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

Enchanted April: Linden House production is charming and well acted

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

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. (Continue reading » )

Mauritius: A Double-edged thriller And An Attention-grabbing Experience

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

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Reviewed by Kat Fournier . Photo by Maria Vartanova

Mauritius, presented by the Ottawa Little Theatre and directed by Chantale Plant, is a double-edged experience. While the first act is plodding and weak, the second act more than makes up for it. Overall, audiences can expect a play that lives up to its promise of plot twists, big revelations and of characters with hidden motivations. Mauritius delivers on all these fronts, turning stamp-collecting into a vicious game where the spoils will go to the most cunning.

Writer Therese Rebeck – winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award and known for such writing credits to such TV dramas as Law and Order: Criminal Intent and L.A. Law, among others –crafts a story whose premise sounds rather dull: five characters vie for ownership of two rare stamps. And in fact, Act 1 does not do much to dispel this impression. Initially, the real strength of the play lies in the broken relationship between two step-sisters, Jackie (Laura Hall) and Mary (Cindy Beaton), who have reunited after their mother’s death.

(Continue reading » )

Drama at Inish. Melodrama by the sea.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

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Photo: Ottawa Little Theatre

The moral of the story is that too much heavy drama is bad for your health.

Making a joke about the dangers of being influenced by overdoses of Ibsen, Chekhov, Tolstoy and Strindberg might be sustainable for a one-act play, but the central gag of this parody wears a little thin through a full-length comedy.

But, director Sarah Hearn gives it her all in the Ottawa Little Theatre/Tara Players co-production of Lennox Robinson’s 1933 domestic comedy Drama at Inish. (It is rumoured that the playwright’s theatrical birth came after seeing a traveling theatre troupe perform an Ibsen play in his native Dublin, so one can assume he is poking fun at himself.)

In an effort to maximize the humour in the play, Hearn pushes the melodrama button hard, as cast members emote, swoon, beat their heads against mantlepieces and raise trembling hands to fevered brows.

(Continue reading » )

Spamalot : Orpheus Musical Theatre takes on Monty Python.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

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Photo credits: Valleywind Productions/David Pasho.

Hard to tell who was having more fun on opening night of Orpheus’ hilarious production of Monty Python’s Spamalot: the audience or the cast.For sure, each fed off the other as the unabashedly silly musical about King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail unrolled, in the process skewering everything from the Arthurian legend itself to political correctness and the tradition of the Broadway musical.

(Continue reading » )