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Posts Tagged ‘black sheep theatre’

Coming Up in February 2016

In Theatre on February 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm

It’s back!  It looks kinda sorta diff’rent!  It’s…oh, who cares, let’s look at all the cool stuff coming to Ottawa Theatres this month!!  We’re talking Undercurrents, the return of La Nouvelle Scene, and the theatrical rise of Live! on Elgin, among many other great things…

Twelfth Night at the NAC Theatre, in collaboration with Old Trout Puppet Workshop. Shakespeare good. Shakespeare with Old Trout…better. Until the 6th.

Love Letters at the Gladstone, from Plosive Productions. AR Gurney’s disarming and affecting look at a lifetime relationship through letters. Until the 6th.

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Asylum at Live! On Elgin, from NW9 Collective. 4 Men raise a glass in their fav’rit pub, and I already like this new play from Doug Phillips (and director Jodi Morden, hooray!). The 4th to 6, and 11 to 13th.

A New Paradise at the Ottawa Little Theatre. From Ian Stauffer and director Kathi Langston, a new play and fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission. The 3rd to 6th.

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Cat’s Cradle at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. A whodunit mystery from Leslie Sands. 2nd to 6th, and 9th to 13th.

Cabaret at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton Campus), from Carleton Musical Theatre Society. Singing and dancing! From the 3rd to 6th.

Romantic Poetry at the Gladstone, from Black Sheep Theatre. More singing, and possibly some poetry..? Definitely an amazing cast. The 10th to 20th.

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Live! On Elgin, from Suzart after Dark. Suzart returns with the greatest play about spelling bees that ever there was! The 18th to 20th.

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest at Ottawa Little Theatre. The Kesey classic gets the OLT treatment, and it should be a gooder. The 23rd to March 12.

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Anton in Show Business at the Gladstone, from Three Sisters. Some of Ottawa’s finest gal-actors storm the Gladstone for this highly anticipated followup to their debut last year with Marion Bridge. The 24th to March 5.

BOOM at the NAC Studio. The 24th to March 12.

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The Proposal at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, from Red Carpet Theatre Society. A little Chekhov is just what every winter needs.  The 25th to 27th.

Rope at the Kailash Mital Theatre (I think), from Sock’n’Buskin. A little Hitchcock to sharpen your winter nerves. The 25th to 27th.

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24 hr Theatre at studio 311 (Ottawa U campus). A one-day adventure in new creation, with a Shakespeare theme this year! On the 27th.

Equity in Theatre Reading Series at the Gladstone. A Free evening of play readings from Darrah Teitel and Adrienne Wong, on the 28th.

Undercurrents at Arts Court (and the NAC 4th stage). From the 10th to the 20th, it’s the wintertime festival that puts the yay! In Februar-yay. Check their website for all the showtimes, but here’s thee rundown of what to expect at the 5th incarnation of this dynamite theatre showcase:

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-Mouthpiece from Quote Unquote collective. ‘Harrowing, humourous and heart-wrenching’…sounds good to me.

-A Man Walks into a Bar from Circle Circle. The Smash Toronto Fringe hit from Rachel Blair takes Ottawa.

-Getting to Room Temperature from the Room Temperature Collective. Arthur Milner and Robert Bockstael team-up for a comedy about assisted suicide. Ya heard me!

-Particle from 100 Watt Productions. Kristina Watt on stage, Martha Ross directing…you don’t need any more information that that. Go.

-Moonlodge from NAC English Theatre. Margo Kane’s lauded one-woman show returns with a new star and production…this ones at the 4th stage, folks, don’t forget!

-Monstrous, or the Miscegenation Advantage from Calalou. Sarah Waiswisz stars and Eleanor Crowder directs in this tale of a woman’s search for identity in the modern world, with the weight of history all around.

-Forstner and Fillister from F&F Theatre. The Fresh Meat fav’rit returns! Watch for flying sawdust.

-Macbeth Muet from Fille du Laitier. Macbeth, silent, with 2 actors and a tableful of found objects, and 30 minutes. Unmissable, say I.

-Listen to Me from Resounding Scream Theatre, A personalized theatre experience, as the audience goes speed-dating with the cast of this one-of-a-kind show.

– Theatre Francais

Un Vent se Leve qui Eparpile at the NAC studio. The 10th to 13th (English surtitles on the 12th)

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Le Lilas Africaine at Studio  Leonard-Beaulne, from Theatre de Dehors.  French adaptation of Pamela Gien’s The Syringa Tree. The 10th to 14th.

Du Domaine des Murmures at La Nouvelle Scene, from la Caraveille DPI, Mala Noche, and Theatre du Trillium. 12-13.

Avant L’Archipel at the NAC, rehearsal hall A. The French adaptation of legendary Mi Casa hit Countries Shaped like Stars, directed by Joel Beddows! On the 19th only.

Le Long de la Principale at La Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre la Catapulte. 25 to March 4.

– Improv and Other Stuff

Crush Improv continues their epic Bout Time Tournament, with a show on the 1st featuring Reunion tour taking on Bros before Shows. Then semi-finals for all the winning teams thus far take place on the 15th and the 22nd, in anticipation of the final round!

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The Improv Game Show at Live! On Elgin. From Experimental Farm and Trevor Comedy, a game show for you to test your improv chutzpah for fun and profit!  On the 8th.

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Eft-Up Valentine Improv Duo Show at Pressed Cafe, from Experimental Farm Theatre. On the 11th.

Let’s get Toasted at Live! On Elgin, from Toasted Theatre Company. Launch party and fundraiser for Toasted Theatre, Ottawa’s newest and spunkiest theatre company! On the 14th.

Heart-On at Live! on Elgin, from Elgin St.Improv. Valentines comedy for you to laugh your loneliness away!  You’re probably lonely, right?  On the 14th.

Smut Slam at Clocktower Brewpub in the Glebe, from Cameryn Moore. The creator of Phone Whore and Slut Revolution brings her patented open-mic slam night to Ottawa!  Bring yer smut and get slammed. On the 25th.

That’s it for now!  Let me know what I missed, and I’ll hopefully be back at the blogging sooner with an update on Strange Visitations, Fringe, and probably not much more!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

The Importance of Being Hunchbacked

In Theatre on October 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Oh my God, you guys, Oh my GOD (fun fact: I have no God, that’s just an expression)!! You’ll never guess…I went out to see a PLAY!! TWO plays, even! Is that ginchy or what? Now, sure, I used to do that sort of thing all the damn time…even got to be sort of reputed for it, just ask around (“that’s Kevin, he sees EVERYthing!”…I try, all right, I TRY.), but it seems like ever since I got back from Clown Camp about 600 years ago I’ve barely made it out to see anything in town. Granted, I’ve been keeping busy with some pretty terrific stuff…making theatre is even more fun than seeing it, who knew? But I love the Theatre scene in my town and was happy to finally get out and take in some shows, now that Fresh Meat 3 was a wrap. And since I’m a little rusty at this ‘writing reviews’ thing by now, I’m making this post a two-fer to really smoosh in the love. And oh yes…there is love.

