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CMT at GCTC

In GCTC, Theatre on May 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

Okay, so I was SUPPOSED to see this show last Friday.  I admit, I’m pretty behind schedule.  It’s this stoopid cough!  I’ve had it for, like, a week now and it won’t go away.  I’m probably dying or something, not that you’d care.  Sheesh.  ANYways, I missed this show I wanted to see last Friday on account of I didn’t want to be that guy, hacking up a lung somewhere in the back rows.  Only now, since the cough is still lingering, and because I’m kinda impatient when it comes to my theatre, I decided, yeah, okay, I’ll risk being that guy, because I’m sick of waiting.  So I chugged some especially potent medicine (which made me so loopy earlier in the day I nearly went to bed at about 6pm instead of checking out a show), told my lungs to god-damned well behave themselves, fed Winston and headed out with high hopes.

My destination tonight was the GCTC at good ol’ Holland and Wellington, and the last show of the 2011-2012 season (and outgoing Artistic Director Lise-Ann Johnson’s final directorial contribution), Annie Baker’s CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION.  A seemingly lighthearted comedy set in a small-town community drama class, and featuring a dream cast of Ottawa’s finest…

Here they are, in handy Bubble form.

…I was pretty psyched going in to this one.  The story takes place over a five-week acting course in Vermont, where our five protaganists slowly discover all of their deep-rooted secrets via the highly entertaining medium of intro level theatre games.  Run by the kindly Marty (Mary Ellis), who has been pushing for the chance to teach this adult-level class, and has even dragged her husband James (John Koensgen) along as one of her first students.  The others are Theresa (Sarah McVie), a former actress carrying a deceptive amount of baggage;  recent divorcee Schultz (Andy Massingham), out of place and seemingly ready to crack at any moment; and moody Lauren (Catherine Rainville), a secretive teenager stomping and huffing about the place.

Now, CMT comes off at first like a fairly light, fluffy piece, and by most accounts, I’d say that’s fairly accurate.  Happily, there ain’t a blessed thing wrong with that, and there’s plenty of darkness lying just beneath the surface of our hapless students’ lives to make things interesting.  Using theatre games as a device for telling the story, bonding these characters and bringing them more into focus was a seriously smart move on playwright Baker’s part, as Theatre games are…well, freaking absurd.  I’ve played my share during my time at the OSSD, and can only imagine how crazy they must look to a total outsider, but the audience seemed to be eating it up.    From various scenes acting out portions of each others’ lives, to a wonderful moment where Koensgen and McVie, talking gibberish to one another, somehow manage to speak too much truth, it’s all very charming, very effective, and for the most part, really damn funny (Schultz’ attempt to use the class to recreate his childhood bedroom is PRICELESS).  It all leads up to some decidedly sober moments, hurt feelings, and an ending that is so jarring and yet so sweetly perfect that I couldn’t believe it was happening for a moment.  Marvelous.

With a cast like this, it almost goes without saying I was happy with the performances…and actually, the one cast member I had never seen before, Catherine Rainville, stole the show more than a few times, her sullen, skulking Lauren often winning laughs with nothing more than a glare or a sigh. But everyone is top-botch…Andy Massingham and Sarah McVie had a few dynamite scenes together, trying to ignite a potentially doomed romance, while Koensgen and Ellis , as the married couple struggling to hang on, lent some much-needed gravity to the proceedings.  And I should shout out to set and costume designer Robin Fisher, whose school gym set was just perfect, as well as the costumes (for the ladies especially).

Got to say I had a ball at the last GCTC show of the season…CMT is sweet, charming, funny, and deceptively smart.  In short, it’s Curmudgeon-Kryptonite, and more power to it.  Thanks for the smiles, Lise-Ann, I’ll miss ya!  Although of course, I WILL be back to see this show one more time, during my volunteer shift on  closing weekend.  And I can hardly wait.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! – May 28, 2012

In Foofarah on May 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’ve got a good feeling about this one, folks.  I’ll admit, the last Foofarah was kinda weak…shit, even I can’t knock it outta the park EVERY at bat.  But by golly at least I’m swinging.  Which, as I was reminded recently, is more than a few people are doing.  So without too many extra helpings of ado, let’s get to the tale of the tape:

IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  AAaaah, I missed this one last week, thanks to my stoopid cough!  I’ll hopefully be there this week, to catch all the fun.

OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL , May 30th to June 3rd at various locations (mostly in and around the War Museum, but check the schedule on their website).  Lots of, quite frankly, amazing looking shows for kids from around the country and the world.  If you have a little one or two, haul them out! It’ll do them good.

TITANIC from Orpheus Musical Society, at Centrepointe Theatre.  Starting on the 1st…who doesn’t love the all-singing tale of an historical tragedy?  From the folks who know musicals, so check it out.

VINCENT VAN GOGH: A LIFE IN PANTINGS at the Gladstone Theatre on the 1st only.  Co-presented by Third Wall Theatre, this one-manner from Dutch performer Frank Groothof sounds pretty amazing.  If only there weren’t another one-night-only supershow that same everning.  But wait…

AN EVENING WITH SCOTT THOMPSON at Arts Court Theatre. A fundraiser for the Ottawa Fringe Festival, legendary Kids in the Hall alum Thompson will be presenting his new show for, you guessed it, one night only.  Good luck deciding, folks, I’m still torn myself.  To help us both make up our minds, here’s the theme song from HOWARD THE DUCK.  Hey, it MIGHT help:

FRINGE:  Well, the official Ottawa Fringe launch party is coming up this Thursday, and I am pretty stoked for the shindig.  I’ve never been to the Fringe launch before, can you believe it?  I doesn’t know what to expect!  Except that tomorrow, I start my first round of Fringe-interviews, gearing up for a major preview assault before the event itself.  And soon after the launch, I plan to publicly unveil my newly assembled TEAM VISITORIUM, who will be joining me this year to ensure the Visitorium has TOTAL Fringe coverage.  And heck, with only 52 shows this year I may just catch’em all myself anyhow!  I’m already assembling my own must-see lists, and working on getting ever more interviews, previews and what-not…I would have contacted more folks already for chats, but this cough is getting me down. 😦  Don’t worry, I’ll get over it, and get some god-damned work done!

