Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Crushed! 6 Years and Counting

In Improv on November 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Time’s a funny old thing.  It seems like barely a year since the last CRUSH IMPROV anniversary extravaganza, and here we are again!  And if ya thought last year’s shindig was a good time, well, you’re correct.  Pat yourself on the back, why dont’cha?  But more and gooder times await this Friday December 6th at the CRUSH IMPROV SIXTH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL at Academic Hall!

The CRUSH IMPROV lineup: Glen Gower, Brooke Cameron, Dan Lajoie, AL Connors and Tim Anderson.  Yay!

The CRUSH IMPROV lineup: Glen Gower, Brooke Cameron, Dan Lajoie, AL Connors and Tim Anderson. Yay!

There have been changes to the lineup of Ottawa’s premiere Improv troupe over the years, and even since last year some new blood has been added as Ottawa Improv fav’rit Brooke Cameron was asked to join long-standing Crushers AL Connors, Dan Lajoie, Tim Anderson and of course, Glen Gower on keys.  They’ve had an amazing year in 2014, finding a new home for their super-successful Bout Time monthly event, relaunching their SPOTLIGHT ON…shows, and hosting an amazing series of shows and workshops at the MY SUMMER CRUSH series that I’m still glowing over.  The gang will be getting together on the 6th for some major anniversary party fun and games, bringing back some former team members to make the night extra-special indeed.  Jordan Moffat, who has since taken up with the great Bad Dog Theatre in Toronto, will be live and in person for the festivities, while legendary alumni Cari Leslie (playing these days with Boom Chicago in Amsterdam) and the Brad MacNeil (grooving with Instant Theatre in Vancouver) will appear through the magick of televisuals, or some other such wizardry.  Those last two will be engaging in a rarely seen cross-continental game called the Doppelganger effect which, trust me, you want to come out to see.  And naturally, there will be a few other special guest stars coming out to play as well (Jordan may be bringing a Bad Dog bigshot along for the ride…)

But wait a minute, you ask, panicked like a small child…this show sounds like it might be kinda long.  Am I supposed to just sit there, watching and laughing, and NOT playing on my iphone?  What am I, a god-damned statue?

Well fret not, oh attention-deficient masses, Crush Improv has heard your sad pleas, and will not only be quite happy to accommodate your relentless in-show texting, sexting, and Angry-Birding, but will be providing an onstage Twitter wall to help those improv suggestions flow fast and free through the ether and onto the big screen.  Ain’t technology grand?

These people. On a stage. Being funny.  What else have you got to do with your life?  Pix by Andrew Alexander.

These people. On a stage. Being funny. What else have you got to do with your life? Pix by Andrew Alexander.

But wait.  Just wait one damn minute!  This show is on the 6th of December you say?  But it isn’t the 6th right this exact minute!  Just what the FUCK am I supposed to do with my life until then?  Huh?!?  Has Crush Improv thought of a clever dicky answer to THAT?  Oh God, it’s all so POINTLESS!!

Well, you just put that bottle of rat poison down, gentle reader, because Crush is still thinking of your best interests at all times.  If you can’t wait that long for the finest improv in the Capital, then come on out to Mother McGintey’s at the Heart and Crown Irish Village in the Market on December 2nd for the latest monthly installment of Crush’s epic ‘BOUT TIME series, and this one is one not to be missed.  Featuring the Bout Time return of THREE AND A HALF WOMEN (featuring Tim, Brooke and Kristine Shadid, who recently tore it up co-hosting the Fresh Meat Theatre Festival) going up against the all-star team of AL, Dan and Jeff Lawson in what will absolutely be one of the funniest nights of the year.  The fact that all proceeds of this event are going to the Ottawa Mission, well, that’s just good spirited icing on a hilarious cake.  Or something.  And knowing the Crush gang they’ve likely got workshops and spotlights and all sorts of other Hoo-Haa going on this month to boot.  Check their website and newsletter for all the facts.

