Archive for January, 2017|Monthly archive page

Brooke & Pierre

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2017 at 12:59 am

I don’t know what it is about today, January 20th 2017, but I have a strong urge to write a blogpost about a world leader with a surname beginning in TRU. Someone charismatic, and known for speaking his mind. A real divisive figure, ya know? And I’m not talking about Justin Trudeau, neither. I’m talking about TRUDEAU. As in Pierre Elliot, the ultimate PM…yeah, no, I wouldn’t waste your precious time talking about that monster down south. You got enough of that on Twitter today (and every day, really).

Fortunate Son that I am, I got a chance to check out the latest at the GCTC, Brooke Johnson’s autobiographical one-woman storytelling epic TRUDEAU STORIES. The stage was sparsely set as I walked in, just a small box set beside a terrifically comfy looking chair. I thought for a moment Jim Jefferies was about to stroll out and do a set


Comedian Jim Jefferies also uses a comfy chair in his stand-up comedy shows. Just to put a point on this completely unnecessary sidebar.

But of course, tonight belonged to the great Brooke Johnson, who took to the stage with a smile and started telling her story through memory, letters, and a very special piece of audio, of her unlikely friendship with the man himself, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Beginning with a chance encounter during her time at the National Theatre School in Montreal back in the 80’s, including an awkward dance in ill-fitting shoes, the show goes on to detail the extraordinary platonic bond that developed between a budding actor and our national enigma, both a playful and sombre figure in this recollection as his legendary head occasionally weighs heavy under the burden of his phantom crown. He may have stopped being PM, after all, but he could never stop being Trudeau.


Not that Brooke Johnson herself isn’t a force in the show…her easy warmth and charm brings the audience in to her story before they even know they’ve been trapped in her storytelling spell. Together with some beautiful direction from Allyson McMackon, the story of not only Brooke and Trudeau, but their odd relationship and his place in the Canadian identity creeps off the stage and into a warm, fuzzy place in the audience’s hearts. The show ends with an appropriate ‘remember where you were’ moment, as the struggle of maintaining so private a friendship with so public a figure comes to its inevitable, emotional conclusion. It’s a satisfying, heartwarming, funny and terribly Canadian piece of work and it made me awful happy to see it. It might even be enough to make you love Justin again. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Coming Up in January 2017!

In Theatre on January 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

            Updated Jan 15 – Added AMERICAN IDIOT and MARY POPPINS

Righty-right-right, let’s get this Theatre year in Ottawa off to a good start with a nice list of shows to check out! And okay, there’s the usual not too much going on this month, but give theatre a break, it’s cold out!

BLIZZARD OF OZ at the Gladstone from the 4th to 8th. As I write this it’s opening day, and there’s a blizzard out, so…good omen?


KNIFE 3: SUMMER OF BLOOD a live preview from Morning Person Theatre, on the 6th at the ODDbox (Arts Court). It’s no Knife 6: 3D 2, but it’s not half bad.  Pay what you can!

SOUTHERN DIS-COMFORT from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room byward market (on the 14th) and in Kanata Centrum (7th and 21st). A little murder to start the year off right…you know, except for the victims.


Brooke Johnson in TRUDEAU STORIES. Pic by Kelly Clipperton.

TRUDEAU STORIES at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Brooke Johnson reminisces about that time she beat PET in an arm wrestling contest…or something. Just see the show!

LE DIRE DE DI at the NAC Studio, the 11th and 12th. This is all the French Theatre I could find for January…any leads out there that I missed?

OTHER DESERT CITIES at the Ottawa Little Theatre, the 11th to 28th. Because there’s more than just Cairo.

COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS from Mi Casa Theatre, at Arts Court Theatre the 19th to 21st. The legend returns as part of the #Fringe20 series, and that is news both marvellous and spectacular!


THE GHOMESHI EFFECT at the Gladstone Theatre the 19th to 28th. A new show about hard-hitting radio journalism, I presume. Unless I missed something..?


AMERICAN IDIOT at Academic Hall, from the U Ottawa Musical Theatre Society, the 20th to 22nd. The modern smash featuring the ‘punk rock’ (yeah, right) tunes of Green Day. You can always listen to Iggy Pop on your headphones while you watch it!


COLONY OF UNREQUITED DREAMS at the NAC Theatre, the 25th to Feb 11th. Jillian Keiley’s contractually promised dose of Eastern Canada hits the big stage, and it looks as fun as always!

BIZET’S CARMEN  from the University of Ottawa Opera Company, at Huguette Labelle Hall (Room 112, Tabaret Hall) the 26th to 29th. Some opera back in town at last, thanks to Uottawa and Artistic Director Doreen Taylor-Claxton! Performed in French with English dialogues.


