Archive for March, 2018|Monthly archive page

A Night in Marchvember

In Theatre, Uncategorized on March 14, 2018 at 11:31 pm

Right, I’m just gonna ease on back into this…roll the shoulders, adjust the chair, dust off the keyboard (I bet all the cool, hip bloggers don’t even USE keyboards, probably just dictate to their write-a-bots…no, don’t think that way! Be positive! Mind your problematic goddamn tone, you fool! Onwards!) and just go for it. Write a thing.  Deep breath, and…

So hey, Theatre! It’s a chock full week and month here in suddenly snowy-again Ottawa, and tonight was my night to hop on good old #14 and swing by the Gladstone Theatre in little Italy. A late but very welcome addition to their crazily full roster was up to bat, and it was one I wouldn’t have missed for a hot plate of cookies, Marie Jones’ A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER, performed by Pierre Brault. Yes, a solo Pierre Brault show! Maybe the closest thing to a theatrical sure thing this city will ever know.



But I must be objective! Nothing is a sure thing. And, hey, this isn’t a reg’lar PB show…he didn’t create this one like his beloved classics BLOOD ON THE MOON or PORTRAIT OF AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN, rather it is a piece penned by Irish playwright Marie Jones. Ottawa audiences should remember her from fairly recent shows of hers, STONES IN HIS POCKETS and FLY ME TO THE MOON, both from Seven Thirty Productions I believe. She’s a solidly acclaimed authour and crafted ‘A Night in November’ in 1994, based on true events. It follows the troubled mind of one Kenneth McAllister, a modest dole clerk in Belfast. Ostensibly enjoying his dull but trouble-free life (he just got accepted into the local golf club, huzzah!), something starts to go askew for him when, on the titular evening in November, he is forced to accompany his elderly, chain-smoking stepdad Ernie to a football match (Soccer, for any American readers who are here for reasons I will never understand) between Ireland and…Ireland? The Republic of Ireland? Sorry, here I will pause to admit that the intricacies of the internecine strife affectionately known as ‘the troubles’ still baffles me, a perennial slipwit, to no end. I’m not even honestly sure if I used the word ‘internecine’ correctly just now. I have a wikipedia page open-tabbed, and am trying to learn. Baby steps.  Right, right…Northern Ireland, IRA…it’s all starting to sound familiar!  Terrible, but familiar.

Anyhoo, the match devolves into a violently ugly showdown between two warring factions, with Protestants hurling vile epithets at Catholics, evoking mass murders with demented glee, and forcing a would-be bystander like Kenneth to play along, if only out of fear for his own safety. But from that point on, he just can’t look at his world the same way. What side he’s on, what country he claims allegiance to, even what love he has for his wife is put to the test. It puts Kenneth on a path he never saw coming, and which the audience probably won’t either.

It’s a raucous, human and political play. Dealing with nationalistic racism intended for a different generation but all-too pitifully relevant today. At least a dozen characters pass by in the course of the runtime, every one played by Pierre, who is absolutely in his element under those conditions. Watching him transition from one player to the next, conversing with himself with seemingly effortless ease, is always a giddy delight. His replaying of the football match, seething with bigotry, hatred, manic fervor and fear, is a palpable thrill, even as Kenneth’s ill-advised political outburst to a home full of party guests left the whole theatre dead silent. Terrific and exciting stuff, even for diehard Brault fans. And their use of the leftover setpieces from Tototoo’s THE NORMAL HEART..? Just magic.

So here I sit, at home at the computer, sipping a bit of Jameson’s and listening to Clannad for inspiration, and hoping this measly missive will convince another bum or two into the Gladstone seats for the next few nights before the brief run finishes on, of course, St.Patrick’s Day. You’re gonna want to be able to say you saw this, gang. And hey, you support Indie Theatre too! Kind of a win/win. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

A Wee Bit of Foofarah

In Foofarah, Theatre on March 12, 2018 at 6:51 pm

Not exactly a full Foofarah, but it IS a Monday. So before we get to the thing I got to get to, let’s take a look at…



GODSPELL at Centrepointe Theatre from Ninth Hour! HOW BLACK MOTHERS SAY I LOVE YOU at the GCTC! A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER at the Gladstone, from Pierre Brault! GREASE at Centrepointe Theatre from Orpheus Musical Theatre! SOUFFLER LA VEILLEUSE at La Nouvelle Scene from Theatre de la Vielle 17! THE ELEPHANT MAN at Glebe St.James United Church from Sock’n’Buskin!  Woohoo!

Also a pleasant reminder that my full listing (or as full as I have figured it so far) of Theatre stuffs in Ottawa for March can be found here. Just updated with a new Ottawa U show CARAVAN OF ILLUSION! Ooooo…Always jazzed for a new student show. They make me happy. But in less overtly happy news…

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IRIS. Oh sweet shitting Jesus, do we really?? And I was having such a nice time! Dramatic sigh. Fine. But First off, let’s deal with names. Winston, as you all may or may not know, was the beloved housecat here at the Visitorium, my pal, my roommate, and theatre kitty extraordinaire. And while he is currently vacationing in Valhalla, I know he wouldn’t care for his name to be associated with a gruesome incident like this. So henceforth, the perpetrator shall be referred to by the tasteful pseudonym of Iris Pazzuzlefacebar. Or something similar, probably.