And you know what else?  It’s the sixth anniversary special…and it’s ON the 6th.  I just got that.  Fucking genius.  Academic Hall.  20 bucks. Be there.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

8 Ways my Mother was Conceived

In Theatre on November 21, 2013 at 8:48 am

Getting down to the wire over here at the Ottawa Theatre School…end of semester is looming, vocal masque fine-tuning is pretty much constant, and free time is at a premium.  So I was pretty happy that I still managed to make it out to the Gladstone last night for opening night of one of their more recent additions to the 2013-14 season, and definitely one of the shortest runs.

A one-woman show (my fav’rit things in the whole world, by the by), MaryBeth Productions’ 8 WAYS MY MOTHER WAS CONCEIVED is created and performed by the dynamite Michaela di Cesare.  Already having played to enthusiastic houses in Toronto, Montreal and New York, we got lucky enough to snag Michaela along her tour, and I’m pleased indeed we did.  The show, directed by Tamara Brown, details Michaela’s life and times, growing up with doting but overbearing Mother Maria, who was a very special lady indeed.  As her family lore had it, Maria was the result of a virgin birth, a somewhat unlikely messianic prospect that loomed over young Michaela’s young life (and especially her love life), until finally she had enough, and set out to disprove the magic of her Mother’s birth.  This is not as easy as it sounds (to be honest, it actually sounds pretty hard to me), and family drama and world travel soon ensue.


8 WAYS is a potentially tricky show to execute, being fairly traditional in its 1-person autobiographical setup.  One’s family misadventures are sometimes not as exciting to others as they might be to us, after all.  But the show moves along at a solid pace, hardly lagging in a 75 minute runtime and with a completely engaging performance from the superfun di Cesare.  The show features a sparse set of a chair, a window frame, and a clever assortment of shoes that assist Michaela in slipping in and out of a healthy mob of characters, from her own younger self, potential boyfriends, elderly grandparents, and Mother Maria herself. You’ll have your fav’rits…I personally favoured excitable l’il Michaela, but she also does an impressive turn as a Jersey-Shore-esque suitor that can’t help but entertain. It’s a really lovely and charming show, and especially one that very much speaks to women and the particular travails visited upon them in our time.  Not that men can’t enjoy themselves, because I’ve been accused of being a man on one or two occasions, and I had myself a blast.  But there’s some serious girl power on display on the Gladstone stage this week until the 23rd, and you might want to take the chance and try it out for yourself.  In the meantime, it’s back to Masque prep for me!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Puppy Love

In Theatre on November 16, 2013 at 1:48 am

So here’s something I haven’t been talking about, on the rare occasions I’ve actually been posting on this chud/blog the last few months…the fact that I’m currently a full-time student at the Ottawa Theatre School.  And there IS a big post coming about that once winter vacation (aka start working 5 days a week time) comes along, I promise.  But in the meantime, tonight I finally got to catch the first of the 3 shows being performed this season/school year by the amazing 3rd year theatre gangsters.  And I’ll admit, at first I had told myself I would not be reviewing the OTS shows this year…after all, as a student there now, it’s hard to pretend I’m not biased.  Then I thought about it for a second, realized I don’t get paid for this shit, and that I can be as biased as I GOD-DAMNED WELL PLEASE, thank you very much.

The new show at my alma mater is SYLVIA by A.R.Gurney, directed by Peter James Howarth.  Starring the killer graduating class of Bobby Robert, Jerushah Wright, Madeleine Hall and Jeremie Cyr-Cooke, SYLVIA tells the tale of New York couple Greg and Kate (Jeremie and Bobby), recently moved to the big city from the suburbs, kids finally off to college, and looking to focus on their up-and-coming careers.  The plan seems to be going well until Greg finds Sylvia (Madeleine Hall), a seemingly lost dog who befriends him at a local park, and their bond is instantaneous.  He brings her home to a decidedly unimpressed Kate, and the battle of wills begins between wife and dog.  Throughout the struggle, we also meet a well-read fellow dog owner, a snobby NY socialite, and a marriage counsellor, all brought to the stage by the mighty Jerushah Wright.  Al this under the impeccable stage direction of OTS legend Jodi Morden (okay, now my bias is REALLY showing, but y’all know Jodi is the goods, am I right?  I’m right.) and splendid lighting of John Solman.

