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

Voices From The Front evokes the words and memories of two world wars

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Voice from the Front. Plosive Productions.

Photo courtesy of Plosive Productions


Voices FromThe Front: The Radio Show

Conceived by John Cook and Teri Loretto-Valentik

A Plosive production at the Gladstone Theatre to Nov. 11

On one level, Voices From The Front — the latest entry in Ottawa theatre’s popular Radio Show series — may seem simplicity itself. Yet its impact can be powerful.

There’s a row of microphones along the front of the Gladstone Theatre’s playing area. Behind, there’s a row of chairs for the performers as they await those moments when they come forward to read. And in one corner, there’s a piano and the three singing Gladstone Sisters who will be making their own important contribution to the evening. (Continue reading » )

Voices from the Front:Radio format and the written material dont always mesh

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Most years, Plosive Productions’ annual Radio Show takes place close to Christmas with a seasonal or light-hearted theme: adaptations of classics like Miracle on 34th Street or Winnie-the-Pooh, for example.

This time, Plosive has scheduled the show – Voices from the Front – around Remembrance Day and focused on much grittier material: the letters written to family and sweethearts by soldiers serving at the front in the First and Second World Wars.

If you’ve ever read any of these letters, particularly on their original, now-yellowed paper, you know how effecting the words can be.

(Continue reading » )

Love Letters Offers Much Pleasure

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Photo: Plosive Productions

Photo: Plosive Productions

A pair of desks on opposite sides of the Gladstone Theatre stage. Behind each, a chair — one occupied by a woman named Melissa Gardner, the other by a man named Andrew Makepeace Ladd lll.

A.R. Gurney’s 1989 play, Love Letters, has a deceptively simple setting, but one rich with possibility. In an age of e-mail exchanges and text messaging, this Pulitzer Prize finalist evokes the past, conjuring up a whole emotional world by means of the written exchanges between these two people over the course of 50 years. Because those lifetimes also involve the choices they make within a wider social and political context, and because those choices are sometimes questionable, the play also assumes a rueful “what if” quality as it approaches its climax.

That quality keeps emerging in Teri Loretto-Valentik’s production at the Gladstone Theatre — although it seemed somewhat tentative on opening night. Pierre Brault and Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, both pleasing performers, are responsive to the material and also — one would assume — to the challenge of creating fully developed characters out of what is essentially a platform reading, but are they completely there yet? (Continue reading » )