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

Melodramatic nonsense rather than stylish comedy says Iris Boston of this piece at Kanata Theatre.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

story by a famous writer sounds like a good idea. But when the story itself is not one of that author’s best (that may be the reason that it is so obscure) the adapter is likely to face credibility issues with the script.

The short story in question is Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime. In it, Oscar Wilde mocks frauds and confidence tricksters in the “fate” industry (palm readers, telepathists, spiritualists) and takes a tongue-in-cheek look at a gentleman’s approach to doing his duty. Wilde follows the pattern perfected in his classic comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, written four years later in 1895, making much of the insignificant and minimizing the value of important matters. The approach is just does not as effective in Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime.

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Taming of the Shrew: in present day costumes, the Kanata production becomes a tale of wife abuse rather than a romantic comedy

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

It is just possible to swallow the theme of a husband having dominion over his submissive wife when William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is presented as a period piece. Even then, it frequently raises the hackles of contemporary audiences. When it is delivered in near-present-day costume, the director leading with his chin and the outdated concept is much more difficult to accept. Through this lens, Shrew becomes more of a tale of wife abuse than a romantic comedy.

In the Kanata Theatre production, director Jim Holmes uses such costumes as an ABBA jumpsuit to lighten the mood and emphasize the comedy aspect. This works to a degree, but is hard to justify dramatically. Even more of an effect for its own sake is a Mexican dance and multi-coloured skirts as part of a wedding celebration. (All that just to throw sombreros over an Italian fountain?)

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