Incidentally, I’m calling off my demands for more Ottawa shows to send me their media materials, as it’s been pointed out to me that I’m gonna have total access to ALL that stuff after the launch anyhow.  Still, props to the companies that DID go the extra mile and send me stuff.  I appreciate it (even if I still ended up with more Montreal Fringe shows sending me their kits, in the end…still bummed I can’t make any of their Fringe, but a preview post of that Festival WILL be coming soon!).  And now, speaking of Montreal, here’s a video rec from Bloody Underrated‘s Al Lafrance:

A FEW OF MY FAV’RIT PLACES IN TOWN:  Crosstown Traffic.  The Turning Point.  The Horn of Africa.  Herb and Spice.  The Dominion Tavern.  The Carleton Tavern.   The Elmdale Tavern.   Book Bazaar.  Adorit.  Bytowne Cinema.  Mayfair Theatre.  Comic Book Shoppe.  Ada’s Diner.  Wellington Diner.  St.Vincent de Paul.  Invisible Cinema.

That’s all off the top of my head.  Add to the list.

MEANWHILE, IN ICELAND… I was mentioning my upcoming Fringe-review team of special agents previously.  Well, don’t think Team Visitorium is bound by mere international datelines and coastal shores!  Hells no!  Tonight, for the first time ever, we’re proud to feature a Theatre update from our glamorous overseas correspondent, LAURA LEE BELL.  Laura  is a former producer of the Youth Infringement Festival, an amazing dancer, and just one of the coolest people I’ve met in a good long while.  She’s on an epic tour of Iceland, Europe and other faraway lands like that just now, and has agreed to post us the odd review of their local theatre as opportunity arises.  Here’s the first…be nice, and maybe she’ll do some more for us, okay?

*********************

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the chance to write about cool theatre I see abroad on my trip. I have now been in Iceland for 4 days and I’m starting to figure out my way around. What a strange and quirky city Reykjavik is! Funny enough I have met a Canadian from Ottawa who is involved in the theatre scene. Her name is Kate Heney so I said I’d give a shout out to her! And to answer your question, Kevin, about fish…Icelandic people not only like their fish but they actually eat puffin, shark and whale too.

Anyway, on the theatre stuff! I decided last minute yesterday, as it rained, to make my way to the National Iceland Theatre in Black Box Studio. One thing I love about this city is how people are so proud of their art…they have stores that are just for Icelandic music, clothes and original theatre work! We Ottawaians could learn a thing or two!

The play I saw was The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter, called AFMAELISVEISLAN in Icelandic. The play was dark and tense. Even without understanding the words, I was terrified of what was going to happen next, the actors all were clear even without understanding a word they said. I was able to identify all the characters and their were clear distinctions. My favourites were Meg and Lulu who were fun and loveable characters that were unaware of danger they were really in.

editor’s note: I have no idea what’s happening here.

What I noticed that was most different from what I was used to was the use of sound and lighting. This play was not afraid to stray from the normal, with its jagged-edge lighting  and ominous echoes that depict Stanley’s transition to insanity.  Not only that but repeating screams and quick, abrupt light changes left you feeling uncomfortable at the end of the play, and also wondering if this was it, when we discover Lulu on the table. Followed by a black out and no bow.  I really enjoyed this theatre piece and can’t wait to see my next play across the ocean! Next is London!

Bye for now!
Bless! ( As the Icelandic for Goodbye)

Laura Lee Bell

***************
I really have nothing to follow THAT up with, except that I really, really hope Laura takes this opportunity to eat Puffin, because I’m very curious what that tastes like.  Also, what the fuck is a Puffin?  But that’s getting sidetracked…Thanks Laura, you’re the goods.  And a big HELLO! to Kate Heney, who is also in Iceland, where apparently all the cool people are. And now, to play us out, being both an Iceland AND Fringe tie-in (if you don’t get the reference now, you will in a month)…Yeah, you guessed it.

Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Visions of Fringe 2012

In Fringe Fest on May 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm

And now, because I’m home sick missing cool stuff and have nothing better to do…here are five of my fav’rit OTTAWA FRINGE FESTIVAL promo videos, that I’ve been perusing on YouTube tonight.  Check ’em all out, then see all their shows June 14th-24th:

I saw Howard Petrick’s show RAMBO: THE MISSING YEARS in Victoria, and it was a well-crafted, multi-role one man show with incredible spirit, and was a true story to boot.  This, if I’m not mistaken, is the same show, renamed BREAKING RANK!, and I think it’s gonna be dynamite in the much more intimate venue of Arts Court Library:

I’ve never heard of Sandrine Lafond, but having my interest in dance/movement renewed recently, I was curious about her show, and am triply excited after this vid for her show, LITTLE LADY:

Garkin Productions has been in at least six Ottawa Fringe Fests, and their latest looks to be one of their best yet (and I saw SATANIC PANIC twice!).  Beware the LONELY BEAR!

Another Victoria discovery, Katherine Glover’s show BURNING BROTHELS was a Festival highlight, and her new one DEAD WRONG sounds, quite frankly, even better, and I can’t WAIT:

Finally, I freely admit my bias on account for this show (I’m actually part of the ‘audio environment’ being assembled), but it’s well-earned…Ken Godmere is a  master of the craft, and VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE is gonna be an amazing show.  It’s also an amazing promo video.  Check it out:

More Fringe to come…MUCH more!  Stay tuned, kids.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

That’s the Brad MacNeil!

In Theatre on May 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Something awesome is coming to Ottawa tomorrow night (Thursday May 24th, for the record)…our very own live talk/variety show, at the Mercury Lounge stage.  This is a unique event in our wee city…so naturally, it took a pretty unique pair to bring it to fruition.   Which is where Crush Improv mainstay Brad MacNeil, and MiCasa Theatre‘s Nick DiGaetano come along, the unstoppable force behind tomorrow’s debut of THE BRAD MACNEIL, a live event that looks to be a bit of a game-changer in Ottawa…or that will at least, hopefully, make some folks sit up and take notice.

Brad and Nick, in one of the happy times.