Jerushah, Jeremie, Madeleine and Bobby (somewhere down there), the cast of SYLVIA at the OTS.

Jerushah, Jeremie, Madeleine and Bobby (somewhere down there), the cast of SYLVIA at the OTS.

Staged almost-in-the-round, this show is an excellent spotlight for the Fantastic Four comprising the grad class this year.  Jeremie Cyr-Cooke, frosted hair and all, makes for a great Greg, mid-life-crisis-ing his way through his newfound relationship with his beloved stray.  Bobby Robert brings teacher Kate to splendid life, her adoration of Shakespeare and structure shaken to the core by the mangy mutt her husband brings home.  Jerushah Wright is a joy every time she steps onto the stage, especially as zenlike dog afficionado Tom, regaling the waiting Greg with occasionally questionable wisdom.  But in a show about a talking dog it really does, in the end, come down to the dog.  And Madeleine Hall is just bloody brilliant as Sylvia, giving one of my seriously fav’rit performances in a good long while as the loving, indulgent, and sometimes foul-mouthed titular pooch, constantly in motion and almost impossible not to watch on stage.  She scratches, barks and scampers with irresistible sincerity, her ponytail ears flopping all the while.  It’s a performance to fall in love with, and if you see it and DON’T, then I honestly just don’t want to know you.

Gurney has crafted a clever, warm and human script about the relationship between man, woman and dog, and the OTS gang have, in my lovingly biased opinion, done it serious justice.  If you aren’t a dog person, this show just might remedy that situation.  And if you are, why haven’t you seen it yet??  SYLVIA plays until the 23rd at the Ottawa Theatre School (294 Picton Ave. in Westboro), and it really is a joyous time.  So be joyous, my friends, and I’ll see you at school.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)


In Theatre on November 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Confession: I work just down the street from the Avalon Studio and I haven’t managed to make it there for a visit for months since they opened…the newest theatre space in Ottawa and I hadn’t even inaugurated it yet! Shameful, oh how I know, people, but I was just waiting for the right moment is all!  And the right moment, of course, is when a brand new play premieres featuring my l’il buddy Rebecca in the cast.  And that finally happened this past weekend with the debut of Incite:lab’s production of Tim Ginley’s SO2SPEAK.  Taking my long-delayed cue, I hustled down to the Glebe in the first proper snow of the season (even danced a bit outside with Miss Victoria) before finally discovering just what it was that Chris’n’John had done with this long-neglected space over the Home Hardware.  And it was something wunnerful indeed, with the showspace itself headily reminiscent of some bohemian NY loft, towering forever overhead and bordered with sweet walkways.  It felt like a fantastic place to spend an evening, and that’s no lie.


The show, directed by Stewart Matthews, is a devious bit of theatre-within-theatre, taking place at the pre-opening tech rehearsal of a brand new play in what appears to be a pretty gosh darn totalitarian state.  Our two heroes (or at least, protagonists) are Smith (Mitchel Rose) and Jones (William Beddoe), a pair of actors cast as Hubble and Hal, respectively, in a new comedy by an up and coming playwright.  But they’re way behind on rehearsal time, stage manager Clemow (Caitlin Corbett) doesn’t always seem to be on their side, and that damn party censor (Rebecca Laviolette) keeps cramping their style.  But Jones at least seem convinced that the show will eventually go on…until Smith discovers the body, the others vanish, and everything turns to paranoia and shit.

