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

Tuesdays with Morrie: JP Kelly’s finely-tuned production is respectful of both characters and the human condition

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

A quick glance at the storyline might suggest that Mitch Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher’s Tuesdays with Morrie is cornier than Kansas in mid-July: Young man strikes up friendship with a professor; young man lets the friendship slide when he ventures out into the big world; no-longer-young man, now a career-obsessed sports journalist, reunites with terminally ill professor and learns life-altering lessons.

That the play is based on Albom’s own story – first released as a memoir of the same name and then as a television movie starring Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria before finally coming to the stage in 2002 – may do little to change cynical first impressions.

But to reduce the play and its current, finely tuned production at The Gladstone to a saccharine-sounding summary would be doing both a serious disservice.

(Continue reading » )

MY Brilliant Divorce: This infectiously lovable divorcee navigates an unforseen complication in her life with apparent ease.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Reviewed by Kat  Fournier.

Hurman777621

Photo: Lois Seigel

Kate Hurman is brilliant in My Brilliant Divorce, a monologue by Irish writer Geraldine Aron which is now playing at the Gladstone Theatre. The lone character is Angela, an irreverent middle-aged woman suddenly contending with divorce. Playwright Aron’s award winning script was originally performed across Ireland in a successful run which garnered a nomination for an Olivier Award and has subsequently been performed worldwide. Angela, the infectiously lovable divorcee, has appeared on stages from Nairobi to Prague and beyond.

(Continue reading » )

My Brilliant Divorce: A Shining Achievement

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

MyBrilliantDivorce4

One-person shows are drearily frequent on the theatrical scene — and often they smack more of budget-controlling measures than anything else. But Geraldine Aron’s My Brilliant Divorce, now at the Gladstone, is an exception. That’s due, not only to the quality of the text but to Kate Hurman’s terrific performance as a woman picking up the pieces of her shattered life after the breakdown of her marriage.

Hurman makes the character of Angela our irresistible confidant in this play, inviting us to share moments of rage, resentment, sorrow, despair and humiliation, but also ensuring that we also experience the release of laughter when her naturally buoyant sense of humour reasserts itself.

To a point, our response to Angela’s unreeling of her miseries may seem suspect. Should we really be enjoying Hurman this much as she rants about her estranged spouse’s new girlfriend, a sexpot with the voluptuous lips of Angelina Jolie? Or, as she caustically recalls her encounters with a chauvinistic divorce attorney, or as she makes a disastrous middle-aged attempt to re-enter the dating circuit?

There’s a certain element of the spectator sport in our natures when it comes to gluing ourselves to the spectacle of a human train wreck — witness the addiction many of us have to the ongoing Rob Ford saga — and we can be cocooned against its full implications by knowing that it’s not happening to us.

But Geraldine Aron’s textured and affectionate script offers a bouquet of opportunities to an attentive actress. The play, discreetly directed by the reliable John P. Kelly, has a natural flow at the Gladstone. And, thanks to Hurman, who also takes on a variety of other roles, we’ll never make the error of regarding My Brilliant Divorce as no more than an extended stand-up routine.

(Continue reading » )

My Brilliant Divorce. A one-hander that works brilliantly

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

DivorceBmGgqQGIYAA_wvW.jpg large

A one-person show works only if it is rich in content, has a fine dramatic arc, quality production values and, most of all, a first-class performer.

The SevenThirty/Pat Moylan production of My Brilliant Divorce by Geraldine Aron has all of the above.

Early on, it seems that it might be a lightweight comedy shrugging off the sadness of marital failure. But, Aron’s script moves on from the initial dismissal of the errant husband, through the gamut of emotions — anger, depression, loneliness, desperation — and actions ranging from the contemplation of suicide to the emotional suicide of trying to revive the dead marriage. Eventually, acceptance is followed by a new and healthier life after divorce.

Kate Hurman delivers a powerful and beautifully sustained characterization of Angela, the discarded wife who was once half of the world’s happiest couple, as well as throwing in cameos of a number of the people she meets on her journey towards survival with only her dog, Dexter, by her side and voices at the other end of the telephone to break the monotony of her life.

(Continue reading » )

My Brilliant Divorce : Kate Hurman upstages Geraldine Aron’s Text

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

gladstonemages

Photo. Veooz.com

Kate Hurman is one of Ottawa’s theatre treasures who is not on stage as much as she should be. Here, Director John P. Kelly has given her Geraldine Aron’s juicy monologue where she can show us the great variety of her talents. The play is written in the form of a diary,  where a certain Angela Kennedy Lipsky, an Amercian living in the UK,  tells us the whole trajectory of her post-marriage life. It begins at the beginning, with the sudden announcement by her ex-husband that he wants to leave. “Round Head” as she so affectionately calls him, quickly packs his bag and clumps down the stairs of their London flat, making a quick getaway to join his “Rosy” from Argentina, leaving Angela more than stunned. 

(Continue reading » )

My Brilliant Divorce: Kate Hurman walks the balance between humour and poignancy

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

Hurman777621

Photo: Lois Seigel

Angela Kennedy-Lipsky can crank out shrewd and funny lines: “Smugly round,” she says of her ex-husband’s head. At the same time, she’s so lonely that she sends a postcard to herself from a disastrous resort holiday.

And that’s the real trick to Geraldine Aron’s comedy My Brilliant Divorce, a one-woman show here starring Kate Hurman: to walk the balance beam between humour and poignancy that makes Angela a full human to whom we can relate.

Directed by John P. Kelly, this production slips more than once in the first act, only to stride beautifully through the second.

(Continue reading » )

Fly Me To The Moon: John P.Kelly’s Production at the GCTC is a Winner

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

Whatever degree of success Marie Jones achieves from her dark but undeniably funny comedy, Fly Me To The Moon, is dependent on her dexterity in continuing to weave continuing variations on one central situation. And any stage production’s degree of success is dependent on how well it responds to both the opportunities and challenges presented by the script. On that basis, John P. Kelly’s production for the Great Canadian Theatre Company is a winner.
The central dramatic situation, essentially, is this: Frances (Mary Ellis) and Loretta (Margo MacDonald) are two Belfast care-workers who take advantage of the potential windfall that confronts them when Old Davy, the elderly pensioner they look after, dies in the bathroom.

(Continue reading » )