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Posts Tagged ‘Jayson Macdonald’

Coming Up in March 2014

In Theatre on February 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Theatre Marches on!  See what I…oh, never mind.  Let’s just get a jump on what’s happening in March, starting witht he fact that there’s only the first of the month left to catch ENRON at the NAC Studio, and more importantly (for me) the TROIS (THREE) mini-festival at Arts Court Studio, featuring GRIMprov in the gloriously goofy START START ENERGY OFFICERS, May Can Theatre‘s harrowing WHAT ABOUT HORSES?, and Dead Unicorn Ink‘s ensemble dramedy ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY, co-featuring myself and the OTS Orphanage Players!  Come on out, enjoy 3 beers for 10 bucks, and watch 3 cool shows!!

Bobby Robert (back only), Aaron Lajeunesse, Victoria Luloff and Patrice Ann Forbes i THE ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY from Dead Unicorn Ink (photo by David Pasho).

Bobby Robert (back only), Aaron Lajeunesse, Victoria Luloff and Patrice Ann Forbes i THE ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY from Dead Unicorn Ink (photo by David Pasho).

Oh, and some other stuff is happening too…

UNDERBELLY at the Gladstone Theatre, from Black Sheep/Stars and Hearts.  An unmissable adventure into the mind of William Burroughs, courtesy of the amazing Jayson MacDonald!  Until the 8th.

Jayson McDonald in UNDERBELLY (photo by William Beddoe)

Jayson McDonald in UNDERBELLY (photo by William Beddoe)

HALF LIFE at the Ottawa Little Theatre. A meditation on memory from the kids at LOT.  Until the 8th.

JESUS EVEN LOVES A CRAZY HORNY FEMINIST at Arts Court. One woman fun from Jen Hayward, from the 3rd to 5th.

THE BALD SOPRANO at Academic Hall, from Unicorn Theatre.  Martin Glassford helms this piece’o’Ionesco over at Ottawa U.  From the 4th to 8th.

Bald Soprano

SPAMALOT at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  Bring out your dead!  From the 7th to 16th.

THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre, from 9th Hour Theatre.  Some Narnia for young audiences from the 9th Hour gang! From the 12th to 16th.

JERK IT – MAY CAN DOES MASTURBATION STORIES at Arts Court Library.  Pretty much what the title says, folks…May Can Theatre gives us the dose of sleaze Ottawa needs.  The 13th only!

MUCH ADO ABOUT FECKIN’ PIRATES at the Gladstone Theatre, from Parry Riposte Productions.  Richard Gelinas and Margo Macdonald as clowning pirates, directed by AL Connors.  Seriously, there’s no good reason to miss this, people.  The 13th to 29th.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton U), from Sock’n’Buskin.  A Shakespearean capper to the Sockies’ 70th season!  From the 13th to 15th.

DANCING WITH RAGE at the GCTC.  Real life canuck superheroine Mary Walsh brings the pain.  From the 18th to April 6th.

BREAK BEFORE BEND at Centrepointe Theatre, from Edge Youth Productions.  18th to 19th, teen musical theatre at the ‘pointe.

FRANKENSTEIN at the Algonquin College Theatre.  It’s alive…and it’s directed by Zach Counsil! 19th to 23rd.

frankenstein

THE DUMB WAITER at the Avalon Studio, from Third Wall Theatre.  The 3rd Wall gang returns to the stage with some classic Pinter, in the intimate Avalon.  From the 21st to 30th.

MURDER IN NOIRVILLE at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  Hardboiled fun out Kanata way, from the 25th to April 5th.

noirville

DRAMA AT INISH at the Ottawa Little Theatre, from Tara Players and OLT. Actors vs.Ireland!  From the 25th to April 12th.

A LA RECHERCHE DE ESCARGOTS/SEARCHING FOR SNAILS at Arts Court, from the Ottawa Stilt Union. I don’t even WANT to know details about this bilingual show…the imagination of the Stilters is always worth the wait.  From the 25th to 30th.

SEEDS at the NAC Theatre. More Canadian star power as Eric Peterson tackles Annabel Soutar’s tale of Man vs. Monsanto.  26th to 12th.

FAMILY IN A BOX at the Glebe Community Centre, from GNAG.  Multigenerational drama from the Glebe’s very own theatre gang!  From the 26th to 29th!

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre.  You can’t keep a good salesman down!  Chamber’s new take on the Loman family hits the tavern from the 26th to April 5th.  And trust me, it’s gonna be worth the wait.

