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

Ottawa Fringe 2014. Shows Reviewed and seen

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

by Kat Fournier, Laurie Fyffe, Barbara Gray,  Patrick Langston, Maja Stefanowska, Alvina Ruprecht, Iris Winston and Jamie Portman

Scroll down on the web site for the reviews..

As of June 26, 2 014   36 plays reviewed, many more SEEN, several reviewed twice

total reviews 45  and  more coming.

Portable #3  3 reviews J. Portman, I.Winston , A. Ruprecht

Chase and Stacey present Joy Ride  2 reviews J. Portman, I.Winston

Immolation 1 review by A.Ruprecht..

Can’t Argue With Pussy  1 review by Maja Stefanowska

Wunderjammer  1 review A.Ruprecht

Immolation  1 review A. Ruprecht

Kitt and Jane   2 reviews Kat Fournier, A.Ruprecht

Great Battles of History   1 review Alvina Ruprecht

High Tide   1 review Alvina Ruprecht

Never own anything you have to paint or feed  1 review Alvina Ruprecht

Iredea    1 review Alvina Ruprecht

Mr and Mrs Jones   1 review  P. Langston

Othello 1 review Kat Fournier

A Mind Full of Dopamine   2 reviews. Patrick Langston, Laurie Fyffe

The City that Eats You  1 review P.Langston

First Words 1 review Maja Stefanowska

Moonlight after Midnight  1 review Kat Fournier

Burnt at the Steak 3 reviews   P. Langston,  A. Ruprecht, I. Winston

Cupidity 1 review M. Stefanowska

The Surprise  2 reviews  P. Langston  A.Ruprecht

Eclipse  1 review K. Fournier

Wasteland Radio 1 review M.Stefanowska

A Universal Guide to Loving Your Shadow  1 review L. Fyffe

Poe Show 1 review  A. Ruprecht

Getting Through ‘1 review M. Stefanowska

Dont Tell My Dad 1 review M. Stefanowska

First Words 1 review M. Stefanowska

Oceans Apart  2 reviews A Ruprecht, L. Fyffe

Kavaliers Curiosity 1 review K. Fournier

Women Who Shout At Stars 2 reviews L. Fyffe,  P. Langston

Against Gravity 1 Review P. Langston

Stories of Davey Punk P. Langston

Einstein 2 reviews A. Ruprecht, P. Langston

Paco V Put to  Sleep. 4  reviews A. Ruprecht, P. Langston, I.  Winston, J. Portman

Who Killed Gertrude Crump 2  reviews A. Ruprecht,  P.Langston

Ottawa Fringe 2014. Kitt and Jane- An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Two fourteen year old misfits have hijacked a school assembly during their presentation on wild salmon, and are holding the audience hostage while they spell out society’s upcoming demise. The two characters – Kitt and Jane – are clown-like in their representation of these pseudo-activist, young teenagers. An interactive sing-along, horseplay, and shadow puppetry contribute to the illusion that this is a youthful, home-sprung environmental mission, but poor enunciation and a dragging pace overwhelm the experience. There were a number of problems with this production, not the least of which was that both the plot and the characters were scattered and inconsistent. A series of disjointed vignettes, meant to showcase their child-like approach to the apocalypse, end up falling flat. The narrative is unnecessarily long and meanders around a number of themes, but never fully develops them. It could be shortened to help address the laborious pace. This play hovers somewhere between environmental activism and character-driven comedy, but commits to neither.








Ottawa Fringe 2014 . The Surprise ….A work of theatrical art

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  


Martin Dockery..

The Surprise is a beautiful work of theatrical art. Inspired by Dockery’s relationship with his father he brings his whole body into play as he tells and shows us how  deeply emotional relationships develop with people who are close to him. A fine, subtle and accomplished performer, he constructs a scenario that flows faultlessly to a conclusion that we did not expect. From one surprise to the next.

A performance  genius in our midst!

It plays at the ODD arts court.

The Surprise Performed and written by Martin Dockery

Also watch for Moonlight after Midnight

Ottawa Fringe 2014 : Paco V Put to Sleep

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

A study in inertia that tips its hat to Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Edward Albee, Paco P. Put to Sleep manages to maintain interest in what doesn’t happen when “somebody should do something.” It just will never be done by any of the (intentionally) sluggish characters on stage.

Ambitious, amusing and interesting for lovers of Theatre of the Absurd.