The only Winston I currently approve of.

Anyways, Iris Peanuthamster is one of the illustrious…oh, let’s call them ‘writers’…for that halcyon Ottawa institution the Capital Critics Circle*.  I’ve never been a fan, I can unsurprisingly admit. I mean, okay, back in the day they came across mostly as just stuffy, pretentious old-guard types…They were kind of boring and they’d most likely spell your name wrong, but at least they were fairly predictable.  And then came the Jamie Portman incident a few Fringes back (almost charming in retrospect), and people started to eye them a little more askew than usual. And then, and THEN, this past week, on the day after International Women’s Day (because timing is everything in comedy) Iris Pitmonsterfuzzywuzzy penned an op-ed that was published in the Ottawa. Goddamn. Citizen. An op-ed bemoaning the #MeToo movement as the whiny caprice of a bunch of entitled princesses, and using the phrase ‘haven’t they ever heard of the casting couch?’ completely unironically, as if it were the accepted standard of casting agents and not a monstrous abuse of power. It was an interesting read, in the same sense that eating a gallon of hot tar would be an interesting dining experience. I shan’t link to it here, but by all means, google it to your hearts content. I draw special attention to the one-note alt-right guy trolling the comments section, accusing anyone who disagreed with the article of being an anti-free speech FASCIST! It may not be art, but it made ME laugh.

Now, I’m not going to launch into a full-on tirade against Iris Pippledipple or even a trashing of her article…other, smarter types than me, including the great Catriona Leger and Nadine Thornhill, have already done so far better than I ever could. Or even the CCC itself, because at this point in history they’ve all but doused themselves with gasoline and lit a match. Far be it from me to do anything but sit politely and toast a marshmallow or two.

I’ve responded to negativity with more negativity of late, and it only goes so far. I really want to hit this latest blast of negativity with some positive vibes instead. I’m here to talk not about Iris, but inspiration. Because this has inspired me, it really has. With the disintegration and humiliation of the CCC, the disappearance of most arts coverage from the local papers (seems they have other publishing priorities, mostly in the fast-growing field of victim-blaming), and the diminution of other sources, the Ottawa theatre review scene is starker than I can remember. Theatre companies are being reduced to cruising Twitter for any positive mention to flout as a pull quote. It’s a bit of a mess, really. This is Canada’s capitol??

So…I’ve got some free time, theatrically, these days. Something about a show or two being cancelled, blah blah blah, who can even remember? Didn’t get picked in Fringe, no BYOV, still no callback from that big audition a while back (WHY DON’T PEOPLE LOVE ME????)…but hey, I’ve still got a blog..! And so, while I’m not backing away from my acting and creating pursuits…many things in the planning and writing stages for the future, oh yes, and there will hopefully be blogposts on those subjects coming as well…it might be time to go a little old-guard myself. So I’m happy to announce (and this is less of a boast or brag than a public declaration so that I can’t go back on it) that I’ll be jumping back in, at least for the next few months, doing some posting, promoting, reviewing even, just like the ‘good old days’.


Watch for this signal being flashed from the roof of police headquarters in the coming days..!

And, if Pat Gauthier and the gang will have me back, then (gulp) this June I’m going ALL IN on Ottawa Fringe with a right proper, old-fashioned Fringe-Coma. Oh yes! Late nights, early mornings, drunken reviews, the whole magilla! Hell, maybe I’ll even take a wild stab at assembling a new Team Visitorium..! Because I want to take positive action for once in the face of negativity. Because I am sick to goddamned death of NOT seeing the artists and theatre I love so much get praised and hyped like they deserve. And mostly because I want to see if I still remember how to do it. I kinda hope not. I’d rather make it up as I go.

See you around, Ottawa, I’ll be somewhere in the cheap seats sooner than you think. And Iris…thanks again for the inspiration. Now go away.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R (and the ghost of Winston)

* Just before I posted this, it must be noted that CCC (and former Charlebois Post) writer Jim Murchison formally resigned from the CCC, citing the Iris Pimpleheimer article as his impetus. Good on ya, Jim, and if you ever want a review posted, my blogspace is always available!

Coming Up in March 2018

In Improv, Theatre, Theatre Francais on March 1, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Three of these posts in a row? Man, I must be bored. And if you are too, you’re in luck, because here’s a boatload of awesome theatre to catch this March!

DEAD ACCOUNTS at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Not quite dead yet..! Until the 3rd.

LAUREN AND AMANDA DO IT at Live! On Elgin, from Toasted Theatre. One-night only remount of their Fringe smasheroo, to celebrate their 2nd (or maybe 3rd?) anniversary! On the 1st!


