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

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

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Posted on 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. (Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Student Reviews  

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.

(Continue reading » )

Ordinary Days :Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

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. (Continue reading » )

Butcher tries to have it both ways!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  


Photo: Andrew Alexander

One thing is certain about Canadian playwright Nicolas Billon. He is the slickest of theatrical tricksters.

Audiences attending his much-heralded new play, Butcher, now at the GCTC, may be assured that they’re in for a shocker of an ending, one that turns pretty much everything they’ve assumed beforehand upside down and inside out.

But can we also be convinced that Butcher is anything more substantial than a cynically crafted thriller that plays manipulative mind-games with the playgoer in the same way that it does with some of its characters? Can we really buy into the pretension that the horrors it depicts are essential to some deeper dramatic purpose that will engage our moral conscience and force us to think more deeply about the world we live in and the terrible things human beings do to each other?

The play seems in conflict with itself. It wants acceptance as a crackingly effective thriller — which, on some levels, it is. But it also wants to be taken seriously as some kind of profound artistic statement.

(Continue reading » )

The List is marred by a staging which lacks insight.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

At first there is that bunker-like interior which greets us as we pass behind the set to gain access to our seats. A sandy, earthy coloured space with a narrow opening at the back that looks out on what appears to be a desert stretching out to faraway hills. A  lone tree with green leaves pops into view, The only living thing in sight. Perhaps an image of the woman herself who is caught in this set that reproduces her inner landscape :  a dry drab sterile place where she would rather not be because it is all  slowly devouring her.

(Continue reading » )

The List – An Immediate Cure for Insomnia at the GCTC

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  


Seeing The List, try not to be annoyed at being forced to enter the auditorium in an odd and    embarrassing way. Watch single character taking her shoes on and off, miming wall washing, climbing on and off the window seat and speaking in a monotone. Stay awake despite being utterly bored by the one-note production and the weakness of the script.

The year 2008 must have been an arid year for French drama for The List to win a Governor General’s Award. Admittedly, portraying boredom on stage is a risky business. It can all too easily become boring to watch. Certainly, this portrayal of a bored and self-absorbed woman recounting her banal existence qualifies on that account. But surely it does not have to be so completely uninteresting and sleep inducing from beginning to end?

(Continue reading » )