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

Maltese Falcon has a happy rebirth at The Gladstone

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the area   ,

The annual Radio Show at the Gladstone is comfort food for the holidays, and the people at Plosive Productions realize that part of its appeal is the easy, unpretentious familiarity of the entertainment that greets us every December.

The current show, an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, continues the happy tradition. There is the row of microphones lining the front of the stage. There is a suave announcer recalling for the oldest among us the glory days of the Lux Radio Theatre and host Cecil B. De Mille. There are the seated actors waiting their turn before the microphone. And there are the singing Gladstone Sisters, an important and indispensable fixture of this Ottawa Yuletide event.

The Sisters — Robin Guy, Robin Hodge and Nicola Milne — are in exuberant form this year as they not only disinter such forgotten oldies from the past as Pistol Packin’ Mama but also give a nod to the old advertising jingles that used to entice listeners into buying Lux Soap Flakes and other products of the Forties. Robin Guy is responsible for their vocal arrangements, and the dazzling harmonics are an ongoing delight.

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Fiddler on the Roof: A Tevye with heart

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the area   ,


Photo. Alan Dean

It is close to 50 years since Fiddler on the Roof debuted on Broadway and it remains one of the best-loved musicals of all time. Through its initial run in 1964, which garnered numerous Tony awards, it became the first Broadway show to top 3,000 performances. As well as becoming a popular movie in 1971, it has been the subject of a number of revivals on Broadway and in London’s West End, a wide assortment of professional and community productions across the English-speaking world and music from the show is a regular part of bar and bat mitzvah celebrations.

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Billy Elliot : a Lukewarm Effort

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Canada, Theatre in Ottawa and the area   ,

Theatre Review: Billy Elliot “lukewarm effort”

>Billy Elliott The Musical is based on the hit movie, and the Broadway stage version that ran from 2008 to 2012 was seen by 1.8 million people.

Billy Elliot The Musical

Broadway Across Canada

National Arts Centre Southam Hall

Reviewed Tuesday, Jan. 1

OTTAWA — The story of Billy Elliot should clutch your imagination and never let go.
After all, it’s about underdogs – and who doesn’t cheer for an underdog?- including young Billy who’s born into a coal mining family but who wants to be a ballet dancer, and miners who aspire to a better life but, trapped in the corrosive economic cauldron of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, have no choice but to strike.
The multi award-winning musical also spotlights those ever-precious themes of individuality, persistence, family and community.
Just the kind of ingredients that you’d think would make your blood boil when the good guys are ill-treated and warm the cockles of your heart when they luck out.
What’s more, the touring production currently at the NAC features some solid performances including, on opening night, the talented Ben Cook as young, motherless Billy (Cook shares the role with three other actors) and Craig Bennett as Billy’s burly dad who’s initially horrified that his son wants to join the ballet but eventually comes round.
Also on board: Patti Perkins as Billy’s feisty, albeit caricatured, Grandma, Janet Dickinson as Mrs. Wilkinson, the rough-and-tumble dance teacher who spots and nurtures Billy’s potential, and a raft of other capable performers.
Heck, there’s even music by Elton John – although that doesn’t automatically make it memorable music – to accompany Lee Hall’s book and lyrics and Peter Darling’s choreography (Hall also wrote the screenplay for the original 2000 movie while Stephen Daldry directed both the movie and the musical).
Despite all this, the current production of the inspirational show is less than inspirational.

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Fringe Festival 2011: Complex Numbers

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the area  

Fiona (Stephanie Halin), who likes her sex slightly rough, is itching to have an extramarital affair. She has her sights set on co-worker Dan (Tim Anderson), and he’s game. Fiona’s husband Alex (J.P. Chartier) wants to be accepting of his wife’s hankerings — in fact, they’ve even done a workshop on how to do it (how to have an extramarital affair, that is) so that no one gets hurt. Also in the picture is Maggie (Ellen Manchee), the hypochondriac boss of Fiona and Dan who appears occasionally to nudge the plot along. Jenn Keay plays the workshop facilitator; seated behind a semitransparent curtain, she reads a few passages from a textbook about the ins-and-outs of extramarital sex.

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