First up was a trip this Tuesday eve to the grand ole NAC for a look at their premiere event of the new English Theatre season, Oscar Wilde’s ultra-mega-classic comedy THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Directed by Ted Dykstra, and set on a towering collection of pretty awesome backdrops from designer Patrick Clark, who also did the sweet costuming, the tried and true story follows the titular Earnest (or maybe Jack, played by Christopher Morris) as he leads a somewhat unintentional double life in Victorian London wooing the prim Gwendolen (Amy Matysio) in town while being guardian to witty Cecily (Natasha Greenblatt) in the country. His layabout best pal Algernon (Alex McCooeye) takes a rather keen interest in this state of affairs and decides to weasel his way into Jack’s other life. All this is done while doing their collective best to avoid the unforgiving scrutineering of the imperious Lady Bracknell (Karen Robinson, in a goddamn unforgettable turn) and try and sort out the mess they’ve made of things.

Alex McCooeye and Christopher Morris in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.

Alex McCooeye and Christopher Morris in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.

The new NAC acting ensemble gets a terrific showcase in this production, which is tweaked into the over-the-top range just enough to make it irresistibly hilarious. McCooeye and Morris have great fun bantering back and forth as the mismatched Algy and Jack, with some nice physical flourishes added in to keep things jumping. Other ensemblers make memorable appearances as well, with Lois Anderson as the high-strung Miss Prism, Andrew Moodie as ever-proper Reverend Chausable, and Herbie Barnes and David Warburton as Lane and Merriman, the all-seeing servants (God, I love onstage servants, they’re the BEST). But props to Robinson’s Bracknell, who steals a goodly portion of the show…which is, of course, exactly what Lady Bracknell is supposed to do. This a ridiculous and fun time with some classic Wilde, and a great start for the 2014/15 ensemble.

But there’s more! The next night I was stilll achin’ for some more theatrical hijinks, and cruised on over to the Gladstone Theatre to check out their latest, a visiting show from Under the Table and brought to Ottawa by local heroes Black Sheep Theatre. And it was a clown show even!! Right up my own silly alley. So after nabbing me a ticket, I headed in for THE HUNCHBACKS OF NOTRE DAME, a proud production from the Hunchinson Family Players (aka Under the Table Theatre). Before the show got underway, the players were milling in the audience, arming us with props for a big scene near the finale, with brother Johann (Matt Chapman) doing his best to sell some questionable merchandise to the audience, with mixed success (pro tip: don’t take his first offer, he WILL drop the price). Eventually the show gets underway, with big brother Paul (Josh Matthews) leading the way as Writer/Director/Choreographer and actor, in the role of the priest. Johann plays Quasimodo, a role he is determined to transform into the romantic lead if it kills him, and rounding out the family is Hilda (Sarah Petersiel) as Esmerelda, who really, really wants you to know that you can call her ANYtime. Seriously.

The Hunchinson Family Players (tm), ready to do some Hunching.

The Hunchinson Family Players ™, ready to do some Hunching.

Based around a scaffold-set, a merry blast of a show ensues, with singing, dancing, a fight or two, several director’s notes, and the occasional less-than-subtle advertisement. Under the Table are some talented clowners indeed and never miss a step or a laugh as the lovably non-normal Hunchinson clan. If this show doesn’t put a smile on your face, I can only assume you don’t HAVE a face, and now wonder what you’re using to read this.  Whatever it is, get it over to the Gladstone Theatre this week and DO NOT miss this hilarious take on Vincent Victor Hugo’s classic tragedy…which has never been funnier.   This show is in its last week, let’s show them some love!!  As a baby clown myself, I found this show pretty inspiring.  As a regular sort of person, you’ll still find it painfully funny, beautifully inventive, endearing and unforgettable.  Peace , love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

And the Beat goes on

In Theatre on February 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm
Jayson McDonald in UNDERBELLY (photo by William Beddoe)

Jayson McDonald in UNDERBELLY (photo by William Beddoe)

This is a bit of a cheat.  I’m not going to be able to see this next show when it opens this week, as I will be in a show of my own *cough*ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY at Arts Court Feb 27-Mar 1, part of TROIS*cough*, but I did catch it during its brief run in Ottawa around this time last year.  And now I’m reposting that review, because not enough of you mooks came out to brave the cold last year, and you’re GOING TO this time around.  Because UNDERBELLY by my theatrical inspiration Jayson McDonald (for serious…Jay Mac’s show BOAT LOAD was the one that convinced me I wanted to be a performer) is a show that needs to be seen and marvelled at, time and again.  It’ll be playing here in town at the Gladstone Theatre from Feb 25-MAr 8th, and I’ll likely get to catch it in its second week, which is a relief, because I’ve only seen it twice thus far and that is NOT ENOUGH.  Get with the program, people, take your car for a walk and ride the dog to work.  Enjoy the show.

*************
Originally posted January 2013

I’m probably going to finish most of the bottle of whiskey sitting next to me as I write this review, fair warning.  But then, that just feels to me like what you should do when writing about a show inspired by the life, times, words and legend of William S.Burroughs, the grumpy old man of Kerouac’s Beat Generation.  And when that show is UNDERBELLY from Stars and Hearts, aka Jayson McDonald, one of my personal Theatre heroes and the creator of incredible shows like BOAT LOAD and GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT…well, Hell son, I’ll drink to that.

UNDERBELLY is McDonald’s one-man show (directed by longtime collaborator Jeff Culbert, a theatrical force in his own right and no fooling) about the aforementioned beat-poet legend Burroughs, probably most famous these days for his novel NAKED LUNCH, among others.  Old man Burroughs was an eclectic thinker to say the least, a brilliant wordsmith, a refreshingly unrepentant junkie, and pretty much a hardcore nihlist.  So, this is not exactly GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT II.  But that turns out to be a very good thing indeed.

Moving from scene to scene in slouched pose and crumpled suit, MacDonald leads us thru the fragments of fact and fiction that comprise his take on the Burroughs legend, including a seriously impressive bit in which the poet’s famous ‘cut-up’ technique is demonstrated both verbally AND visually…it looks about as simple as juggling live sharks, and Jay Mac pulls it off with style.  It’s a verbally heavy show, delivered in a patois that sounds eerily Hunter S.Thompson-esque to my ears, but it all works…MacDonald takes to the deft wordplay in his script like a duck to water, impressing consistently in increasingly oddball scenes about societal hypocrisy, police brutality, drug abuse and nuclear holocaust, among many others.  McDonald’s emulation of Burroughs’ style, and the beats in general, is flawless (Alan Moore could take a tip or two from him, having tried the same trick in his BLACK DOSSIER hardcover and not succeeding half as well), and pretty endlessly entertaining to listen to.

