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


Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,

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. (Continue reading » )

Onegin: a talented cast but an adaptation that faulters.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

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.
(Continue reading » )

Onegin’s portrayal of young love conquers despite some missteps

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Article first published in

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. (Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Canada, Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

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. (Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

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. (Continue reading » )

Awoken: excellent performance but the material falters…

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

Nicholas Dave Amott in Awoken. Photo: Lorraine Payette

Nicholas Dave Amott in Awoken
Photo: Lorraine Payette

Awoken created and performed by Nicholas Dave Amott

A monologue  which becomes a sleepless delirium, bringing together  sounds of familiar voices, a nightmarish confusion between illusion and  reality, and a clear sense of a character performing himself in front of an audience, opened last night at the Gladstone Theatre for a 5 day run.

This very talented young man with a beautiful voice, enormous stage presence and an excellent sense of theatre, plays out his delusional world of the insomniac as it shifts back and forth from his contacts with the doctor, his conversations with his mother, his need to express himself through music, and his flights of confused fantasy into the world of popular culture where batman, ironman and many more appear and disappear. He is suffering from an incurable form of sleeplessness and there is nothing anyone can do for him. He uses points of light created by lamps not only to transform his face into multiple theatrical masks but also to bring the audience into his semi-hypnotical state of dizziness and exhaustion as he winds down to the inevitable ending. (Continue reading » )

Le Théâtre des Quartiers d’Ivry annonce la mort d’Adel Hakim

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage, Arts News   ,

Adel Hakim

 29 AOÛT 2017 /

Nous avons la tristesse de vous annoncer le décès d’Adel Hakim, survenu le mardi 29 août 2017 à Ivry.

Adel est décédé chez lui, entouré de ses proches. Il n’a pas pu, comme il le souhaitait, mourir à Zurich , auprès de l’association Dignitas.

Il a souhaité expliquer son choix et son engagement de mourir dans la dignité dans une lettre que nous nous vous communiquons. Nous vous remercions de prêter attention à cet adieu.

Elisabeth Chailloux
et le Théâtre des Quartiers d’Ivry – Centre Dramatique National du Val-de-Marne

_________ (Continue reading » )

Gypsy: A Wonderful Revival

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage   ,

Photo Mark Howard.

For its first show of the season Boston’s Lyric Stage, which often produces musical theatre pieces, chose Arthur Laurents’, Jule Styne’s, and Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy. Gypsy is considered by many critics, scholars, and theatre artists as one of the greatest musicals of the mid-20th century when American musical comedy turned into musical theatre, a more well-rounded genre in which the narrative and characterization were on par with the songs, where comedy could remain an integral part of the show or be dropped.

In 1959, Ethel Merman created the leading role of Mama Rose, a woman dedicated to fulfilling her dream of seeing her two daughters become show business stars, who in Merman’s version was funny, cruel, selfish, powerful, and at times loving. Her loud (and for some abrasive) mezzo-soprano voice and her belting style were inimical.

Since the original closed in 1961, Gypsy has been revived four times on Broadway with Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, and Patti Lupone as the lead. Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, and Patti Lupone won a Tony award, while Bernadette Peters was nominated. What their performances have in common is that their interpretations are less vulgar, tough, lower class, and over the top than Merman’s.
(Continue reading » )

Christina Watt is performing a Cross-Canada concert.

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,

Hello Friends,
This Sunday, Sept 10, World Suicide Awareness Day, I am honored to be invited to perform in a cross-Canada concert in recognition of this day and its significance worldwide. Twenty-one hours of continuous concerts. Other Ottawa performers include Christiane Riel (Soprano), John Avey (bass-baritone); Yvonne Cox (harp); Leopoldo Erice (piano); Isabelle Gagnon (harp); Michelle Gott (harp) Sandra Graham (mezzo-soprano) David Jalbert (piano) Renée Lapointe (mezzo-soprano) Christiane Riel (soprano) Claire Stevens (piano) Louis Trépanier (guitar).
The event, from morn to night, NFLD to BC, will be live-streamed. Below is the link and also an article.

Sudbury’s Miriam Cusson receives 2017 John Hirsch Director’s Award

Reviewed by on    Arts News   ,

Toronto, September 6, 2017 – Sudbury theatre director Miriam Cusson will receive this year’s John Hirsch Director’s Award on Tuesday, September 12 during the Zones Théâtrales festival at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. The same evening, the festival will feature a workshop presentation of Miriam’s newest work, Parmi les éclats, which will premiere in 2018 at the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario.

Miriam Cusson. winner of the John Hirsch Award for directing.

(Continue reading » )

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