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

Be a Friend, the Musical: Orpheus Musical Theatre Society has produced a playful packaging of serious content that works for young children.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

be a friend 002  Photo: Barbara Boston. Sammy Skunk (Fabian Santos) and Mommy skunk (Donna St.Jean).

Iris Winston’s award winning play for children, based on the trials and tribulations of Sammy Skunk whose physical difference turns him into a pariah of the Squirrel community, takes on some very serious issues about bullying, racism, prejudice and all the things that young people confront in schools and on the streets of our urban society. The audience of 3 to 10 years olds seemed to be listening intently to this musical adaptation as poor Sammy, (an excellent Fabian Santos who had all our sympathy with his fluffy white tail and oily black nose) sung about wanting so much to fit in after he and his mom (an upbeat and wise momma skunk, played with much warmth by Donna St. Jean) had to move to a new neighbourhood.

(Continue reading » )

The Weir : Conor McPherson’s superb writing given an acceptable production at the Shenkman Centre.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Weir81412_250389621781711_1876217727_n

Photo:Peter Juranka  Cast of The Weir

Irish playwright Conor McPherson has given us a superb piece of writing in this apparently simple play set in a rural pub, and Tara has for the most part given McPherson’s story its rightful due.

The plot is straightforward: four locals and one newcomer spend an evening knocking back a few drinks and trading ghost stories, a couple of them truly chilling. What these folks, all lonely and disappointed to varying degrees, are actually talking about is their own regrets over what might have been and how a community gathering spot like a pub and the sheer grace that we humans sometimes show to each other can make the journey through a dark and sad world a little easier.

(Continue reading » )

Fiddler on the Roof: A Tevye with heart

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the area   ,

fidlerDSC_7272

Photo. Alan Dean

It is close to 50 years since Fiddler on the Roof debuted on Broadway and it remains one of the best-loved musicals of all time. Through its initial run in 1964, which garnered numerous Tony awards, it became the first Broadway show to top 3,000 performances. As well as becoming a popular movie in 1971, it has been the subject of a number of revivals on Broadway and in London’s West End, a wide assortment of professional and community productions across the English-speaking world and music from the show is a regular part of bar and bat mitzvah celebrations.

(Continue reading » )

The drowsy chaperone: Enthusiastic production ultimately misses the mark

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Drowsy ChaperoneThe back-story has all the charm of a fairy tale. But, the Rural Root Theatre Company’s rendering of The Drowsy Chaperone gives no indication of awareness of its history. (A note in the program would be appreciated, as would a more coherent organization of the cast and crew bios.)

Almost 16 years ago, friends celebrated the engagement of Bob and Janet in Toronto by putting together a collection of songs, entitled The Wedding Gift.

The private event was such a success that, renamed The Drowsy Chaperone, it became a popular show at the Toronto Fringe, was then presented in a lengthened format with Bob Martin (the Bob of the engagement party) now involved, in larger houses in Toronto, courtesy of top Toronto producer David Mirvish. From here, the Canadian musical became a Tony-award winner on Broadway with numerous productions in London’s West End, Los Angeles, Australia and Japan, as well as touring across Canada. It became available for community theatre production only recently.

The names of the bride and groom in the show are constant reminders of its origins, while the intentionally slight plot combines a gentle spoof of the musicals of the 1920s with a celebration of the genre. (Continue reading » )