Posts Tagged ‘norah paton’

Fresh Meat 2014 – Wrapping it Up

In Theatre on October 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm


And just a whole Helluva lot faster than it came, it’s all over. Fresh Meat Festival 2014 is a wrap, or expired, or whatever the correct metaphor/simile would be, and there’s nothing to do but look back on what went down (before we start looking forward to next year, that is). It was a wild weekend for me, and I’ll start with a quick recap of the shows I done seen and enjoyed from some amazing artists I’m proud as punch to call pals.

Lily Sutherland in GARDEN IN THE SKY.

Lily Sutherland in GARDEN IN THE SKY.

There was DOUBLE DUTY from FG[squared], written and directed by Laura Hall and starring the comedy triple crown of Brooke Cameron, Des Warmington and Jordan Hancey. A merrily goofy tale of sinister plots of intergalactic war and rather ambitious janitors trying to save the day. Features one of the best spit-takes of all time.

Then came Seedling Theatre and GARDEN IN THE SKY, a touching and funny story from creator/star Lily Sutherland about a 12 year old girl who neither understands the rapid changes in her life, nor has any intention of surrendering to them without a fight. Beautiful stuff.

May Can Theatre threw a very special party with TUSK TURNS ONE!, and turned in one of their most vividly theatrical and effective pieces to date. A seriously great show, and one I hope they’ll return to or remount someday.

Saturday night saw some special guest stars in the mystery performer slot, and we were treated to not one but two performances, as local heroes ANDY MASSINGHAM and TIM OBERHOLZER delivered wildly different pieces based on the same inspiration items supplied to them only 3 days previously. The end result was an alien transvestite musical from Tim (who clearly has ROCKY HORROR on the brain for some reason…) and the unforgettable onstage transformation of Andy Massingham into Leonard Cohen. Brilliant. And kudos once again to the first week shows, Backpack Theatre’s MY CARDBOARD LIFE, Cart Before the Horse’s ME AND MY MONSTER, Will Somers and Dave Brown with FORSTNER AND FILLISTER PRESENT: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER IN: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER, Thunk! Theatre’s smash.bam.kapow., and Traced Theatre’s THE BIG WEED.  Delights and wonders all.

And then there was that OTHER show.

FSD poster2

With my wonderful and awe-inspiring teammates Madeleine Hall and Jodi Morden, the premiere show from Strange Visitations, FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING came about on Thursday night, the second show of the evening. More than five weeks of steady rehearsals all came crashing down into one 20 minute onstage explosion, and we would finally find out if anything we were doing would click with people at all, at all. Well, I’m happy to say that yes, things did indeed click. In fact (or at least, in my potentially skewed opinion), the response to the show that night, and on the following two performances, exceeded all my hopes and childish little dreams. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, and I could not be prouder of what our gang brought to the Fresh Meat table. On behalf of us all (including our onstage personas Simpleman, Bruiser, Mystic Flower, Muscles Krenzer, Puff Mommy, Sexy Dreamgirl, Dreamy Nerdgirl, Hannah Gloriana, Helena Handbasket, Dancing Queen, Bonnie N.Clyde and Datebot 5000), a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out and supported not only us, but the entire beautiful DIY initiative that is the Fresh Meat Festival. Almost teared up a bit on closing night when Andy Massingham shared a reminiscence about the origins of the event with Jonah Allingham and the OTS. Proud to have helped keep the connection going this year.

The Dating Team of Kevin Madeleine and Jodi...glad to say we're still smiling after that run.

The Dating Team of Kevin, Madeleine and Jodi…glad to say we’re still smiling after that run.

Thanks also to the amazing FM stage management team of Katherine Dermott and Connor Price-Kelleher, who were fantastic and professional all the way through, never missing a beat. Plus the entire Fresh Meat production team, sponsors, mentors, the whole mob of’em. I already miss the vibe, and look forward to whatever comes next in my theatrical life. For right now it’s back into rehearsals for Chamber Theatre’s 2015 production of Eugene O’Neill’s THE HAIRY APE, and plotting out a thing or two on the side and in the future in the meantime. Has the world seen the last of Faster then the Speed of Dating..? Time will tell. But thanks again, Ottawa (and Toronto, in the case of the amazing Nadine Thornhill who drove all the way over just to catch our show…love ya!), it’s been tremendous, it’s been heartwarming, and hopefully it’s been just the beginning. Ding!

Peace, Love and Soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Fresh Meat 2014 – Week Two Preview!

In Theatre on October 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

Halfway there!!


The first week of the 2014 edition of the Fresh Meat Festival is a wrap, and the first five world premiere shows all strutted their considerable stuff on the Arts Court Library stage to a nearly sold-out three day crowd. I managed to make it out to opening night, and have nothing but jolly praise for the creators who made their magic. Fest Founder Jonah Allingham impressed with his solo physical piece MY CARDBOARD LIFE, taking potent theatrical jabs at working class Hell. Megan Carty had a very cool, dark experimental piece in ME AND MY MONSTER, with some especially nifty use of audio. Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome of Thunk! Theatre had a hilarious and visually wonderful story of a dysfunctional dynamic duo in their superhero tale smash.bam.kapow. Allison Harris and Lindsay van der Grinten showed awesome comedy chops with the fast paced comedy THE BIG WEED, but were mightily challenged for best comedy team of the fest by David Benedict Brown and Will Somers as FORSTNER AND FILLISTER. I hope we see both of these pairs back again some day, fingers are crossed. So happy I caught them all, sad that I missed Saturday’s surprise performer Pierre Brault..! But anxious for part two. Here’s what’s comin’!


TUSK TURNS ONE! From May Can Theatre. The latest from Ottawa’s hardest working independent theatre kids, and fresh off a proper 5-year roasting last month. Come celebrate Tusk’s first birthday (at 33, no less) and see what May Can have to launch years 6 to 10!


