Reviewed by on    Ottawa Fringe 2016  

When a nightmare or the greatest fear actors can face strikes, what one can do? Improvise; find a band-aide solution or, go with the flow no matter what. After all, show must go on!

So, when a principal character on a performance night of a great show phones in with the broken leg, desperate crew replaces him with an understudy George. Only, it is not George on the stage, but an accountant who has little connection with theatre, even less with acting. As it happens, everybody is full of their own problems, so that nobody listens to the poor accountant, and as a result, he has to go on the stage and to take a part in four well-known plays: Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Hamlet, of Beckett’s Happy Days, and Bolt’s Man for All Seasons.

There are a few points worth mentioning in connection with this production. The Salt and Paper Theatre takes on Christopher Durang’s satire on the mix of four great plays with the stress on actor’s fear of forgetting the text. Although it is a parody and some overacting is expected, the director and actors are still supposed to keep the pace and expression under control which was not always a case. But, regardless of occasionally messy acting, the play has its charm and it provide for lots of laughs. Small venue – the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa – is an ideal setting for this kind of play. Closeness of audience and performers who are very well lit, suggests the anxiety of being in the spotlight unprepared.

For sure, The Writer’s Nightmare in the production of Salt and Pepper Theatre is a very entertaining show with some moments of brilliance, such as performance of Jennifer Ford in a role of a woman in a garbage can.

Actor’s Nightmare is playing at BYOV-F SPAO on Sunday, June 26 at 7pm.

Written by Christopher Durang

Produced by: The Salt and Pepper Theatre

Directed by Eleonor  Crowder


Rod Hagglund, Maya Ethier, Angela Pelly, Jennifer Ford, Mathew Vens