DoaS

THE OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE on March 27th, at the NAC 4th Stage.  Combat, theatre style! So, expect some mimework.

     THEATRE FRANCAIS

CONFIDENCES TROP INTIMES at Theatre de L’Ile.  Ends on the 1st…dernier chance!

UN at the NAC Studio. 5th to 8th.

A TOI POUR TOUJOURS TA MARIE-LOU at Theatre de L’Ile.  Classic Michel Tremblay!   Starts the 19th!

MARIUS ET FANNY at Salle Odyssee.  the 21st and 22nd, part of Francofete!

LEO at Shenkman Studio, from Theatre la Catapulte and MIFO. The 21st and 22nd.

JEUX DE MASSACRE at Academic Hall, from Theate de la Licorne.  Ottawa U’s awesome French contigent comes out to play, from the 25th to 29th.

I’m missing a couple things here and there and will update shortly…stay tuned, and as always, drop me a line, here, on Facebook, or Twitter, if I’ve missed anything (which I totally have).  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (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)

The New Zoo(fest) Preview

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

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

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

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

     5 SHOWS YOU DARE NOT MISS AT ZOOFEST THIS YEAR:

TheBirdmann-full

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

Cameryn Moore...pic by Caleb Cole.

Cameryn Moore…pic by Caleb Cole.

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

lsac

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

Underbelly_poster

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

rdsmszoo

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

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

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

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.

Underbelly_poster

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.

hedwig
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…

The Beat Machine

In Theatre on January 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

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.

Underbelly_poster

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,

The Visitor

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

Gee Aye Arr

In Theatre on March 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Day off today…those are nice, aren’t they?  I had some welcome breakfast at Ada’s, shopped a bit at the Silver Snail (some classic CAPTAIN AMERICA and FANTASTIC FOUR volumes, plus the epic Avengers KORVAC SAGA reprint, filled with tons of Shooter/Perez goodness), then a bit of napping at home, as I’m still not 100% after my recent bout of illness just yet.  And I wanted to be sure I was smart and alert this evening.  Why?

Because tonite marked the first time since 2007 that the GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT would invade our sleepy government town, and I would be god-damned if I wasn’t right at the forefront when the attack took place.  An original Fringe piece by the endlessly talented and inventive Jayson MacDonald, ROBOT tells the far-out, hilarious, bittersweet and beautifully inspiring tale of Russel, a haltingly shy, ordinary boy, who happens to be friends with, well, a Giant Invisible Robot.  Spanning the years of his young life, from an early drive-in viewing of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to a pastry-garbled run-in with the beautiful woman who lives above him, we see poor Russel at his best, and his tragic worst.  In the meantime, the stage is filled with an epic assortment of characters, including a randy scientist, hyperviolent military man General Panic, and clueless superhero Captain Victory, as well as a cameo by the GIR itself, in one of the most wonderful scenes in theatre history, for my money.

Jayson Mac’s show practically redefines what one-man shows can do, and that it has returned to our shores at the gorgeous Gladstone theatre is a gift, folks.  And let me just say this…this whole ‘Black Box’ series at the Gladstone?  It’s a nice thing.  World class shows by amazing performers, in a wonderful venue.  And if we don’t turn out and support it…?  WE WON’T GET NICE THINGS ANYMORE.  That’s how it works, so get off our asses and see some great stuff, while we still have great stuff to see.  You can fucking well Netflix JOHN CARTER next month, all right?  Jayson’s only here this week.  Seriously.

It was an amazing night, and despite the sadly sparse crowd I had a good damn time.  Chatted with COMPANY’s Tess McManus at the box office when I arrived, and I’m looking forward to THAT show.  And not long after, some smokin’ hot actress from the Big Smoke showed up, and damned if I didn’t chat HER up as well.  Must have been my lucky night.  Good thing I quit while I was ahead and retreated to the Carleton to read comix and have some wings, or I would have up and fainted from the vapours.  But I suppose that’s the least of your worries when encountering the Giant Invisible Robot…really, I was lucky to escape with my life.  And If my Thursday stays open, I may try my luck again this week.  It’s GIR, people.  See it, see it, SEE IT.  Then find Jayson MacDonald and thank him, because you’re gonna want to.  This is what it’s all about, folks.  Creativity Passion.  Acting.  And Robots.  Especially robots.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Reveal!

