Voices from the Front: the most powerful offering to date!

Reviewed by Iris Winston

source-for-Voices from the Frong

photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre

 By John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik

Plosive Productions

Directed by Teri Loretto-Valentik

Annual radio shows from Plosive Productions have become a popular tradition in the National Capital Region. The subject matter of the mock radio shows has varied from tales of Winnie the Pooh to a dramatization of Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon. (more…)

Voices From the Front: A Tender, Moving and Passionate Tribute

Reviewed by James Murchison

source-for-Voices from the Frong

photo courtesy of Plosive Theatre

The annual radio show at the Gladstone theatre returned to Ottawa this week. This year we were told that the radio play would be somewhat different and it was. The timing of the production coincides with the week of Remembrance Day and commemorates the centennial of the battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. Much of what is liked about this production is still there. Set designer Ivo Valentik has the familiar pieces of the radio station CGLD all there, decorated with adornments of the era tucked into the corners: A vintage cigar box and a soldier’s helmet inform us that this is war time. (more…)

Kanata Theatre’s Shatter collapses with a thud

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Kanata Theatre’s production of a play called Shatter is that it’s well-intentioned.

But that’s not sufficient to give it a pass.

It may have seemed an attractive notion to mark the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion with a drama that purports to deal with this tragedy. But the people at Kanata Theatre should have first made sure that the script was worth doing.

Dramatist Trina Davies is clearly seeking to bring a note of intimacy to her story and give us a glimpse of ravaged human lives. But in the process, she devalues the impact on Haligonians (and on Canadians) of the largest man-made explosion in human history until the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima 28 years later. (more…)

Student review: What’s wrong with the Yees?

News from Capital Critics Circle

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. (more…)

Enchanted April lives up to its title in Linden House production

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Poster for Enchanted April

There are understandable reasons that Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel, Enchanted April, is enjoying a renewed lease on life.

Perhaps the most obvious in this day and age is the fact that one can detect early tinges of feminism in this story of four British women of various ages and backgrounds who boldly assert their independence and team up for an idyllic holiday in an old castle in sunbaked Italy.

But other durable factors are also at play here. It is an engaging tale. It is peopled by four interesting and believable female characters. Finally, in its successful transfers to film and stage: the material has offered a bouquet of splendid acting opportunities. (more…)

Shatter: This view of Halifax explosion is a dramatic disaster.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Shatter By Trina Davies, diected by Barbara Kobolak. a Kanata Theatre production.

The Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917, was among the greatest maritime disasters in Canadian history.

The facts were that a French vessel, the SS Mont-Blanc, was carrying a cargo of explosives (improperly protected) when it collided with a Norwegian vessel, the SS Imo in the strait on the way to Halifax Harbour. The Mont-Blanc cargo caught fire and the resulting explosion wreaked havoc around it, killing some 2,000 people and destroying whole communities. (more…)

The Elephant Girls – Celebrating 100 Performances

News from Capital Critics Circle

Margo MacDonald

Margo MacDonald

The Elephant Girls turns 100!

Come see The Elephant Girls and help us celebrate 100 performances of this multi-award winning show. One Night Only!

The Elephant Girls premiered at the Ottawa Fringe Festival in 2015 where it broke box office records, won rave reviews, and all the top awards. The show has been touring in Canada and overseas ever since. Now as Margo MacDonald reaches an amazing one hundred performances, we look forward to presenting The Elephant Girls in its hometown to celebrate. Come see the show, then stay for drinks and a Q&A session with creator/performer Margo MacDonald and director Mary Ellis.

“Without doubt, they were the most notorious girl gang Britain’s ever seen.”
(Brian McDonald, Gangs of London) (more…)

GCTC’s Ordinary Days proves to be an extraordinary stage experience

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

Posted on Artsfile.ca on November 3

The key to life in the big city? Ignore the big and celebrate the everyday.

It sounds trite, but Ordinary Days – Adam Gwon’s thoughtfully empathetic chamber musical about four young people adrift in New York City – is just the opposite of pedestrian, as the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s winning production of his show proves.

Directed by Eric Coates, the sung-through piece tracks the lives of two women and two men as they grapple with loneliness in the city and struggle for everything from artistic recognition to freedom from a past that warps the present. (more…)

Student Review: You Are Happy? at the Great Canadian Theatre Company

News from Capital Critics Circle

Are You Happy

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.

(more…)

Student Review: Educating Rita at the Ottawa Little Theatre – A feminist play about growing from the inside out

News from Capital Critics Circle

Educating Rita

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.”
(more…)

Past Reviews