Professional Theatre

Arrabal: A Story of Love and Politics Told through the Tango

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

Photo: Celia Von Tiedeman.

Arrabal, now playing at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge in its U.S. début, premiered in Toronto in 2014. In its present state, it is a fascinating theatre experience, a political drama told without words via the tango and music. It is also an immersive show where some audience members, supposedly at a tango club in Buenos Aires, sit at tables downstage as well as on the orchestra floor, which had several rows of seats removed. In the first scene which takes place in the present spectators are invited to join the performers onstage for a tango lesson.

The joyous mood changes abruptly as the story begins. A projection announces that it is 1976, the year in which Isabel Peron’s government was overthrown by a right-wing junta. We meet Rodolfo (Julio Zurita), an endangered resistant, bringing his infant daughter to his mother who lives in a slum (arrabal in Spanish) outside Buenos Aires. He dances a tender tango with baby Arrabal (a word also associated with the tango) before putting her into the bassinet and leaving her a red scarf. (more…)

Cap Excellence en Théâtre présente “Circulez”

News from Capital Critics Circle

Photo: Scarlett Jesus, mai 2017, Festival Cap Excellence.
Circulez avec Joel Jernidier


 « Circulez ! »,   ou comment une stratégie d’évitement permet de résister à l’autorité.

de Scarlett Jesus

Jeudi 11 mai, à la salle Tarer de Pointe-à-Pitre, la Martinique était à l’honneur avec « Wopso », une pièce de Marius Gottin, mise en scène par José Exelis et interprétée par deux acteurs de talents Emile Pelty et Charly Larandy. Fulbert et Auguste ne se connaissent pas. Ils sont vieux et terriblement seuls, traînant avec leurs valises un passé qui leur remonte à la gorge, tels des hoquets. Wopso ! (more…)

« L’Autre Rive » – “La Otra Orilla” de Ulises Cala

News from Capital Critics Circle

— Par Selim Lander —
Spectacle présenté à Fort-de-France, Martinique
« Jusqu’où faut-il aimer ? Il faudrait un manuel pour expliquer cela. »

Cette phrase prononcée par un homme qui va émigrer en abandonnant sa fille n’est qu’un aspect d’un texte qui brasse toutes sortes de sentiments, de sensations, depuis les jeux amoureux pleins de malice jusqu’à la désespérance profonde en passant par les moments d’attente indécise hantés par la crainte des « persécuteurs ». Nous sommes sur une île, Cuba sans nul doute, entourée d’une « mer interdite ». La télévision qu’on entend parfois s’exprime en espagnol (« la télévision est une chose répugnante » répètera l’homme à plusieurs reprises).Ils sont deux comédiens qui interprètent plusieurs rôles, principalement celui d’un homme et d’une femme sur le chemin de l’exil. Ils attendent le passeur qui les conduira sur l’autre rive d’un fleuve (ou n’est-ce pas plutôt le détroit entre Cuba et la Floride ?), vers leur eldorado.

“La fureur de ce que je pense” is a dazzling excursion into the work of Nelly Arcan.

News from Capital Critics Circle

photos from the productionbased on the work of writer Nelly Arcan with

LA FUREUR DE CE QUE JE PENSE. Coming to the NAC French Theatre
May 24–27 at 7:30 p.m., NAC Theatre
“I’m looking forward to the pleasure of seeing La fureur de ce que je pense, the joint creation by Marie Brassard and Sophie Cadieux inspired by the life and work of Nelly Arcan …. Her outspoken views (about the body, female identity, death) will be delivered by seven performers, in seven chants that will doubtless resonate like so many heartfelt laments.” – Valérie Lessard, Le Droit (Transl.)


The Bridges of Madison County: Musical Adaptation Adds Corn

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

Photo: Glenn Perry Photography

In 1992, Robert James Waller wrote the romantic best seller, The Bridges of Madison County, the kind of book which is often dismissed as chick lit. Three years later its next iteration appeared as a film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood with Meryl Streep playing opposite him. The film received better reviews than the book. And in 2014, it opened on Broadway as a musical with the book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Although it won two Tony Awards, one for the best original score, the other for the best orchestration, it closed after a four month run.

Now available to the regionals, it is presently playing at Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage Company which has particular skill in working with musicals. Jason Robert Brown’s music is varied, moving from operatic songs, to jazz, to bluegrass, to American country music. For this production, SpeakEasy has strong singers, particularly the multi-talented Jennifer Ellis who plays Francesca, the protagonist and baritone Christiaan Smith as Robert who falls in love with her. (more…)

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

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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…)

Outside Mullingar: A pleasant evening’s entertainment

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Photo: Black Sheep Theatre

Outside Mullingar
By John Patrick Shanley
Black Sheep Theatre Company
Directed by Dave Dawson

It is no surprise that a romantic comedy set in Ireland should focus on a land dispute between neighbours and begin on a rainy night in the aftermath of a funeral. Neither is it unusual for the talk to center on death: Tony, the professional curmudgeon on one side of the fence, predicts that Aoife, the widow next door, will die within the year and adds that he does not expect to live more than two more months.

Both predictions are correct (yes, this is a comedy — Irish style). Before the two months are up, Tony delivers his zinger: he does not intend to leave the family farm to his only son, Anthony, because he fears that the young man will never marry. (more…)


News from Capital Critics Circle

 Children’s shows announced at the  NAC French  2017-18 season.

“Let’s embrace this beacon–theatre, this vibrant life,
these eager and sensitive souls who forge courageously ahead,
who defy history in order to reinvent it, who paint with mud or talk to the birds,
when they’re not conversing with a barking egg.
So that the light flickering deep within, at the core of the treasure that is childhood,
may shine out and illuminate our world.”

Kill Me Now packs a wallop at the NAC

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

It’s more than 40 years since a young, award-winning Canadian playwright named David Freeman told an interviewer that what he yearned for most in life was a meaningful physical relationship with another human being.

It was a poignant admission, because Freeman had been born with cerebral palsy. And throughout his life he resisted marginalization by a culture unable to get a handle on the notion that his kind were as capable as anyone else of an entire range of human emotions, including sexual need and desire.

These emotions were given caustic, funny utterance in Creeps, his 1971 stage triumph about the plight of disabled youth trapped in the coils of an unfeeling rehab centre. Its premiere at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre was a groundbreaking event — not simply because it broke  taboos by bringing subject matter like this to the stage, but because of its importance in legitimatizing Canadian drama at a time when playbills across the country were crammed with imported material from Broadway and London’s West End. (more…)

Past Reviews