In Theatre on March 2, 2012 at 12:58 am

This might be a quick one…it’s getting late, and I was up EARLY.  Today’s my Monday, and after an 8-4 day of drudgery in the salt mines, I had to sprint home, write a foolishly long post of all the amazing shows coming up in March (just scroll down, you’ll find it), and then run out the doors again to SEE some of that great stuff.

First up was a stop-in at the fundraiser for the upcoming WE WANT LIFE, being put on by the Ottawa Theatre School (or the Studio D Collective, as this gang seems to be calling themselves now…fucking gangsters, I LOVE it).  And even tho I had to leave pretty much as soon as whatever was going to happen actually HAPPENED, I still had good fun.  Chat with Andy Massingham and Alix Sideris is ALWAYS to be treasured, and it certainly was today.  And I got to meet a few more of the Studio D gang, in the form of the de-lovely Dyna Ibrahim and Jazmine Campanale (here’s hoping I win something in the raffle!).

But sadly, I did have to dart early, because I already had a ticket to the late show at the Gladstone, and the first of their BLACK BOX series (okay, ’33 is technically a part of that as well, but since it’s also part of the official Winter season at the Gladstone, I’m calling it more honorary than anything), featuring past Fringe-style shows , showcased on the big stage.  Tonight was the start of the second week for Jayson MacDonald’s THE LAST GODDAMNED PERFORMANCE PIECE.  Running in a late-night 10 pm slot after Bremner Duthie’s ’33, the show is basically the same one that ran in the Ottawa Fringe Festival two years ago.  Featuring the same two stars, Ben Meuser and Celine Fillion (regretfully not counting the Nancy Kenny bonus-night for our current purposes, and ya know I’ll watch that remount ANY day), it tells the slightly skewed tale of the doomed U.M.I. collective, a performance art group who find themselves down 9 of their 11 members and needing to somehow put on a show.  And, digging deep into their fractured lives, remaining members Summer Rain (Celine) and Bleu Skye (Ben) do just that.

LGDPP is a great little show directed by Black Sheep mainstay Dave Dawson (who also directed ’33), ranging from the utterly hysterical (like Celine returning, and promptly ejecting Ben from her womb, but only after he helps with the groceries) to the almost painfully human, best exemplified when Ben shows Celine his collection of frailties, failures and humiliations.  After two years, I can say I notice definite strengthening in both performances, and Celine Fillion especially seems to have grown wonderfully since I last saw her making like a crow onstage (seriously, see this show).  Her final monologue on the failure to love rings heartbreakingly in your ears…the show has a brilliant/horrifying structure to it, early and madcap comedy setting you up for a merciless fall into UMI’s twin specialties…truth, and destruction.  It works well, and Ben and Celine do it great justice here.  Especially with as sadly small a crowd as I was part of this night, they KILLED it.  So my hat is off (there’s a nice trick done with the staging here, too, that adds some extra fun…I won’t spoil it).

There are still two more shows, and if you never caught this show at Fringe, please don’t miss this second chance.  So it’s at ten at night, boo hoo, what do you do in the morning that’s SO important?  Call in sick, sleep in late, and catch some awesome theatre.  And  I’ll see you around the Gladstone next week, when the Black Box series resumes.  I can hardly wait! Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in March ’12

In Theatre on March 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Uh, yeah, so…there’s a LOT.   Bear with me here, and shout out (nicely..!) if I miss anything.  Here we go…

Starting off, there’s the last few days of Brian Friel’s TRANSLATIONS at the Ottawa Little Theatre, playing until the 3rd.  There follows a break, and then on the 20th SELF HELP starts up, carrying on into April.

At the Gladstone Theatre, Bremner Duthie’s ’33 – A KABARETT continues until the 10th.  Semi-officially part of Black Sheep Theatre’s BLACK BOX SERIES, which also includes these three gems: THE LAST GODDAMNED PERFORMANCE PIECE, running in March from the 1st to 3rd, evenings after ’33.  Then from the 9th-10th and 16th-17th, the great Paul Hutcheson brings his THIRD TIME LUCKY to town.  And from the 13th thru 17th, Jayson MacDonald himself will unleash the GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT on Ottawa for the first time since the ’07 Fringe Festival.  Welcome back, Jayson Mac, you’ve been missed.

