Eurydice vs. MacBeth

Time for a bit of an oddly-themed double-bill of a post: A pair of student show reviews, one as timely as I could make it, the other so woefully out of date it’s actually a little bit sad.  Now, in my defense, that latter one I only saw on the last day of its run, so my review would always have been a touch post-mortem.  Also, it was a free show, so it’s not like I was taking food out of their mouths, all right?  So just let it go.  Would you just LAY OFF for a second?  Sheesh.   Judgemental much?

Ah, it’s all right…we’re very forgiving sorts here at the Visitorium.  So settle in and let me try and dredge up the memories of…wow, has it been 5 days?  Yup, it was last Saturday that I headed on down to Ottawa U. Campus, and beloved Studio Leonard-Beaulne (where I met up with a beautiful and glamorous actor-lady from Toronto…you’re jealous, I can tell.  You should be.) for the final day of Sarah Ruhl’s EURYDICE, courtesy of Unicorn Theatre.  The latest in what seems to be a series of short-run free admission shows showcasing young up and coming directors, in this case one Jodi Sprung-Boyd, Eurydice is of course based on the classic Greek myth about love, the underworld, and all that jazz.  Jodi had the sense to update it, at least in look, just enough to keep the goings-on fresh and fun.  Here our Eurydice (a very vibrant and delightful Adriane Eprecht) is crazy in love with distracted music-master Orpheus (Conor Holash, straddling the line between nerd and action hero quite nicely here).  But the Lord of the Underworld, a scene-stealing Sean Sonier, has other plans, and spirits Eurydice off to the land of the dead, where she meets her long-lost Father (Todd Duckworth in a joyous performance) and is tormented by a smarmy trio of smart-alecky stones (Elise Merrill, Alex Beraldin and Kyle Cunningham).

The show was well paced and a helluva lotta fun, with a pretty impressive set that even included some nifty water effects. Staging, costumes, they really went the whole nine with this one, and it showed.  I especially loved the Father’s ingenious creation of a ‘room’ in the underworld for his confused daughter, and the slow escalation of their relationship as her memories resurfaced down below.  Quite frankly, I’m not surprised we ended up having to cram in right at the back, as the show was packed to capacity for its entire run.  They really should think about charging some money for these things.

But time waits for no man, especially me, and we now have to jump forward to last night, where…exiting news!…I took the O-Train for the first time EVER!  I can’t describe it, it…it’s…

…it’s rather shockingly dull, actually.  Oh well.  It got me there, is the point, there being Carleton Campus.  More specifically the Kailash Mital Theatre (after a quick stop at Oliver’s…shut up, I was thirsty!  What’d we say about judging??) for the launch of Sock ‘n’ Buskin’s new season.  This time around the gang chose old Billy Shakes’ Scottish chestnut MACBETH, directed by Matt Minter.  The gang give the slightly familiar story a nice jolt by adding a dash of MAD MAX to the proceedings…MacBeth and Banquo have armour partially assembled from old license plates, the trio of assassins shamble in wearing dusty cloaks and gasmasks, and the whole set has a running theme of cobbled stone and twisted metal that lends a cool vibe to the whole show.  The costumes from Patrice-Ann Tremblay and soundwork by Minter and Steve Turner, too, are pretty freaking sweet.  Lady Macbeth’s post-modern hoop skirt is a serious hoot.

It was a good opening night crowd, and I was pretty excited for the two leads…Nicholas Amott, who’s impressed me in past Youth Infringement shows, and the awesome RED NOSES at Ottawa U last year, played MacB himself, and did a pretty fantastic job of it.  And Tess McManus, another YI fav’rit (also seen in this years Fringe show SUBNORMALITY) made for a saucy and surprising Lady MacB, twisting poor old Mackers around her seductive fingers, before succumbing to the guilt of her deeds. It was a lot of fun to see.

They had a great large cast assembled for this production, and everyone gave it a solid effort…I have to single out Brennan Richardson as MacDuff, who commanded easy respect on stage (and also took are of the surprisingly awesome fight choreography in the show..I was seriously worried a few times when they were swinging the steel!).  The Weird Sisters (Jillian Bailey, Emily Bradley and Rachel Swatek), a MacB staple if ever there was one, were also handled pretty niftily, slinking with requisite creepiness through a haze of fog-machine glory.  There was a bump or two along the way, sure, but give them a break, it’s goddamned MACBETH.    Overall, it was a rockin’ fun show, with enough high points to make it very worth checking out.

And I got to take the O-Train AGAIN on the way home!  It…it was less interesting this time.  Oh well.  Still a good night out.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)


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