undercurrents 2018

In Theatre, Undercurrents on January 31, 2018 at 2:52 pm

I already wrote a post about the regularly scheduled theatre goings-on in Ottawa this  February, but there’s one big chunk of programming I thought deserved its own post!


Always the big event in Ottawa’s February, the undercurrents Festival (always in lowercase, they’re real sticky on that point, holy cow) is back for its 6th (7th? 8Th? More than 2, I’m almost positive) incarnation, and director Pat Gauthier has put together another stellar lineup! I mean, okay, there’s no FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING this time around, but it’s still pretty good, I guess. But seriously folks, come on out to the newly renovated Arts Court (and in one show’s case, the National Arts Centre) and enjoy the party with the following hit lineup of shows! The programming runs from the 7th to 17th, full festival schedule and lineup available at the fest website!


Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

THE PIPELINE PROJECT from Savage Production Society and Itsazoo Productions. Native rights, land claims, big oil and climate change collide for a show about as topical as you can manage, and featuring brand new AD of  Indigenous Theatre at the NAC Kevin Loring, along with Quelemia Sparrow and Kevin Archibald.


Photo Credit Barbara Havrot

FORSTNER AND FILLISTER PRESENT: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER IN: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER from F&F Theatre. Dave Benedict Brown and Will Somers are the titular Forstner and Fillister (or perhaps Fillister and Forstner…wouldn’t THAT be something!) in this comedic tale of brotherly woodworking gone desperately wrong.  Starring two of Ottawa’s funniest and talented gents, and featuring direction from the wonderful Madeleine Boyes-Manseau, it’s gonna be a night of cabinetry and comedy to remember Beware of flying sawdust.


Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

LITTLE BOXES from Little Boxes Collective. A brand new creation from Gabbie Lazarovitz and Brad Long, starring Gabbie Laz and Carter Hayden, and directed by Adam Paolozza. A suburban thriller that sounds mucho intriguing, and Gabbie Laz is a local treasure who must always be seen when onstage. ALWAYS.


THE TWILIGHT PARADE from STO Union. At Arts Court Theatre. A Puppet-based true-life magical adventure film with live performances and contributions from over 70 people, and the sentence I just typed is so insane I cannot WAIT to see this piece.


Photo credit Emily Cooper

HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY from The Chop. Itai Erdal’s celebrated one-man show (co-created by himself, James Long, Anita Rochon and Emilia Semington Fedy) combining his artistry for lighting with the true story of his Mother’s final days. A multi-award winning show that will surely be a festival highlight (pun sort-of intended)


Photo Credit Alejandro Santiago

DAUGHTER from Quiptake and Pandemic Theate. Described by NOW Magazine’s Glenn Sumi as a ‘strong, disturbing play’, this one-manner starring Adam Lazarus and directed by Ann-Marie Kerr tackles fatherhood, patriarchy and misogyny, putting it head to head with THE PIPELINE PROJECT for most topical show at the festival. It’s also the one that ducks out of Arts Court, with just 2 showings at the NAC Rossy Pavillion. UPDATE: Daughter is now down to just ONE showing on the 10th at 7pm, at the NAC Fourth Stage.  Topical AND rare!


Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

THE SHIT SHOW from Emergence. The first of two late-night shows in the Studio, Luna Allison (last seen on the undercurrents stage with her amazing FALLING OPEN) returns with this show about, you guessed it, poop. So okay maybe not going for most topical, but be honest, you’re intrigued, aren’t you? And Allison is a gifted performer, so whatever she’s got planned…it ain’t shit.

SnackMusic_IngridHansen_CredLaura Dittmann

Photo Credit Laura Dittman

SNACK MUSIC from SNAFU and the Snack Music Collective. Late night show for week 2 brings us the return to undercurrents of Ingrid Hansen (LITTLE ORANGE MAN) with the terrific Elliot Loran and Andrew G.Young in tow for this storytelling food-based improv extravaganza (you can also catch Snack Music this weekend at the NAC for their kid-friendly TABLE TOP TALES).


Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

INDIGENOUS WALKS. Returning from last year’s festival, the guided walking tour of downtown Ottawa once again points out areas and landmarks of specific indigenous meaning and history. As good a reason as you’re going to get to head outside this month!

