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

The Clean House: as a Pulitzer Prize finalist the play falls flat.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

The clean House
Photo. poster courtesy of The Gladstone theatre

The Clean house by Susan Ruhl, Three Sisters Theatre Company, Directed by Mary Ellis

The most striking aspect of Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House is that the sum of the parts is far less than the play as a whole. The most amazing view of this 2004 play’s history is that it was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. (2005 must have been a dry year for playwriting in the U.S.)

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Dead Accounts: a good production of a mildly entertaining script

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Dead Accounts.   Photo: Maria Vartanova

Dead Accounts By Theresa Rebeck, an Ottawa Little Theatre production, directed by Geoff Gruson

From the outset, there’s little doubt that Dead Accounts is the work of a playwright used to writing for television. And Theresa Rebeck, a writer for such TV series as NYPD Blue, Law & Order and Criminal Intent, regularly resorts to short scenes, detailed visuals and blackouts TV-style in Dead Accounts. This is not necessarily a problem, though the choppy format does become somewhat repetitive. Rather, it is an indication that this dark comedy, premiered in 2012, is more concerned with immediate response than resolution (as clearly shown in the open-ended conclusion). (Continue reading » )

at Kanata Theatre: A Fine Production of an Outdated Play

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Sleuth, Poster of the Kanata Theatre production.

By Anthony Shaffer

Kanata Theatre

Directed by Beverley Brooks

Often called the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth was a smash hit when it premiered in London’s West End in 1970 and won a Tony and other awards on Broadway the following year. It was also made into a movie — in 1972, 2007 and 2014  — the most effective version the first of the three, which starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.

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Little Women – the Broadway musical; some difficulty bringing substance to Alcott’s family.

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Little Women  Photo Ali Nicole

Book by Allan Knee, Music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott.  ASNY Productions. Directed b Jennifer Fontaine and Jacqueline Armstrongy

Louisa May Alcott’s semi-autobiographical novel, Little Women, tells the story of Jo March (Alcott’s alter ego) and her three sisters Meg, Beth and Amy. Originally published in 1868, the tale has been retold in numerous formats — as a silent film, more recent movie versions, a television series, a stage play and a musical. (Continue reading » )

An Inspector Calls: OLT production suffers from problematic staging choices.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

An Inspector Calls. Photo Maria Vartanova

By J.B. Priestley Ottawa Little Theatre  Directed by Jim McNabb

Social responsibility and time, two of J.B. Priestley’s major preoccupations, are at the centre of An Inspector Calls.

One of his best-known works, the drama is part social manifesto and part mystery in a drawing-room setting. With its underlying theme of the obligation to care for others and the playwright’s signature interest in time shifts, An Inspector Calls delivers strong criticism of class divisions in Great Britain immediately before the First World War as the scene is set for the mysterious inspector of the title to call on the wealthy Birling family and dent their complacency. (Continue reading » )

Anne of Green Gables the musical: sensitively directed delivery produces a terrific show!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Anne of Green Gables The Musical
Based on the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Book by Don Harron
Music by Norman Campbell
Lyrics by Don Harron, Norman Campbell, Elaine Campbell, Mavor Moore
Kanata Theatre
Directed by Michael Gareau

Anne of Green Gables has been charming Canadians since Lucy Maud Montgomery created the spunky redhead in 1908. And the 1965 Don Harron/Norman Campbell musical based on her novel carried the Anne legend even further afield, so that every tourist from away makes a point of seeing Anne on stage at least once when visiting Charlottetown. (Continue reading » )

Annie not Suzart’s finest hour

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 Annie, Book by Thomas Meehan, Music by Charles Strouse

Lyrics by Martin Charnin, Suzart Productions

Directed by Kraig-Paul Proulx

 Success is elusive, especially when the product seems simple but actually requires a great deal of subtlety and skill to make it more than a sickly sweet vehicle for kids looking cute on stage.

Annie, the 1977 musical inspired by the Orphan Annie cartoon strip of the 1930s, is such a product. While the musical, with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, has its share of catchy tunes and even a near-classic number in Tomorrow, it drips with sentiment and requires a massive suspension of disbelief to become even mildly credible.

(Continue reading » )

Peter Pan and Wendy: Fly away Peter please!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Peter Pan and Wendy
Photo Maria Vartanova

 

Peter Pan and Wendy

By Doug Rand, directed by Riley Stewart

Based on the novel by J.M. Barrie

 

American playwright Doug Rand’s recent adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s 1911 novel gives Wendy equal time with Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up.

The script maintains most of the well-known elements of the story of how Peter Pan enticed the Darling children to fly away with him to Neverland. Captain Hook, the crocodile, the fairy Tinker Bell, the lost boys and the pirates all make appearances as the story moves slowly to its unlikely fairytale ending.

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Building the Wall: live theatre at its best. Please extend the run or bring it back soon!!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Building the Wall
Poster from the Gladstone

By Robert Schenkkan

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre

Directed by Sean Devine

People laughed at Adolf Hitler before he gained power and his evil intentions became reality.

 

Donald Trump was also a source of amusement to many until he became President of the United States. But when his support base took his election as permission for the overt expression of the violence, racism and exploitation that had been kept just below the surface, we all stopped laughing.  Evil had been invited in again as it was through the Nazi regime.

(Continue reading » )

Office Hours: McCabe’s cast and crew keep the tone light and entertaining!

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Office Hours
Poster. Courtesy of Phoenix Players

Office Hours By Norm Foster. Directed by Jo-Ann McCabe. Phoenix Players

It’s Friday afternoon at the office, or, more accurately, at six offices, and a regular day of preparing for the weekend away from the city.

The busy week included firing a couple of employees, having a sycophantic encounter with an alcoholic film director out of original ideas, dealing with a couple of potential suicides, a pushy salesman, a self-centred psychiatrist, a domineering mother who believes herself responsible for her son’s sexual orientation, an overweight jockey, a steamy novelist and a dead racehorse. (Continue reading » )

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