Beddoe and Rose have the bulk of the onstage work to do in this show, a wordy but darkly clever bit of fun from Ginley, and directed with Hitchcockian glee by Matthews, making full use of the towering, vertigo-inducing space available.  And the leading lads are smashing in their roles as well as their suits, playing one might say adorably off one another as their situation goes from bad to ridiculous to even worse.  Mitchel Rose’s Ottawa Theatre School movement skills (alma mater plug!) get put to good use more than once here, and both he and Beddoe prove to be joyously funny in the face of hopeless adversity, bring the comedy to match the dark around them.  Props also to the supporting cast of Corbett, Laviolette and Jeremy Piamonte who bring solid work (and loud warnings) to the proceedings.  A little bit of sweet lighting from the always reliable David Magladry seals the deal, and puts the bow on a particularly cool evening of theatre inside a seriously cool space that you need to check out.  It sounds like Incite:lab has some interesting times planned ahead in partnership with the Avalon, so get in on the ground floor and say you were here when it all started.  You’ll probably be pleased you did.  The show runs again on the 15th and 16th (Friday and Saturday) at 8pm, and Sunday the 17th at 2. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Ten Short Plays, One Fun Night

In Theatre on November 4, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Halloween and Thanksgiving are, y’know, fun and all, I’ll grant you (pumpkin pie tastes GOOD, and that’s the truth).  But I’m starting to believe this time of year is more notable for being when good theatre comes in small packages.  Just weeks ago we had the second edition of the hard-rocking FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL, and now we are treated to another tapas-style theatrical serving with the return of New Theatre Ottawa’s EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL. After an open call for submissions of new, ten-minute or so original works from Ottawa playwrights, New Theatre and artistic director John Koensgen chose their ten fav’rit ones, and have crammed them all into a single evening of fun at the Arts Court Theatre.  All ten shows play back to back (with an intermission), treating one and all to a night crammed to the bursting with enough goodness that you can’t help but find stuff to love.

From the way Colleen Sutton is looking at him, that Gorilla must be an Eskimos fan.  Check out the whole story (and stories) at the EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL, on now!  Photo: Andrew Alexander.

From the way Colleen Sutton is looking at him, that Gorilla must be an Eskimos fan. Check out the whole story (and stories) at the EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL, on now! Photo: Andrew Alexander.

All ten shows-within-the-show are directed by Koensgen his own bad self, and performed (in some combination or other) by the crackerjack quartet of Brian Stewart, Colleen Sutton (OTS alum, woohoo!), Maureen Smith and Eric Craig.  The shows themselves are: ALICE by Karen Balcome; SEEING by Laurie Fyffe; TERMINAL JOURNEY by Jessica Anderson; LOYAL OPPOSITION by Caitlin Corbett (OTS again, yay!; THE TOP JOB by Wynn Quon; COACH OF THE YEAR by Pierre Brault; DENIAL by Stephanie Turple; THERE’S MORE TO THE PICTURE by Tim Ginley; THE BOOK OF DANIEL by Lawrence Aronovitch; and OUT OF GAS by Keith Davidson.  Presentation of the pieces was similar to last years, with a simple backdrop (this time featuring some cool beans projections courtesy of Andrew Alexander and Jeremy O’Neill), minimal props, and new, nifty word-themed costumes from designer Vanessa Imeson.  With a cavalcade of shows like this, everyone’s gonna have their fav’rits…I particularly dug the hilarious OUT OF GAS for sheer fun.  Eric Craig, who I had never seen on stage before,  was just bloody phenomenal in COACH OF THE YEAR, and I adored the interplay of Sutton and Smith in the great LOYAL OPPOSITION.  Balcome’s ALICE, the only one-hander in the mix this year (and deftly handled by Maureen Smith), set its melancholy and thoughtful tone beautifully.  Tim Ginley’s THERE’S MORE TO THE PICTURE made great use of technology in the presentation, and TOP JOB features some of the more inspired theatrical applications of a gorilla suit yet.  TERMINAL JOURNEY mixed the tragic and the comic very smoothly indeed, and BOOK OF DANIEL was maybe the most fully realized piece of the evening.  SEEING featured some amazing work all around, and I’d love to see it played out longer, while DENIAL featured a fascinatingly non-specific and frustratingly funny look at how we see things.  There was tons in this show of shows to love, and you should do yourself the favour of getting out and seeing which ones strike YOUR fancy.  And now, in accordance with my writeup from the first festival, here now are ten ten-word reviews of the individual shows (and okay, these aren’t particularly insightful reviews but gimme a break, I only got ten words..!):