A few guest-stars feature into the show, including Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsburg, with beautifully staged shifts that take a nice twist on the traditional one-manner approach to multiple characters.  It’s an amazing, psychedelic show, with some pretty cool light and sound cues (from Culbert and McDonald themselves) that accentuate the closely controlled madness we’re witnessing, or what some folks call genius.  Close line to tread, really.  Thank Fuck we have our own mad genius Jayson McDonald to guide us through, and he does it in a performance you’ll remember for as long as you can remember things.  This is the best way I can think of to start the year, and there’s a seriously good chance I’ll be be back again tomorrow.  UNDERBELLY is good medicine, folks.  Take it, and see how it surprises you.  Because it WILL.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, aka The Visitor (and Winston)

Victoriana Gone Wild

In Theatre on October 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Everyone knows that Fringe is the best time of year, and just generally the best thing ever.  So it was quite a delight to my fanboy ears to hear a show that has a solid Fringe touring track record was making its way onto the current Gladstone Theatre schedule.  Coming courtesy of Black Sheep Theatre and director Dave Dawson, SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE CASE OF THE HANSOM CAB KILLER is an hour and a half Victorian mystery-farce starring Chris Bange, Brian Kuwabara and Emily Windler as a plethora of characters, often in dizzyingly rapid succession.  I knew Chris Bange from previous Fringe shows like HOUDINI’S LAST ESCAPE and THE FAT GUY SHOW, and was pretty stoked to see what he had up his sleeve this time around.

Taking on the role of the Great Detective himself (among others), Bange and trusty assistant Doctor Watson (Kuwabara) meet the odd, awkwardly gloved Doctor Meriweather (Windler), who introduces them to the titular mystery of the disappearing Hansom Cab, via a pretty amusing shadow puppet gimmick that gets good use throughout the show. Holmes races off to solve the case…as does his housekeeper Mrs.Hudson (Windler again), who turns out to be the secret brains behind the Sherlock brand.  With her own assistant Winnifred (Kuwabara), they track the various clues, miscreants, and random trips to the pub until the criminal mastermind is finally uncovered.  Or is he..?

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HOLMES is a pretty madcap romp indeed, almost intentionally shambotic in presentation as multiple quick-changes into outstanding wigs and preposterous moustaches interlace with a heroic volume of sex gags and, more often than not, even more sex gags.  Yes, this show is pretty indulgently juvenile at times, but luckily it’s being performed by three proper goddamn clowns who know a thing or two about making fools of themselves in the best possible way.  It’s almost at its most amusing when something goes wrong, and you get to sit back and watch how the gang is going to improv a solution with consistently hilarious results. Writer Bange makes a great, if somewhat less than inspiring Holmes, as well as multiple iterations of the same eerie servant.  Kuwabara has a blast as the loudmouthed Winnifred, stealing scenes with obvious delight.  And Emily Windler is just marvellous as the keen Mrs.Hudson, not to mention the gloriously nefarious Professor M.  This is lighthearted and goofy fun all around and I had a silly good time indeed.  If you’re in the mood for a smile (or if Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are just a little too serious for your Sherlockian tastes), this bloody charming show is well worth a trip as it runs until the 26th.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in October 2013

In Theatre on October 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Hey, the coming up post doesn’t involve that much work, I can still manage THAT!  A few days late, sure but who’s counting?  Here’s the lowdown for October:

PRIVATE LIVES at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  Noel Coward continues his rampage of mannered destruction, at least until the 12th.

A LIFE IN THE DAY at the Cumberland Heritage Museum, from Vintage Stock Players. Some outdoorsy theatre in Cumberland, with complimentary Apple Cider!  The 4th and 5th!

AND SO TO BED at the Centrepointe Studio, from Restoration Players, Goya Theatre and Suzart. A restoration musical, and why not? From the 9th to the 12th.

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THE WEIR at Richcraft Theatre (Shenkman) , from Tara Players.  A welcome spot of Conor McPherson for your Octobeer.  From the 10th to the 12th.

SPARKS at the Avalon Studio, from New Ottawa Repertory Theatre.  The inaugural show at the new Avalon space in the Glebe, which is reason enough to go right there!  From the 11th to 20th.

YOU FANCY YOURSELF at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  Maja Ardal couldn’t be stopped a second time, and is back with her previously scheduled one-woman show, starting on the 15th.

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DEADLY MURDER at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Some Deathtrap-esque mystery as the 101st season continues!  From the 15th to Nov 2nd.

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at Various locations, from 9th Hour Theatre.  Freud vs. CS Lewis!  Check the 9th hour showlist for places and dates, ass it continues it’s marathon tour!

TARTUFFE at the NAC Theatre.  Moliere goes Newfie in this adaptation from Andy Jones and the NAC Players!  From the 15th to Nov 2nd.

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SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE CASE OF THE HANSOM CAB KILLER at the Gladstone Theatre, from Black Sheep Theatre.  Chris Bange’s Fringe hit comes to Ottawa for two weeks, playing from the 16th to 26th.

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Arts Court Theatre, from Opera Lyra.  A little G&S to liven up your Fall!  the 19th and 20th.

TOLSTOY’S TREASURES at St. James United Church in the Glebe , from Third Wall.  Kristina Watt, Mary Ellis and James richardson do some dramatic readings of Tolstoy’s short works, part of their ongoing EMPTY SPACE series.  On the 23rd!

MERCUTIO AND OPHELIA at the Avalon Studio, from Fireflood Theatre.  Another Fringe winner featuring a Shakespearean fanfic mashup you’ll want to see, now with 100% more Holly Griffith.  From the 25th to 27th and Nov 1st to 3rd.

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LLOYD GEORGE KNEW MY FATHER at the Elmwood Theatre, from Linden House.  A bittersweet comedy from the Linden House mob, playing the 22nd to 26th, and 31st to Nov 2nd.

PRINCESS T at Academic Hall, from the Ottawa U Drama Guild.  A particular Princess indeed picks a husband.  Hijinks ensue!  From the 29th to Nov 2nd.

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  The radio play takes a turn towards Halloween, with some Welles on Wells action. Plays the 30th to Nov 2nd.

THE EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL at Arts Court Theatre, from New Theatre Ottawa.  The mini-festival within an evening returns for a second incarnation, with  a cascade of short original plays from local authours for your edification.  Preview on the 30th, regular run from the 31st to November 10th.

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          CANADIAN COMEDY AWARDS

I’m a little too late with some of this stuff, going on as I write this, but there’s still time for lots of great national comedy, happening at Arts Court, Centrepointe, and wherever.  Check the website for deets, and I’ll see you at great shows like THRONE OF GAMES and OF MICE AND MORRO AND JASP!

