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

Basket of Deplorables : a mostly pleasant experience!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Photo: Plosive Production


Basket of Deplorables By Tom Rachman at Gladstone Theatre

If the definition of satire is: “ the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and critisize people’s  stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issures” Tom rachman definitely hit t he mark with his latest book  “Basket of Deploraples.”    In this series of short stories , he explores the  Trump era with an open eye , leaving no room for sympathy for the culture of his own time.  Of course, his lont journalistic career made him a knowable observer of our reality.  (Continue reading » )

Construire le mur (Building the Wall) de Robert Shenkkan

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

. Publié le 6 décembre sur   Paris

Brad Long, Building the Wall,

Cette pièce dont l’auteur américain, qui a obtenu de nombreux prix (Tony et Pulitzer), a aussi écrit des  scénarios pour le cinéma et la télévision   aux États-Unis. Construire le mur qui a tourné aux Etats-unis vient de terminer sa création canadienne à  Ottawa et le public s’y  est précipité;  les œuvres de ce genre sont en effet rares chez nous!  Depuis l’arrivée de Donald Trump  au pouvoir, l’image du mur est devenu  le symbole  de son projet politico-idéologique :  une construction  qui enferme, interdit, exclut, rejette, isole, sépare. La  pièce montre, avec une  simplicité  désarmante, notre glissement, presque imperceptible, vers une absence de conscience,  une indifférence qui  aboutit à la normalisation et la légitimité des gestes les plus horrifiants.
(Continue reading » )

Testament, d’après le roman de Vickie Gendreau, adaptation et mise en scène d’Anne-Marie Ouillet

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

En juin dernier, au  Centre des Arts d’Ottawa, Marie Brassard a monté un spectacle  à partir des textes de Nelly Arcan, une jeune écrivaine qui s’est suicidée à trente-six ans, à Montréal:  La Fureur de ce que je pense d’après son roman(voir l’article de Jane Baldwin,  premier jalon théâtral de la création auto-fictionnelle cette année, puisque l’école de théâtre de l’Université d’Ottawa  poursuit une expérience semblable. (Continue reading » )

Blind Date Take a Chance on Love… and Fun

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

 Blind date is a particularly unique type of theatre. It is a world premier every evening in that the circumstances and the cast change. An improvisational adventure that involves a somewhat randomly selected cast member for each individual performance insures that no one knows exactly how the play is going to unfold.

(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.

(Continue reading » )

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 » )

Building the Wall is outstanding theatre!!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Building the Wall,   Cassandre Mentor.  Photo  from New Ottawa Critics

Building the Wall By Robert Schenkkan

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre

Directed by Sean Devine



It was historian Hannah Arendt who famously advanced  the concept of the banality of evil.

This viewpoint threaded its way through her book, Eichmann In Jerusalem, a riveting account of the trial of an infamous Nazi war criminal.

But you’ll also understand what she was getting at if you venture out to the Gladstone this weekend to see American dramatist Robert Schenkkan’s quietly lacerating new play,  Building The Wall, and take in Brad Long’s unsettling portrayal of a redneck prison officer who has been complicit in unspeakable crimes against humanity. (Continue reading » )

Building the Wall : The slippery slope of crimes against humanity!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Building the Wall at the Gladstone Theatre
Photo Andrew Alexander

Building The Wall, written by  Robert Shenkkan.

The swift march of folly can be the enemy of political theatre; by the time a playwright responds to events and a play reaches the stage, the world has moved on. Not so with Building The Wall by Robert Schenkkan. If you’ve had more than your dose of Trump inspired hilarity as served up by late night television, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre has the antidote. Lights up on grave misgivings. Walls actually come tumbling down in this production. (Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

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 » )

Orpheus strikes gold with Shrek: The Musical

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Shrek: Poster from Orpheus Musical theatre

Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire.Music by Jeanine Tesori.  Based on the Dreamworks animation motion picture and the book by William Steig. Orpheus Musical Theatre Society,  directed by Jenn Donnelly.

Shrek: The Musical will never win a place in the annals of great Broadway shows, but the production it receives from Orpheus is nevertheless an ongoing delight.

Forget the fact that the prime reason for its arrival on the Great White Way was somewhat cynical and opportunistic —  to capitalize further on the enormous success of the Dreamworks animated movie about a misanthropic swamp-dwelling ogre named Shrek and his rescue of a princess from a tower. Ignore, if you can, the readiness of the stage adaptation to remain faithful to a marketing dictum pursued by the filmmakers — that young audiences find flatulence funny. Accept the reality that Jeanine Tesori’s score can be pretty underwhelming. (Continue reading » )

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