NEW PLAY TUESDAY on the 13th. A one-night tradition, this year’s crop of exciting new staged readings from local playwrights includes FOUR WHORES AND A PRO by Joanne John, UNRESOLVED by J.Katrina Wong, and COACH OF THE YEAR by Pierre Brault. A Free event, along with the opening and closing night parties!

So that’s it for the nuts and bolts of this years festival…but reading about it ain’t nothing compared to seeing it, trust me. The always-in-lowercase undercurrents is a very special and vibrant part of the Ottawa cultural scene, and if y’all are not going, you’re missing out large. I hope to see a ton of you there. You’ll be glad you went. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Coming Up in February 2018

In Theatre on January 31, 2018 at 12:51 pm

So it’s February! That cold, cold little month that could. Always a lot more going on thatn you might expect theatrically, and there’s plenty to look forward to this time around. Of course, there’s a few less shows than some of us had been hoping for…February usually sees some action from Algonquin Theatre, and they sadly have vanished from the scene. And on a more specific and personal note, there’s one depressing theatrical elephant in the room that I’d like to vacate right off the top:

KILLER JOE from Chamber Theatre Hintonburg…CANCELLED by the company. This is the show I was set to co-star in with a terrific gang of actors, and had been working on for many months now.  It woulda been fun, but it apparently was not meant to be. Bottom line, if you show up at the Carleton Tavern from the 1st thru 10th, our slated run, expect nothing more beyond the usual rowdiness, quarts of 50 and fine chicken wings. Which, hey glass half-full, amirite?

But don’t worry, theatre fans…plenty of companies also did NOT cancel their shows! More than did, even! Let’s take a look and see what these foolhardy souls have coming your way, shall we?

Young wife

WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Hannah Moscovitch to start out your month, and what could be finer? Runs until the 4th.


OTHELLO: A CIVIL WAR TALE at the Gladstone Theatre, from Theatre Kraken. Billy Shakes’ epic tragedy comes a-calling, from the team that brought the funtastic Little Shop of Horrors to life last year! From the 1st to the 10th.


SLEUTH at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. A nice, classic game of wits bit of business. The 6th to 17th.


CHICAGO from the Carleton Musical Theatre Society, at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton U campus). It’s a musical!  About Chicago!  Educated guess. The 7th to 10th.


RHINOCEROS and THEY’RE MADE OUT OF MEAT at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, from Sock’n’Buskin. Someone’s let the Sockies onto another campus! With a double bill no less! From the 8th to 11th.

CHARLY IN THE DESERT (CHARLY DANS LE DESERT) from Creations in Vivo, at Shenkman Arts Centre.  A kid-friendly slice of puppet theatre from some greats, in an English apresentation followed by French!  On Feb 10th.

THE CLEAN HOUSE at the Gladstone Theatre, from Three Sisters. The rule of Ruhl (Sarah, that is) begins at the Gladstone! The 14th to 24th.

DEAD ACCOUNTS at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Because who would go to see live ones? 14Th thru March 3rd.

MONOLOGUE WORKSHOP/NIGHT from Sock’n’Buskin Theatre, at the Clocktower Brewpub (575 Bank street).  They’re not just for auditions anymore! Workshop on the 17th (same location), event on the 27th.


TABLE TOP TALES at the NAC Rossy Pavillion, from Snafu Dance Theatre. Catch the Snack Music collective for a second time this month (we’ll get to the other appearance in a bit) at the NAC, with this family-friendly food-filled storytelling funfest! The 17th and 19th.

THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at Live! On Elgin. Always an important event, and it feels like we need to listen to vaginas now, more than ever. The 22nd and 23rd.


LE DIRE DE DI at the NAC Studio. Until the 3rd.

DE L’INSTANT ET DE L’ETERNITE at la Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre du Trillium. The 2nd and 3rd.

COMMENT J’AI APRIS A PARLER AUX OISEAUX, at the NAC Studio. The 10th and 11th.

CHARLY DANS LE DESERT from Creations in Vivo, at Shenkman Arts Centre.  See English entry above!  But still on the 10th.

LES GRAND_MERES MORTES, UNE FETE at la Nouvelle Scene. Only the 17th.

DANS LES SOLITUDES DES CHAMPS DE COTON at the NAC Theatre. The 21st to 24th.