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         FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL

Yay, it’s back and bigger than ever!  Playing for two weekends over the 17th to 19th, and the 24th to 26th, the little festival that doesn’t give a fuck is taking over the Lunenburg Pub to bring you the best ad brightest of Ottawa Youth theatre!  Hosted by GRIMPROV and 2 ½ WOMEN, and featuring debut shows like WHO WILL SEPARATE US?, MANIMALES, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, FAR & NEAR & HERE, WAKE, TEMP, MOTION PASSED, THE B-TEAM, FOUNDATIONS, FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER, SCARS and UNTITLED, UNPUBLISHED AND UNSETTLED from a who’s who of local talent (including May Can Theatre, Little Green Hat, Dead Unicorn Ink and so many more).  Who exactly is doing which show and when? Stay tuned for a big preview post about the festival in the weeks to come, telling you all (I hope…I’ve been awfully blog-lazy these days).

          THEATRE FRANCAIS

LE CHATTE ET LE HIBOU from Theatre de L’Ile, until the 12th.

L’IVRESSE DES PROFONDEURS at l’Ecole de la Salle, from Theatre la Catapulte.  The 19th only!

POMME at the NAC Studio, from Isabelle Payant and Patrick Conan.  The 26th and 27th.

VISAGE DE FEU at the Nac Studio, the 30th to Nov 2nd.  Directed by Joel Beddows!

Plus, Crush Improv will be having their regular ‘BOUT TIME event at Mother McGintey’s on the 7th, plus their post-PRIVATE LIVES show at the Gladstone on the 11th.  And their debut cage match style CAPITAL CRUSH hits Centrepointe Studio on the 25th! Plus on the 28th they’ll be back at the Heart and Crown for the MATTHEW THE BRAVE benefit show, a fundraiser for a tough little kid with some serious medical woes, so it’s a pretty good excuse to get your improv laff on.  Probably more stuff too, but I’m almost out of coffee so it will have to wait!  See you soon, Ottawa.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Gladstone 2013/2014 – Launched!

In Theatre on May 27, 2013 at 8:38 am

Wow, the blog has been sleepy these days.  And it’s certainly not from lack of theatre…in the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen the amazing WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT by Nassim Soleimanpur three times (with actors Margo MacDonald, Kate Smith and Richard Gelinas), but I’d decided early on not to publicly review it, as it rather defies traditional review.  Not that my professional counterparts didn’t give it a go, but that’s just my personal call.  And if you missed it, you missed OUT.  Huge thanks to AL Connors and a Company of Fools for bringing this magical masterpiece to Ottawa.

But I gotta justify this paid domain name SOMEhow, so what else is there to talk about..?  Why, the newly announced 2013/2014 season at the Gladstone Theatre, natcherly!  The multifaceted gang that comprises the Gladstone collective have provided a pretty wide and varied mixed bag of shows for the new season, with 8 ‘main’ shows, and no fewer than 4 ‘extra’ shows, and it doesn’t stop there.  More theatre is good theatre, I always say, so let’s take a look at wat they’ve got in store from us!

PRIVATE LIVES by Noel Coward, September 20 to October 12.  From Plosive Productions and director Craig Walker.  Calling it ‘the second wittiest play in the English Language’ (after PEER GYNT, obviously), Plosive gets the new season underway with Boss Coward’s comedy of the manners.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE HANSOM CAB KILLER by Chris Bange, October 16-26.  From Black Sheep Theatre and director Dave Dawson.  A Fringe hit for Bange (last seen in Ottawa at 2012’s Fringe with THE FAT GUY SHOW), I’m very excited to catch this one.  And who doesn’t love Sherlock Holmes these days?

ETHAN CLAYMORE by Norm Foster, December 6-22.  From Same Day Theatre. Same Day returns after a great debut at the Gladstone with IN THE NEXT ROOM, with a slice of Foster for the Christmas Season.

DETROIT by Lisa D’Amour, January 17-February 1.  From Plosive Productions and director Chris Ralph.  A Canadian premiere of the Obie-award winning new play about economic uncertainty in urban America.  Sounds mighty cool.

AGE OF AROUSAL by Linda Griffiths, February 7-22.  From Bear and Company.  Sexiness 80’s style (1880’s, that is) from the prolific Linda Griffiths, as we go undercover at a school for secretaries.  Here’s hoping we don’t have an all-male cast for THIS one.

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UNDERBELLY by Jayson McDonald, February 26-March 8.  From Black Sheep Theatre and director Jeff Culbert.  Jayson Mac’s stunning one-manner returns from last year’s Black Box Series, and if you were dumb enough to miss it then, here’s your chance to smarten up!  A pretty incredible theatrical achievement.

MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE by Geraldine Aron, April 25-Ma 16.  From SevenThirty Productions and director John P.Kelly.  Phew, I was starting to WONDER when John P was gonna show up on this list!  And a one-woman show to boot?  Be still my heart!

“ART” by Yasmina Reza, May 23-June 8.   From Same Day Theatre.  Rounding out the main season, Same Day is back with a little something from GOD OF CARNAGE authour Reza about the nature of art, friendship, and all that jazz.

…But wait, there’s MORE!

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by HG Wells, adapted by Orson Welles, October 30-November 2.  From Plosive Productions and director Teri Loretto-Valentik.  The radio play returns, but takes a sharp turn to HalloweenTown, which delights me to pieces.  The classic collision of Welles and Wells gets brought to the stage and I canna wait.

HAL AND FALSTAFF by William Shakespeare, adapted by Margo MacDonald, September 3-7. From A Company of Fools and director Margo MacDonald.  The follow up to the Fools’ Torchlight Shakespeare Summer show, this mashup of all the best Henry and Falstaff bits by Margo Mac comes indoors for what is sure to be an unmissable run.

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HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, April 3-5.  From Vanity Project Productions.  An amazing underground musical sensation comes to the Gladstone, courtesy of the increasingly multitalented Smooth Tim Oberholzer.  Ottawa, I want to see you PACK THESE HOUSES.

MUCH ADO ABOUT FECKIN’ PIRATES! By Richard Gelinas and Margo MacDonald, March 13-29.  From Parry Riposte Productions.  Gelinas and Margo as wacky pirates, with AL Connors thrown in the mix?  There is no lose here.

And did you still want more?  Because the Phoenix Players are back again with a pair for their new season, including Shiri Hendryx’ THE LAST OF JANE AUSTEN (November 7-16) and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK by F.Goodrich and A.Hackett (April 10-18).  Comedy and Tragedy, both masks get covered. So take your pick or catch’em both!

A pretty exhaustive and impressive lineup…tho I’ll admit it’s a lot of the ‘extra’ programming that excites me the most.  Mind you, DETROIT sounds ultracool, and I’m always thrilled to see Jayson McDonald and Chris Bange back (but will people pay full Gladstone prices for a Fringe show, awesome as they are..?).  Nevertheless, I’ll be there for every damn show you’d better believe, and am once again glad to see the Gladstone thriving and surviving (and more collective than ever)!  Catch you next season, gang, it should be a sweet ride.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

PS Don’t forget the Gladstone’s ONE NIGHT ONLY SERIES, going on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night between June 20 and August 24!  Full show listing now available HERE! Make sure not to miss my man Jonah Allingham and SUMMER OF ‘34, plus so much more goodness that deserves another post all on it’s own!  Hmmmm…

Coming Up in February 2013

In Theatre on January 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm

On account of I haven’t posted anything in a week and a half, and I’m starting to question my own existence as a result, I’m gonna try and get the ‘Coming Up’ post done and posted a wee bit early.  And there was even stuff TO talk about!  A wicked ‘Bout Time workshop with Crush Improv (I made someone laugh!), ALTHEA at the Saw Gallery from Inverted Tree (short but sweet), and that whole ‘getting cast in a Fringe show’ thing…but we will talk more of THAT at a later date.  In the meantime, get ready to scream and shout, because it’s FEBRUARY IN OTTAWA!!!  And, as we’re about to see, that’s a much more awesome thing than it sounds like.