“Most of the people we have on the show aren’t people we’d have at Crush shows,” show host and new Daddy Brad MacNeil said with a touch of pride, when I got to sit down with him and his hetero-show partner Nick DiGaetano at a coffeeshop today to talk about their live labour of love.  And their lineup for tomorrow’s quite frankly ummissable one-night-only event certainly should pique anyone’s interest.  Featuring live backing from local rockers the Steve Adamyk Band, Brad and Nick will also be introducing audiences to: slam poet Jenna Tenn-Yuk;  journalist Polly Leger (whom Brad has challenged to bring the 3-minute story of her choice, that she feels people need to know the most); artist Sue Bailie, whom Brad seemed especially excited about having on, as they went to high school together, a number of years ago I will kindly not divulge; and Koston Kreme of Capital Tease burlesque, of whom MacNeil would simply say, “…I’m not gonna talk her up…I don’t need to talk her up.  She will take this show from semi-sweet Baker’s chocolate to delicious, rich milk chocolate, and that’s what we want.”

“Fudge, Brad,” Nick corrected, “…triple-sweet fudge”, which got them off onto a whole other tangent it took some time to come down from.  When we recovered (‘interviewing’ Brad and Nick is a curious process…it mostly involves hitting ‘record’ and sitting back quietly, which I rather enjoyed), they explained a few of the thoughts that brought them to this project, which apparently arose during  a walk in the woods one night .  “We make a LOT of important decisions during walks in the woods,” Nick told me…a veteran of theatre, he seemed excited at the chance provided by The Brad MacNeil, to “get out of that comfort zone, and be in a position where it could just fall apart”, as with a recent team-up he and Brad had at a Crush Improv show at the Elmdale Tavern (note: I saw that show, and they rocked it out, FYI.  No falling apart there.)

Brad especially sounded hopeful about the ideas behind the show, and that this was a departure from his previous improv appearances.  “More often than not the process is what fascinates me more than anything,” he said, a self-admitted huge fan of  podcasts and behind the scenes documentaries.  He’s hoping to get inside the process of a variety of different creators, the kind he doesn’t normally get to talk with at his late-night duties at the Ottawa  Fringe Festivals (where he co-hosts ‘Chats With Cat’ with Catriona Leger in the Courtyard after hours).  “I don’t want this to be just a variety show.”

Tapping into the huge Ottawa market for live entertainment is another driving force…people will pack their respective niche markets (Burlesque, music, art, Fringe, etc…), but is there any possibility of crossover?  And how about our actual physical remoteness?

“If we get three people to come to the show from Barrhaven, Orleans, or Kanata, I think it’s pretty much a victory.”  Having just made the round-trip to and from Kanata for a show the other day, I can attest to the truth of this statement.  But getting Ottawa people out of their OWN comfort zones and into an experience they might not even realize they’ll enjoy is one of The Brad MacNeils’ lofty goals…although they admit they have by no means cracked the conundrum.  No harm trying, right?

And how does newborn daughter Violet affect Brad’s take on his comedy career?  “It’s made me take things a lot more seriously,” he said, showing the huge heart that lurks behind his blustery improv exterior…in  the end, he strikes me as a proud papa who wants his kid to be proud of him. Personally, I like to think he’s got nothing to worry about in that regard.

They may or may not have kissed right after this photo was taken.

THE BRAD MACNEIL hits the stage at 9pm tomorrow night…doors open at 8, and a mere ten dollars to get in.  Stage managed by Fringe legend Kevin Waghorn, the lads are planning on clocking in at a cool 75 minutes, and making every one of those minutes count.  “Twenty-five dollars worth of show for Ten bucks” is Brad’s promise, and I for one believe him.  Pretty much the best start to your May 2-4 weekend you could hope for.

Oh, by the way..?  Nick wanted me to tell you all in advance that the ‘refrain’ for the evening is “That’s The Brad MacNeil“.  Remember it…it may come in handy.  Peace, love and soul, and I’ll see you at the Mercury,

The Visitor (and Winston)

 

Verona in Kanata

In Theatre on May 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

So I FINALLY made it out to Kanata!

Okay, so maybe that’s not SUCH a big deal, but it’s a cool milestone for me.  I’ve been pimping their shows in my COMING SOON… posts at the top of the month for over a year now, yet I’ve never seemed able to muster up the will to make the trek out there.  Living in Ottawa regular as I do, Kanata just has this faraway feel to it that tends to intimidate at the last minute, when I’m trying to decide if I want to spend hours on a bus, or if I just want to stay home and drink beer with the cat.

It’s a valid lifestyle choice!!

But this time I was resolved, and after an exciting meeting at the Ottawa Fringe offices with Natalie Joy Quesnel (the Visitorium is going to OWN Fringe this year, folks…stay tuned!), I hopped on the 96 to make the journey out to the Ron Maslin Theatre in Kanata.  I figured it would be about a half-hour trek…then the bus driver missed the on-ramp for the Queensway, and that made things interesting.  Oh well, I was still early.  Got off near a Wendy’s and scarfed down a burger to tide me over for the show (and what a good omen is it that, on my way to a Shakespeare play, I got served by Hamlet?  Inside joke) and then hustled over to the playhouse.  And the Ron Maslin?  A beautiful little place…no wonder they hide it all  the way out in Kanata, they’re afraid the rest of us will make a mess of it.

Got my ticket, and went inside for the show, the beginning of the second week of Kanata Theatre‘s production of ROMEO AND JULIET by Billy Shakes.  Director Tom Kobolak made the choice to set the classic tale in 1848, amidst a kerfuffle of Italians and Austrians.  And while it didn’t necessarily add anything special to the proceedings for me (except for some cool new costumes), it didn’t detract from the story, either.  And you all know the story…Warring clans (Capulet and Montague) wreak havoc on the town of Verona with their ancient feud, reaching a head when young Montague Romeo falls head over heels for Juliet, on the Capulet side of the fence.  Things, uh, don’t end well.

