Reviewer: Jeunes critiques

Jeunes critiques

The Edward Curtis Project: A beautiful picture that could use a touch up

Reviewed by Jeunes critiques

Kevin Loring as the Chief
Photo: Andrew Alexander

By Tyler Dasberg

Marie Clements, both writer and director of The Edward Curtis Project, presents a piece of theatre that is not unlike an alarm clock. It wakes you up with the occasional exciting, beautiful image, but when you hit the snooze button, you fall right back to sleep.  Playing at the GCTC and presented by the NAC English Theatre, it is a “visually stunning” production; however, melodramatic acting and non-effective storytelling obscure the important stories trying to be conveyed.

It is a drama about a Métis reporter named Angeline (Quelemia Sparrow), who after learning about a poignant story, involving the deaths of three Native children, begins to explore the strength and spirit of Aboriginal identity, the ethics of her profession, and the difficulties of being a witness. She interacts with photographer Edward Curtis (Todd Duckworth) and with his trail of photos that document the desertion of the North American Indian and falsely portray them as an impoverished, inebriated, and helpless people. (more…)

False Assumptions: An “A” for effort

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Brianna McFarlane is a student in Yana Meerzon’s Theatre Criticism class at the University of Ottawa

Photo: David Pasho

When Marie Curie discovered radium in 1898 she had no idea that not only would her workgreatly impact the world of science, but that her life would inspire millions for years to come. False Assumptions was written by local playwright Lawrence Aronovitch as a special commission for the graduating class of the Ottawa Theatre School and is being directed by Teri Loretto-Valentik in partnership with Plosive Productions this March at the Gladstone.

Each year the graduating cohort is paired with a professional theatre company and is expected to stage a production under real world restrictions such as a four week rehearsal period and getting to workshop a brand new script. The aim is to prepare the class for the professional community as well as to show off the skills they’ve acquired over the last three years. After seeing the inaugural performance it’s easy to see that half of the class “radiate” these skills, while the others look like they’re just ending their first year in the program.


Merz is A-Merzing!

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Peter_FroehlicPeter Froehlich knows Merz! 

Brie McFarlane is with Yana Meerzon’s course on Theatre criticism at the University of Ottawa.

Prepare to have everything you thought you knew about the theatre thrown out the window in
Merz, composed by Kurt Schwitters and directed and performed by Peter Froehlich, because this show knows no boundaries and is not to be missed this April at the Irving Greenberg Centre. Brought to Ottawa for a three day fundraiser on behalf of the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Froehlich is no stranger to this piece having toured it sporadically since 1976. It is clear that Froehlich’s deep knowledge of the Dadaist period and his passion for theatre is what makes this show so merz-merising.


An Open Letter to the Ottawa Little Theatre

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Photo: Maria Vartanova

A student review by Brianna McFarlane who is in Yana Meerzon’s theatre criticism class at Ottawa University
Dear Ottawa Little Theatre,

Congratulations on your 100th season! With an all-star line-up of remounted shows from all different decades, you show no signs of stopping. However, I have a tiny bone to pick with you. Often criticized for producing shows solely geared towards an… ahem…”elder” demographic, director John Collins’ Deathtrap, written by Ira Levin, is no different. This production does not stray from the tried, tested, and true conventions that community theatre has become associated with, though, this is not to say that this necessarily negates a terrible performance: only a mediocre one, which, I think, is worse because it is forgettable. Your company is such a pillar in the Ottawa theatre scene that I honestly believe the OLT can afford to start pushing the boundaries a little further.

Deathtrap was written in 1978 and falls under the tricky genre, not seen or performed very often these days, known as a comedic thriller. The story focuses on the stuck-in-a-rut playwright Sydney Bruhl, played by Lawrence Evenchick, who, through a hilarious series of murderous plots, tries to get his hands on the new play, aptly named Deathtrap, written by his secretary slash lover Clifford Anderson, played by Dan DeMarbre. In the end, Clifford’s script proves to be to die for…literally, and the piece finishes in a blackout leaving two characters, best left unnamed, on stage locked in a mortal combat and the audience left wondering whose hands Deathtrap will fall into next.

Deathtrap: trapped indeed, but worth it in the end.