GOD OF CARNAGE from Sock’n’Buskin, at the Carleton U Art Gallery from the 26th to 29th. Yazmina Reza goes back to college in this latest production from the sockies!

MONKEY QUEEN: JOURNEY TO THE EAST from Ottawa Storytellers, at Arts Court Theatre on the 27th.

MARY POPPINS at Centrepointe Theatre, from Ain’t Seen Noth’n Yet Theatre from the 27th to Feb 4th. Will it include that bit where she fought Harry Potter in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Wait and see! Speaking of which…


THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEPEOPLE from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room downtown, starting the 28th. Brand new super-murder adventure, with what had best be some sweet, sweet spandex getting all bloody.



‘BOUT TIME TOURNAMENT from Crush Improv. It’s back! Crush takes their beloved 3 on 3 improv battle show into the thunderdome, with teams competing against one another towards a final confrontation…for MONEY! Starts on Monday the 16th at Mother McGinteys in the Market and continues every Monday thru February. And the classic Crush gang will be performing at Yuk-Yuk’s on Elgin on the 29th as well!

THE IMPROV EMBASSY has a bunch of shows going on in January, including appearances from Quest Friends Forever and the return of the Improv Game Show (plus workshops and classes)! Just gonna link to their full calendar right here.

THE SENTIMENTALISTS at the Gladstone, 11-14. Magic and illusion and other mindgames that might make a Trump presidency make more sense.

GRIMPROV are still (I assume) at their usual haunt the Cock and Lion, the first and last Wednesday of every month!


OUTTAKE IMPROV, formerly Elgin Street Improv, formerly Make Up Your Mind Improv, also have their sci-fi themed FINAL FRONTIER show on the 8th at Live on Elgin, and likely more stuff to come. Those crazy mixed-up kids.


A rare musical entry for the Visitorium, but when it involves theatre heroines RHYTHM AND BURGUNDY as well as Zoe and Robin, I’m happy to list it!  At Bar Robo on the 9th.

That’s all for now…hopefully more to come! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Big Stoopid End of Year Post 2016!

In Theatre on January 2, 2017 at 8:04 am

So, 2016! That was a…well, that certainly was a period of measured time, am I right? All the way around the sun, and a few of us are still breathing. And if you hear a distant tapping, that’s me, knocking on wood.

But hey, it wasn’t all bad. Yes, in addition to the beloved celebrity deaths and ill-tempered trolls proving that Western democracy is forever shattered, there was some mighty fine Theatre to remind us why we feel, and love, and fight. I saw a lot of it, I helped make some of it, and I am better for all of it. And or me personally, here IS that all in handy alphabetical list form:



2 for Tea

Addams Family

Alpha Delta 86

the Amazing Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre

Angels and Aliens


Anton in Show Business



Attempts on Her Life

the Ballad of Frank Allen (2)

Barefoot in the Park

Bella Culpa

Belles Soeurs

Berlin Waltz

Best Picture



Boy vs.Chair

Burger King Lear






Chocolate Cake

Crow’s Nest

Curious Contagious

the Daisy Theatre

Da Kink in my Hair


Desdemona: a Play about a Handkerchief

Dial M for Murder


Does Not Play Well with Others


Everybody Dies in December

the Exclusion Zone

the Extremely Short New Play Festival

Falling Awake

Fat Sex

Forstner & Fillister present: Forstner & Fillister in: Forstner & Fillister

Frank: to be Frank


GET LOST Jem Rolls (2)

Getting to Room Temperature

Giant Invisible Robot

the Girl who was Raised by Wolverine

Grade 8

Great Day for Up

Happiness ™

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas

How to be a Gentleman

I Forgot to Fly Today

Interior Panic

In the Blue of Evening

In the Trenches

the Inventor of All Things

In Waking Life

Jack Charles v.the Crown

Janet Wilson Meets the Queen

Joe the Perfect Man

the Jupiter Rebellion

Laser Kiwi

Last Wife

the Lion the Bitch and the Wardrobe

a Little Fire

Love is a Battlefield

Love Letters

Love, Lust and Lace

Lovely Lady Lump


MacBeth Muet

Magic Unicorn Island

Maltese Falcon: the Radio Show

a Man Walks into a Bar


Monstrous, or the Miscegenation Advantage


the Murder Room

My Fair Zombie


Novel House

Oh No! Said the Parrot

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

One Man Star Wars Trilogy


Perfect Pie


Perpetual Wednesday

Phone Whore

Pierre Brault

Pool (no water)