— ENGLISH THEATRE —

– BLUE BOX at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, from Nightswimming and Carmen Aguirre.  You have until the 3rd to find out why Carmen Aguirre is so much better than you (and she is).

BAT BOY THE MUSICAL at the Gladstone Theatre, from Black Sheep Theatre.  Until the 2nd, one of the funnest musicals of them all comes to a close, and if you miss it, I’ll never forgive you (neither will Bat Boy).

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METAMORPHOSES at the National Arts Centre, from NAC English Theatre.  The swimming pool show!  Ovid!  Alix Sideris is in it!  And I’ll know more once I see it in a few days, but go!  Until the 16th.

THE LAST DROP at schools across the region, from Salamander Theatre.  Touring schools, but with one public performance on the 2nd at the OSSD, (EDITED: sadly, I am informed that the public performance has been cancelled.  As usual, schoolkids get ALL the good stuff!) this Natalie Joy Quesnel-helmed show about a fish and scientist fighting over a glass of water promises to be something memorable. So if you, I don’t know, run a school or something, BOOK THIS SHOW!

RABBIT HOLE at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  From the 5th to 16th, family drama from David Lindsay-Abaire that sounds pretty gut-punching.  Gonna try hard to make it out to this one.

BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  Chris Ralph flies solo (well, with a pianist, and director supreme Teri Loretto-Valentik) in the Canadian musical classic.  From the 8th to 23rd.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  The NAC had their crack, now it’s OLT’s turn with their take on Jane Austen’s love-romp fluffstravaganza.  From the 12th thru to March 2nd.

GOD OF CARNAGE at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (GCTC), from Third Wall.  They’re back!  With the Ontario premiere of Yasmina Reza’s hit show, and the Avengers-league cast of Duckworth, Ellis, Watt and Koensgen leading the charge.  From the 12th thru March 2nd.

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS from Algonquin Theatre.  The Gonq kids are back for another season, kicking off with some Commedia courtesy of director Catriona Leger!  From the 13th to 17th.

THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS AND OTHER STORIES from Ottawa Theatre School, at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama.  A little Munsch action for ya, from the OTS gang.  Family fare from the 16th to 23rd.

SANCTUARY SONG at the National Arts Centre Studio.  An opera for children, about an elephant.  Sold!  The 16th and 18th.

INNOCENCE LOST at the National Arts Centre.  Beverly Cooper’s dramatic retelling of the true story of Steven Truscott.  From the 27th to March 16th.

And for something of interest to fans of both French AND English Theatre (you should be fans of both, by the way), the PRIX RIDEAU AWARDS will be announcing their 2013 nominations on the 26th at Mercury Lounge.  C’mon out and tart planning what to wear to the gala!

undercurrents

Oh yes, I hadn’t forgotten about it!  (Although to all the people who’ve been talking about it like it’s the only thing going on in Ottawa theatre this month…please see above).  Here’s the goodies coming up any second now from the third UNDERCURRENTS Festival, running from the 5th thru 17th…all shows taking place in the GCTC Studio (or maybe the lobby, as in the case of BREAD):

SKIN from Deluxe Hot Sauce.  Insanely cool sounding theatre from the Saucies, featuring original music composed by mapping each performers skin.  Starts the 5th, ends the 16th.

THE PUBLIC SERVANT from Theatre Columbus. Billed as a tragi-comedy about the life of a female federal employee, Theatre Columbus has the years to prove they mean business.  And they were smart enough to bring Sarah McVie along on this one!  Starts the 5th, ends on the 17th.

BREAD from Karen Balcome and Geoff McBride.  Bake bread in the lobby with Ruby and Seth!  Short and lively theatre that I expect you will remember always (very limited seating!)  Starts the 5th, ends the 17th.

LADIES OF THE LAKE from Skeleton Key. The secret origin of the Lady of the Lake?  If it’s from Kate Smith and Catriona Leger, then I believe it.  Starts on the 6th, ends the 16th.

HIP HOP SHAKESPEARE LIVE MUSIC VIDEOS from 411 Dramaturgy.  First of two returning Fringe hits, Dave and Mel’s inspiring collage of Bardic song parodies is a major crowd pleaser. Starts the 6th, ends the 17th.

LITTLE ORANGE MAN from Snafu Dance Theatre.   The other Fringe showstopper…one of the best things in the history of ever, featuring the inimitable Ingrid Hansen as Kitt.  Starts on the 7th, ends on the 14th.

LITTLE ILIAD from Evan Webber and Frank Cox-O’Connell.  Cool people tell me this innovative, two-man show is one for the ages, and I can’t wait.  Runs twice nightly, because they don’t have enough headphones (you’ll see).  Starts on the 8th, ends on the 13th.

— FRENCH THEATRE —

V COMME CANARD at Theatre de L’Ile. Until the 16th.  Comedy like only the French can do it!

VIPERINE at the NAC studio.  Until the 3rd, family drama aimed at a young audience.

L’ARAIGNEE at L’Espace Rene Prevost.  Until the 2nd…new stuff from Elise Gauthier, yay!

20,000 LIEUES SOUS LES MERS: L’HOMME FACE A  LA NATURE at Arts Court Studio, from Creations in Vivo.  2pm on the 10th, 16th and 17th, in asscociation with Chill Factor!  Live action Jules Verne for the win!

UBU SUR LA TABLE at the NAC Rehearsal Hall A.  From the 12th to the 16th.  Puppet theatre of the insanely cool sounding variety.

KIWI at the NAC Studio.  From the 20th to 23rd…a ‘fairy tale devoid of fairies’, for ages 12 and up.

OULIPO SHOW at the NAC Studio.  From the 27th to March 2nd, a supposedly amazing display of French linguistic acrobatics…so I may need to have a spotter for this one.

—OTHER STUFF—

IMPROV : Crush Improv will be back with another Bout Time on the 4th, this time upstairs at the Foolish Chicken!  Two brand new teams, so how can ya lose?  And GRIMPROV, another Improv gang that have lost their home recently (RIP Imperial Tavern), relocated at the last minute this month to the Cock and Lion, and I’ll keep this spot updated with where their next show will be.  Crystal Basement…is your show at Atomic Rooster on the FIRST Tuesday of the month, or the last..?  I get confused easily.

