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Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

The Chocolate Cream Soldier

In Theatre on July 29, 2013 at 8:46 am

Another week, another park show…at least Ottawa in August is consistent (not the weather, obviously…what’s life without a chance of thundershowers?).  And it was time at last for the granddaddy of Ottawa’s outdoor shows, from those masked marvels at Odyssey theatre, now entering their 27th season.  For their latest extravaganza, nestled in their cozy stage at the North end of Strathcona Park, they’ve made a pretty nifty choice.  Tapping director Andy Massingham once again (he helmed their 2012 offering THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE), they’ve gone and put a mask on that old rascal George Bernard Shaw to bring new life to his classic work, ARMS AND THE MAN.  At least, that was the plan, and it sounds like a good one to me.

Dealing with those two old chestnuts, love and war, ARMS opens on the home of Bulgarian aristocrats the Petkoffs (they have a library, you guys..!), where anxious mother Catherine (Doreen Taylor-Claxton) and her dreamy daughter Raina (Pippa Leslie) await news of the war with Serbia.  Soon enough, they hear of a great victory attributed to Raina’s beloved, the swaggering Sergius (Dylan George), and before long routed enemy soldiers are literally being chased through the streets of their fair city.   One of them, a Swiss gun-for-hire called Bluntschli (Attila Clemann) scales the Petkoff walls and seeks refuge in Raina’s room.  After some initial misgivings, the girl and the soldier, who seems to prefer chocolatey treats to bullets and warfare, hit it off, and she and her Mother protect him during the siege.  End of story, right..?

Until several months later, of course, when handsome Sergius and Raina’s father Paul Petkoff (David Warburton) return to the homestead, covered in glory and hopelessly struggling with the post-war paperwork.  Re-enter Bluntschli, who returns suddenly, ostensibly to return the coat Raina sent him off with, but he ends up getting roped into more paperwork.  Toss in a pair of scheming servants (Clare Armstrong as willful Louka, and Pierre Brault as toadying Nicola), and the stage is well and truly set for revelations and confrontations of all manner.

Andy Massingham keeps the pace quick and merry in this goddamn wonderful show, filled with some seriously hilarious exchanges and great performance.  Wee Pippa Leslie makes a delightful leading lady indeed, leaping, swirling and voguing with gusto…she’s especially marvellous in her scenes opposite Clemann as earnest Bluntschli, a professional soldier who  would seem to rather be doing anything BUT fighting.  Dylan George, last year’s Lovebug Louie at the Ottawa Fringe, impresses as the somewhat clueless war hero Sergius, getting entangled with Clare Armstrong’s wonderfully bold Louka, who steals a few scenes with sheer force of will. Brault, Warburton and Taylor-Claxton get the masked duty in this one, and have a blast with it.  In fact, that’s my one minor quibble with the show…for a masked company, there seem to be fewer and fewer of them every year.  Although to be fair, the other actors do sport some cool face makeup, courtesy of the always amazing Annie Lefebvre.  Shoutout to my recent stage partner Nick Fournier, who makes a memorable cameo as a uniformed soldier (and maybe Shaw himself as well, keep your eyes peeled).  Odyssey has put together a very fun, very solid show, proving that Shaw works just as well under the stars and behind a mask.  You’ve got until August 25th to catch it, and you’ll regret it if ya don’t.   Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Pillow Talk

In Theatre on July 25, 2013 at 4:24 pm

And here I thought it was gonna be a quiet week.  I’d managed to finally see the Fools show, and had a few days to kill before Odyssey kicked into gear, and figgered it would mostly be spent watching old BEWITCHED episodes, and just generally waiting to die.

Bewitched-Samantha

But what a way to go!

Then I got a notice from the lady miss Claudia Jurt, artistic director from ACT studios in Ottawa, that they had a new show hitting their Vanier studio space (where I caught the swell MRS.DALLY HAS A LOVER back in January) starting that very day. And me with nothing to do (no offense, Mrs.Stephens)!  I called up my best galpal, aka FamousActressNancyKenny, just back in town from Roller Derby success at Zoofest in Montreal (read all about it!), who brought me out for my very first Sushi dinner ever (yum) before heading over to the show.

The show, by the by, was John Patrick Shanley’s THE DREAMER EXAMINES HIS PILLOW, directed by Michele Lonsdale Smith, and a goodly crowd had turned up for opening night.  Billed as a ‘heterosexual homily’, the story follows the tumultuous romance between Tommy (TJ Riley) and Donna (Tattiawna Jones), who are on the outs at the moment.  Neither seem to be dealing with the split very well…Tommy less so, as he appears to have been hooking up in the meantime with Donna’s much-too-young sister Mona for reasons even he seems unable to properly explain. Tommy’s distracted selfishness drives pragmatic Donna up a wall, and into the reluctant company of her reclusive widowed Father (William MacDonald), who’d rather wallow in drink than confront the memories Donna throws in his face.