The grudge is set early on, with a rousing streetfighting scene starring a few of the important players…Montague men and Romeo backers Benvolio and Mercutio (Mark Bujaki and Leslie Cserepy), duelling with Capulet strongman Tybalt (Aaron Lajeunesse) and some inspired henchmen.  The Prince of the city (Gordon Walls)  breaks things up, but the peace won’t last long.  Young Romeo (Jake William Smith) is pining for the fair Rosalind, and his buds Mercutio and Benvolio are going to sneak him into a Capulet shindig later that night to get a closer look at her.   That’s where Romeo gets a glimpse of Juliet (Megan Carty, in the process of being ineptly wooed by Major Paris, aka Paul Behncke) and,  young love proving somewhat fickle, immediately forgets Rosalinds name.  A whirlwind romance follows…Juliet is the East and all that.  A secret wedding from a friendly Friar (Lionel King) seals the deal, and everything goes downhill from there.

I found an awful lot to like in Kanata’s R&J, and the 2 and a half hour running time went speedily by.  I was already familiar with a few of the younger faces in the cast from various student productions, and was not disappointed with them tonight.  Jake Smith made a wonderfully emo Romeo, wallowing in his predicament with teenage abandon and playing well off his many co-stars.  For his first time at Shakespeare, as the program says, he pretty much knocks it outta the park.  Likewise, Leslie Cserepy’s brash Mercutio had great presence on the stage, bringing some memorably bawdy comedic moments.  And, wow, but Aaron Lajeunesse cuts a mean Tybalt indeed, skulking and sneering across the stage like a particularly angry ghost.  His battles with Mercutio and Romeo, wonderfully staged by fight choreographers Chris MCleod and John Brogan, were pretty impressive to watch.

Megan Carty’s Juliet was a treat as well, a happily outgoing and radiant version of Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, trading repartee well with her distant Mother (Sandra Wickham, shining in her time on stage) and loyal Nurse (Lorraine McInnis-Osborne, hamming it up with glee and getting some of the best laughs of the night).  But when the dark turns arrive, Carty nails the shifts, taking Juliet from glowing to grieving without missing a beat.  She kinda broke my heart a time or two, and I always appreciate that.  And a special shoutout to the Friar, Lionel King, who was just bloody marvellous.  What a voice!  I was mesmerized and delighted every time he spoke (especially his upbraiding of a sulking Romeo…goddamn classic).

There was some lovely work being done with the lights and music as well, and James Fritz’ set was simple and effective.  There were some projected backdrops that changed from time to time, helping with the scenery changes, and some worked better than others, ’tis true.  I’m not sure their tech was up to the challenge, but it was still a cool idea.  And might I say that the show in its entirety was actually a lot more risque than I was expecting from a community theatre group?  Good on you, Kanata, you’ve got some life in ya after all!

The tragic conclusion most of us are so familiar with played out beautifully, and ended a pretty damn satisfying night out for me.  Kanata Theatre done impressed me, and I’m kicking myself now for all those times I stayed home drinking with Winston.  What a bad influence that cat is!  I’ve learned my lesson now, and I’ll be back, long commute or no.  Maybe I should make friends with some car-driving theatre fans before next season…

Peace, love and soul, Kanata,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! – May 21st 2012

In Foofarah on May 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm

This is gonna be a troublesome Foof, folks.  I have, like, NO ideas what to talk about.  I’m still trying to save all the good Fringe-stuff for a little closer to, you know, FRINGE.   But I have high hopes that inspiration will strike over the course of the evening.  so in the spirit, let’s get on getting on…

– IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

KING LEAR at the National Arts Centre.  Last week to see the history-making Aboriginal version of Billy Shakes’ epic about war and family and stuff.  Until the 26th!

ROMEO AND JULIET at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  I SWEAR I’m going tomorrow, guys, for reals this time.  Anxious to see Leslie, Jake and the gang in action! also until the 26th.

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  Yay!  Artisitic Director Lise Ann Johnson goes out with this promising comedy about five actors, coincidentally STARRING five actors.  Previews start on the 22nd.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at the Centrepointe Theatre.  Mel Brooks’ best movie brought to musical comedy life, for three performances only, one on the 25th and 2 on the 26th. I can’t make it, anyone wanna write it up for me?

THE BRAD MACNEIL at the Mercury Lounge.  Superstar of Crush Improv Brad MacNeil brings his live comedy talk show to the Mercury on Thursday the 24th, with Nick DiGaetano and a host of guest stars in two…but more on this in a few days!

And…I still haven’t thought of anything.  Sigh.  Here, let this get into your brain while I look around for something else to entertain you…

FRINGE:  Well, why fight it?  After all, I’m starting to spend a LOT of my free time (hah!) prepping for my all-out assault on the Ottawa Fringe Festival this June.  For the first time ever, the Visitorium will be bringing a whole TEAM of reviewers, in an effort to cover EVERY, SINGLE SHOW.  More on this invincible super-squad later on, although I will mention that I’m strongly considering tee-shirts for the occasion.  I have no idea how to go about this, so recommendations are welcome!

Most of you probably know I’m a little cuckoo for Fringe time.  Ya now who else is?  Al and the gang from BLOODY UNDERRATED over Montreal way.  Al’s got a dandy Preview Post up about the 22nd Mtl Fringe playing right at the same time as ours, lots of good picks and tips to maximize your Fringing.  Check it out!  I’ll have my own Montreal sneak-Peek coming up in a few weeks

And while I’m on a Fringe theme, I will take this opportunity to make a plea once again for attending shows to feel free to swamp me with promo material (if they have any) that I could use to, you know, promote your show for free.  If you’re into that sort of thing, that is.  Come on, don’t make me bug Nat and Cat for the stuff, they’re busy enough as it is!  Pictures are especially wonderful, as I enjoy me some pic-posting, and they make the previews and reviews all purty and stuff.  Send anything you like to me at visitor.tba@gmail.com. For those of you who have already sent me goodies, thank you terribly much, it made my day!  Here’s me thanking you now with an early sneak-peek for the masses:

Anna Lewis and Victor Pokinko, in Bear and Company’s ‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE, directed by Eleanor Crowder!

Tess McManus in her upcoming one-woman show DONKEY DERBY, directed by Dave Dawson!

See?  Send me your media goodies, and I’ll do my best to make you a star!  No promises.  Now, here’s Suzy Quattro, being cooler than you:

Man, I don’t really have anything else…no shows in a few days makes your old pal the Visitor a dull boy.  This heat’s gettin’ to me, I won’t lie…I know people are all excited for it, but when you work in an unventilated kitchen over open flames 5 days of the week, it becomes less of a thrill, lemme tells ya.  Can it just be Fringe already?  And, like, forever?