ALICE – A Mother remembers, and then tries to climb a tree.
SEEING – Husband and wife with haunted pasts, and a loaded gun.
LOYAL OPPOSITION – Two women wage quiet war, in the shadow of Laurier.
TERMINAL JOURNEY – Airport security deals with death, anger, protocol, and bad manners.
THE TOP JOB – Monkeyshines abound at interview prep for Canada’s biggest banking gig.
COACH OF THE YEAR – A Coach’s hidden (or forgotten) past catches up with him.
DENIAL – Did she see what she saw? Can something be nothing?
THERE’S MORE TO THE PICTURE – Neil Young soundtrack to a tragedy…what’s the real story?
THE BOOK OF DANIEL – Flashback to rabbis and teachers in the summer of 1976.
OUT OF GAS – Why redneck couples should gas up BEFORE committing the crime.


The Festival runs at Arts Court Theatre until the 10th, so get going!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in November 2013

In Theatre on November 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

New Month, and this one’s all November-y!  Let’s see what terribly exciting stuffs await (hint: LOTS of exciting stuffs)!

PRINCESS T at Academic Hall, from the Ottawa U Drama Guild.  A cool as beans adaptation of Puccini’s TURNADOT, from the swell kids at Ottawa U (And starring Visitorium fav’rit Danielle Savoie!).  Plays until the 2nd.

TARTUFFE at the National Arts Centre Theatre.  Last chance to catch a pretty great Andy Jones take on Moliere, with the new NAC Ensemble.  Until the 2nd.

WAR OF THE WORLDS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  A short run for this rare Halloween version of the radio play, featuring Zach Counsil, Michelle leBlanc, live foley and a slew of CBC all-stars!  Until the 2nd.

DEADLY MURDER at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Twists and turns and murderly fun, OLT style.  Until the 2nd.

MERCUTIO AND OPHELIA at the Avalon Studio, from Fireflood Theatre.  A Few more chances to see what happens when Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet get their wires crossed.  The 1st thru 3rd.

YOU FANCY YOURSELF at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  A terrific one-hander from Maja Ardal about schoolyear life abroad.  Until the 3rd.


OCCUPY ME at the Ottawa Theatre School Studio, from Counterpoint Players.  Two shows, one night only of Bronwyn Steinberg’s one-woman yoga activism hit from SubDevision and Ottawa Fringe.  Only on the 2nd!

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at various locations, from 9th Hour Theatre.  Last month to check out the epic Freud vs.CS Lewis scrap!  On the 2nd, 8th, 15th and 16th…locations and showtimes HERE.

THE EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL at Arts Court Theatre, from New Theatre Ottawa.  Back for a second incarnation with a host of new short original plays from local artists like Lawrence Aronovitch, Karen Balcome, Tim Ginley and more!  Guaranteed fun time.  Until the 10th.

WHERE POPPIES BLOW at the GCTC Studio, from Salamander Theatre. A special showing of Salamander’s young audience show, lest ye forget.  Matinee of November 3rd.

AGNES OF GOD at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  John Pielmeier’s contentious play about religion, obsession, and other dinner table subjects. From the 5th to 16th.

THE LAST OF JANE AUSTEN at the Gladstone Theatre, from Phoenix Players. Two ladies try to train a boxer…I forget which Austen that was.  From the 6th to 16th.

STILL LOOKING FOR PARADISE at the Ottawa Little Theatre from Full Moon Rising Productions. A new Ian Stauffer play, as well as a fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission. 6th to 9th only!


SO2SPEAK at the Avalon Studio, from incite:LAB.  A new black comedy from Tim Ginley, and director Stewart Matthews.  8th to 10th and 15th to 17th. Check out their preview video if you still need convincing:

HAMLET (SOLO) at the NAC Studio.  OMG It’s back!  Raoul Bhaneja performs the entirety of Zombie Bill’s masterpiece all on his lonesome, no set, no effects.  Bloody inspirational.  From the 12th to 23rd.