dreamer
The show very handily blends its squalid New York setting with a ferocious sensuality bolstered by a Djembe drum score performed throughout by Daniel Krantz (from MRS.DALLY) and some seriously impressive work from our actors.  TJ Riley as Tommy makes for a marvelously philosophical slacker, living in a dump and eyeing his terrible self-portrait in a curious effort to find answers about himself.  William MacDonald as Donna’s dad is an imposing presence indeed, booming out the wisdom of a life filled with regrets.  Tho it’s Tattiawna Jones’ Donna who has to bring the two men in her life, and the various strands of this story, together, and she does a helluva job with it.  A force to be reckoned with on the intimate ACT stage, she prowls and dances and belts out Shanley’s heavy text, loaded with almost too much information on the interactions between men and women.  Her confrontations with Tommy and her Dad are exceptional, intense scenes…Hell, the whole play is a seriously intense affair, and gave a dope like me much food for thought about life and love and all that jazz.  Not that Tommy and Dad are the best role models, mind you, but I think this show has lots to say if you’re willing to listen…And you’ll be well rewarded if you do.  The show runs until this Saturday at the ACT studio, then moves on to a short run in Toronto next month.  Catch it if you can!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

A Merry Time in Windsor

In Company of Fools, Theatre on July 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Well, it took me just over three weeks but I finally made it.  In my defense, I’m often pretty slow out of the gate when it comes to seeing Ottawa’s touring park shows…They’re just about the only game in town for two solid months, and I can’t resist the subconscious urge to stretch them out as much as I can.  But I DID try and see this one a couple weeks ago, I swear!  All I can say is Glabar Park is NOT where google maps told me it was (although apparently I was close).

But fortunately, even a dim stooge like myself can find Strathcona Park on a clear day, ad the weather was poifect this Monday for a trip down Laurier to where A Company of Fools were celebrating the second anniversary of their tenth anniversary of summer Shakespeare shows with their latest, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.  Directed by the ever wonderful Catriona Leger and featuring Billy Shakes’ most memorable rogue sir John Falstaff at his bawdy best, this underseen bit of bard was prime fodder for the Fools treatment.  Thee show features a giddily talented cast of familiar faces like Simon Bradshaw, Melanie Karin Brown, Katie Ryerson, John Doucet and Geoff McBride, along with first-time fool Matthew John Lundvall, subbing in as Falstaff himself for the originally-cast Chris Ralph, who has gone off to open a new theatre school or some such.

Our tale finds randy sir John newly arrived in Windsor, and already robbing people blind and trying to seduce their wives.  Specifically, mistresses Page and Ford (Melanie Karin-Brown and Katie Ryerson), who immediately see through his attempts and plot some serious revenge.  The only hitch is Ford’s jealous husband (John Doucet), who adopts a disguise to infiltrate Falstaff’s inner circle and glean the truth, although he somehow manages to get it wrong more often than not.  Meanwhile, the Pages’ young daughter Anne (Katie Ryerson again) is being promised to two highly unsuitable suitors, dull Slender (Melanie again) and fire-tempered Doctor Caius (Simon Bradshaw), while her true love Fenton (Doucet again, stealing the show in a Keanu Reeves impression that HAS to be seen) is shut out.  Amidst this, duels are nearly fought (between Caius and nervous Parson Evans, aka Geoff McBride), messages are passed between Falstaff and the scheming wives via robust Ms. Quickly (McBride again), fairies are summoned, beatings are given and merry is indeed had by all.

Mistress Page (Katie Ryerson) gets some unwanted attention from Falstaff (Matthew John Lundvall).  Pic by Andrew Alexander.

Mistress Ford (Katie Ryerson) gets some unwanted attention from Falstaff (Matthew John Lundvall). Pic by Andrew Alexander.

It almost feel redundant to write up a Fools park show, as the gang has it down to a pretty awesome science (or magic, more like) by now.  Plenty of amazing and hilarious character work from the Foolish entourage to entertain even the most jaded audience…I dearly loved Melanie Karin Brown’s dull-witted Slender, and Katie Ryerson’s jittery old Justice Shallow, among their other great moments.  Simon Bradshaw continues to be absolute comic gold on any stage…his Doctor Caius was a serious highlight, and I use ‘serious’ in the loosest sense here.Geoff McBride alternates nicely between upright Evans and borderline floozy Quickly.  And Matthew Lundvall makes a memorable Falstaff, cowardly and boastful often in the same breath.  All of this talent under the direction of Miz Leger is almost too good to be true, but here we are.  There are tons of high points in this absolute sure-fire crowd pleaser of a show, and it’s easy to see why the Fools are enjoying the longevity they so richly deserve.  Ottawa is lucky to have this gang, and the next time they’re in your neighbourhood, for Heaven’s sake stop on by.  Check their website for parks and dates, you still have plenty of time left to get in on the fun.  But don’t dawdle, because you might want to see it a second time.  It’s worth it.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

The New Zoo(fest) Preview

In Theatre on July 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

All aboard  for the NEW ZOO PREVIEW!  And for those of you too damnably young, here’s the source of that hilarious play on words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwJQ6G7Z_II

Christ, that was terrifying.  Where was I..?  Oh yeah, I was about to yammer a bit about a theatre/music festival in Montreal, the epic ZOOFEST that’s already underway and continues until the 28th.  There’s a whole merry whack of programming on the go, and it looks like tremendous fun all around.  But I’ll admit that I’ve never been to Zoofest, and am not going this year either, so listen up because I know what I’m talking about! No, really! Because it’s time for…

     5 SHOWS YOU DARE NOT MISS AT ZOOFEST THIS YEAR:

TheBirdmann-full

#1: THE BIRDMANN IN THE EVENTS OF MOMENTOUS TIMING.  Because it’s the goddamn Birdmann, who is indeed a man like no other.  Caught him in Victoria two years past, and you can’t duplicate madness like this.  At Cabaret du 4e du Monument-National.