The hard working kids at Obviously a Theatre Company are back, with a staged reading of THE CORONATION VOYAGE at Cafe Alt on the 2nd and 3rd.  Jacki Brabazon’s in it, what else do you need to know?  Not far off at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, THE JEWISH WIFE plays from the 1st to the 3rd,  and PROVINCETOWN PLAYHOUSE shows from the 15th thru 17th.  And at Academic Hall, MAMAMOUCHI (aka Le Bourgeouis Gentilhomme by Moliere) plays from the 27th thru 31st.

Back at my alma Mater the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, the OTS kids are back with a new show created by Prix Rideau Awards darling Andy Massingham, WE WANT LIFE (formerly known as GREED), playing in the Natalie Stern Studio from the 6th thru 17th, and I can’t wait (fundraiser on the 1st at 8pm at the Westboro Clocktower!).

Back at Arts Court, New Theatre of Ottawa continues it’s season there with THE PLAYER’S ADVICE TO SHAKESPEARE, a one-manner starring the great Greg Kramer, this one you HAVE to go see.  From the 7th to 17th.

At the NAC, Ronnie Burkett’s epic-sounding grown-up puppet play PENNY PLAIN launches on the 14th and running thru April Fool’s Day.  It sounds pretty kinda amazing, folks.  For the kids, MONSTER MAKER has some fun on the 24th and 25th.

At La Nouvelle Scene, ZONE gets a repeat showing on the 3rd, and something by the enigmatic handle of // …yes, those two slanty lines are the title, and it plays from the 21st thru 31st.    Remember, folks, French Theatre is Cool Theatre!
Algonquin Theatre kicks of show #2 of its season with THEATRE OF THE FILM NOIR by George Walker from the 14th to 17th, and if it’s half the fun Walker’s ZASTROZZI was last season, you do not want to miss it.  Meanwhile, over at Carelton U the Sock’n’Buskin gang are staging Steven Sondheim’s COMPANY from the 15th thru 24th.  Tess McManus is in it, what else do you need to know?  There’s also another VAGINA MONOLOGUES going on, for more good causes, at Carleton on the 10th and 11th, tho I’m not sure PRECISELY where.  More when I find out.

The GCTC launches the penultimate show of their current season with EAST OF BERLIN on the 21st and running into next month.  Directed by multiple-Rideau Award nominated Joel Beddows, dontcha know!  Upstairs in the studio space, the 9th Hour Theatre Company is staging CRIME AND PUNISHMENT from the 22nd to the 31st.  Always fun to have shows running up AND down.

And yes, it sucks that Third Wall won’t be putting on WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? this month like originally planned…but never fear, they’re still active this month with another in the EMPTY SPACE reading series.  This time it’s a return to Chekhov, with Andy Massingham and Kristina Watt back for more stellar storytelling, on the 28th.

What else, what else…oh yeah, Orpheus is making some noise with RENT, starting on the thru to the 11th, over at Centrepointe.  Out at the Ron Maslin, the Kanata Players are showing FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS from the 27th, thru to April 7th.

Back at the Gladstone, 730 Productions returns with THE COMMUNICATION CORD from the 28th thru to the middle of April, and it sounds like sweet fun.   And at the Glebe Community Centre , GNAG is putting on KING LEAR from the 29th to April 1st, just to get it in before the NAC gets there.  Nicely done, Glebe. 🙂

And hey!  Over at the Velvet Room, Eddie May Mysteries presents Scarlett’s Dinner Theatre, now featuring THE CURSE OF THE PEKINESE PEREGRINE, directed by Zach Counsil and featuring a (pardon the pun) killer cast.  Every Saturday until, I dunno, a while now?  Sorry, I’m terrible at research…but definitely for March, and that’s dinner, a show, and some shenanigans afterwards.  A good nite out, folks.

Still more!  On the 27th at the NAC 4th Stage, the OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE has its day, and it should be a lotta fun.  And if you’re one of those COOL people who live in Toronto, then maybe you might wanna (you really do) check out Mikaela Dyke’s incredible DYING HARD at the Tarragon Theatre, from the 13th thru 18th.  Tell’er the Visitor sent ya!