Plus of course the usual grab-bag of goodies from good folks like Crush Improv, Grimprov, the Improv Embassy, Outtake Improv, Ottawa Storytellers, and likely more I’m missing.  Plus this month sees the deadline for New Theatre Ottawa’s SLOWCOOKER series, looking for 3 new scripts to read excerpts from in a PWYC performance in March.


Oh yeah, and UNDERCURRENTS…which I will get to in the next post.  TEASE!!!  Soon, I promise.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Coming Up in January 2018

In Theatre on January 6, 2018 at 6:56 pm

And now for something completely different/less problematic/more like what I always used to do! All the Theatre you need to see (and more, or maybe less, I dunno) coming this January!  **UPDATED Jan 10 – added Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro **

ALICE IN WINTERLAND at the Gladstone. One day left for this bit of winter fun! Ends on the 7th (sorry this is late, I’m a bit rusty).


MR SHI AND HIS LOVER at the National Arts Centre Studio. Music and theatre combine in this hotly anticipated arrival to the big room. Plays the 3rd to 13th!

Getting to room Temp


GETTING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE at the Gladstone. Back from a hot run at Undercurrents, Arthur Milner’s tragicomic wonder starring Robert Bockstael is a sure thing. From the 8th to 13th.


AN INSPECTOR CALLS at Ottawa Little Theatre.  A slapstick live-action cartoon escapade (I’m assuming it’s Inspector Gadget who’s calling).  From the 10th to 27th.


LEGALLY BLONDE at Academic Hall, from the University of Ottawa Musical Theatre Society.  Mostly sold out, but if you hurry you can still nab a ticket to this toe-tapper, based on the classic movie GREMLINS (I think). The 10th to 14th.

887 at the National Arts Centre Theatre, from Ex Machina. Robert LePage returns with a tale of memory, childhood, and some amazing theatre. From the 10th to 27th.


MAD MARGARET (staged reading) at Arts Court Courtroom, from Counterpoint Players.  Part of the TACTICS workshop series, a reading of a new Shakespeare-inspired play about  one of his unsung heroines! On the 14th only.


Alexis Scott in GROUNDED (photo by Andrew Alexander)

GROUNDED at the Gladstone Theatre, from Bear & Co. A one-woman show starring the mighty Miss Alexis Scott (OTS represent!) is a show ya can’t miss. I said it! From the 18th to 27th.

TRANS-SCRIPT at the Gladstone, from Faith and Arts Ottawa. An original play based on transgender experiences, for two nights only!  The 21st and 22nd.

TWELFTH NIGHT at the Kailash Mital Theare (Carleton Campus), from Sock’n’Buskin. One of Willy Shakes’ finest and funniest gets the Socky treatment. From the 18th-29th, and 25th to 27th.

Young wife.jpg

WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW at the GCTC. From Hannah Moscovitch…what else do YOU need to know? Go! From the 16th to February 4th.

MOZART’S THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at St.Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, from UOttawa. Yeah, we still got opera in Ottawa! LEt’s keep it that way and fill the seats on this gooder. From the 25th to 27th.

A PROMISE IS A PROMISE at the Nepean Creative Arts Centre (the 26th), the School of Dance (the 27th) and Shenkman Arts Centre (the 28th), from Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre. Family friendly fun from some masters, in a show based on the work of Robert Munsch and Inuit Storyteller Michael Kusugak!

LE DIRE DE DI at the NAC Studio, from Theatre la Catapulte et Theatre Francais de Toronto. Directed by the great Joel Beddows! The 31st to February 3rd.

Plus of course, there will be shows popping up from lots of local stalwarts like Crush Improv, Ottawa Storytellers, GRIMprov, the Improv Embassy, Outtake Improv and more, not to mention the usual bits of fun at Live! on Elgin. And if you feel like travelling, there’s also the NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL in Toronto and the WILDSIDE FESTIVAL in Montreal this month! Pretty sweet!

Updates as I find stuff I’ve missed! Drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter (links around here…somewhere) if you spot something that oughtta be here. Peace, love, soul, and fuck Albert Shultz (almost made it),

Kevin Reid

Coming next month…Clean House!  Othello! More Killer Joe! UNDERCURRENTS! And much more.  Be there!