COMEDY: CRACKING UP THE CAPITAL hits town from the 5th thru 9th, featuring such visiting comedy dignitaries as Colin Mochrie, Deb McGrath, Big Daddy Tazz and many more (including a head to head bout with the Carleton U. and Ottawa U. improv teams, moderated my Mochrie his own self).  Comedy fans take fuckin’ note!

DANCE : FACE 2 FACE from NAC Dance and a variety of supercool international artists, putting on a mini-Fringe of Dance goodness.  The shows…STILL STANDING YOU, THE MOST TOGETHER WE’VE EVER BEEN, HOW ABOUT YOU?, and T.+ BERNADETTE and THE ENCHANTED ROOM sound absolutely unmissable…which is why I have no intention of missing them, and you’d be a loon to pass this up too.  At the NAC Studio, ODD Dance Studio and Arts Court Theatre from the 5th thru 9th.

MUSIC: The Winter Edition of the OTTAWA JAZZ FESTIVAL hits town from January 30th until February 2nd, with a whole lotta sweet sounds at venues at the Mercury Lounge, Dominion Chalmers Church, Academic Hall and the NAC 4th Stage.  I’ll be making my music-review debut at this shindig, so I hope come of you will make it out!

— OTHER OTHER STUFF —

Someone just kindly pointed out a small  little winter festival in town this month, called WINTERLUDE.  Maybe you want to check some of the million or so activities this slightly gigantic event has going on, as well as their newer sister festival CHILL FACTOR.  Keep your eyes peeled on the weekends at Marion Dewar plaza, or Jacques Cartier and Confederation Parks, and you just might see the Ottawa Stilt Union prowling around, looking cool. In fact, here’s a recently added list of their appearance times!

You might also be interested in hitting up DIRTY DOZEN, the 12th anniversary shindig in honour of Venus Envy‘s 12th year in operation.  Gonna be some sweet burlesque, including my pal the Mighty Afrodite, at Babylon nightclub on Saturday the 16th.

(This is the part where you tell me what I missed, and what cool goings-on Ottawa needs to know about.  Movies, Dance, spoken word, you name it, I’ll pimp it, just drop me a comment/tweet/e-mail/whatever.  Also, whatever new stuff I find (or, ahem, remember) along the way will go here.  Check back as often as it please ye.)  In the meantime I am DONE, because it’s gotten warm out and the furnace still thinks it’s minus 30-something. Phew!  Peace,love and soul, y’all,

Kevin Reid, aka The Visitor (and Winston)

Hold Me Bat Boy, Touch Me Bat Boy

In Theatre on January 17, 2013 at 12:53 am

Boy, I needed me some theatre tonight. It’s felt like too long since my last show, way too long…and yes, okay, maybe I was feeling a little grumpy after discovering that I didn’t make the first round of jurying for the Ninjamatics 2012 weblog awards that I’d previously been nominated for, and me and my shitty blog won’t be winning a damned thing (although I should note that another local website, preview-kings Production Ottawa, made it through to the final round, so good on them!  Also, I’m bitterly jealous).  So yeah, I needed me a pick-me-up on the quick time, and my recent impulse-purchase of the complete series of THE MUNSTERS was only getting half the job done.

Although it was doing that job very well because the Munsters are FUCKING AWESOME.

Although it was doing that job very well, because the Munsters are FUCKING AWESOME.

For the other half, only a road trip to the nearest theatre (aka The Gladstone) would do the trick, for the opening night of their latest, Black Sheep Theatre’s production of BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL from director Dave Dawson.  Based on the story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, itself inspired by the now-legendary article in the only reliable news source planet Earth has ever known, the Weekly World News.  If you’re one of those snobs who doens’t read the papers because you’re too busy downloading biased liberal newsfeeds directly into your I-ports or something, here’s the basic gist of the story:

coverbatboy

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking…that shit is TOO AMAZING to be true.  But you’d be wrong (as usual), because I just saw the whole thing played out in grand fashion on the Gladstone stage and am now a witness to the tragic, but seriously fun tale of the Bat Boy.  Starting off with an ill-planned spelunking trip into a mysterious cave in Hope Falls, where a trio of teenagers discover our hero, a snarling, pointy eared mutant (or Zach Counsil, as we call him in polite circles here in Ottawa) living like an animal.  After biting sister Ruthie, brothers Ron and and Rick (Mathieu Charlebois and Ben Montgomery) capture the Bat Boy and drag him back to town, where Sheriff Reynolds (smooth Tim Oberholzer, sporting an even-more splendid moustache than in Chamber Theatre’s TONGUE AND GROOVE, if such a thing is possible) bags him, binds him, and drags him off to the home of local veterinarian Thomas Parker (Kris Joseph, back from the wilds of Alberta, hooray).  The hope is that the doc will quietly put the Bat Boy down, but his wife Meredith (Rebekah Shirey) and daughter Shelley (Allesia Lupiano) put up a helluva fuss. Instead, the Bat Boy is renamed Edgar, taught English and proper BBC manners, and turned into an upstanding member of society.  All would end well right there except for Ruthie Parker’s vengeance-obsessed Mama (David Benedict Brown, cross dressing with the best of them), a nervous Mayor (Hillary Carroll), and a visiting revival reverend (Rebecca Perry), not to mention a few skeletons in a few choice closets.

BAT BOY is a giddily over-the-top romp of a musical, and having already directed it a few times before, Dawson knows how to get what he wants out of his cast by now (some of the gang onstage are veterans of his previous productions of this show at Winnipeg Fringe and Carleton U. in years past).  The songs and music by Laurence O’Keefe are pretty goddam memorable as evidenced by the fact that I’m still singing them to myself, now, as I write this.  And the cast is a very good one…Zach Counsil, an Ottawa mainstay, pushes himself to new highs as our misshapen hero, thirsting for knowledge and acceptance as much as blood (which he also really, really wants).  Likewise, hometown fave Kris Joseph is very happily welcomed back to our stages as conflicted Doctor Parker…not to mention the God Pan, in what will definitely be a shoo-in for my fav’rit scene of onstage mass-bestiality for this year, barring some seriously unforeseen programming from Ottawa Little Theatre.

The out-of-towners in this show impress like Hell, as well…Rebekah Shirley as Meredith Parker is top-notch, and Alessia Lupiano as daughter Shelley is a positive wonder.  Hilary Carroll, too, is terrific as redneck mayor Maggie, and does mighty fine scene-stealing later on as a turtle…trust me, or see it yourself, which would be way better for you.   The set, such as it is, is fairly low-budget, which might have been the point with a show like this.  Mind you, that’s a fairly convenient point if you’re the  company producing the show, and even I had to wince a time or two at just how quickly knocked off some of the onstage props looked (stitching straight doesn’t cost extra, right? And that cage Zach was suspended in looks like it was gonna come down any second).