All this plus the DEAD UNICORN INK fundraiser on the 24th at the Fall Down Gallery, the GRUPPO RUBATO fundraiser on the 117th at the GCTC studio, all the usual Improv shows from CRUSH IMPROV, GRIMprov, CRYSTAL BASEMENT, INSENSITIVITY TRAINING, and newbies MI-6…phew!  If you’re bored this month, folks, you’re dead inside.  I didn’t even TOUCH the dance stuff, or the spoken word…sheesh.  Get out there.  See some shows, support some artists, make a little love, do what you gotta DO, folks.  Just do it.  I’m out…off to a couple things this evening my own self.  And if I can do it…boy, you can too.  Peace, love and soul, Ottawa,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in February ’12

In Theatre on February 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Righty-O, it’s definitely a jam-packed February, the little theatrical month that could.  So let’s get straight at it, and once again, tell me if I miss anything (you won’t, I know, but I still have to ask):

Only a few more days to catch the legendary (and deservedly so) BLOOD ON THE MOON at the GCTC, which ends on the 5th.  And don’t forget to buy the book and DVD when you’re done!

Starting off a full month at the Gladstone is Plosive‘s CYRANO DE BERGERAC, starring Richard Gelinas in a goddamned glorious performance.  It runs til the 18th, and you should run to see it.

Ottawa Little Theatre has TRANSLATIONS from the 14th thru March 3rd, and it looks like a blast.

The NAC kicks off CREATION in the studio space, a biblical mashup in the style of last year’s NATIVITY.  Should be a gooder, and that goes until the 20th.

Arts Courts third new resident company, Creations in Vivo (along with Evolution and New Theatre Ottawa) launches their season centerpiece LEGENDES BOREALES from the 8th to 11th, and I’m seriously looking forward to seeing what these wizards have cooked up.

Also at Arts Court, a one day revival of the smash Fringe hit QUESTION PERIOD: THE MUSICAL on the 4th.  A good chance to catch a show that sold out friggin’ Alumni Auditorium last June! (note: as mentioned in the comments, the 4pm show on the 4th is already sold out, so a 2:30 preview matinee has been added, same day!)

Kanata Theatre has A PACK OF LIES running at the Ron Maslin from the 7th-11th, and 14th-18th.

At Academic Hall, Comedie des Deux Rives presents LA CIMETIERE DES VOITURES from the 7th to 11th, and ya know some French Theatre is ALWAYS a good time.  In that vein, there’s also LABORATOIRES GESTES from the 9th-11th and ZONE on the 25th, both at La Nouvelle Scene.

Algonquin Theatre kicks of their 2012 season with a Fringe-style double bill, THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE and ‘DENTITY CRISIS, from the 8th-11th.  Anyone else sensing a bit of a theatrical logjam around that time?  And there’s more coming!

Bouncing back to Ottawa U, their new musical theatre gang Broadway Off-Broadway is premiering [title of show] at Academic Hall from the 16th thru 18th.  How’d they know I missed that show at the Victoria Fringe?  Much obliged, BOB!

Over at my old Alma Mater at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, another Fringe hit THE WALK is remounting in the Nathalie Stern Studio from the 3rd-5th and 10th-12th.  Good guy and acting coach of mine Brie Barker is in this one, so run and getcher ticket now!

And speaking of OSSD alum…my scene partner Julie (and loads of other fabulous babes) are putting on THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at the Bronson Centre on the 24th and 25th, in support of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa.

Back at the Gladstone, the amazing Bremner Duthie crashes Ottawa with his cabaret one-manner ’33 from the 22nd to March 10th, in conjunction with local heroes Black Sheep Theatre.  Black Sheep is also launching their new BLACK BOX series late in the month with Jayson MacDonald’s LAST GODDAMNED PERFORMANCE PIECE, running in a late slot from the 23rd-25th, and again from March 1st – 3rd  The Series continues with a couple of jaw-dropping shows the following month.  I can’t wait.

And swinging around to the GCTC, the second edition of the UNDERCURRENTS FESTIVAL is finally upon us! Running from the 7th thru 19th with six amazing shows being hosted:

AND THEN IT HAPPENS from the 8th-18th

BLUE BOX from the 7th-12th

FALLING OPEN from the 10th-19th

HIGHWAY 63: THE FORT MAC STORY from the 11th-18th

LIVE FROM THE BELLY OF A WHALE from the 7th – 14th

WEETUBE 5400 from the 14th to 19th

Plenty for everyone, and there will even be some Foolish company to enjoy in the lobby!  Also, booze.

And just in case you thought we were done, Third Wall theatre has the 3rd of their Empty Space reading series with a tribute to Vaclav Havel, featuring James Richardson, John Koensgen and Simon Bradshaw at the Glebe St.James United Church on the 22nd.  Phew!  Don’t ever say you don’t have something to do this month!  That’s it for me, I have comix to read, food to eat, and a show to see tonite.  Catch you at the theatre, folks.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)