Never mind me, I’m an old grump.  Get out and see some stuff this week, have an ice cream, and wish the fabulous Laura Lee Bell (former Youth Infringement Producer and all-around swell gal) a bon voyage on her trip to Iceland, and some places after that!  Have a great time, and bring us back some…venison?  Ice?  What do they HAVE in Iceland, anyways?

Just fit as many of these in your suitcase as you can.

So long, and thanks in advance for all the fish, LLB. 🙂  Peace, love and soul, Ottawa,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Youth Infringement 2012 – All the Damn Plays!

In Theatre on May 17, 2012 at 12:44 am

14 years this year, the Youth Infringement Festival (begun back in the day, I’m told, by a wee Emily Pearlman, among others) marks a pre-Fringe opportunity for under-25 Theatre enthusiasts in O-Town to strut their stuff, writing and producing their own plays.  Myself, this marks my third visit to the YI frontlines, and as I always have a good time, I expected no less this time around.  Last year’s fest producer, the amazing Mado Boyes-Manseau, stepped down to make way for new Producer Chris Jaworski and his 2nd in command (and next year’s head honcho, by the cool rules of the festival) Christine Hecker, and they’ve assembled a pretty sweet lineup of shows for the latest incarnation.

I’ve hit up two days of the festival so far; solo last night, and tonight alongside former YI producer. terribly cool person and amazing dancer Laura Lee Bell.  And I’ve now seen six of the seven shows in the run.  I’ll be updating this post tomorrow with the final show, but didn’t want to wait any longer before getting some review-style love out there.  I do dig me some student productions, and I was familiar enough with some of the names involved this year to be rarin’ to go…happily, they gave me lots to be excited about.

PLEASE SAVE THE QUEEN by Maggie Matian.  The first show seen in the festival, and sweet baby Jesus is it ever hardcore…! Starring the terribly impressive Justine Parker as Eliza, a young girl in…well, I don’t even want to tell you what circumstances, but let’s just say you’ve got it WAY better than poor Eliza.  Trapped in terrible circumstances beyond her control, her only friends a pair of raggedy puppets of her own devising, Eliza slowly spills her dire story and circumstance, even as she tries to connive a way to save the Queen, who she is convinced is trapped next door to her.   Featuring some really crafty direction from Keir MacDonald, and all-too real makeup FX from Sam Kellerman, QUEEN is a show to be reckoned with…DEATH AND THE MAIDEN only WISHES it were this intense.  I came out of it exhilarated, distraught, and hoping that somebody gives Maggie Matian a hug, stat.  A great start to the festival…although I’ll admit, I was glad the next show up was a comedy.

THE BLIND DATE by Matt Hertendy. Two people are trying to meet up for a blind date, and their respective best friends are on hand to spy/help/hinder as circumstances dictate.  One of the datees is recently blind, and that’s not even the BIG twist in this wacky comedy (did I just use the phrase ‘wacky comedy’? Man, no wonder nobody pays me for this shit…) starring Sam McCarthy, Cody Zulinski, Lisa Johnston, Jonathon ‘Bubba’ Vien, and my l’il GCTC pal Jacki Brabazon, yay!  Jacki is amazing, obviously (seriously, some of her line deliveries positively KILLED), and Vien is on my short list now for scene-stealer of the year.   While the script meandered a tad here and there, the broad comedy underlying the whole thing never let up, and most the gags were plenty smart, as well as funny, and director Lily Sutherland keeps things moving at a swift pace.  And yes, they DO poke fun at a blind woman in this play…get over it.  She gives as good as she gets.

HYDRANGEA by Kyle Cunningham.  No, but…are you serious?  Two one-woman shows?  In Youth Infringement?  I must be dreaming!  But it’s true…it’s true, and it’s AWESOME.  Kyle Cunningham, with his first of two plays in the festival, impresses with this story of a suburban housewife, waiting for her husband to return home.  In the meantime, she tells us all about him, and herself, and something pretty amazing happens along the way.  Director Chris Jaworski keeps things simple but very effective, and Cunningham’s script is seriously sharp.  But Hannah Martin is my own revelation here…how the Hell has she not been on my radar before this?  I caught this two nights in a row, and…and, just, WOW.  She was pitch-perfect both nights…and when the moment comes where she has to crank it up to eleven?  She fucking NAILS it.  God-damned wonderful, and honestly one of the best female performances I’ve caught this year.  Be proud, Miss Martin.

JUDGEMENT DAY by John Ryan.  A morality play set in a sort of afterlife waiting room, as Richard Pratt (Nick Fournier), recently arrived, starts getting grilled by his ‘Placement Officer’, played by Hannah Evans.  She seems particularly curious about one night in his life, but has to get through Richard’s distrust AND a constantly interrupting God to unearth the truth.  It’s a fairly clever piece, with a particularly good few revelatory scenes from Fournier as he recalls the tragedy that led him to his current predicament. VERY nice work on display there.  The whole ‘afterlife as bureaucracy’ bit felt a little been there, done that, and I wish Hannah Evans had gotten a  little more to do.  But it was still pretty damn cool.
THE RESTAURANT by Lucas Armstrong.  A writer set in his ways is hassled by a disgruntled aspect of his own subconscious who can’t stand to see him go on in his current rut.  Taking shape and calling himself Nick, the ‘aspect’ proceeds to show writer Ryan (Jeremy Piamonte) a series of romantic vignettes from his past to try and wake him up to the problem he faces.  Nick, played as an almost godlike Trickster figure by Jeremy Jones (also the director, and good on him!) seems to taunt poor Ryan with humiliation after humiliation, including the time his true love (Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha) skips out on his younger self (Colin Giles) to make time with his best bud (Matt Sandell).  A fun show about the baggage we saddle ourselves with, and some very funny work from the always solid Jones (and more great scene stealing, this time from Matt Sandell).  The script got  a bit repetitive at times, but it still had some smart things to say, via a neat and tweaked kind of funny.