But this is a musical, and as such, it all comes down TO the music.  And the gang have pipes to spare, special shoutouts to Kris Joesph, Rebecca Perry and Alessia Lupiano. And especially to the ‘Cave Band’, the slightly-offstage live band providing all the music…Dave Dawson likes the music in his musicals as live as his vocals, and it works a treat here.  Conductor Steve Lafond and his gang did REAL good. The music was solid, and the gang onstage rose to the challenge.  This show, from the start a quick replacement for the originally planned DOCTOR HORRIBLE show (You better give us a good sequel, Whedon..!), did exactly what it was supposed to do, and made me forget all about that shit while I was watching it.  BAT BOY is good fun, and sweet wounded Jesus, that’s really all you need to know.  Catch it while you can…and remember, merchandise IS available, so bring some extra cash Just saying. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (aka the Visitor ) and Winston (Oh yeah…he’s back!)

Coming Up in January ’13

In Theatre on January 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Yay, new year and new stuff to see!  And while the calendar isn’t quite as full as I’d like it, I’m looking forward to everything just THAT MUCH MORE to compensate.  Ready?

Underbelly_poster
UNDERBELLY at the Gladstone Theatre, from Stars and Hearts.  The final part of the second BLACK BOX SERIES put on by Black Sheep Theatre, and they’ve brought us a sweet treat…Jayson (GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT) McDonald’s one man show about William Burroughs, that tore up the Fringe circuit last year!  Plays the 2nd thru 5th, and you’d be crazy to miss it.

MRS.DALLY HAS A LOVER at 94B Montreal Road (behind Lorenzo’s Pizza, Palace st. Entrance), from A.C.T.Ottawa.  A bit of a risque sounding show from the gang at ACT Ottawa, featuring Genevieve Sirois from my fav’rit show of ’12, HOW IT WORKS.  Good enough for me.  From the 3rd to 12th.

A COMPANY OF FOOLS TWELFTH NIGHT CELEBRATION at the NAC 4th Stage.  It’s that time of year again, for the Fools to fundraise, party, and announce their plans for the year!  Always a great time…this Saturday, the 5th.

ALL MY SONS at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Arthur Miller’s family/war drama from 1947, as the OLT’s 100th anniversary season marches on!  From the 8th to the 26th.

BLUE BOX at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, from Nightswimming Theatre.  Carmen Aguirre’s runaway UNDERCURRENTS hit is back on the big stge, and you know what that means…more room to dance!  Previews start on the 15th, show runs until February 3rd!

BAT BOY THE MUSICAL at the Gladstone Theatre, from Black Sheep Theatre.  A musical so weird and cool sounding, it tempted Kris Joseph back from the wilds of Alberta (or whichever flat province he’s relocated to)!  Ya know you want to see this.  Previews start on the 16th, show runs until February 2nd.

BatBoyPosterrevised

ROUGE DECANTE at the National Arts Centre.  A harrowing-sounding bit of multimedia storytelling from the NAC French Theatre gang.  From the 16th to 19th.

REASONS TO BE PRETTY at the Saw Gallery, from Red.Collective.  The Reddies keep their momentum going into 2013 with a very anticipated bit of Neil Labute, from director Fraser Mackinnon.  Sweet!  From the 17th to 20th.

WHEN AFRICA CALLS UHURU at St.James United Church in the glebe, from Third Wall Theatre.  The lastest in their EMPTY SPACE series, this reading of Henry Beissels’ work features Beissel himself alongside Kaite Bunting, and 3rd Wal gugu James Richardson.  The 23rd, one night only!

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW at the Kailash Mital Theatre, from Sock ‘n’ Buskin.  Apparently still stoked from the success of COMPANY last year, the SnB gang are back on the musical path once again, with the cultiest of cult things ever.  17th to 19th, and 24th to 26th!

EDREDON at the National Arts Centre.  A French children’s show, with some cool looking use of light and shadow…might be one for anyone to check out, methinks.  From the 23rd thru 27th.

METAMORPHOSES at the National Arts Centre.  Just squeaking in with previews starting on the 29th, the NAC English Theatre season continues with this adaptation of Ovid and his wacky tales.

And the good folks at CRUSH IMPROV will keep on keeping on despite the loss of their Elmdale homestead.  The first ‘BOUT TIME of the year will be at Cafe Ceckuf in the Market on Monday the 7th, and among all the usual reasons to go, this may be your last chance to see the great Ken Godmere on stage before he skedaddles to Vancouver!  And Crush will be back later in the month with the latest in their SPOTLIGHT ON… shows at the Gladstone theatre, on the 26th.

And hey, if you’re in Toronto, the NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL is kicking into gear right about now, for a run from the 2nd to 13th at the Factory Theatre.  Laura Haris’ excellent PITCH BLOND will be there…what else do you need to know?  10 sows over 12 days, with a heated beer tent outside.  Wish I was there!

…Instead, I think I’ll be hopping over to Montreal this Friday for a visit to the Mainline Theatre at last, and check out their regular sci-fi improv show CAPTAIN SPACESHIP, featuring the likes of Shane Adamczak and Kirsten Rasmussen!  Too cool for school, kids.  As always, if I missed something, PLEASE let me know! I wanna see more stuff!  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor

Team Visitorium 2012 – Kiersten’s Reviews!

In Fringe Fest, Theatre on June 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

Kiersten Hanly has been living under this alias for some 20 odd years. During this time she graduated from the University of Ottawa with Honour Specialization in Theatre. Recent performance credits include; Conversations with Stranger at the first ever SubDevision 2012, And Then It Happens at Undercurrents 2012 and The Lab, a performance installation at Wakefest 2011 and Undercurrents 2011. All works of collective creation by the budding theatre company Two Little Birds. Having two Ottawa Fringe Festival performances under her belt, the time has come to reveal the secret agent reviewer from within (insert false writing credits and awards here). NOTE: Also part of the no pants club.

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MERCUTIO AND OPHELIA by Nicholas Amott (Fireflood Theatre)

I’ll start this show with a side note. On the hottest day of the year, I was unable to get a beer at the Oak, too slow. Damn you Royal Oak, I bite my tongue at you.

Moving on. The show opens with a cute prologue, much like that of Romeo and Juliet. The scene is now set. Unfortunately, the next bit of text was the only bit that was not clear to me. A man, unidentified, comes on stage in a frenzy, talking about a man who he cannot find. It didn’t make sense. In the end, I don’t think this character was necessary at all.

But then we meet Mercutio and Ophelia. He the tall, dark type and she, a ravishing beauty in white. She carried a sharp look and volcanic red hair, very unique and very appropriate. Both actors played their roles strongly, Mercutio, however maintained the same quality of performance the entire way through and for that, somewhat stole the show.

Daniella Granzotto and Brennan Richardson in MERCUTIO & OPHELIA

The story goes that these two ill fated meet in a bar. Ophelia has fled Denmark after the famous Nunnery scene with Hamlet (“get thee to a nunnery!”) and Mercutio has skipped town after the Capulets ball, where Romeo met Juliet. The two butt heads at first but after some serious conversation and some context into their pasts (provided by playwright Amott, not the Bard) the two fall madly deeply in love. Uh oh.

