The Revolutionists: How far have we come?

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

The Revolutionists. Photo A. R. Sinclair


The Revolutionists Photo A. R. Sinclair

The Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA is currently presenting The Revolutionists, a work by Lauren Gunderson that takes place in Paris during the Reign of Terror (1792-1793), a period of the French Revolution during which the leaders of the new government took revenge against those viewed as anti-revolutionists. The situation worsened when the government split into two factions, the Jacobins and Girondins. Of the two the Jacobins were the more vicious. Arrests, quick trials, and the guillotine were the order of the day. (more…)

PLAYWRIGHT MARCUS YOUSSEF WINS 2017 SIMINOVITCH PRIZE IN THEATRE

News from Capital Critics Circle

Prize awarded Monday, November 6 at the National Arts Centre

November 6, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – Playwright Marcus Youssef has been named the 2017 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s most prestigious prize in Theatre. This year marks the 17th year of the Prize, which was celebrated at a ceremony today in the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre, hosted by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Anne-Marie Cadieux. The award of $100,000 is the largest theatre prize in Canada. Mr. Youssef will receive $75,000 and Christine Quintana, whom he has chosen as his protégée, will receive $25,000.

Mr Youssef was one of four talented playwrights on this year’s shortlist, which also included Evelyne de la Chenelière, Hannah Moscovitch, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. (more…)

Ordinary Days :Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary

Reviewed by James Murchison

Ordinary Days, Photo Andrew Alexander

Photo Andrew Alexander

 

Some times we think our lives are pretty ordinary. Maybe they are but this insightful play reminds us that is no reason not to celebrate them. Ordinary Days playing at the GCTC focuses on 4 people in New York, but it captures the spirit of everyone that feels alone or trapped while surrounded by people. It is minimalist theatre at its best.  It needs so little to create atmosphere: some stairs to create levels a few  benches, chairs and you have a set. Add some light applied in just the correct way and any landscape you need is created to move a story along. In Ordinary Days at the GCTC, Seth Gerry’s set and lighting design embody this principle of creating simple perfect landscapes out of almost nothing at all. (more…)

Enchanted April: Linden House production is charming and well acted

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Enchanted April
By Matthew Barber
Based on the novel The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Linden House
Directed by George Stonyk

Would that a month’s vacation in a foreign land, surrounded by flowers, sunshine and ocean, could solve the problems of daily life.

Maybe it did for author Elizabeth von Arnim, whose 1922 novel The Enchanted April was inspired by the month she spent at Castello Brown in Portofino on the Italian Riviera. It certainly spawned two stage plays (1925 and 2003), two movies (1935 and 1992) and even a musical (2010) and is credited with having made Portofino popular as a vacation destination. (more…)

Sir John A Macdonald the Musical. Much to admire in the book, the music and Andrew Galligan’s fine performance in the title role.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

“History has a voice.”

The line from the world premiere of Gord Carruth’s latest work, Sir John A. Macdonald, the Musical, is the core of the show that recounts key points in the life of Canada’s first prime minister in words and music.

The man — consistently ranked as one of the most successful prime ministers in Canadian history — is an ideal subject to mark the 150th anniversary of the country he was instrumental in founding, particularly given some recent negative comments about Macdonald’s policies. In his carefully researched and historically accurate musical, Carruth has chosen to present the man, his demons and some of his speeches, as recorded in Hansard, without judgment or analysis. (more…)

Prodigal Son: 9th Hour Theatre Company presents sensitive, timeless story

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

Photo courtesy of 9th Hour Theatre Company

Prodigal Son

By Shawn Macdonald

Production:  9th Hour Theatre Company

What is good about 9th Hour Theatre Company is their unflinching courage to tackle bold and often sensitive subjects. What is great about them is their consistently challenging and artistic story telling that manages to hold up a mirror to its audience, no matter the topic. Their new production, Prodigal Son by Shawn MacDonald, is inspired by the suffering of LGBTQ people of faith, but in director Jonathan Harris’ interpretation, the story becomes universal – it is about our imperfect world where individuals struggle with preconceived notions, embedded deeply through their upbringing. Unable to fight society’s rigid rules, carved in stone by prejudice and a blind faith in authority, they lash out on those close to them and end up losing themselves. (more…)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: An Intense and Moving Theatrical Experience

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

photo: Nile Hawver-Nile Scott Shots

The 2015 Tony Award winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time now playing at Boston’s SpeakEasy Company was adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s bestseller of the same name. It is a very imaginative theatrical play where what is seen is as important as the words heard.