LONG DIVISION by Kyle Cunningham.  An absurdist two-hander starring Dillon Rogers and Kate Boone as a married couple making their way through an infinite loop of divorce-bickering, with frankly hysterical results.  From director Mike Doiron (of Dead Unicorn Ink) , another smart and funny script from Kyle Cunningham takes us through the absurdity of relationships, distrust and when the Hell you should drop your bag.  Boone and Rogers were both just great , easily vacillating between serious and silly at the drop of a hat.  Occasionally brilliant, sometimes serious, always fun.  Great show.

BEST LEFT UNSAID by Colin Giles…I’ll get to this one tomorrow, okay?  I’m not lazy (okay, LAZIER than usual), the show just hasn’t even premiered yet.  Tomorrow night, Promise!

…AAAaand, it’s tomorrow night!  This is the ‘update’ part of  the post, which I am sneakily inserting so that no one will ever notice it wasn’t there in the first place.  You’ll let me know if I fuck it up, right?  Now where was I..?

BEST LEFT UNSAID by Colin Giles.   A funny, goofy script from Colin G gets pushed to the comedy breaking point by director Martin Glassford, in a show it may literally be impossible not to laugh at.  Starring James Graziano as a Southern Gentleman of a Mayor having a late night with his two fav’rit assistants (Kyle Cunningham and David Coleman).  As the Mint Juleps and Scotch flow, Mayor Rob brings in an unexpected guest…’Madam of the evening’ Daisy (a stunning Jen Capogreco, vamping it up with gusto), and all Hell proceeds to break loose, set to a Bruce Springsteen soundtrack.  A brilliantly juvenile romp with scenery-chewing aplenty…Graziano as the randy mayor was comic gold, and when he claps his hands, all bets are off.  Laugh out loud funny, and who could ask for more than that?  Also features some timeless wisdom about tractors that I won’t forget for a LONG time.

I stuck around for one more repeat after that show, then ended up chatting with a few stellar folks before heading out…I’m actually still kicking myself for leaving while in the company of Ms.Capogreco AND Rebecca Laviolette…what the Hell was I THINKING??  Winston can feed himself ONCE in a while, can’t he..?

But it was a great night, and a great festival…it still runs for two more nights, and I strongly recommend you check out what you can, because these kids got some chops.  And actually, before I go, I wanted to shout out to a few people I’ve neglected in this post…the Stage Managers.  Cheers to Veronique Nolin, Rachel Worton, Robin Thomas, Ryan Acheson, Katherine Dermott, Andrea Connell and Matt Hertendy, for making it all run like clockwork.  Props also to Tech wizard Fraser Mackinnon, and Ashley at the box office for getting me in 🙂 .  You’re all the goods.  See you next year, Youth Infringement (or maybe Saturday night, if I’m feeling lonely)!  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Gladstone Theatre 2012-2013…LAUNCHED!

In Theatre on May 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

How annoyed am I with the Gladstone Theatre?  Why, lemme tells ya!  I’d been hearing rumblings and rumours about their upcoming season launch for about a month or so now…I was all psyched up and ready to get the invite for the launch event, head on out, rub elbows with the hoi polloi, and best of all…FREE FOOD!  Ah, I could hardly wait.

But then..!  They figured it out, the terrible secret!  It turns out you can just e-mail that business out to the exact same effect, and then you are no longer obliged to feed do-nothing mooches like me!  Oh, woe…guess I have to go grocery shopping this week AFTER all.

But, but…I wanted crudites!

But there ends my whining,because that e-mail was some of the best news I’ve received in a good long while.  Not only is the Gladstone back next season, this time with a FULL yearlong schedule, but there are now four participating companies on the roster, and the show list is, quite frankly, to die for.  After a couple of shorter seasons, the Gladstone gang seems ready and raring to knock this next one out of the park.  Check it out:

STONES IN HIS POCKETS by Mary Jones, from Seven Thirty Productions.  Directed by 730 kingpin John P.Kelly, and featuring the dynamic duo of Richard Gelinas and Zach Counsil, this Irish play kicks off the new season on September 7th.

HOW IT WORKS by Daniel MacIvor, from Plosive Productions.  Directed by Stewart Matthews, there’s really never anything wrong with more Danny Mac in the lineup.  And I’ve even read this one!  October 5-20.

NOVEMBER by David Mamet, from Seven Thirty.  After Plosive’s raucous take on SPEED-THE-PLOW , John P. steps up to take his own crack at the Mamet, and I can’t wait.  November 21st to December 8th.

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET: THE RADIO PLAY, adapted by Teri Loretto-Valentik and John Cook from the book by Valentine Davies, from Plosive.  Radio Gladstone is back again, with this take on the Xmas classic from director Nicole Milne.  Features some family-friendly matinees on weekends!  December 14-23.

OH yes… (but no, not really, it’s been cancelled. Sorry!)

DOCTOR HORRIBLE, based on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, music by Joss Whedon and Jed Whedon.  Directed by Dave Dawson for Black Sheep Theatre (a gang that know their way around a musical), this just rocketed to the top of everyone’s must-see list for 2013.  Have a friend who claims they’re ‘not into theatre’?  THIS is the show to drag them too and prove’em wrong.  January 16-Feb 2.

*UPDATE* …But not really!  Tragic and long-needed update, there will be no DOCTOR HORRIBLE show in the Gladstone’s season.  Some mukkity-muk about rights and all that, boo.  It has been replaced in the roster with BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, which Katie Hood tells me is a bag full of awesome in its own right, so there.  How dare you argue with KAtie Hood??  I’ll moider ya!

BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR by John Gray with Eric Peterson, from Plosive.  From director extraordinaire Teri Loretto-Valentik, and starring the inimitable Chris Ralph in multiple roles, this Canuck classic is gonna be a gooder.  February 8-23.

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR by Alan Ayckbourn, from Seven Thirty.   John P. again, with this comedy from the writer whose play HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES opened the Gladstone theatre a few years back.  March 5-23.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by Wm.Shakespeare, from Bear and Company.  Eleanor Crowder’s ubiquitous new company makes its Gladstone debut with one of Billy Shakes’ killer comedies to close out the season.  Crowder knows her Shakespeare, and I suspect this show will prove that all over again.   April 19-May 4.