Cameryn Moore...pic by Caleb Cole.

Cameryn Moore…pic by Caleb Cole.

#2: SLUT (R)EVOLUTION.  I first caught Cameryn Moore a few years back at the Ottawa Fringe Festival with her show-stopping PHONE WHORE, a show no one who has seen will ever forget. She’s one of the most unique and fearless performers around on the theatre circuit, and this year she returned to my town as a last-minute addition to Ottawa Fringe with a newer show, SLUT (R)EVOLUTION…and folks, Cameryn Moore has upped her already considerable game.  A high stakes, no punches pulled sprint through Cammy’s sexual beginnings…steamy, outrageous, and gloriously unapologetic.  See it.  At les Katacombes.

lsac

#3: LET’S START A COUNTRY.  Full confession…I have never seen this show.  Further information…I suck for not having seen it.  Garnering raves and applause every time it appears, the latest incarnation of this show from Gerard Harris, Shane Adamczak and Holly Gauthier-Frankel features secession from Canada and the ground-up creation of a brave new country.  Every NIGHT, folks.  I wish I weren’t stuck in Ottawa for this one, so you all have to see it for me.  Deal?  And say hi to Shane for me!  At Theatre la Chapelle.

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#4: UNDERBELLY.  Jayson McDonald is one of my theatre heroes…his BOAT LOAD at my very first Fringe in 2008 rocked my notions about what acting was, and especially about how fun 1-man shows could be.  And when I finally saw his celebrated GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT, it was easy to see what the hype was about.  But with his fantastic new show UNDERBELLY, inspired by the life and words of beat icon William Burroughs, he’s shattering people’s ideas of what ‘a Jayson McDonald show’ can be.  A masterpiece of a script and incredible performance, no fucking fooling. At Caberet du 4e du Monument-National.

rdsmszoo

#5: ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.  Saving my hometown hero Nancy Kenny for last (and perfectly numbered, as I just saw this one-woman show of hers for, yes, the fifth time this past week during a special pre-zoofest performance).  I’ve known and admired the Kenny ever since I saw her show NO EXIT UPSTAGE in 2009 at Ottawa Fringe, and she’s consistently been one of my fav’rit local actors ever since. She recently won best drama at Fringe for her criminally underseen French translation of DOLORES, but she’s probably best know these days for her laugh out loud, pop culture rollercoaster solo show ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.  The story of timid housegeek Amy and her tentative adventures into the world of derby, RDSMS has already been embraced by local Rollergirls, and I expect no less in Montreal.  You’re gonna love this, Montreal.  At Cafe Cleopatre.

There’s doubtless much, much more that you also should not miss…Hell, I just realized I forgot to mention DIE ROTEN PUNKTE!I hear great things about the fest every passing day, and curse my not-being-there-ness more and more.  I think we need another theatre festival in Ottawa for July/August, dagnabbit, I’m forming a committee!  In the meantime, for all you with Montreal access…get to the Zoo!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Doors and Sardines

In Theatre on July 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Well holy shit, it took me a while but I’ve finally seen NOISES OFF.  Now granted, we’re just starting the second week of the Ottawa Little Theatre Production, part of their epic 100th season.  But I mean, I’ve never seen it, EVER.  Not last season’s Kanata Theatre production, or the Gladstone version a few years past.   Not even the movie!  And from what I’d heard, this farce by Michael Frayn is the farce of farces, the farciest farce that ever did farce.  And that’s farcing something.

Farce!

Farce!

Set up as the quintessential theatrical nightmare, the show begins as a company is performing a last, late-night dress rehearsal before opening their tepid show NOTHING ON! The very next day.  From the opening scene with veteran actor Dotty Otley (Sarah Hearn) trying to remember if she’s supposed to take the sardines or leave the newspaper, frazzled director Lloyd Dallas (Geoff Gruson) begins visibly and audibly fraying at the seams.  Enter the rest of his overly opinionated and underly talented  troupe…picky Garry (Shaun Toohey), curiously optimistic Belinda (Dianna Renee Yorke), milquetoast Freddie (Josh Sparks), deaf old Sesldon (Barry Caiger), and dim bombshell Brooke (Dana Truelove).  It’s all Lloyd, with the help of his Stage Manager Tim (Tim Ginley) and ASM Poppy (Danielle Washam) can do to even make it to the end of the fist scene without the entire rehearsal breaking down into bickering, relationship gossip and utter chaos.  And the show hasn’t even opened yet.

