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

Bent: a problematic production but some substantial performances bring substance to the evening.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

 

Bent Phillip Merriman in the foreground.
Photo Peter Whittaker

 

There are moments in TotoToo’s production of Bent that are as good as anything that this enterprising company has ever done.

Indeed, the excellent performances of Phillip Merriman and Mike Rogoff as two doomed young lovers provide a compelling reason for theatregoers to seek out this sometimes problematic revival of Martin Sherman’s 1979 play about Nazi persecution of homosexuals. (Continue reading » )

Nunsense A-Men : Toto Too Theatre is as talented as ever.

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

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The nonsense of Nunsense has been habit-forming (pun stolen from one of the show’s numbers) since 1985, when it first played off-Broadway. Since then, an estimated 25,000 women around the globe have portrayed the good sisters of Hoboken in the show, which originated as a line of greeting cards, before moving to the stage. Nunsense has also given rise to numerous spin-offs. One of these is Nunsense A-men — the original script, presented by an all-male cast — first performed in 1998.

As delivered by Toto Too Theatre in their most recent production, Nunsense A-Men is as funny as ever. In fact, it is sometimes funnier and certainly even more irreverent than its female counterpart.

The main reason this production is never a drag is that the cast seems to be having such a ball. (Red high-top sneakers go so well with a black and white nun’s habit and a brightly coloured tutu and pink satin ribbons on ballet shoes really enhance a novitiate’s look, don’t you think?) The fun and frolic transmit to the audience immediately.

Even when the occasional number is sung with less than maximum punch, the joy remains front and centre. Spattered with double entendres and puns, the series of cabaret numbers presented by the nuns are a desperate attempt to raise the cash to bury the nuns who died after supping on vichyssoise made by the convent cook, Sister Julia, Child of God. (The last four of the 52 who died are stowed in the convent freezer and the nuns have just been given word that the health inspector is on his way…)

(Continue reading » )