Plays at Arts Court Theatre

Paco P. Put to Sleep

By Martin Dockery

Black Sheep Theatre, Ottawa

Venue: Arts Court Theatre

Ottawa Fringe 2014. High Tide

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

High Tide performed by Morgan Johnson

A poetic, near mystical experience of bonding with the sea and the earth in general, this performance presents the work and the person of Rachel Carson, who launched environmental thinking in the 1960’s

The actress appears to be someone who does not have too much experience but it’s the words that are important and they make you want to learn more about Carson. As a performance, it might have benefitted from some images of the sea projected somewhere on that space that seemed so large and high with a single performer but luckily it only lasts 45 minutes and that is perfect.

A flight into transcendence and a moment of calm in all the frenzy of the Fringe.


Plays at the ODD box in Arts Court.

Ottawa Fringe 2014. Great Battles of History. Welcome to the Anti-Fringe!!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Great Battles in History

Performed and written(?) by Mark Shyzer

If one knows German, the family name of this fellow could be problematic but no matter. This is the perfect Fringe anti-theatre where Jeff mumbles, fumbles, works his way through a musical performance that was meant to be but doesn’t quite make it because the people involved haven’t turned up, and in any case Jeff the narrator, director, actor can’t play the Ukulele, can’t sing and he hates musicals. An event that appears to deconstruct theatre (musical theatre really)   by giving us a slightly campy vision of the great battles of history and singing songs off key to highlight those moments. Actually, this is not about history, its about  theatre and mainly about Jeff’s transgressive vision of the world who tells us he doesn’t need all these established models because he has new ones and doesn’t have to find evasion in those soppy heroic romantic performances that musicals and historical narratives  usually are. He has his own models and he is fine because he knows exactly who he is. All kidding aside, that is a lot more profound than you could imagine. Clever and annoying!

Plays at Arts Court

Ottawa Fringe 2014. The Surprise

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

The Surprise

Martin Dockery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Reviewed for the Ottawa Citizen

The Story: Martin Dockery – who’s lightened our lives  with Wanderlust, The Bike Trip, in years past- rockets through another true-life adventure in his usual riveting storytelling style. This time it’s rooted in his trip to  Vietnam and Cambodia to meet for the first time his two Vietnamese siblings, both decades younger than he. The story is a series of surprises, none more memorable than the wrenching conclusion.

Pros:   Dockery’s gifts, here in full flight, include not just an extraordinary sense of dramatic pacing but an eye for character, place and the funny or poignant or just unexpected element in an otherwise unremarkable event. This tale of family, love, other cultures and our essential aloneness in life feels as true as anything he’s ever done.

Cons:   Dockery’s high-energy shows can be exhausting, but who’s complaining?

Ottawa Fringe 2014. Burnt at the Steak

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

The Story An Italian raised in Texas decides to stake a claim in New York City show business. Since she needs to work while awaiting her big break, she lands a job as manager of a high-end steak house, providing the fodder for Carolann Valentino’s first-class, true-life, one-woman musical about following your dreams and the idiots who clutter the highway between you and your goal.
Pros Valentino, a firecracker of a performer, sinks her teeth into the audience as though it were a prime rib steak and never lets go. Her parade of characters – a ditzy hostess, obnoxious customers, a clueless fellow manager – are boldly delineated, and you feel as though you’ve been given a ringside seat in this restaurant where dysfunctional humanity is the main course. Valentino also serves up terrific songs including a funny and lewd variation on Moon River.
Cons What there are don’t matter.
Verdict Delicious.

Burnt at the Steak

Carolann Valentino Productions, New York City
Academic Hall

Ottawa Fringe 2014. Einstein…

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Canada, Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

The Story:  What do most of us know about Albert Einstein other than that he had crazy hair and dreamed up some incomprehensible stuff about relativity? Deciding that we need to know more, Jack Fry created his one-man show about Einstein’s personal life and valiant struggle to prove that his calculation about energy and mass was accurate. Too bad Fry gets so badly sidetracked in the execution of what started as a good idea.

Pros:   Fry does manage to explain, in simple terms and with the help of projections on a large screen, the theory of relativity.

Cons:   They’re manifold, from silly sex jokes to Fry’s failed, over-the-top attempt to play with anything approaching conviction his main character let alone the host of others – from fellow scientists to Einstein’s alienated son Hans – whom he introduces. The show is too long, self-regarding and unnecessary.

Verdict :  An overwrought, sophomoric look at human complexity.


Jack Fry, Los Angeles, Calif.

Studio Leonard-Beaulne