Rideshares and Rope Swings

Roller Derby Saved my Soul

Romantic Poetry

Romeo and Juliet

Saor (Free)

the Servant of Two Masters

Space Hippo

Space Jameration

SS Lightbulb

Swordplay: a Play of Swords

Tead Talks

a Tension to Detail


the Three Musketeers

Til Death: the Six Wives of Henry VIII

Twelfth Night

Twilight Zone

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf


Will Somers

Woyczek’s Head

Ze: Queer as Fuck


Company of Fools 12th Night


New Play Tuesday featuring Burnt Out, Wanting, and Finishing the Suit

Just Mingling

Ottawa Theatre Challenge

Mop in the Grid

em, or Me, Mom and Medea (staged Reading)

Aiming to Float (staged Reading)

On the Fringe (movie)

Healing from Heartbreak

Not too shabby, eh? Packing in shows from two separate Fringe Festivals there, not to mention the usual suspects like UnderCurrents and Fresh Meat. And where to even begin culling this mass of amazing theatre into a ‘best of’ list of any kind? In my heart, that list would be almost identical to the one you just looked past. But people do love themselves some listing, so here’s my by no means definitive think back at some of my absolute fav’rit bits from 2016.

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS. Odyssey Theatre shows they know how to extract gold from Goldoni with this Andy Massingham-directed adaptation of the masque classic, filled with archetypes of farce and funny, romance and madness, and enough mistaken identity for any ten plays.


PARTICLE / MOUTHPIECE. Two of the several amazing entries at Undercurrents this year, Kristina Watt showed us how it’s done in her clown collaboration Particle (with the great Martha Ross) that was inventive, hilarious and endlessly endearing. Meanwhile, Mouthpiece took the concept of feminist theatre and raised it to a new level, featuring unbelievable timing and performances from its two leads Norah Sadavaand Amy Nostbakken . Two very different, but very extraordinary shows.

CALLAGHAN / SWORDPLAY: A PLAY OF SWORDS. A one-night-only event that too few people had the sense to make it out for, the mad geniuses of Montreal’s Sex T-Rex busted out all over with this double bill adventure/comedy/fantasy/sketch hybrid that had to be seen to be believed. They’re the best for a reason, gang. Hoping they come back soon.


GET LOST JEM ROLLS. The fine whiskey (no wine, he) that is Fringe legend Jem Rolls just keeps getting better with age. After the brilliant historical bio INVENTOR OF ALL THINGS the previous year (which made a brief reappearance on Ottawa stages this year as ll), his latest rollercoaster spoken word adventure continued to up his considerable ante. I was lucky enough to catch it at 2 Fringes, and could happily go for thirds.


FALLING AWAKE / BELLA CULPA. Two different 2-person physical shows from 2 different companies (Ragmop and A Little Bit Off) at this year’s Vancouver Fringe, and both made my heart do backflips with joy and delight. From a tragicomic look at love and loss to a manic battle of servants vs.masters vs.rats, these were two unmissable shows that made me want to be better at what I do. Out. Fucking. Standing.

-Cardinal 1 (cred Aplombusrhombus)

CARDINAL / OH NO! SAID THE PARROT. From Ottawa Fringe and then Fresh Meat, Aplombusrhombus (featuring Madeleine Hall and Mitchel Rose) knocked me out with two magically engaging pieces that should seriously be putting Ottawa’s clown community on the map. Winners of the Emerging Artist award at Fringe for very good reason. Watch out for these two clowns!

Magic Unicorn Island WEB

MAGIC UNICORN ISLAND. My fanboy crush on Jayson McDonald is no secret, and his latest, an imaginative, hilarious heartbreaker about the ultimate rebellion scenario did nothing to diminish my longing. You’re still my hero, Jay Mac! (bonus: his legendary hit GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT also made a welcome appearance in Ottawa this year, huzzah!)


PERFECT PIE. From Judith Thompson’s great script to perfectly cast and beautifully directed stage production, this show was my fav’rit from the latest Tactics series (with the trippy WOLCZECK’S HEAD a close second). Deeply affecting, unflinching, catastrophic and present. Terrific bloody theatre.