THE NORMAL HEART at the Gladstone, from TotoToo Theatre. Imagine if it were the ‘Nermal’ Heart? And it was about that weird little sidekick cat character from Garfield?? Be a totally different show! The 1st thru 10th.


UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER at Centrepointe Studio Theatre, from the Meus Productions. A Disney-themed sketch show for the whole family, for 2 nights only! The 1st and 2nd.

A CONFESSION at Academic Hall, from Fillum Productions and Achilea Endeavours. A one-shot benefit performance of a Tolstoy tale, starring Peter Howarth and directed by Julie LeGal! On the 3rd at 2pm.


THE INUIT STORY at Arts Court Theatre. Nunavut Sivaniksavut students tell their story through throat-singing, storytelling, dance and more! The 5th and 6th.

HOW BLACK MOTHERS SAY I LOVE YOU at the GCTC. I bet they say it all cool and stuff. From the creator of DA KINK IN MY HAIR! The 6th to 25th.


GODSPELL at Centrepointe Studio, from Ninth Hour. Are you ready for some happy, harmonizing hippies? Because here they come! The 8th to 17th.


GREASE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Theatre. I hear the chicks will…enthusiastically applaud for this show. Good luck getting tickets! The 9th to 18th.


YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton U campus), from Carleton U Musical Theatre Ensemble. Singing and dancing, good grief! The 9th and 10th.


A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER at the Gladstone. Pierre Brault challenges the establishment with this show about November…in MARCH! Take that, calendar industry! The 12th to 17th.

Cheers to Sarajevo FINALPoster-page-001

CHEERS TO SARAJEVO at Academic Hall. One night only on the 13th!

THE ELEPHANT MAN at Glebe St.James United Church, from Sock’n’Buskin.  I’m hoping it’s a musical like in The Tall Guy, but I’m sure it’ll be fine played straight too.  From the 16th to 24th.

CARAVAN OF ILLUSION at Academic Hall, from Ottawa U Unicorn Theatre.  Travelling artists hit a fork in the road!  The 20th to 24th.


A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Do you think the streetcar drives under elm trees, making it kind of a crossover with Desire Under the Elms? Think about it. From the 21st to April 7th.

CARRIED AWAY ON THE CREST OF A WAVE at the NAC Theatre.Come get ‘carried away’ by the magic of theatre (they should totally put that on their posters for this show). The 21st to April 1st.

little one

LITTLE ONE at Live! on Elgin. More Moscovitch, and all the Lydias you can handle! the 22nd to 24th.



SLOWCOOKER at Black Squirrel Books (1078 Bank) from New Theatre Ottawa. A night of new play readings in this first installment of a great idea from NTO!  The 23rd.


STAGE KISS at the Gladstone, from Phoenix Players. Sarah Ruhl is back, and she’s brought some kissing with her this time! The 23rd to 31st.



ARSENIC AND OLD LACE at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. Because it’s nice to know how best to accessorize with old lace. The 27th to April 7.


THE OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE at Arts Court Theatre, hosted by a Company of Fools.  The annual theatre smackdown in honour of World Theatre Day, with multiple companies vying for the ultimate prize, the coveted rubber chicken award!

 – Theatre Francais


MONDMANN – MOON MISSIONS LUNAIRE  at la Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre du Trillium.  Werner von Braun and the race for the moon! The 6th to 10th.

MAGIE LENTE at the NAC studio. A show about mud and all that that entails! The 10th and 11th.


SOUFFLER LA VEILLEUSE at la Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre de la Vielle 17.  French adaptation of Arthur Milner’s GETTING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. The 14th to 24th.

– BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! Starting the month off right, we have the OTTAWA IMPROV FESTIVAL, hosted by those beauties at the Improv Embassy and featuring such comedy stalwarts as Crush Improv, Kirsten Rasmussen, Coko and Daphney, Big Bang, Quest Friends Forever and more! Check their website for full listings…runs from the 1st to 3rd at Arts Court.

OIF 2018

Of course there’s also the regular monthly adventures in Improv from the Embassy (including a one-night only return by Fringe hit XAVE RUTH on thee 24th), Crush Improv, Grimprov, Outtake Improv, Crystal Basement and probably more.  Check ’em all out if you need a giggle or three in these troubled times!  Also plenty of cool events at Live! on Elgin that I haven’t listed above (like the regular Monday night Fanfiction series!).

Ottawa Storytellers has several events, including their (Un)Told series, some business about Norse Gods (but not the new THOR movie, sorry…tho that’s out on blu-ray any day now!!), plus this one here I have a cool graphic for!  Check them all out!


Damn, this is taking a long time…I think SOMEthing is happening tonight and tomorrow at the new theatre space in Arts Court and Ottawa U?  Someone send me a link! And tell me what else I missed, hey gang?  And don’t complain that there’s ‘nothing to do’ this March. Shut up and see some shows!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R