September, 2017

Educating Rita, a Production which emphasizes the class struggle

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Educating Rita, Photos Maria Vartanova

 

Educating Rita by Willy Russell, Ottawa Little Theatre, Directed by Sterling Lynch

Educating Rita always brings back memories. Not only do visions of Julie Walters and Michael Caine in the 1983 movie version or outstanding performances in previous stage productions of Willy Russell’s 1980 Pygmalion-like tale come to mind, but I flash back to thoughts of Janet — a classmate of mine, briefly, in the UK in the 1950s.

Like Rita, Janet was exceptionally intelligent and from a working-class background. After passing her 11+ examination, (taken at the age of 10 – don’t ask) she was accepted in a prestigious out-of-zone grammar school. Before the end of her first semester, she withdrew and entered a mediocre school close to home, where, she said, she had friends and felt she fitted in with her own kind. (more…)

Yerma from the Young Vic. intense, powerful, an impeccable adaptation of Lorca to the London stage.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Yerma at the Young Vic
photo Johan Persson

Yerma in London, as the subtitle states, is a contemporary adaptation of  Federico García Lorca’s Yerma,  a work by one of the great 20th Century Spanish playwrights.  It was written in 1934, two years before the tragic assassination of the writer by Franco’s forces.

Director Simon Stone’s  reworking of the play  sets it in an Expressionist  design environment where the young couple, (she and John as they are mentioned in the cast) are enclosed in a glass case that creates a mirror effect for the audience. We, in the  cinema, see the British audience reflected at the back of the stage so that it gives an impression of an audience sitting on both sides of the stage,  staring into the  most uncomfortably   intimate,   increasingly violent encounters, appearing  as the secular Calvary  of this doomed couple. Gregorian chants, religious and varying forms of music in Spanish and Latin as well as a reference to a particular Japanese death ritual, mark the seven  chapters of the tale that announce  each step of this painful process  in Yerma’s desperate search  to become pregnant. (more…)

Tick, Tick Boom! Intimate and Powerful!

Reviewed by James Murchison

I was very intrigued to attend the Orpheus production of Tick Tick Boom. It would be my first time seeing a production in Centrepointe’s more intimate studio theatre. The play is an autobiographical tale of Jonathan Larson’s early years as a struggling artist attempting to write the great American musical while toiling as a waiter and watching his friends prosper in more conventional professions. He would succeed of course, in writing the monstrously popular Rent, but tragically dying a sudden death of aortic dissection caused by Marfan syndrome before he ever got to see a single performance. The spectacular 12 year run on Broadway, was awarded a plethora of awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Larson, sadly posthumously.  (more…)

A Year in the Death of Eddie Jester: The Show Must Go On.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

A Year in the Death of Eddie Jester
Photo. Kanata Theatre

 

A Year in the life of  Eddie Jester by T. Gregory Argall,  Kanata Theatre, Directed by Stavros Sakiadis

A Year in the Life of Eddie Jester  underlines the dictum that the show must go on, however extreme the situation. And in the case of stand-up comedian Eddie Jester, lying comatose and near death in a Toronto hospital room, the situation is about as extreme as it can be. Yet, he keeps his act alive as his wife and girlfriend (both pregnant), his incompetent agent and randy doctor and nurses check on his deteriorating condition. (more…)

Constellations: A Relationship Held Together by String Theory

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

Constellations
Photo. A.R.Sinclair

Cambridge’s Central Square Theatre is presently showing Nick Payne’s imaginative Constellations under the auspices of the Underground Railway Theatre as a Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT. Every year a play whose source is scientific knowledge is offered at the Central Square Theatre and supported by MIT as a means of amalgamating art and science.   (more…)

THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE’S EXTRAORDINARY PRESIDENT AND CEO PETER HERRNDORF TO STEP DOWN IN 2018

News from Capital Critics Circle

Peter Herrndorf
CEO of the National Arts Centre, Ottawa
Photo David Kawai

 

September 18, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Peter Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the National Arts Centre, will be stepping down on June 2, 2018, after leading Canada’s largest performing arts organization for 18 years—and ushering in  a period of extraordinary growth for the institution.

Herrndorf is credited with transforming the NAC artistically through major national and international performing arts projects and physically through the $225.4M Architectural and Production Renewal project that was supported by the Governments of both former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the current Government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (more…)

Onegin: a talented cast but an adaptation that faulters.

Reviewed by James Murchison

Onegin. thanks to the National Arts Centre, Ottawa. Daren Herbert (Onegin), Hailey Gillis (Tatyana).

The launch of Ottawa’s new theatre season started for me on Friday night at the National Arts Centre, with a great deal of anticipation, excitement and angst. Opening night brings out the eager cheerleaders for the arts and live
performance: people like me.
This year the renovations and restoration of the N.A.C. are complete making the journey easier, now bereft of the obstructions and detours that we have had to sidestep for months. The complex is beautiful and easier to navigate.
As you enter the newly christened Babs Asper Theatre, Denyse Karn’s set design takes you to a huge Russian country house with mile high windows. Books and vodka bottles are spread about the mantles and the large limbs of grand powerful trees reach across from either side of stage evoking a feeling of nature’s Gothic arch. It sets a mood of an aristocratic country estate as a retreat and a temple.
(more…)

Onegin’s portrayal of young love conquers despite some missteps

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

 
Article first published in  Artsfile.ca

Pity the rich boy with too much time on his hands. His heart entombed as though by a Russian winter, he drifts through life bored, disconnected, emotionally somnolent. And if his name is Evgeni Onegin, he manages, through indifference to all but his own wants, to hurt deeply those who reach out to him and, in the end, to become the victim of his own glacial persona.

Onegin, in other words, isn’t the kind of guy you’d choose to hang with. But, as the titular character in the new, spirited musical by west coasters Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille — who based their show on the early 19th century poem by Alexander Pushkin and the subsequent Tchaikovsky opera — he is someone to whom you pay attention. (more…)

Onegin : This tribute to 21st century sensibility moves musical theatre far beyond the box!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Onegin
Photo Rachael McQuaig

First of all do not read Pushkin’s work before seeing this.  Although the show is apparently set in Russia, it includes the main characters in the novel, it moves from Saint Petersburg to Moscow and back and there are references to Byron which one  finds in Pushkin’s text.  However,  a knowledge of this  early 19th century romantic novel which has become one of the great works of Russian literature will only confuse you. Just arrive at the NAC with no great expectations, think of what we are told that this is not an opera, relax, forget the ballet,  and you will probably enjoy this very much because it is clearly geared for a 21st century sensibility where existing operatic, theatrical , pop music and musical theatre conventions  have all been thrown to the wind. (more…)

Zones théâtrales: Les beignes, une comédie grotesque, pétillante et captivante!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Les Beignes: toute la compagnie
Théâtre populaire d’Acadie

Le festival Zones théâtrales, évènement biennal qui met en vedette les spectacles issus des communautés francophones des régions, est de nouveau parmi nous.  Désormais sous la direction artistique de Gilles Poulin-Denis, le festival comporte sept spectacles, six  lectures publiques ainsi que des Zones « chantiers » soit des laboratoires de recherche où le public est invité à assister aux répétitions et à découvrir les technologies les plus récentes intégrées à la création scénique. (more…)

Past Reviews