And there’s so much more! Other Vancouver Fringe faves like THE BALLAD OF FRANK ALLEN, TIL DEATH: THE 6 WIVES OF HENRY VIII, GREAT DAY FOR UP and FRANK TO BE FRANK. Or Ottawa Fringe beauties like EVERYBODY DIES IN DECEMBER and RIDESHARES AND ROPE SWINGS. Ow about Ottawa Little Theatre’ grandly theatrical THREE MUSKETEERS? Kate Smith’s fast food breakthrough BURGER KING LEAR? The brilliant nostalgia-fest BOOM? The silent but deadly MACBETH MUET? Or my own record setting 7th viewing of ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (I’m just about ready to start writing RDSMS fanfiction at this point. Hmmm…) ? Or maybe I could stop talking about other people’s stuff for a second, and start yammering on and on about…

MY STUFF!! Yes, I did some theatre stuffs in 2016, in fact more than I ever did done in a year before! It started early on with my first ever step into the Ottawa Theatre Challenge ring alongside Madeleine Hall in the short piece PARKS AND TREACHERY. We didn’t win, but we didn’t get booed off the stage neither (in fact, I think got my first ever Brian Carroll laff in that show, so I’m calling it a victory).

bisbee poster

Next up was maybe my most ambitious project to date, my first solo Fringe show NORMAN BISBEE GOES TO WAR. With thee great Erin MacDonald as SM, Jodi Morden, Leslie Cserepy and Pierre Ducharme helping out, I was ready to bring this solo drama/adventure/comedy to the ODDbox. Small audiences, middling reviews, money lost, lessons learned. Will Norman be back> Time will tell, but he doesn’t give up easy!


lux elle imagery is fine art, editorial, and comercial photography, digital editing work and motion work.

I wasn’t done with Fringe yet, and I packed up my bags (as well as Jodi Morden and Madeleine Hall) and headed out to Vancouver to hit the west coast with FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING. My first out of town performance, and it was a treat from start to finish. We didn’t set records but we had good houses and great fun and we’d all love to come back to the finale Fringe ASAP. I still miss it.


Back home, it was time to get personal. Longtime Visitorium mainstay Winston the Cat transubtantiated to Valhalla in 20116, and he needed him some immortalizing, Theatre Style. That came at Fresh Meat with UNZIPPING THE CAT, my storytelling debut. Even Patrick Langston had to grudgingly admit it was pretty good.


I figured I was done acting for the year, until Eddie May came calling, and drew me into the madcap mystery that was HAVE YOURSELF A SCARY LITTLE CHRISTMAS out at the Kanata Velvet Room. After a year of DIY theatre, it was a nice change to end the year with a collaborative production (great working with Andy Massingham as director, plus sharing the cozy little stage some swell kids), tight alleyways, loud audiences, fake bloodstains and all. A great time being introduced to a whole new way of guerilla theatre-making for me, and a great way to close out 2016.  And huge thanks to EVERYONE who came out and saw one of the abovementioned shows…it means the world, as you all do know so well.

GETTING PERSONAL. As mentioned above, my roommate and best pal Winston the Cat had to be put down many months back. It was a rough bit, and I still miss that fuzzy little guy (tho I’m still finding enough of his leftover fur that I could likely construct a replacement Winston if I saved properly). As was truly said, Winston was an Ottawa Theatrical Institution, and he will always be missed, loved and remembered. Goodbye, my dear pal. I love you.


There’s one more friend I ALMOST lost in 2016, but was blessed beyond my worth to get back. A few months ago, I almost threw away the best thing to ever happen to me, because I didn’t even realize how much she meant to me. After the worst and best night of my life, she helped me break through a lifetime of damage and bad wiring to see things more clearly, and I’m ecstatic to say that I am still very happily in a relationship with Caitlin Oleson, my beautiful, smart, sexy and ridiculously goofy girlfriend. She makes me happy, she makes me better, she puts up with my nonsense and shares this made-up life of mine in a way I never imagined anyone doing. Thank you so much, Otter, for sticking with me and smiling the way you do. You make things worth doing. I love you.


That’s just about it, folks! 2016 saw lots of big theatre doings in Ottawa that I didn’t even touch on…the continuing redevelopment at Arts Court, NAC renos, the end of arts coverage in the Citizen (leaving our theatre reviewing state in such a sorry state I’ve already started doing a little of my own again…to be continued). 2017 promises some exciting things to come, hopefully a little extra theatricals from the 150 celebrations, and the return of Magnetic North. I’ve got some behind the scenes work coming soon with a local production, plus the Ottawa return of FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING in this years Undercurrents festival, hooray! After that..? Well, I punked out on the Fringe lottery, so who knows? Working on a few projects, but isn’t that just artist code for masturbating? We shall indeed see, folks. In the meantime, I DO hope to be writing a little bit more than recently usual about local theatre on this blog, because I goddamned LOVE local theatre and I want to see people getting excited about it. S o get getting excited, gang, and I’ll see you in 2017.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R