All that, PLUS we can expect other announcements along the way, from companies like Phoenix Players, and maybe more.  The Gladstone is carving out a very special niche for itself in the Ottawa Theatre scene, and I couldn’t be giddier about it.  Can’t wait for the new season…and while I’m at it, congrats on an amazing season just wrapping up now, with DEATH AND THE MAIDEN.  More power to you, Gladstone, and I look forward to many exciting years to come.

But seriously, snacks next time, okay?  I’m starving over here.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and WInston)

Monday Foofarah! – May 14 2012

In Just me doing stuff on May 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Awright!  There’s lots to get through on this week’s FOOFARAH, and I’ve been drinking for a while now already, so let’s get truckin’, shall we?  As ever, first things are first:

IN THEATRES THIS WEEK: 

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  Your last week to catch this killer thriller starring Chris Ralph, Genevieve Sirois and Paul Rainville.  Don’t be a chump, check it out!

BEYOND A JOKE from Ottawa Little Theatre.  A nice, goofy farce about a pile of dead bodies in a quiet English village.  Funnier than that makes it sound.  Last week also, so get out there!

KING LEAR at the National Arts Centre.  The much anticipated Aboriginal casting of Billy Shakes’ epic gets a full-tilt treatment… grand cast, gorgeous costumes, just a great big spectacle.

ROMEO AND JULIET from the Kanata Players, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse.  A new telling of Billy’s tragic classic, starring a few of my fav’rit young actors.  I’m finally making my way out to Kanata for this one, you should too!

POUTINE MASALA at the Mainline Theatre.  Okay, this one’s a Montreal show, and..why?  Well, it’s because I was actually supposed to go and review this show on Wednesday, having been invited on my first out-of-town gig ever.  But alas, I’m unable to secure the needed time off of drudgery, boo.  So, I just wanted to drop a shoutout, and hopefully any MTL gangsters reading this will check it out for me.  It sounds fanTAStic.

And most excitingly…

THE 14th ANNUAL YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL at Arts Court!  May is turning into a real cool little pre-Fringe festival month…first the Extremely Short Play Festival, then SubDevision, and now the (ironically) oldest one of the three, Youth Infringement!  Seven shows over five days, all from local youths who are giddy and excited about creating theatre.  Do I NEED to spell out the reasons why we in the community need to support this festival (and yes, OTTAWA CITIZEN, I mean you too…you want to be a part of the community, don’t you?  Like a GOOD Citizen?)?  The participating shows are BEST LEFT UNSAID by Colin Giles, BLIND DATE by Matt Hertendy, HYDRANGEA by Kyle Cunningham, JUDGEMENT DAY by John Ryan, LONG DIVISION by Kyle Cunningham (again), PLEASE SAVE THE QUEEN by Maggie Matian, and THE RESTAURANT by Lucas Armstrong.  I’ll be there for sure on tomorrow’s opening night..will I see you there??  You’d better have a good excuse if I don’t!  In the meantime, since it’s kinda summer-y outside, here’s a tune you won’t get out of your head for a few weeks, courtesy of my pal Chris in Korea.  You’re welcome.

AFTERGLOW:  Have I raved about SUBDEVISION enough yet?  Yes, I suppose I have, mostly Here, but it was well deserved.  That opening night at St.Pauls was maybe the most numinous (look it up) experience I’ve had in theatre since Emily Pearlman’s living room (you should have BEEN there!).  I was too busy with other shows to catch it a second time, but I was sorely tempted, believe you me.  I did, however, crash the final afterparty at the Novotel bar after the third night of the fest, and I’m SO glad I did.  So many amazing people there, and they were all…how can I put this?…Willing to speak to me!  I know that probably shouldn’t still amaze me like it does, but it kinda does!   I didn’t stay late, but I loved every second of that night, talking with some of the most dee-liteful and inspiring peeps I ever did know.  Slowly, EVER slowly, I’m starting to feel like I belong in this community…it’s a good feeling, I have to say.  Though I still have lots of work to do, and miles to go before I sleep.

Props, by the by, to Globe and Mail dude Kelly Nestruck for dropping in on SubDevision AND the afterparty that night, and even tweeting favourably about it afterwards.  That puts him well ahead of 99% of our local media (although I hear Patrick Langston also made it to the shows that night, so bloody good on him, too…even if the Ottawa Citizen still has its newspaperly head in the sand concerning the arts in Ottawa).  But lets not get into THAT particular kettle of fish again this week…instead, let’s celebrate the arts by showcasing one of the greatest meetings of theatre and music in human history…MOTORHEAD’s guest appearance on THE YOUNG ONES:

ONE MONTH TO GO:  I’ve been crazy busy with the blog lately.  It’s pretty much a full-time second job now, and not a waking hour of my life goes by without me thinking about either it or theatre in general.  Which is just how I like it.  But I’ve been SO busy, I just realized I’ve hardly had any time to get excited about FRINGE!  And today marks the one-month point…that’s how long we have until the Ottawa Fringe Festival launches its 16th incarnation, and by God, there’s work to be done!

Sooner than you imagine, I’ll be launching into my third annual FRINGE-COMA, doing my level best to write about every last damn Fringe show I can see, and trying to stay alive through the process.  But, I feel the need to step it up a notch this year…no slacking like in previous entries, yeah?  So I  have a couple of announcements/pleas to make public here and now, because there ain’t no more time to lose!

1 – Do you have an upcoming Fringe show in Ottawa?  Do you have any special media, photos, videos, etcetera, that bloggery types like me might use in our writeups of your show?  Do you want some extra attention, media, shoutouts or, dare I suggest it, interviews?  Then what are you waiting for?  Give your old pal the Visitor a call, and I’ll see what I can do!  I have some down time coming between now and Fringe, as the regular theatre seasons fade out, and I’d like to spend it ruthlessly promoting upcoming Fringe productions (not to mention prepping for active Fringe-reviewing itself).  Send whatever media stuff you have to visitor.tba@gmail.com, and I’ll do my best to get it onto the blog.  Let’s make this year the biggest Ottawa Fringe turnout EVER.

