Reviewer: Barbara.Gray

Barbara.Gray
Barbara Gray is the official photographer for the Capitalcriticscircle web site. She reviews theatre for r CKCU, the community Radio in Ottawa. She is also a published poet and an artist. Barbara lives in Ottawa.

Weird: The Witches of Macbeth

Reviewed by Barbara.Gray

Phillip Psutka – writer, director, co-choreographer, fight director, violinist, and co-producer – brings a breath of fresh air to Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s dark plays. He not captures the essence of poetry and cadence found in Shakespeare, but cleverly uses red aerial silks throughout the play, allowing the actors to twist, spiral, fall, climb, only to fall again.  The device is especially effective during a great thunderstorm.   
This show is a visual feast, and choreography and direction are tight and excellent.  This is theatre.

By: Phillip Psutka

Theatre Arcturus

Academic Hall

Screwtape Letters

Reviewed by Barbara.Gray

Can you think of another venue where one of the devil’s helpers could choose to try to convert the enemy?  This Senior Tempter (John D. Huston) is very eloquent and his delivery excellent.  His voice echoes off the high church celling when he is in full motivational mode.  Transitioning  between conversations with his nephew Wormwood, his aide, and a call from down below are not clearly defined.   The dialogue is clever allowing the actor to present arguments to his nephew, explaining how to bring the enemy over to their side.  This play, a little too long, requires dedicated concentration not only from the actor but also for the audience. 

Freely adapted by John D. Huston from The Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C.S. Lewis.
Performer: John D. Huston, By the Book Productionsé
Performed at St-Paul’s Eastern United.

Ottawa Fringe 2013. Nhar Moves

Reviewed by Barbara.Gray

Chris Kauffman sets up his props, his screen, where the background of his performance pops up,  and promptly becomes Nhar, who reminds us of a cross between Harpo Marx and Charlie Chaplin with the hat, coat and moustache. Here, however his  character is Pedro (a disgruntled warehouse worker).    Pedro discovers a gold fish, and this little creature is the starting point for a brilliant  illustration of  many issues society deals with today as well as Pedro’s own personal need for love. Kauffman is a master mime although Pedro does murmur a few words and sing  a few songs. Nhar Moves is creative theatre and a must on your Fringe list.  

Ottawa Fringe 2013. Under the Mango Tree

Reviewed by Barbara.Gray

This is a one woman play written and performed by Veenesh Dubois, where Veneesh leads us on a roller coaster of emotions. Her performance as Timal is outstanding.  She captures the essence of a little 10-year old girl, whose father leaves his family and their small village to travel to the land of opportunity – Canada.  He promises to return and from that moment on, their only contact is through letters.  Timal is left in the care of her grandmother.  This is when Veneesh deftly uses a red scarf to transform herself  into the character of the grandmother and later, using the same prop, she becomes  the auntie, and a bride of an arranged marriage.  Under her convincing performance, we watch Timal  mature through her teenage years into a wife and mother.  The short film screened during the performance, gives glimpses of  father’s life in Canada which is perhaps extraneous to the play but   Under the Mango Tree is a ‘must see’ on your Fringe list. 

Written and performed by: Veenesh Dubois
Location: Studio Léonard Beaulne
June 21, 23, 24 25, 28, 30 2013 (at different times)
Timal’s Dream – Short Film
Director: Suzanne Bastien
Producer: Veenesh Dubois
Cinematographer: Colin Stoddard
Actors: Dhirendra Miyanger, Charlie Bewley
Tammy Gillis, Sean Nowak, Trevor Peever, Rachel Wolski

Ottawa Fringe 2013 – In The First PLace by Insight Theatre.

Reviewed by Barbara.Gray

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In the First Place’ is a series of personal monologues performed individually by seven courageous youths about their first experience with love and sex, including identity issues surrounding these age old topics.  At a sensitive time during their teen years, the orators emotionally express their ups and downs with raw honesty.  Well done, considering it is a first time for a few of the young actors to appear in front of an audience.
The stories told, deal with abuse, awkwardness, and growing up too fast.  They also tell of many firsts such as love, a kiss, sex, dates, fantasies, coming out, and what do people say when under the covers.  Simple props are used effortlessly by the performers.  On the sparse staging area, a chair, a blanket, a  glass and a pair of high heeled shoes add to the drama.

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Past Reviews