Reviewed by Emily Blake in the theatre criticism class of Patrick Langston
The National Arts Center’s presentation of King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee and directed by Sherry J. Yoon, is a cultural roller coaster in 120 minutes. King of the Yees takes place mid-rehearsal, as actors Donna (Donna Soares) and Raugi (Raugi Yu) bring to life the story of the real Lauren and Larry Yee. All is going swimmingly until the ‘real’ Larry (played by Jovanni Sy) and Lauren (played by Andrea Yu) appear on stage and things start to become unapologetically funny. The audience learns that Lauren is also the playwright of this production and her aim is to bring to life the tales of a dying Chinatown and find understanding in her place within it. The cast of this cultural masterpiece know how to make audience interaction an integral part of the show, and they are not afraid to jump on and off the stage to make the audience feel as though they are in this too. (Continue reading » )
You Are Happy
Photo : Andrew Alexander
Reviewed by Kellie MacDonald in the theatre criticism class of Patrick Langston
Rope, razor blades, a bottle of pills — they’re not your typical punchlines, but this isn’t your typical comedy, either. Originally written in French by Rébecca Déraspe and translated in English by Leanna Brodie, You Are Happy leaves you with a sinking feeling in your gut that, as perfect as things seem, we, individually and collectively, are hurtling towards ruin. This absurd
dark comedy, directed by CBC alumnus Adrienne Wong, opens the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s 2017-2018 season.
(Continue reading » )
November 6, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Playwright Marcus Youssef has been named the 2017 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s most prestigious prize in Theatre. This year marks the 17th year of the Prize, which was celebrated at a ceremony today in the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre, hosted by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Anne-Marie Cadieux. The award of $100,000 is the largest theatre prize in Canada. Mr. Youssef will receive $75,000 and Christine Quintana, whom he has chosen as his protégée, will receive $25,000.
Mr Youssef was one of four talented playwrights on this year’s shortlist, which also included Evelyne de la Chenelière, Hannah Moscovitch, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. (Continue reading » )
Reviewed October 18 by Natasha Lomonossoff
TotoToo Theatre’s production of Bent at the Gladstone was a laudable effort, despite a few inconsistencies that detracted from its overall impact. Director Josh Kemp’s take on Martin Sherman’s historically significant play was most successful in establishing the dark events and atmosphere that foreground it: that is, the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany. Bringing this lesser known evil to light, the play focuses on an openly gay Berliner named Max who, along with his partner Rudy, are forced to flee the city after two Nazi guards come to their apartment with an arrest warrant for a companion they picked up at a club just the previous night. The pair embark on a fruitless journey all throughout the country to escape, as they are eventually caught and placed on a train heading towards Dachau. Unimaginable brutality and suffering only follows from there. (Continue reading » )
Reviewed by Carly Jevcak
What starts off as a booze and drug filled night turns into hell for Max as he brings home a man wanted by the Nazis, which upends his life. The opening performance of Bent by TotoToo Theatre at the Gladstone Theatre was a harrowing experience, but that says more about the content rather than the production. After being caught by the Gestapo in 1934 Berlin for being a gay man, Max is sent to the Dachau concentration camp where the only ray of sunshine is his developing secret relationship with fellow prisoner, Horst. The men try their hardest to survive under the most trying of conditions and find ways to subvert the prying eyes of the guards.
(Continue reading » )
Bent photo Maria Vartanova
Reviewed by Claire McCracken
Bent is a show with many warnings. The list in the program goes on and on: extreme violence, murder, rape; this is all too real for a play set in Nazi Germany. ToToToo Theatre, the only company in Ottawa that exclusively performs LGBTQ theatre, brings this Tony-award nominated play to life as best as they can. Dealing with difficult subject matter is a challenge, and director Josh Kemp deals with it in a way that avoided melodrama and told the story quite well. (Continue reading » )
Reviewed by Crysania Sprott THE 4333 A
The second evening of the sixth Fresh Meat festival which was held at the Arts Court theatre on Friday, October 13th offered up an nice selection of new works by artists in the Ottawa theatre community. The first three performances presented a good variety of pieces, and offered something for everyone.
Le Crisp Bleu
The first work of the evening provided the most lighthearted and frivolous fun piece of the show. “Le Crip Bleu”, which was conceived by Michele Decottignies, gave us an intriguing twist on a burlesque performance. While the show provided the expected dancing and stripping to sultry jazz music, the twist was that the performers (Frank Hull and Alan Shain) were two men in electric wheelchairs. The piece employed very creative use of wheelchairs to emulate burlesque moves, but adapted them to suit bodies which are otherwise limited. In this way, “Le Crip Bleu was able to challenge conventions of what is considered beautiful and sexy, while also simply being a lot of fun, both for the performers, who were visibly having a great time, and for the audience, who fed off their infectious energy and shouted and cheered them on. (Continue reading » )