It revolves around Christopher Boone, a high functioning mathematically gifted autistic fifteen year old boy who lives in Swindon, England. Although the word autism is never mentioned, his behavior and the production make his problems clear. Given that he prefers his own company he does not socialize with people. As a result, he is extremely naïve about the way the world functions. He cannot bear physical contact with people. Even his parents are allowed only to reach out a hand and touch Christopher’s hand while he stands at a distance. However he has a pet rat he cares for tenderly. He dreams of becoming an astronaut, a profession where he could be alone and fly towards the planets. (more…)

Student review: Bent is an evocative production that finds it feet towards the end

News from Capital Critics Circle

Reviewed October 18 by Natasha Lomonossoff

TotoToo Theatre’s production of Bent at the Gladstone was a laudable effort, despite a few inconsistencies that detracted from its overall impact. Director Josh Kemp’s take on Martin Sherman’s historically significant play was most successful in establishing the dark events and atmosphere that foreground it: that is, the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany. Bringing this lesser known evil to light, the play focuses on an openly gay Berliner named Max who, along with his partner Rudy, are forced to flee the city after two Nazi guards come to their apartment with an arrest warrant for a companion they picked up at a club just the previous night. The pair embark on a fruitless journey all throughout the country to escape, as they are eventually caught and placed on a train heading towards Dachau. Unimaginable brutality and suffering only follows from there. (more…)

Ismene at the University of Ottawa : excellent work by a talented ensemble!

Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

Ismène courtesy of the University of OttawaTheatre Department

 

 

A finely tuned production that shows off a talented ensemble and describes an enduring mystery, Michael Geither’s Ismene, directed by Daniel Mroz, takes us into the complex and precarious world of siblings Antigone and Ismene. As portrayed in Sophocles’ Antigone, Ismene is the saner sister who, while sympathetic to Antigone’s desire to do the right thing in burying their bother, is not prepared to endure the wrath of Uncle and King Creon for the sake of a corpse. Indeed, in both the original play, and in Geither’s text, Ismene is the one most anxious to cast off the mantle of the family tragedy for the pleasures of an ordinary life. But growing up under the shadow of incest and death places the normal out of reach. In this less than one-hour exploration of girlhood lived on the fringes of tragedy, the actors use singing, poetic encounters, movement, and a constantly shifting landscape of coffin-like boxes (courtesy of Paul Auclair) to express the isolation their parent’s fate has inflicted on their offspring. The poignant admission that it is Jocasta, their mother, who hanged herself, that they miss the most, rings particularly true. This chorus of actors, dancers and singers all deserve congratulations for excellent work. The uniform costumes of tank tops and shorts designed by Margaret Coderre-Williams contribute to a light and playful feel. While Mroz tells us that we really don’t know what Greek theatre might have looked like, one feels this play with its daring cast and well-balanced creative team has come awfully close.

Reviewed by laurie  Fyffe. Photo courtesy of the University of Ottawa theatre department.

Ismène ,  written by Michael Geither ,  directed by Daniel Mroz

Cast: With: Emily Bertrand, Emma Hickey, Jasmine Massé, Montana Adams, Zaakirah Chubb, Sophie McIntosh, Stefanie Velichkin, Kiara Lynn Neï.

Venue: University of Ottawa, Academic Hall.

 

 

Student review: Opening night performance of Bent

News from Capital Critics Circle

Reviewed by  Carly Jevcak

What starts off as a booze and drug filled night turns into hell for Max as he brings home a man wanted by the Nazis, which upends his life. The opening performance of Bent by TotoToo Theatre at the Gladstone Theatre was a harrowing experience, but that says more about the content rather than the production. After being caught by the Gestapo in 1934 Berlin for being a gay man, Max is sent to the Dachau concentration camp where the only ray of sunshine is his developing secret relationship with fellow prisoner, Horst. The men try their hardest to survive under the most trying of conditions and find ways to subvert the prying eyes of the guards.

(more…)

Past Reviews