2 – Since I seem to be writing checks my body has little chance of cashing, let’s keep going…this year, I want to review EVERY Fringe show.  And, okay, that’s impossible for just me (although technically, this year it IS possible to see every show, thanks to some mathematical magic from the Man of Mans), which means, I need recruits!  I’m sick of those high-and-mighty Fully Fringed muckity-mucks lording it over me!  Help me beat them at their own game, and join Team Visitorium this Fringe!   Do you love theatre, and are able to write?  Are you full of beans and jam?    Can you manage positivity in a review, even IF you didn’t love the show (And do you understand the difference there?)?  Will you work for no pay (I can’t even swing you tickets), but merely for the sweet recompense that is BUCKETS OF GLORY??  Writing for the Visitorium is pretty much like writing for Fully Fringed, only WAY FUCKING COOLER.  I’m totally serious, I have a cape and everything.  Drop a comment, let me know if you’d be interested in writing a guest-review or two during the Fringe, and mayhap I can make this idiot scheme of mine reach fruition!  It will TOTALLY help if I already know you somehow, as Winston fears strangers.  By the way, I ADORE Fully Fringed, this is simply healthy sparring between friendly competitors going on here.

But seriously, I’m going to fucking BURY them.  Here’s some go-go dancers!

I’m running out of stuff now…I’m still trying to ignore all those mad things I just wrote that are going to result in WAY more work for me (positive, be positive!)  Although I would like to express my sincere hopes that everyone enjoyed themselves at the 1st ever Ottawa ComicCon this weekend, while I was STUCK AT GOD-DAMNED WORK the whole time.  Screw you, work, I’m gonna go see The Avengers again this week (maybe or maybe not for the third time) in protest.  Also, I’m working on a plan for a theatre event based on a comic book, among other things.  I’ll keep you posted.  It only gets bigger from here on in, folks.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)
EMERGENCY POSTSCRIPT!  I just got in my e-mail a special missive from the good folks at the Gladstone Theatre, who have gone and sneakily announced their upcoming Season…but this time, a FULL ON YEAR, not just a Winter or Spring or what not.  It’s late, but I thought I’d update the Foof and share the glad tidings with you:

STONES IN HIS POCKETS by Mary Jones, from 730 Productions, Sept 7-29.

HOW IT WORKS by Daniel MacIvor, from Plosive Productions, Oct 5-20

NOVEMBER by David Mamet, from 730 Productions, Nov 21-Dec 8

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET: THE RADIO SHOW, from Plosive Productions, Dec 14-23

DR.HORRIBLE based on Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, from Black Sheep Theatre, Jan 16-Feb 2 (Sidebar…FUCK yeah.)

BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR by John Gray, from Plosive Productions, Feb 8-23.

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR by Alan Ayckbourn, from 730 Productions, Mar 5-23

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by Wm.Shakespeare, from Bear and Company, April 19-May 4.

Right, that’s the last special surprise before bedtime…I’m off again (possibly to rewatch Dr.Horrible, for some odd reason…)  Get excited, Ottawa, good things just keep on coming!

Joking from Beyond

In Theatre on May 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the Ottawa Little Theatre last night.  See, it had been a long week, as weeks go…had to work an xtra double-shift at the drudgery on account of a co-worker with a busted wing.  Stayed up waaaay too late on SUBDEVISION night writing superlatives, and was then groggy as a grog-drinkin’ grogmeister the next day.  Stayed up for KING LEAR tho, then drudgery and..and, oh, but it would have been so easy to talk myself into taking a night to myself.  Visit with that cat who now lives with me, let him know he didn’t just imagine me, and that yes, I WILL be changing his litterbox one of these days.

But then I recalled that, at the Prix Rideau Awards a few weeks ago now, John Muggleton himself invited me to come and see their latest offering, BEYOND A JOKE, and the Visitor does not take invitations lightly.  I’d planned on seeing this one earlier, but scheduling conflicts flared up (something I never thought I’d be griping about), but now we were at the end of the second week (of a three week run), and it was past time to do the right thing.  Besides, I love the OLT!  Cheapest Guinness in town (even if the bartender thinks I drink Keiths, and I’m too kind-hearted to correct him), and at 99 years and counting of continuous Theatre action, pretty damn inspiring even IF you don’t truck with the community circuit.

So off it was to the venerable OLT for Derek Benfield’s English countryside farce, about a family home plagued by a bizarre series of fatal accidents.   We meet harried couple Jane (Jane Morris) and her easily distracted husband Andrew (Mike Kennedy) are just trying to wash the windows, after the unfortunate passing-away of the OFFICIAL window-Washer in a tragic ladder accident.  Soon enough they are joined by oddball Geoff (Seamus O’Brien), new boyfriend of their daughter Sally (Kelly Fuoco).  And by the time Andrews’ hard-drinking sister Sarah (Sarah Hearn) arrives, warning of the impending arrival of the new village Vicar (Stephen Liddiard), Geoff has overheard just enough of the family troubles to convince him he’s living in a nest of serial killers…and that’s before his own parents (Danielle Silverman and Allan MacDonald) announce THEIR surprise visit…

I’ll admit, it was a little tricky getting right into this one, mostly from the script itself.  As miscommunication farces go, it’s about as subtle (and twice as strained) as a third-season episode of THREE’S COMPANY…half the time, even I was wondering why the police weren’t beating down this family’s doors, never mind poor Geoff.   But the cast was solid…Morris and Kennedy as the lead couple handled things beautifully, and I nary heard their English accents stumble.  Liddiard, too, shone as the befuddled Vicar.  But it really was Seamus O’Brien as the rubberfaced Geoff who ran away with the show.  Certainly, I never expected to walk into the Ottawa Little Theatre and see someone so flawlessly channeling Mister Bean on stage, but O’Brien pulled it off magnificently, and hysterically.  Seriously, he was god-damned impressive up there, to the point where I was kicking myself for not having seen him in anything before.

I was laughing out loud a LOT at this show, and I bet you will too.  Coupled with a lot of good staging from director Dorothy Ann Gardner, BEYOND A JOKE was a great night out at the OLT, and a great end to my theatre week.   Very glad I made it out to this one, and looking forward to the conclusion of the 99th season with DANGEROUS LIAISONS (yay Sara!) next month.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)