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

Miss Bruce’s War is One of a Kind.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

 Miss Bruce's War is not your normal Fringe entertainment. It's a new
piece by 93-year-old Jean Duce Palmer and based on her own experience
of teaching in a one-room school in Alberta's Cypress Hills region
during the Second World War. It's also a student production that comes
to the Fringe from Ottawa's Elmwood School.
This is a memory play rather than a traditionally constructed drama.
It's only real conflict rests in what happens when a young and
inexperienced teacher is thrust into an alien culture and faces the
classroom challenge of dealing with German-Canadian youngsters in a
time of war. Yet it remains an affecting piece of theatre because of
the quiet integrity of the script, and the evocative power of the
playwright's memories, coupled with the responsive work of a group of
talented youngsters under the direction of Angela Boychuk.

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Miss Bruce’s War, Fugee and Best Picture!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,


Before issuing media passes this year, the Fringe organization required the media to sign a document that was unacceptable to me and many of my colleagues. As I could not sign, my reviews are limited to companies that invited me to attend and write about their shows. Iris Winston

Miss Bruce’s War

By Jean Duce Palmer

Elmwood School

Director: Angela Boychuk

A fictionalized account about playwright Jean Duce Palmer’s experiences as a young teacher in a one-room school in rural Alberta during the Second World War, Miss Bruce’s War brings moments in history to life with a fine cast of students headed by Sophia Swettenham in the title role.

As well as having an excellent singing voice, Swettenham brings warmth to a demanding part as she delivers patriotic British songs to a community that was first settled by German speakers. She is well supported by the rest of the 12-member cast, particularly Madighan Ryan as Irene, the youngster in whose home Miss Bruce boards and whose bedroom she occupies.

There is also excellent cooperation among the ensemble in arranging and re-arranging the simple and well-conceived set pieces.

A first-class high school production, Miss Bruce’s War is an unusual but very worthwhile presentation for fringe theatre.

Next performance: June 25, 12 noon, Academic Hall

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