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

Student review: Voices from the Front

Reviewed by on    Student Reviews  

source-for-Voices from the Frong

photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre

Natasha Lomonossoff from the theatre criticism class of Patrick Langston at the University of Ottawa

With exceptional vocal performances and material inspired by letters of Canadian soldiers at the front of the two world wars, Plosive Productions’ work Voices from the Front strikes a tone that is both realistic and touching. The play, a work co-created by Teri Loretto-Valentik and John Cook and directed by the former, is presented in the tradition of the Gladstone’s annual radio play and narrates the experience of war in the format of a radio broadcast. The staging aspect of this format, however, takes a back seat to the letters and speeches which are read out loud to the audience; it is the delivery of these in which the show derives most of its emotional strength.

(Continue reading » )

Student review” ” Voices from the Front”, The Radio Show : Remembering the Voice

Reviewed by on    Student Reviews  

Taylor Stewart  in the Theatre Criticism class of Patrick Langston.

Voices from the Front: The Radio Show is a pure, emotional power house that commemorates the brave men and women of the Canadian military. It delivers a performance as powerful as a a service at a Cenotaph yet is wholly different.

The show was written by John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik from the letters of Canadian Soldiers during World War I and II. This is a piece of verbatim theatre, meaning the majority of the text is preserved as it was written by the individuals who originally wrote the letters; however, they have been added to for the purpose of a flowing narrative or filling in details that would add to the fiction of the show. Using these letters Cook and Loretto-Valentik have created the characters of Will Cooper and his son, Wilfred Cooper. The two are enlisted men serving in WWI and WWII, respectively. The show consists primarily of the actors reading the letters that Will and Wilfred have written to their families. (Continue reading » )

Capital Critics Circle announces annual theatre awards

Reviewed by on    Arts News  

Vigilante,   Photo by David Cooper,                        Best professional production

Photo: Maria Vartanova

Photo: Maria Vartanova
Other Desert Cities

 
The Capital Critics Circle today announced the winners of the nineteenth annual theatre awards for plays presented in English in the National Capital Region during the 2016-2017 season. The winners are:

Best professional production:    Vigilante written, composed and directed by Jonathan Christenson, Catalyst Theatre, in association with the NAC.

Best production community:  Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by Geoff Gruson, Ottawa Little Theatre

Best director professional: Esther Jun for her direction of The Last Wife (Continue reading » )

Semperopera”s Swan Lake moves forward to a heightened emotional and psychological performance!!

Reviewed by on    Dance   ,

photo Ian Whalen

Photo Ian Whalen
Semperoper  Dresden Ballet company

The renowned  Semperoper Dresden Ballet under the artistic direction of Canadian Aaron S. Watkin,  has just whirled through  Ottawa this past  weekend with their moving romantic  performance of Swan Lake, one of the world’s  most famous narrative ballets.

Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, performed by the orchestra of the NAC under the direction of Mikhail Agrest, the tragic story inspired by  Russian folk tales concerns the handsome prince Siegfried who falls in love with Odette, the young  woman bewitched by an evil magician who can only retain her human form for a brief time every day but who can be released from the spell if she has the  true love of a human.   (Continue reading » )

The State of Siege (l’état de siège): A political warning

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage   ,

État de siège

État de siège, Photo de Jean Louis Fernandez

Albert Camus’ 1948 play The State of Siege (L’État de Siège) is presently touring the U.S. in a production by Paris’ celebrated Théâtre de la Ville. This is the company’s third visit to this country, but its first to Boston where it opened on November 9 at ArtEmerson’s Majestic Theatre.

Camus was invited to write the play by the actor and mime Jean-Louis Barrault then also France’s leading director. As early as the late 1930s, Barrault began developing ideas for a drama based on the plague. At first, he collaborated with Antonin Artaud whose interest lay not in dialogue, but in creating a powerful theatre of ritual, imagery, and movement which ultimately through assaulting the audience’s senses would have a cathartic effect. The two men split up because Artaud’s ideas were too extreme for Barrault and the converse was true for Artaud. (Continue reading » )

Voices From The Front evokes the words and memories of two world wars

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Voice from the Front. Plosive Productions.

Photo courtesy of Plosive Productions

 

Voices FromThe Front: The Radio Show

Conceived by John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik

A Plosive production at the Gladstone Theatre to Nov. 11

On one level, Voices From The Front — the latest entry in Ottawa theatre’s popular Radio Show series — may seem simplicity itself. Yet its impact can be powerful.

There’s a row of microphones along the front of the Gladstone Theatre’s playing area. Behind, there’s a row of chairs for the performers as they await those moments when they come forward to read. And in one corner, there’s a piano and the three singing Gladstone Sisters who will be making their own important contribution to the evening. (Continue reading » )

Voices from the Front:Radio format and the written material dont always mesh

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Most years, Plosive Productions’ annual Radio Show takes place close to Christmas with a seasonal or light-hearted theme: adaptations of classics like Miracle on 34th Street or Winnie-the-Pooh, for example.

This time, Plosive has scheduled the show – Voices from the Front – around Remembrance Day and focused on much grittier material: the letters written to family and sweethearts by soldiers serving at the front in the First and Second World Wars.

If you’ve ever read any of these letters, particularly on their original, now-yellowed paper, you know how effecting the words can be.

(Continue reading » )

Voices from the Front: the most powerful offering to date!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

source-for-Voices from the Frong

photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre

 By John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik

Plosive Productions

Directed by Teri Loretto-Valentik

Annual radio shows from Plosive Productions have become a popular tradition in the National Capital Region. The subject matter of the mock radio shows has varied from tales of Winnie the Pooh to a dramatization of Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon. (Continue reading » )

Voices From the Front: A Tender, Moving and Passionate Tribute

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

source-for-Voices from the Frong

photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre

The annual radio show at the Gladstone theatre returned to Ottawa this week. This year we were told that the radio play would be somewhat different and it was. The timing of the production coincides with the week of Remembrance Day and commemorates the centennial of the battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. Much of what is liked about this production is still there. Set designer Ivo Valentik has the familiar pieces of the radio station CGLD all there, decorated with adornments of the era tucked into the corners: A vintage cigar box and a soldier’s helmet inform us that this is war time. (Continue reading » )

Kanata Theatre’s Shatter collapses with a thud

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Kanata Theatre’s production of a play called Shatter is that it’s well-intentioned.

But that’s not sufficient to give it a pass.

It may have seemed an attractive notion to mark the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion with a drama that purports to deal with this tragedy. But the people at Kanata Theatre should have first made sure that the script was worth doing.

Dramatist Trina Davies is clearly seeking to bring a note of intimacy to her story and give us a glimpse of ravaged human lives. But in the process, she devalues the impact on Haligonians (and on Canadians) of the largest man-made explosion in human history until the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima 28 years later. (Continue reading » )

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