Comedy kicks into a dead sprint in act 2, when the set is literally turned around and we get to witness a full-on production of this terrible show from backstage, replete with infighting, backstabbing and liberal drinking.  Act 3 sees our crew soldiering on months down the road, when it seems almost none of them give a merry fuck anymore, and yet the show must, and somehow does, go on.

Josh Sparks, Dana Truelove and Shaun Toohey in NOISES OFF.  Pic by Maria Vartanova.

Josh Sparks, Dana Truelove and Shaun Toohey in NOISES OFF. Pic by Maria Vartanova.

NOISES OFF has a reputation as one of the funniest plays ever written, and it’s hard to argue with that verdict.  The OLT, and director Richard Elichuk have assembled one of the more spot-on casts I’ve ever seen on their stage, and in the fairly lengthy runtime there isn’t a weak note in the production. Everyone nails their parts (on a splendid 2-story set from designers Robin Riddihough and Tom Pidgeon), which involves one helluva lot of comic physicality, loopy dialogue and epic mugging.  Josh Sparks is a personal highlight as wimpy Freddie, fainting at the sight of blood from his own anxiety–induced nosebleeds.  Props to newcomer Dana Truelove for some very smart work as delightfully thick Brooke, and Sarah Hearn is absolutely wonderful as moody Dotty.  Typecasting frequent OLT director Geoff Gruson was a particularly canny move, his booming and authoritative voice cutting through the madness onstage quite effectively throughout.  Although my fav’rit act was definitely the second one, performed in near-silence as we witness the hidden backstage side of a mess of a production.  Absolute gold, and a must-see.  A movie would seriously not do this story justice, no matter how well done.

Major love for a killer funny production, excellent cast and crew, and some of the best summer fun to be had indoors this month.  Hell, even the show program is laugh out loud funny!  You know your theatre schedule is too light this summer, so get on out for some good, good times.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

The Comedy of Bears

In Theatre on July 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

July means two things in Ottawa…intermittent rain, and Shakespeare in the Park!  Okay, and Bluesfest, but what am I, a dirty hippie?  Nay, I am in dire need of some proper cultural refinement this summer, and my first bit of theatre in the great outdoors was just the ticket.  I had a plan for my post-drudgery evening, but an emergency trip back to my place across town necessitated a change of scheduling.  So instead of catching the Company of Fools show in the Glebe (soon guys, soon!), it was off to Iona Park in Westboro to check out what relative newcomers Bear and Company had cooked up for their out-of-doors extravaganza.

The Bear gang has picked THE COMEDY OF ERRORS for the summertime fun, featuring many faces familiar to their fans, and directed by company member Anna Lewis.  Transplanting Zombie Bill’s farcical classic quite successfully into an old west setting, the action is set in the round, and we lucked out with great weather for the show.  We begin as the town Mayor (Will Somers) is bringing in a defeated looking old fella named Egeon (Tim Oberholzer, in one of several splendid characters guises) who has been sentenced to death for debt, or being a foreigner or something.  At any rate, he unfolds his tale of woe to the Mayor, explaining how he and his wife had just become parents to identical twins 33 years ago, and then immediately adopted ANOTHER pair of identical twins (don’t ask), only to lose track of one another in a shipwreck.  Egeon and his split set of twins, Antipholus (Michelle LeBlanc) and Dromio (David Benedict Brown) are now scouring the west looking for their other relations.  Unbeknownst to them, Shakespeare stacked the coincidence deck by having the other Antipholus (Michelle LeBlanc again) and other Dromio (David Whiteley) living comfortably in the very town they now all found themselves in.

Naturally, some identity-confused merriment ensues, as the visiting Antipholus runs afoul of the other Dromio, and gets unexpectedly wooed by his brother’s wife (Alexis Scott), even if he only has eyes for her sister (Rachel Eugster).  Along the way there’s some very hummable singing courtesy of Bear and Co’s ace musical director Rachel Eugster, lots of rope swinging and knock-down brawling, and even a proper Shakespearean farting contest (I mentioned the cultural refinement, right?). This is a terribly fun piece of theatre in the great outdoors, with as good an ensemble cast as you would ever need.  David Benedict Brown and David Whiteley as the twin Dromios are comic gold, ever beaten down and bemoaning their fates.  Alexis Scott got some spontaneous applause from the audience on my night while delivering one of Adriana’s more impassioned speeches towards the visiting Antipholus, and for my money she earned it…Rachel Eugster likewise made a vivacious Luciana. Will Somers, Anna Lewis and Leslie Cserepy (trading off the odd show with Brie Barker) round out the killer cast, pitching in as various nitwit sheriffs, washing women and uppity nuns.  But the bulk of the show rests on Michelle LeBlanc’s capable shoulders, and she delivers like nobody’s business, managing to convincingly play two versions of Antipholus (complete with ever-so-slightly different country accents and swagger) and deliver the requisite mountain of dialogue, baffling amount of exits and re-entrances, plus the occasional rope trick, and lookin’ good doing it.  Once again, Miz LeBlanc reminds us why she’s one of the best in Ottawa.

Just don't get her mad.

Just don’t get her mad.

