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

Theatre Kraken delivers some blazing moments in Othello

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Othello Theatre Kraken

There’s an undeniably powerful moment in Theatre Kraken’s production of Othello when the tormented Venetian general of the title unleashes his savagery on Iago, the diabolical ensign who has been slowly and subtly driving Othello to his doom.

By this point in the play, Iago has already planted the canker of suspicion in the man he hates —  the suspicion that Othello’s wife Desdemona has been unfaithful. So this sudden explosion of wrath comes as Iago is stepping up his insinuations. Othello abruptly loses it — grabbing the man he considered a friend, locking his head in the stocks, and proceeding to beat him mercilessly. (Continue reading » )

Theatre Kraken: Can Uniforms and a Couple of Songs Count as an Adaptation?

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

Othello Theatre Kraken

 

Kraken Theatre Production:  Othello: A Civil War Tale

Shakespeare has always been a challenge for artists, but giving his plays a modern twist proves to be unachievable task for many. Theatre Kraken is not the first that failed to rise to the occasion. The reason for that is simple: while Shakespeare is timeless in his ideas, he is very much a man of his own time when it comes to the events he describes. That is to say, he recognizes that all people are led by the same instincts in their actions, which makes him relevant to any place or time. On the other hand, events and relationships that take place in his plays might have been natural in 16th century, while in our time they may look ridiculous. (Continue reading » )

Little Shop of Horrors: Show explores the darker side of the human condition.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

Photo: Maria Vartanova

Little Shop of Horrors
Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Theatre Kraken
Directed by Don Fex

Frequently referred to as a cult musical, Little Shop of Horrors delivers as much blood and gore and almost as many bodies as Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Funny but too frightening for the younger set to be called family entertainment, the book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken (the team responsible for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin) combines a tentative romance, an abusive relationship and a dictatorial blood-sucking plant in a somewhat unpleasant morality tale. (Be careful what you wish for. The end does not justify the means. Even bad guys deserve fair treatment. Take your pick.) (Continue reading » )

Little Shop of Horrors – a first-rate performance of this grotesque campy musical!! Theatre Kraken is back on track!!

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

photo: Maria Vartanova

Theatre  Kraken  has never been my favourite Community Theatre but this new production of  Little Shop of Horrors just changed all that.   The show  began with a surge of vocal and musical  energy  blasting from the  five piece stage band under the direction of Chris Lucas. There was also the impeccable precision of  director Don Fex  and  choreographer Brenda Solman  whose efforts were right on the mark.

This story of Mr. Mushnik,(with the  ever powerful  and oh so versatile Lawrence Evenchick ) owner of a flower shop in the skid row district of New York, becomes the site of a strange event that suggests the War of the Worlds except that it is a hillarious  drama and love story,  peppered with Jewish jokes   and Yiddish expressions  and an underlying  tragic history of the second world war. Something that Mel Brooks himself could have created but this  musical was adapted from the film  by  Alan Menken- music,  and Howard Ashman-, book and lyrics. With strong musicians (the keybords were particularly noteworthy),  director Don Fex’s  captured the  underlying seriousness of these campy characters with great style to produce a very strong show.

(Continue reading » )

Underpants Droop At The Gladstone

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

If you can believe the people at Ottawa’s fledgling Theatre Kraken, people actually had working radios back in the days when Germany possessed an emperor and housewives still wore below-the-knee bloomers as underwear.

In truth, however, such discrepancies merely define this company’s production of The Underpants as a historical mish-mash.

It’s also a mish-mash when it comes to style, performance and the accents of the characters. All of which helps to make the evening a glum and pointless theatrical experience.

Promotion for this appallingly misconceived theatrical event has emphasized the name of comedian Steve Martin who is responsible for this adaptation of German playwright Carl Sternheim’s 1911 expressionist satire of bourgeois values. The piece will never rank as one of Martin’s shining creative moments, lacking the wit and verbal agility of his earlier play, Picasso At The Lapine Agile — but Don Fex’s production at the Gladstone Theatre makes it seem even worse, giving more heed to the text’s sophomoric sexual double entendres than its more cutting elements of social and political satire. The latter are largely trampled under.

(Continue reading » )