical, as well as funny. Today, it is a period piece about social change, as well as being an appealing look at a relationship that begins as a one-night stand and evolves into an enduring connection. (Continue reading » )

Perth Festival delivers a solid revival of Same Time Next Year

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Photo: Classic Theatre Festival, Perth

Bernard Slade’s endearing comedy-drama, Same Time Next Year, is now 42 years old — and yes it is a period piece. Yet, nothing seems dated about it, especially when it gets the kind of superior revival that has just opened at the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth.

It can’t be moved to the present. We must accept it on as own terms, as belonging to a particular passage of time — a quarter century of change and turbulence both in North American society and the wider world. It is a period inextricably linked to the lives of New Jersey accountant George and Oakland housewife Doris, both married with children,  who meet in a Northern California Inn in 1951, have a one-night fling that is totally out of character for both of them, but are nevertheless attracted sufficiently to each other that they agree to meet in the same place once a year. (Continue reading » )

Louis Riel: An Impressive Revival

Reviewed by on    Opera   ,

Photo: Sophie l’anson

Louis Riel, Canada’s leading opera composed by Harry Somers with the libretto written by Mavor Moore and Jacques Languirand, first produced in 1967 to commemorate the centennial has been revived for the country’s 150th anniversary of confederation. The 2017 production is a collaboration between the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. (Continue reading » )

Director Martha Henry delivers a thoughtful, compelling Twelfth Night at Stratford

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Canada  

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

STRATFORD, Ont. —  A pair of metallic trees dominate the Festival Theatre stage at the beginning of Twelfth Night. They suggest a world going sterile — a mood not really softened when Brent Carver’s muted Feste sings  to the rueful strains of composer Rena Jacobs’s music. And is there any emotion beyond languor when E.B. Smith’s Duke Orsino speaks those famous lines — “if music be the food of love play on?” (Continue reading » )

Recent 50th Anniversary production of louis Riel is a gift to Canadian opera. .

Reviewed by on    Opera   , ,

1078 – Russell Braun as Louis Riel (centre) in a scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Louis Riel, 2017. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Peter Hinton, set designer Michael Gianfrancesco, costume designer Gillian Gallow, lighting designer Bonnie Beecher, and choreographer Santee Smith. Photo: Michael Cooper

Louis Riel based on the work of composer of Harry Somers  and  the libretto by Mavor Moore, is directed by Peter Hinton, former head of theatre at the National Arts Centre.  It  opened at the NAC Thursday with the NAC Orchestra conducted by Alexander Shelley.   The audience was treated to an exciting reworking of this “music drama”, as Somers called it when it was first created at the O’Keefe Centre  in 1967. We now can witness a new 50th-anniversary production which   brings Canada into the global realm of contemporary performance, revising   19th Century preconceived notions of Opera. (Continue reading » )

THE NAC NAMES KEVIN LORING AS FIRST EVER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF INDIGENOUS THEATRE

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,

Kevin Loring. Photo: Canadian Press.

June 15, 2015 – OTTAWA (Canada) –The National Arts Centre’s President and CEO, Peter Herrndorf announced today that Kevin Loring will be the first ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at the NAC, taking up his post on October 16, 2017.

 The first season of the Indigenous Theatre Department will co-incide with the NAC’s 50th Anniversary in the 2019-2020 season.

(Continue reading » )

OLT does itself proud with Norm Foster’s Old Love

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Little Theatre

Of course there’s comedy in Norm Foster’s 2008 play, Old Love, What else should we expect? After all it is a Norm Foster play. But there’s also wisdom and gentleness here — qualities that are abundantly present in Venetia Lawless’s thoughtful and beautifully modulated production for Ottawa Little Theatre.

It’a not quite right to suggest that Old Love is about a 30-year infatuation or even an obsession. Such words cheapen the emotions that the aging Bud has long nursed for Molly, the inaccessible — but, for him, mysteriously enchanting — wife of his boss. (Continue reading » )

Ottawa Fringe 2017 : Tim Motley as Dirk Darrow the mind-reading private dick.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Here we are in the ambiance of the film noir, with the smooth, sexy, fast-talking Aussie full of himself in a charming sort of way.  With his 30-40’s style hat he suggests Humphrey Bogart or something out of a Dashiel Hammett story  but this fellow has a lot more class and a special talent: he is a slight of hand dick, a mind reader and a talented manipulator of each and every member of the audience. AS he solves each crime as though it were a magic show, we get more and more involved in the challenges he presents, always managing to divert our attention so that we dont see the ending before it hits us in the face. The climax:  a very funny game of musical chairs  where the participants, drawn at random from the audience, became the stars of the show because of their unexpected reactions that even threw Motley himself!  His high point!  he knows how to use the audence! Not  bad at all..but where did his Australian accent go???

Tricky Dirk Darrow the mind-reading detective plays in the Arts Court Theatre.

 

Patrick Langston reviews the Fringe on Arts File

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

 

Theatre review: Four more from the Ottawa Fringe Festival

In Rough Magic, Lindsay Bellaire as Ariel and Phillip Psutka as Caliban embody the limits and possibilities of humanity. Photo: Larry Carroll

The 2oth anniversary of the Ottawa Fringe Festival is now underway. Covering a massive undertaking like the Fringe requires some agility. ARTSFILE’s theatre writer Patrick Langston has covered as many bases as he could over the past few days offering his takes on up to a dozen shows in this year’s lineup. As Langston knows, you never know what you are going to find at the Fringe. Here is his take on four shows currently on view. They were seen on Sunday. For more information on all Fringe shows, times and places of performances and tickets, please see: ottawafringe.com

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Children of God: An emotionally explosive experience

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Photo: Emily Cooper

Walking into the theatre, one is struck by Marshall McMahen’s two sweeping sheer fabric clouds, one slightly upstage of the other. Downstage left is a shelf of layered rock that can serve as a floor, a step or secluded hiding place. During the play Jeff Harrison’s lighting brings trees and sunsets to life in the clouds and creates windows of light that put you in a church or a secret room. It is a hint to what this play will be: simple but layered, honest, moving and profoundly beautiful. (Continue reading » )