As a big CALAMITY JANE fan, I was all looking forward to this western spin on Billy Shakes, and the gang did not disappoint. Bear and Company’s take on the Shakespeare in the Park gig is proving to be a very fun one, and I’d advise you to check their website for when their show moseys your way…personally, I have every intention of returning with my nieces when they hit Kanata and I’d love to see ya there.  Peace, love and soul, y’all,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

On the Road in ’34

In Theatre on July 5, 2013 at 8:25 am

So the Fringe is over, but as it turns out there’s still plenty of theatre to be had here in Ottawa.   Now that my own show has wrapped up, I’m finally free to partake of some of the ONE NIGHT ONLY series taking place for the first time ever at the Gladstone Theatre this summer.  The brainchild of Ottawa’s Steve Martin, the series features a dazzling variety of acts every Thursday thru Saturday evening for pretty much the whole summer, and it’s a great idea.  Last night was my first night hitting the event up, and I was excited for it.  I met up with Nick and Rebecca from THE FIGHT for a few pre-show drinks, then hustled it down to the Gladstone…and yeah, it felt weird to be there in summer, but whatever..!  For my first show of July.

That first show was one I was pretty stoked for…Backpack Theatre’s SUMMER OF ‘34: REDUX, created and performed by Jonah Allingham, so recently my awesome co-star in our Fringe show THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE.  But ‘34 is a story Jonah’s visited before, presenting the original version of this piece at the inaugural FRESH MEAT festival last year (and stay tuned for news on the 2nd installment one of these days!).  He’s retooled and expanded it for this new run…after last night at the Gladstone, he’s taking it a short walk away for a three-night run at the Happy Goat Coffee Company.  And if you weren’t there last night, then you should definitely plan a trip.

so34rx

A slice of no-frills Canadiana, ‘34 tells the tale of Jim, a born loser drinking away his sorrows at the Elmdale Tavern back in the day.  He’s lost his job, his beloved younger brother is sick with polio, and he doesn’t even know where he’s going to sleep that night.  Things get turned upside down when an extremely dodgy, but potentially lucrative, business transaction falls into Jim’s lap.  A terrific encounter at a secluded farm follows, and our hard-luck hero sets off on the road, pedalling for Kingston on a stolen bike like the devil himself was after him.  The scene is set sparingly and just right, with assist from new show director Leslie Cserepy and sound designer Lewis Caunter.  Simple props are used with maximum impact (sometimes literally), and Jonah’s stripped-down, painfully honest storytelling style fits the material to a T.  The play hits about 40 minutes in length, and to be honest I would have been happy with a little more.  Maybe next Fringe..?

summerof34redux

Like I say, you’ve got three more chances to catch some sweet, heartfelt and brutal stagework from a dude who just very rightfully got named as one of the Future of the Fringe…come on out and see why.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in July ’13

In Theatre on July 3, 2013 at 8:23 am

Fringe is over, but Theatre marches on!  And happily, there’s still a good lot of stuffs going on in July to ease those post-courtyard separation anxieties:

NOISES OFF at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Supposedly the funniest thing in the history of ever, the OLT’s 100th season barrels on with this comedy by Michael Frayn.  From the 2nd to the 20th.

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THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR from a Company of Fools. Torchlight Shakespeare enjoys its 10th anniversary with this lesser-seen bit of Billy Shakes with a killer cast, and directed by Catriona Leger!  Starts on the 2nd, check the Fools Website for a show in a park near you!

A COMEDY OF ERRORS from Bear and Company.  The new touring company in town is back with a western spin on the bard, directed by Anna Lewis.  Starts on the 4th, and the Bear and Co. website has all the goods on where they’ll be showing up next!

Victoria Grove in SAPPHO...IN 9 FRAGMENTS.  photo by Robert Piwko

Victoria Grove in SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS. photo by Robert Piwko

SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS at Arts Court Library, from Troupe de la Lune/10th Muse.  The Fringe smash is back for a short return engagement, and you do NOT want to miss this powerhouse performance from Victoria Grove in a play by Jane Griffiths and director Jessica Ruano.  The 4th to 6th only!

THE ST.LAWRENCE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL is back with another doozy of a double bill out Prescott way. Featuring HAMLET and the original comedy MAID FOR A MUSKET, as well as a bunch of extra programming peppered throughout the runs.  MAID kicks off on the 12th with HAMLET debuting on the 16th…check the SLSF website for all the details!

Nancy in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.pic by Richard Gilmore.

Nancy Kenny in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL. pic by Richard Gilmore.

ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL at Arts Court Theatre!  Nancy Kenny’s one-woman wonder of a show is headed on cross-Canada tour, and she’s bringing it home to us for one night only to get ready.  July 13th at 7:30, advance tickets available HERE.

ARMS AND THE MAN in Strthcona Park, from Odyssey Theatre. Some Geroge Bernard Shaw, masque-style, for your parkbound entertainment pleasure!  Directed by the man Andy Massingham.  Starts on the 25th!

IDOMENEO at the Church of St.John the Evangelist, 154 Somerset West, from Boutique Opera.  A little class in your July, with some classic Opera on the 18th at 7pm!

