887 Photo Erick Labbé.
Reviewed by Natasha Lomonossoff
Ex Machina’s production of Robert Lepage’s recent play 887, showing at the National Arts Centre’s Babs Asper theatre, is a true triumph in innovative storytelling. The technologies of video and image projection work to complement the events and interactions that are recounted onstage in a way that is meaningful rather than cheesy. The program for the show states that “Ex Machina’s creative team believes that the performing arts-dance, opera, music-should be mixed with recorded arts-filmmaking, video art and multimedia.” Upon seeing a performance of 887, one is inclined to agree. (Continue reading » )
An Inspector Calls
Photo: Maria Vartanova
Reviewed by Natasha Lomonossoff, Wed. January 10, 2018
The Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of An Inspector Calls, the classic mid-20th century drama by British writer J.B. Priestley and directed by Jim McNabb, is one which leaves something to be desired for the more socially-conscious viewer.
As a performance given by actors, it is not entirely unsuccessful; the laughter elicited from the audience at even odd moments during the show attests to this. The task of meaningfully transmitting Priestley’s message of social responsibility for others, however, is where McNabb’s vision falls short. (Continue reading » )
Kellie MacDonald. Criticism class of Patrick Langston. November 18, 2017
From Israel-based dance company L-E-V, co-Artistic Directors Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar present OCD Love at the National Arts Centre’s Babs Asper Theatre. At roughly 55 minutes without intermission, the performance is an exploration of love and obsessive compulsive disorder set to the metronomic ticking of DJ Ori Lichtik’s soundscape. OCD Love keeps audiences on the edge with writhing choreography and repetitive bass-thumping house music. (Continue reading » )
Emily Blake, November 26th 2017
In Patrick Langston’s criticism class.
Silence speaks louder than words, and in that silence is all the meaning in the world. LEV’s OCD Love is a powerful commentary on what it like to be plagued by OCD, shedding light on the realities of those who are faced with this disorder every day. LEV is an Israeli dance company founded by choreographer Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar. They are joined by techno musician Ori Lichtik, working together to create this hypnotic masterpiece. (Continue reading » )
Photo Emon Hassan
The Exterminating Angel
Kellie MacDonald from the Theatre Criticism course of Patrick Langston, U of Ottawa
Widely considered the opera event of the season, this is the North American premiere of acclaimed British composer-conductor Thomas Adès’s newest work. With direction and libretto by Tom Cairns, The Exterminating Angel draws inspiration from the 1962 Luis Buñuel film of the same name. It is, at the same time, thrilling and torturously slow, depicting the descent into madness of a Sartrean dinner party nobody can leave. (Continue reading » )
photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre
Natasha Lomonossoff from the theatre criticism class of Patrick Langston at the University of Ottawa
With exceptional vocal performances and material inspired by letters of Canadian soldiers at the front of the two world wars, Plosive Productions’ work Voices from the Front strikes a tone that is both realistic and touching. The play, a work co-created by Teri Loretto-Valentik and John Cook and directed by the former, is presented in the tradition of the Gladstone’s annual radio play and narrates the experience of war in the format of a radio broadcast. The staging aspect of this format, however, takes a back seat to the letters and speeches which are read out loud to the audience; it is the delivery of these in which the show derives most of its emotional strength.
(Continue reading » )
Taylor Stewart in the Theatre Criticism class of Patrick Langston.
Voices from the Front: The Radio Show is a pure, emotional power house that commemorates the brave men and women of the Canadian military. It delivers a performance as powerful as a a service at a Cenotaph yet is wholly different.
The show was written by John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik from the letters of Canadian Soldiers during World War I and II. This is a piece of verbatim theatre, meaning the majority of the text is preserved as it was written by the individuals who originally wrote the letters; however, they have been added to for the purpose of a flowing narrative or filling in details that would add to the fiction of the show. Using these letters Cook and Loretto-Valentik have created the characters of Will Cooper and his son, Wilfred Cooper. The two are enlisted men serving in WWI and WWII, respectively. The show consists primarily of the actors reading the letters that Will and Wilfred have written to their families. (Continue reading » )
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 » )
Photo Maria Vartanova
Reviewed by Eden Patterson in the Critcism class of P. Langston
A hairdresser walks, not into a bar, but into a university office. It’s the 80’s in Northern England. Rita (26), the hairdresser, is disappointed with her life. She longs for an education but feels the net of society’s expectations drowning her into a sea of an unhappy marriage and into the deep depths of ignorance. Frank, an old, pessimistic, student-loathing alcoholic professor finds the quick-witted and relentless Rita in his office. Over the course of many weeks, Frank guides Rita on her path to higher education and towards a final exam. However, as it is put in the show, “if you wanna change, you gotta do it from the inside.”
(Continue reading » )