Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

6 GUITARS by Chase Padgett and Jay Hopkins, performed by Chase Padgett

Orlando FL.

Six types of music expertly presented by six characters, all in the skin of one actor, 6 Guitars is a musical and dramatic treat. Actor Chase Padgett transforms himself from an 87-year-old blues musician to a young jazz snob, a cutesy folk singer, a rough rocker, a Spanish classical guitarist or a down-home country musician not only by voice, accent and stance but also by such marked changes in his expression that it seems as though his physical features have altered.

The content is interesting and often funny. Padgett’s timing is first class and his talent as a guitarist is clear, particularly in the closing number in which he demonstrates the various musical styles. This one is a must-see.

The Frenzy of Queen Maeve By Anthony Hopkins

Saskatoon SK

Director: Josh Ramsden

Set in 1970s Northern Ireland, The Frenzy of Queen Maeve focuses on one woman’s choice between two lovers and two lives. Should she stay with her true love, an IRA operative, or go with her wealthy English boyfriend to a better life?

The script is interesting, despite periodically stretching credibility and sympathy. Performances by all three actors, Jackie Block, Chris Hapke and Nathan Howe, are strong, although thee is the occasional problem with accent authenticity.

The Pit By Martin Dockery

London ON

This surreal look at the bottomless pit of marital relationships aims at the style of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter but is more miss than hit. Despite strong performances and good chemistry between performers Vanessa Quesnelle and Martin Dockery, the material does not work much of the time.

Matchstick By Nathan Howe

Saskatoon SK

Director: Kristen Holfeuer

Matchstick is billed as the story of a woman who married one of the most hated men in the world. Its primary focus is on the classic pattern of wife abuse. The picture that emerges is how the initially charming suitor becomes the controller, removing his victim from familiar territory and friends to ensure greater control through isolating her. Well-stylized performances from Nathan Howe and Lauren Holfeuer, but the material is too repetitive and stretched way beyond its interest level.

Windfall Jelly By Eleanor Crowder

Ottawa ON

The metaphor of making apple jelly and the device of the cast becoming a stylized chorus diminish rather than enhance this tale of a marriage in trouble and a difficult father/son relationship. Too many special effects and too little substance to hold the interest in this one.

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