The Gladstone Theatre’s ONE NIGHT ONLY SERIES continues after its June debut, running every Thursday thru Saturday this month with a variety of music and theatre each evening.  Full rundown at the website, but here are some of the Theatrical highlights for July:

summerof34redux
SUMMER OF ‘34:REDUX from Backpack Theatre.  An expanded version of the play Jonah Allingham debuted at last year’s FRESH MEAT festival, this slice of Canadiana hits the Gladstone on the 4th, then moves to the Happy Goat Coffee Company for the 5th thru 7th!  Facebook event page HERE.

2 WOMEN IN A 1 WOMAN PLAY by Silvia Kindl and Rachelle Todd.  Double billed with SUMMER OF ‘34 on the 4th, and featuring Todd with Lina Vilskid!

HELVETICA BOLD’S HOSER BURLESQUE (a variety show tribute to Canadian content) on the 5th, and featuring a solid roster of local improv and burlesque talent!

THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER from Red.Collective.  Following up on their presentation lst year of the stunning verbatim theatre piece, this follow-up shows us the divided town of Laramie a decade after Matthew Shephard.  Plays the 11th.

BUBKUS from Jesse Buck.  A one-man clown show from a man who knows how to clown.  Last seen in Ottawa as Puck in A MIDWINTERS DREAM TALE.  Plays on the 12th, and double billed with Artbeat Theatre’s musical BARELY EVEN THERE, recently seen at the Ottawa Fringe Festival!!

NAAN BREAD by New Ottawa Repertory Theatre.  Doug Phillips’ tale of an immigrant-run convenience store in Ottawa, directed by Paul Dervis.  Plays on the 18th, double billed with FROM THE COMIC AND THE BIZARRE…TO THE ROMANTIC – ITALIAN STORIES AND FOLKTALES by Christina Kindl!

THE GODDESS from Moment-M, billed as an original 1950’s musical comedy!  On the 19th.

crazy
CRAZY by Hazel Hutton, double billed with JP Chartier’s 2020 from last year’s Fringe, on the 25th!

And July 26th CRUSH IMPROV hits the Gladstone for their ONE NIGHT STAND…and I’ll tell you what else they have going on this month as son as my computer lets me access their website again (it won’t right now, the darned thing).

All I’ve found so far for Theatre Francais is L’AMOUR A L’AGENDA from Theatre de L’Ile, which I’m sensing is a bit of a rom-com.  Starts July 3rd.  If there’s anything else going on, please, Franco-friends, let me know and I’ll pass it on!

Let me know what else is going on…I’m still a little Fringe-dazed and I know I’ve missed a tidbit or gem here and about.  Take care, and I’ll see you at the Theatre!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Fringe-Coma 2013 – Postscript

In Fringe Fest, Theatre on July 2, 2013 at 10:19 am

Well THAT was a hell of a thing.

The 2013 Ottawa Fringe Festival has wrapped up (tho the tent is still open for Canada Day shenanigans as I write this) and it was a life-changing experience for me.  Happily, this is not hyperbole at all, at all.  Yes, it was a great Fringe with tons of great shows which I’ll carry with me for a long, long time.  I met lots of old friends and made a few new ones, did way less reviewing than in previous years (but there’s a reason!), danced, rapped, drank and made merry.  And none of that is even the most exciting part, for me.

The Tragicall Historie of Nick Wade gang, courtesy of Karl Claude!

The Tragicall Historie of Nick Wade gang, courtesy of Karl Claude!

Nope, the big news for me this fringe was THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE (AND OTHER FUCK-UPS), the punk rock dramedy put on by Backpack and May Can Theatre companies, with Jonah Allingham, Nick Fournier, Tony Adams, Cory Thibert and, for reasons unknowable, me in my stage debut.  After a crash rehearsal schedule, administered by our glorious and magical director Mado Manseau and with the incredible work of soundguy Lewis Caunter, we made our opening night on Thursday June 20th at TAN Coffee to an appreciative crowd of about 35 people.  We had seven performances over the course of the Fringe, got some nice houses, great responses from audience members, lots of buzz, good reviews, and a raucous, sold-out closing show.  And just when I’d thought the high couldn’t get any higher, we had the completely unexpected surprise of winning the FUTURE OF THE FRINGE award at the closing night ceremonies!

I’m so fucking proud of my little band of theatre rockers, and so grateful to them for bringing me on board for this mad adventure.  I learned so very much, especially about myself, and…is this okay to say?  I’m proud of myself, too.  Because as much as I love theatre, and wanted to get on stage, I’ve still got a lot of years of depressed isolation gnawing at the back of my skull most days, and making the leap to throw myself into the open like this wasn’t easy.  But I had the best of friends helping me along the way, and without this experience I never would have taken another leap, namely auditioning for the Ottawa Theatre School, where I’ll be starting full time in the fall.  So yes, no exaggeration when I say this show has changed the course of my life.  I’m in a bit of an emotional post-show state right now…I just wept uncontrollably watching PIRATE RADIO, for fuck’s sake.  Fringe, I miss you terribly right now, so I’m going to indulge in some sweet denial with the writing of this wrapup post, ‘kay?