MOMMA’S BOY at the Raw Sugar Cafe, from Bear and Co.  A delightful slice of musical romance and drama as Bear brings back their Fringe show for one night only in town.  Catch it on the 13th!

THE 7 PERSON HIGH CHAIR PYRAMID HIGH WIRE ACT at Arts Court Theatre, from Missoula Oblongata.  Also playing for one night (the same night, sheesh!), the oblongata gang returns after merriment a couple years back with THE DAUGHTER OF THE FATHER OF TIME MOTION STUDY.  Expect surreality and amazingness.  On the 13th!

ALL GALL at St.James United Church, from Third Wall.  An evening of French short works from the 3rd Wall gang, part of their continuing EMPTY SPACE reading series.  Only on the 13th!


SYLVIA at the Ottawa Theatre School Studio, from OTS.  This is the big one!!  First show of my new home’s season, featuring the awesome graduating class of 2013/14!  Come on out and see A.R.Gurney’s comedy about a family driven apart by a man and his dog.  From the 14th to 23rd!  Note: if you don’t come to see this, I will have to assume you don’t love me anymore.

8 WAYS MY MOTHER WAS CONCEIVED at the Gladstone Theatre. A one woman show from Michaela di Cesare, trying to disprove her Mother’s claims of immaculate conception. From the 20th to 23rd.

YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME at Arts Court Theatre, from Praxis Theatre.  A touring hit about shenanigans at the G20, hitting Ottawa for a limited engagement.  Come get your protest on!  From the 20th to 23rd.

LEGALLY BLONDE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  Hey, they took that movie about the pretty girl who became a lawyer and gave it some songs! And people like it! Maybe you will too!  From the 22nd to December 1st.

CHRISTMAS BELLES at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Some holiday themed fun from OLT.  Bring your own Egg Nog (but don’t, really).  Starts the 26th thru December 14th.

GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA, GOOD MORNING JULIET at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Time-warping Shakespearean fun from Ann-Marie MacDonald.  From the 26th to December 15th.

DOAS poster in jpg

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre.  Willie Loman finally gets his day in Ottawa, at the venerable Carleton Tavern!  A not-to-be-missed show from the 27th thru December 7th.

And at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh (39 Dufferin) there will be an evening of previews of works-in-progress from CONNECT DANCE and the OTTAWA STILT UNION on the 30th, which sounds like some sweet fun to me.


VISAGE DE FEU at the NAC Studio.  Until the 2nd!

CENDRILLON at the NAC Theatre. A new spin on Cinderella, from the 6th to 9th.

LA FA LE DO at L’Ecole de la Salle, from Theatre la Catapulte and Theatre Francais (Toronto).  The 6th to the 9th.

OSCAR from Theatre de L’Ile.  From the 6th to December 14th.

LE PROJET LARAMIE from Comedie des Deux Rives, at Academic Hall.  A franco-translation of The Laramie Project from the Ottawa U gang.  From the 19th to 23rd.


CARTE BLANCHE at Espace Rene-Prevost.  New Works from Guy Perrault, Annie Cloutier and Dinorah Catzalco, from the 21st to 23rd.

OBALDIA THEATRE (ou THEATRE EN FOLIE) at the Shenkman Centre Richcraft Theatre, from Theatre du Village.  From the 20th to 23rd.

PETIT BONHOMME EN PAPIER CARBONNE at the NAC Studio. Storytelling and wee puppets! 29th and 30th.


CRUSH IMPROV continues to march on unabated, with a host of fun times coming in November, including:
– ‘BOUT TIME on November 4th at Mother McGinteys (Heart and Crown, Byward Market). The regular 3 on 3 battle continues!
SPOTLIGHT ON...Andrew King, November 14th at Centrepointe Studio.
– Workshops!  Improv Foundations on November 1st and 22nd at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre and Chamber Room, respectively. Also, Sketch Writing workshop on the 24th at the Avalon Chaplin Studio.  Trust me, Crush gives good workshop.

Updates as I hear stuff, as always, now get on out and see some shows!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)