Reviewer: Alvina Ruprecht

Alvina Ruprecht
Alvina Ruprecht is professor emerita from Carleton University. She is currently adjunct professor in the Theatre Department of the University of Ottawa.She has published extensively on francophone theatres in the Caribbean and elsewhere. She was the regular theatre critic for CBC Ottawa for 30 years. She contributes regularly to www.capitalcriticscircle.com, www.scenechanges.com, www.criticalstages.org, theatredublog.unblog.fr and www.madinin-art.net.

The Jardin Des Délices: Marie Chouinard renews her sources of inspiration and the effect is magic

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Marie Chouinard admits that this performance   represents the “joy of bowing before a masterpiece (NAC program p.3) as she subjects her choreography to the spirit of Bosch’s Triptych  The Garden of Earthly Delights.  The one dimensional  language  of the painter that spreads out on a   flat canvass  before us, marked by the visual esthetics of  the Northern Renaissance ,  is  given a new  spirit on the NAC stage. Contemporary androgynous bodies  moving in space  with musical accompaniment,  subjected to predetermined steps and a form of perfectly orchestrated chaos, reveal the  enormous  shift in creativity that was required by Chouinard to capture the spirit of  Bosch’s  three movements  that inspired her work: The  Garden of Earthly Delights, Hell and Paradise. (more…)

Old Stock. A Refugee Love Story. A contemporary Jewish folktale superbly performed!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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Old Stock.  Ben Caplan as the narrator. Photo: National Arts Centre English  Theatre

Old Stock : A Refugee Love Story  written by  Hannah Moscovitch. Songs by Ben  Caplan and Christian Barry. Directed by Christian Barry.

An old man emerging from the smoky top of an apparently abandoned train, the suggestion of a painful transportation that took place during WWII, suddenly transforms this structure into the site of a travelling theatre, resounding with music, that has “appeared” out of the past with its lively Klezmer Rumanian Jewish /Gypsy background bringing together a huge audience ready to hear its tales, including a love story that must be told.  With music that brings much to the dramatic intensity of the show, this theatrical company of theatre within theatre, is  transported into the present with its  four musicians/actors and a narrator-superb singer, dancer and actor Ben Caplan- under the direction of Christian Barry.

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4 heures du matin: une complicité émouvante entre acteur et metteur en scène

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Cette adaptation par Hassane Kouyaté,  du roman d’Ernest J. Gaines  (nommé aux Prix Pulitzer et Prix Nobel de littérature), est une  production de Tropiques Atrium ( Fort de France) oὺ Kouyaté dirige la scène nationale. Cette saison, deux créations de l’ Atrium  ont été intégrées à la programmation du Tarmac :  Le But de Roberto Carlos  (mise en scène et scénographie de Kouyaté ), une coproduction du Tarmac et de la Scène nationale de Martinique,  est une réflexion sur la migration recréée par un acteur, un chanteur et un musicien. Ensuite, Paris a reçu  Quatre heures du matin, adapté du roman de l’Américain Ernest Gaines et mis en scène par Kouyate.  Ce monologue est  une coproduction de la Scène nationale  et de la Cie  2 temps 3 mouvements.  Ruddy Syllaire, acteur d’origine haïtienne établi  depuis de nombreuses années en Martinique et qui a  interprété Othello à Montréal sous la direction de Denis Marleau, a eu le rôle du  jeune migrant, alors qu’un   acteur d’origine congolaise Abdon Fortuné Koumbha  a incarné  Lewis, le jeune noir  qui se débat contre le racisme américain dans le texte de Gaines.

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

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

1078 – Russell Braun as Louis Riel (centre) in a scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Louis Riel, 2017. 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 director of 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. (more…)

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

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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.

 

Maestro: un choix de texte douteux

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Maestro par Claude Montminy
En français, adapté pour l’Outaouais par Claude Montminy.
Mise en scène : Gilles Provost,
Scénographie et éclairages : David Magladry

Géré par Gilles Provost, bien connu dans la région en tant que comédien, professeur et ancien directeur du Théâtre de l’ile, ce spectacle semble cacher une parodie féroce de la classe moyenne québécoise/outaouaise , transformée en frénésie comique par la mécanique héritée de la farce française. En fait, dès le début, on se pose des questions sur la logique dramaturgique de cette œuvre qui mélange les styles de jeu, les thématiques et les stéréotypes de toutes sortes au point où on finit par se laisser bercer par la folle confusion de ce microcosme peuplé d’ambitieux, de misogynes, de mal élevés, de manipulateurs . L’auteur se moque de tout le monde, même du public qui ose rigoler devant cette parade de bouffonneries inouïes. (more…)

Children of God : A Ritual Theatre event that changes the focus of Canadian theatre.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Photo: Emily Cooper
Children of God, Urban Ink

An Urban Ink (Vancouver) production in collaboration with NAC English Theatre, in association with Raven Theatre (Vancouver) and presented as part of the NAC’s Canada Scene Festival.
The first impression one has before the event begins, is an all-enveloping living breathing landscape that sweeps horizontally across the front of the newly named Babs Asper theatre space and carries us away into another realm of being. Huge roling clouds, suggestions of a liquid surface, flat rocks that continue far back into a horizon defined by the sky. Ominous mountain shapes rise on either side of Marshall McMahan’s breathtaking set design that is brought to life by Jeff Harrison’s shifting lighting effects , by Kris Boyd’s sound design and Corey Payette’s musical compositions executed by the four musicians tucked away on stage right just behind the landscape. The music dissolves into the surrounding site as the performance space engulfs us , exemplifying the tortured nature of this situation that unfolds on the stage.
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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: Brilliant production of an important play

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Photo: Maria Vartanova

Toto Too never  stops outdoing itself  and this ultra-energized performance under the direction of Michael Gareau proves it once again. It all  glows and glitters with the marvelous costumes of the  drag Queen world,  (created by designer Lu-Anne Connell ), the stunning  singing voices , the  excellent acting  and Paddy Allen McCarthy’s all-encompassing choreography,  take over  the original  music and lyrics that transgress  the established codes of  the musical world.  Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a brilliant monument to a shifting world where every human individual is given a space of one’s own.   (more…)

Minus One. Ohad Naharin’s high powered entertainment unites dance theatre with multiple voices and musical styles!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht


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With its 35 dancers out in full force on the stage of Southam Hall, les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal under the spell of choreographer Ohad Naharin has created a synthesis of some of his past work bringing together the musics and dancers of many origins. Almost the way Peter Brook integrated the Hindu epic with actors from all the continents, Naharin’s company Batsheva Dance, actually founded by Martha Graham, has become a meeting place for dancers from around the world, and now, Naharin’s recent creation sends us into a spiral of hybrid creativity that sets one’s head spinning. (more…)

Outside Mullingar: Irish family drama with rich operatic undertones!

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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.    (more…)

Past Reviews