The lads of BE A MAN. Pic by Myka Jakoubek.

The lads of BE A MAN. Pic by Myka Jakoubek.

– THE SHOWS I MISSED: What with being IN a show this year, I couldn’t make it out to my usual number of shows, although I still managed a respectable 34.  But there’s a few I couldn’t get to that I do really feel bad about, like Glassiano’s DISILLUSION.  And TINFOIL SATELLITE with good guy Dave Rowan…any chance of this becoming a regular event, guys?  It sounds like plenty of fun.  After hearing all the buzz, I was certainly bummed to miss Chase Padgett’s 6 GUITARS (sold out the one time I tried to make it).  And CHESTERFIELD marks my first miss of a Dead unicorn show, although I hear the remount is already in the works, yay! And of course, the big miss for most of us this Fringe was BE A MAN, cancelled after only one show when actor Anthony Hall was hit by a car.  Several fundraisers followed, and here’s hoping Anthony and the gang will return once he’s back on his feet!

Kurt Fitzpatrick in CATHEDRAL CITY.  photo by Tracey Olsen

Kurt Fitzpatrick in CATHEDRAL CITY. photo by Tracey Olsen

– FAV’RIT SOLO PERFORMERS: Lots of great one-man and woman-ers this year, which is just how I like it.  The great Jeff Leard was back and did not disappoint with THE SHOW MUST GO ON, and the same goes for Kurt Fitzpatrick and his high-octane CATHEDRAL CITY.  Cameryn Moore, a last-minute addition to the fest, brought her A-game with SLUT (R)EVOLUTION, and Martin Dockery kept up his winning streak from last year’s festival with THE BIKE TRIP.

Bruce Horak in ASSASSINATING THOMSON, pic by Pink Monkey studios.

Bruce Horak in ASSASSINATING THOMSON, pic by Pink Monkey studios.

Some incredible new performers came into my life this year too, like the ridiculously endearing Bruce Horak with ASSASSINATING THOMSON, or the loveable clown Chris Kauffman and NHAR MOVES.  Of course, all the love to my #1 fan Jen Capogreco for knocking it out in NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A WRITER, and huge kudos to OTS alum Caitlin Corbett for her one-woman creeper MORNING STAR.  Lovely Christine Lesiak in ASK AGGIE made short work of many a Fringe fans troubles, and KEEPER’s Emma Zabloski has definitely won a special place in my heart.  Hugely underrated Zeb West had a terrific show with INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM, Rachel Krehm blew the roof off Arts Court in LA VOIX HUMAINE, and what to say about Eric Davis in RED BASTARD or Victoria Grove in SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS but…wow.

Wow, I use this picture a lot.  But it's so GOOD..!

Hopegrown!

– FAV’RIT ENSEMBLES: A few awesome larger cast shows this Fringe that I caught, starting with a shoutout to the Saskatoon crew at Theatre Howl for the solid FRENZY OF QUEEN MAEVE.  Plus some local heroes belting out the tunes in the moody musical VANITY PROJECT, and a great show from the Third Wall Academy kids in PRINCE OF DENMARK.  Certainly hard to argue with the mighty cast (undead or otherwise) of the smash hit DIE ZOMBIE DIE, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t send some love to the stellar cast of AROUND MISS JULIE from Hopegrown and Tony and Cory and Ray from May Can’s HAPPINESStm, who all rocked.

Lauren Holfeuer and Nathan Howe in MATCHSTICK. Pic by Emily Kohlert.

Lauren Holfeuer and Nathan Howe in MATCHSTICK. Pic by Emily Kohlert.

Downshifting to duos, much adoration has already been rightly thrown at Emily Pearlman and Brad Long for WE GLOW and you can add mine to the pile.  And Martin Dockery teamed up with partner Vanessa Quesnelle for the wonderfully silly and surreal THE PIT, and Saskatoon struck again with the folk fairytale (almost) of MATCHSTICK starring Nathan Howe and Lauren Holfeuer.  And could anything match the intimate power punch of Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune in DOLORES?  Not in my books.

– FAV’RIT SHOWS: So much good stuff!  Trying to narrow down a final few tope faves is always a rough chore, but I’ll give it a go.  Here’s an overlong list of Honourable mentions, runners up, and all around great shows…

Cameryn Moore...pic by Caleb Cole.

Cameryn Moore…pic by Caleb Cole.

SLUT (R)EVOLUTION by Cameryn Moore.  Cammy pulled out some whole new tricks from her last show, PHONE WHORE, and showed Ottawa just what calibre a performer she really is with this one, her rude and lewd autobiographical tale that just happens to be amazing theatre.

DIE ZOMBIE DIE by Richard Hemphill and Punchbag Playhouse.  A raucous zombie riot, with terrific comedic performances from Ray Besharah, Allison Harris and Dave Benedict Brown, not to mention a living set of the living dead and enough jokes to please ANY comedy fan.

THE DAY WE GREW WINGS by Victoria Luloff and Stewart Matthews.   A beautiful and underrated show featuring great storytelling and imagery, truly impressive sound design, and terrific performances.  Hope to see it return some day!