Reviewed by Jeunes critiques



Meaghan Flaherty is a student in Yana Meerzon’s theatre criticism course

Photo by Mike Heffernan


What more can the average theater goer ask for than a pleasant night out? Nothing is the answer – except perhaps for some great theater thrown into that mix as an added bonus. Unfortunately, Deathtrap, written by Ira Levin and directed by John Collins at the Ottawa Little Theater only somewhat succeeds in this venture; the audience is given a pleasant night out indeed, but the theater is only mediocre. This comedic thriller lacks the real thrill it needs to make it a memorable piece during a very memorable 100th season for OLT.


Hroses, An Affront to Reason – An Affront to Conventional Theatre!

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Photo. Barb Gray

Meaghan Flaherty is a student in Yana Meerzon’s  Theatre criticism class at the University of Ottawa.

As playwright Jill Connell so eloquently puts, “This is the beginning of a big misunderstanding.” HROSES: An Affront to Reason, written by Connell, certainly has the capability of being misunderstood by its audience. My feeling of perplexity upon leaving the Arts Court Theater however wasn’t one that angered me. I left craving more – I wanted answers and explanations, but most of all I craved more of this beautiful yet simple story. Evolution Theater and Mi Casa Theater have proved with their new coproduction that though they may have difficulties spelling, they certainly know how to create thought provoking theater.


Princess Ivona: We All Suffer for Beauty

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Photo.Justin Labelle

Carol Sinclair is a student in Yana Meerzon’s theatre criticism course at the University of Ottawa.

Ekaterina Shestakova brings us to the catwalk to strut her final MFA production of Witold Gombrowicz’s Princess Ivona. Academic Hall houses this world of cut throat fashion and destruction. The direction, performances and design for this production were all fierce.

In the court of King Ignatius and Queen Margret a strange girl, Ivona, is brought in and their son Prince Philip is immediately infatuated by her bizarre behavior. Her inability to conform to their strict social expectations drives everyone who interacts with her to different intensities of insanity and violence as secrets are revealed and the court crumbles.


Princess Ivona: Dressed to Impress

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Andrea Connell is in Yana Meerzon’s theatre criticism class at the University of Ottawa. 

Photo: Marianne Duval

This year’s MFA production by Ekaterina Shestakova at the University of Ottawa dazzled the audience with its stunning choreography and visual effects that married the dark with the fashionable. Many theatre practitioners have described Princess Ivona written by Polish playwright Witold Gombrowicz in 1935 and published in 1938, as a difficult play to do right. This is because the text is challenging, as it is primarily dialogue-based. However, what made this production so impressive was Shestakova skillful choreography of the actors’ in the space combined with her clear, distinct directorial vision, which transformed Gombrowicz’s play into that of the elite fashion world.


Innocence Lost: A PLay Lost in History

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Reviewed by Lewis Caunter, a student in Yana Meerzon’s Theatre criticism course at the University of Ottawa.


Photo: Erik Berg

Some would argue that the goal of theatre is to produce an emotional response. This was certainly the case with Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott written by Beverley Cooper and directed by Roy Surette at the NAC from February 27 to March 16. The result however will leave you feeling as though you’ve been beaten over the head with the play’s message about the failure of justice. Excellent design and solid acting are not enough to make this piece worthwhile.


Innocence Lost: Truscott the Explorer is Canada’s Dora

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Alex Brunjes is a student in Yana Meerzon’s Theatre Criticism course at the University of Ottawa.


Photo: Canada Wilde. Steven Truscott.

As much as I would like to say the National Art Centre’s English Theatre production of Innocence Lost is enjoyable and that Roy Surette’s interpretation of Beverly Cooper’s memory play is unforgettable – let me assure you that it is neither of those things. The acting was safe, the set was simple and the use of multimedia was visually taxing. After seeing this production, I felt as though I had just sat through a children’s television show, attempting to educate or brainwash me into questioning the judicial system.

Innocence Lost tells the history of the Steven Truscott trial. It begins after the rape and murder of Lynne Harper in Clinton, Ontario, and runs to Truscott’s acquittal in 2007, exploring the different perspectives of the townspeople involved. While the beginning of the history is drawn out, showing the traumatic experiences of Truscott’s family and friends, the conclusion is rushed leaving audiences hungry for more. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately), there is no sequel.


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