I won’t ruin it, but will this change the course of their destinies? Or is this a trap, leading them both to their untimely deaths?

A well rounded, cleverly written production. Plus, if you can pull a show off in the Royal Oak basement, kudos. Not to mention the possibility of beer is there… I just recommend showing up VERY early for it.

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VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE! by Ken Godmere (Emanate Productions)

From the moment the music starts, the audience feels a beat that keeps their toes tapping.

We meet Vernus. An Elderly man who, right from the start, struggles with most daily tasks, his struggles so big and wide, he can’t get a single word in edgewise (until, at last, we hear him blissfully cheer “SURPRISE!”). Not because he isn’t capable, just no one will give him the time of day! He moves a little bit more slowly than most, fairly so being eighty-nine years old.

The show is made up of a beautifully constructed soundtrack, which used the resources of 19 voice actors – see if you can recognize a few, it’s the hip and happening in indie Ottawa theatre. Ken Godmere as Vernus manoeuvres through this recorded world with mime and clown work, like clockwork. The timing and skill it requires to be so accurate with each single moment, each syllable, each step, each breath, is vast and I can say, sans doute, that this is one of the most incredible performances by any one person I have ever seen. The quality is unparalleled in my experience with this style. The best part though was that using a very specific technique, Godmere created a situation for his character like no other.

Ken Godmere as Vernus

By far, the most incredible thing about this show was its ability to make the audience FEEL. I can honestly say I cared about what was going to happen to this man. I cried when he was hurt, I laughed and cheered with his successes, big or small. So did the entire audience – a full cheer from the crowd mid show.

This isn’t even counting his sold out house, first or second standing ovation and rocking reviews from the London fringe! Vernus Says Surprise is a story about our world, from the perspective of someone we don’t always consider. All I have to say now is, don’t miss it.

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WOLVES > BOYS from May Can Theatre
Alpha. The first, the beginning. Beta. The second, the star that shines second most brightly.

This is the basic idea behind Wolves > Boys. Lawrence the beta comes to head with Isaac the alpha, facing an imperfect close knit long term friendship. Meeting in a graveyard where Lawrence seems uneasy, the audience is swiftly moved to a world where the two boys tell a story they know all  to well. The story is of a ghost wolf pack, one that seems close to both of their hearts. The stories they tell often parallel that of their own alpha/beta relationship, a struggle for power between male wolves.

The show plays out as episodic, the characters often introducing each new chapter, ex. “wolf story part 1” or “Isaac consoles Lawrence”. Some of these transitions could use more context and  some maybe aren’t necessary. Though the two make it work.


The chemistry between these two guys is undeniable. They’re charming, funny and just a little bit cheesy – in the best way, who else could pull off flashlight humour? Throughout the show they manage a number of uncomfortable, saddening and beautiful moments between them. Their humour is certainly particular – boyish, best put. For this reason, I imagine the show is not for everyone. That being said, anyone with a good sense of humour and imagination will enjoy the show. Once again a success from the two guys we know as MayCan Theatre!

Plays until Sunday June 24th
@ Studio Leonard Beaulne
MayCan Theatre
By Tony Adams and Cory Thibert

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LATE NIGHT CABARET by various (Black Sheep Theatre)

Late Night Cabaret by Black Sheep Theatre is exactly that. A late night Cabaret playing daily throughout the Fringe at 11:15 (good show to catch if you miss your 11 o’clock!!) in the Arts Court courtroom. The show has a brilliant premise, different show every night showcasing Ottawa Fringe talents and a few extra acts. Keep that in mind folks – you can see the show every night and be entertained by dozens of different performers. The best part about the show is exposure. Many of the performances from the Friday June 15th show were out of town pieces, ones that I personally had not heard much about, but because of their performances in the Cabaret, I’d like to see each and every one of their shows. On that note, let’s talk about Fridays stellar lineup.

Upon entering there is DJ HELICASE filling the room with beats, ones that had the audience tapping their feet – always a good sign! Off to a good start. The show begins when our host for the evening Ray Besharah (Lonely Bear) steps on stage and charms us with some schoolboy dance moves before introducing the first act – GRIMPROV. If you’re from Ottawa you probably know these guys, Mike Kosowan, Joel Garrow and Drew McFadyen (Jordan Moffat was nowhere in sight). They are a talented group that performs all over the city. This particular piece had them playing cats and dogs and lions, all attempting to protect a chain smoking apple farmers apples. What more could one ask for? The highlight of this particular show though was DJ HELICASE. His intuition with the tunes was right on. When the guys quickly changed pace or direction, he was right on their coat tails keeping the music in step. As a duo, Grimprov and Helicase are unbeatable.

Next to take the stage was Katherine Glover (Dead Wrong), and boy did she managed to keep the energy up. She read us a selection of her poetry, which she dubbed ‘Excerpt from Penthouse Forum’. A salacious mismatch of dirty words cut and pasted. Next up: Ana of Pollux Dance’s Heterolettecual performed a beautiful dance piece, her body moved so gracefully across the stage and had a number of people in the audience close to tears – we were told this was a sad part of the show but that it is mainly and mostly a comedy. Many laughs to be had.

Our final act of the evening was Christopher Bange (The Fat Guy Show) who entertained us with a very well performed magical act. He managed to be funny and confident in his magic, while carrying a self-deprecating air, something which can become exhausting but not with Christophers performance. Each and every magic trick he performed went off without a hitch.  This guy has stage presence in the most bizarre way, I for one am intrigued and look forward to catching his show – about a fat waiter who wants to be a clown and has only one real friend, Neil Diamond.

To wrap things up – check out these shows and especially the Late Night Cabaret. It’s a showcase of many talents from all over the fringe and all over the city. Well done Blacksheep! I hope we see this one every year!  Also, check out Kevin’s reviews of some of these shows on the site here.

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LEFTOVERS by Ryan Reed Mills.

Leftovers is a post apocalyptic dramedy that, while giving its audience a fresh perspective, is missing a well rounded finish. Three youths find themselves stranded in a Costmore Superstore (we know what they’re playing at there). They may very well be the last three people alive.

On stage right we meet Tom, beau to the logical of the three living characters, Alex. He is what makes things interesting. Tom is a zombie, conscious and aware of himself as he completes his transformation into flesh eating monster. Who wouldn’t want to pick this guys brain? (insert laugh track).

While Tom thinks only of finding a way to contact Alex, we see the three lost souls searching for themselves among the high shelves of Costmore. They suffer through peyote trips, pudding shortages, a rogue dictator and the secrets of life together, yet Nat, the hilarious stoner, Brody, the overbearing yet surprisingly comic dweeb and Alex, the straight edge but hopeless girl don’t find their end gracefully. Sometimes clever, often witty, this show is an hour of entertainment that lacks cohesion.

Play until Sunday June 24th
@ Studio Leonard Beaulne
A 20 Nothings Production
by Ryan Reed Mills