MATCHSTICK by Theatre Howl.  Nathan and Lauren’s folk-duet epic was a smoothly crafted machine, and yes, I bought the CD.  A show that would be most welcome back in Ottawa, should any wise ones from the Gladstone or GCTC have been watching.

THE BIKE TRIP by Martin Dockery.  More full-throttle storytelling from the creator of WANDERLUST, and you’ll still wonder how his voice doesn’t give out.  Hilarious, touching and exciting one-man theatre.

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert in HAPPINESS (tm) .  Photo by Dsmitry Klathkou.

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert in HAPPINESS ™ . Photo by Dsmitry Klathkou.

HAPPINESStm from May Can Theatre.  The boys just keep on keeping on, and even though Cory and Tony were both doing double duty this Fringe (appearing in my own NICK WADE), they still rocked it out with this dark comedy about corporate sales, and what really makes us happy.

ASSASSINATING THOMSON by Bruce Horak and Monster Theatre.  Wonderfully simple concept matched with storytelling that’s impossible not to enjoy, as legally blind Horak paints the entire audience while telling both his story, and the conspiratorial legends surrounding artist Tom Thomson’s death.
BOTCHED from Cleen Theatre.  What might have worried some folks as ‘the abortion play’ turned into one of the most special experiences around, telling the tale of an 18 year old girl who lived through an abortion attempt, with scars outside and in to show for it.  An amazing performance from lead Alex Vincent.

 Eric Davis as RED BASTARD, photo by Justin Bernhaut.

Eric Davis as RED BASTARD, photo by Justin Bernhaut.

RED BASTARD from Bastard Productions.  Divisive, explosive, and unforgettable…Eric Davis was utterly incredible as the Bastard in question, and some may have hated his methods, but for some he’ll change your life.  Can you ask for more from theatre?

– TOP FIVE:

Emma Zabloski in KEEPER.  Pic by Kimara Brilling.

Emma Zabloski in KEEPER. Pic by Kimara Brilling.

KEEPER from Emma Zabloski and Zopyra Theatre.  Oddball, charming and heartfelt one-woman theatre, there was really no way this wasn’t going on my list.  Heard miss Emma was feeling under the weather this Fringe, so here’s hoping she’s all better now…her show certainly did ME good.

NHAR MOVES by Chris (not Charlie…whoops) Kauffman.  A solo clown show with a dancing fish, slide projector, karaoke, and utter childlike wonder.  Just about a pitch-perfect Fringe show.

Victoria Grove in SAPPHO...IN 9 FRAGMENTS.  photo by Robert Piwko

Victoria Grove in SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS. photo by Robert Piwko

SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS by Jane Montgomery Griffiths.  All the way from London, Victoria Grove’s performance in this haunting production, all while entwined in, around or above the stunningly unique setpiece by Ana Ines JP (which won the Fringe award for best design) is absolutely stunning.

WE GLOW by Emily Pearlman and Brad Long with Theatre 4.669.  A skewering of corporate culture and inter-office power struggles, that sneakily turns out to be the best love story of the Fringe.  Listen to the crabs, folks.

Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune in DOLORES.

Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune in DOLORES.

DOLORES by Edward Allan Baker, translation by Nancy Kenny.  A rare French Fringe show, and in a venue so small it could only accommodate 16 people at a time.  But for those who went, they were rewarded immensely by a stark and intimate theatre experience like you wouldn’t find at any other venue.  Winner of best drama at this year’s Fringe, and it was seriously well deserved.  Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune, with director Tania Levy, made some magic happen in that church basement.  Here’s hoping it will be seen again one day.

– FRINGE CRUSHES!

coopid
Victoria Grove.  That’s it, end of list.  That’s the end of YOUR list, too.

– FAV’RIT MOMENTS: Fright rap, Boo! The Joy of the Fringe.  Monika Glass and the glass harmonica.  The whistle song.    Sukdip!  The voices of the damned.  The Fire at the dog factory.  Rebecca kicking ass in THE FIGHT.  Nemesis in high heels.  Pierogies with the Keeper.  Tacos in the courtyard.  Dancing with Nadine one last time.  How did he do that fishbowl trick?  I would also like un gateau.  Bruce’s painting.  The crabs of Christmas Island.  Clothespins at Burning Man.  Aggie’s box.  Sappho on the ropes.  Victoria fighting dragons.  The Litany of Destruction, seven times over.  And Future of the Fringe…oh, hell yes.

That is IT for me for this year’s Fringe…had a lovely 10 hour nap yesterday, and can now maybe start getting excited about starting Ottawa Theatre School in the fall!  Extra special thank you from the bottom of my heart to NATALIE JOY QUESNEL for some great guest-reviews on the blog this year, it was my honour.  See you all next year…or later this week, as my man Jonah Allingham premieres his SUMMER OF ’34: redux at the Gladstone on the 4th, then for 3 days at Happy Goat Coffee!  Plus the park shows from Company of Fools and Bear and Co. are kicking into gear this week…back to work!  Peace, love and soul, Fringers,

Kevin Earl, Talkin’ Rockin  Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)