DOUBLE DUTY from FG[squared]. Written by the awesome Laura Hall, it’s the time-honoured story of Space Janitors saving the universe, with the killer cast of Desiree Warmington, Brooke Cameron and Jordan Hancey!  Ain’t no funny like sci-fi funny.


GARDEN IN THE SKY from Seedling Theatre. A one woman tale (yay!) Starring the hyper-talented Lily Sutherland (double-Yay!!) in a tale about new surroundings and how to make sense of change when you’re only 12 years old. Theatre for young and old alike from one of my fav’rit up and coming superstars. Can’t wait!!

Strange Visitations - Fresh Meat 3 (photo credit Kathryn Paige Reeves)

FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING from Strange Visitations…but more on that tomorrow. 😉

Also, there will be a Super-Secret Show on Saturday Night (replacing May Can, who only perform twice this weekend, so don’t miss’em like a chump!), which I seriously have no clue about…but the last one was Pierre fuckin’ Brault, folks, so expect something pretty damn sweet.  Get excited for the Freshest Theatre meat around, and let’s see you folks pack the joint this weekend!  And remember, the bar IS open. 🙂  See you there.  PEace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)


In Fringe Fest, Theatre on June 26, 2014 at 5:18 pm

One last show for me on this Wednesday at Ottawa Fringe…making it a slow, slackerly three-show night, because even I need a break sometimes. Or, okay, I just need even more time at the beer tent, but that’s sort of a break. Of course, somehow today is the day I’m running dangerously late in getting my writeups done, because I roll like that. Ironically. I roll ironically.

Irony or no, I still had one more show to dig into that night, ROYAL JELLY from Book of Why, at good old Arts Court theatre. Written by Kara Crabb (whose THE STILLBIRTH appeared at club Saw few months back as part of Red.Collective’s OFF THE CUFF series), the show stars Crabb herself, Noa Nussbaum and Norah Paton as a trio of harem widows in a post-apocalyptic bunker, squabbling over the usual things…who gets the bigger share of their late husband’s heart for dinner, who gets to marry little Jacob jr. when he grows up, which one of them will be eaten next…you know, the usual.

Promo image for ROYAL JELLY (pic by Kara Lis Coverdale)

Promo image for ROYAL JELLY (pic by Kara Lis Coverdale)

Looking and sounding at first appearance like a scene out of an old Tom Baker episode of Doctor Who (that is SUCH a compliment from me, you guys, trust me), and featuring live onstage musical accompaniment from Kara-Lis Coverdale, this is a show that’s delightfully weird to describe. A life or death sci-fi premise is played out in full-on camp mode by three very talented actors…Crabb as the imperious head wife Gal-Pal chews scenery and slinks about like nobody’s business. Nussbaum is a hoot as wide-eyed Pap-X, earnest and devoted to a fault. And Paton as pragmatic Suffagir, ever scheming, arguing, and occasionally seducing, is likewise great to watch in action. This is a slickly made show with great costumes, set and sound that makes a point of making fun of itself, and that makes for a damn fun viewing. Congrats to Book of Why on a memorable debut…and yeah, that baby was kinda creepy. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Side note: the show does run a bit shorter than its stated 60 minute run time, so you might be able to schedule an earlier after-show in if you plan wisely!

2014 Ottawa Fringe – 5 Questions with NORAH PATON

In Fringe Fest, Theatre on June 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

I first met Norah Paton when she and the fine folk of Hopegrown Productions shared a venue with me at TAN Coffee with their terrific show AROUND MISS JULIE, which Norah directed.  Since then she’s been keeping busy with things like FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER, her one-woman performance from the Fresh Meat Festival, and stage managing Hopegrown’s latest LOTUS at the Montreal Fringe.  She’s back in the Ottawa Fringe this year acting in a cool new show, ROYAL JELLY.


– How long have you been working with your show co-creators Noa Nussbaum and Kara Crabb?
I met both Kara and Noa at different times while in school at Concordia. Kara and I had always talked about collaborating on something, but that didn’t happen until FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER for the Fresh Meat Festival. We really enjoyed working together and found our styles meshed well. We were unlucky with the Fringe draw, but Noa was actually the first company pulled, so we decided to all work together.
– How important is the creation of original work to you?
Really important! From a broad perspective, it’s important because it means that theatre doesn’t stagnate and die. From a purely financial perspective, it means you don’t have to pay for rights. The Fringe Festival is also the perfect platform for new works to be created. The bare-bones technical possibilities, shorter time slots and lower ticket prices make it the perfect place to premiere new works and try something out.
– ROYAL JELLY looks to be one of the darker pieces at Ottawa Fringe this year, which is terrific. Is that a nice break from lighter recent fare like Julie, or FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER?
People keep telling us it sounds dark. I didn’t expect that.

It’s a heart breaking story, absolutely, but I hope people can also see the humour. Fringe can be a tough place to market a more serious show, so we’re hoping people don’t get too put off by the dark subject matter.

Promo image for ROYAL JELLY (pic by Kara Lis Coverdale)

Promo image for ROYAL JELLY (pic by Kara Lis Coverdale)

– Are you bringing back any Fringe wisdom after tackling the beast that is Edinburgh last year (or Fringe cynicism)?
Yes to both, I would say. Edinburgh was (as anyone will tell you) completely insane and overwhelming and exhausting.
The biggest lesson I learned over there was about working smart, not just hard. With every Fringe, but even more so with Edinburgh, there is always more to do. More promotion, more flyer-ing, more shows to see, more networking to do, more posters to put up and more promo performances you can do. But with a three week run like we had, you can’t be constantly doing everything. And while flyer-ing may seem like good promotional time, when you’re the 50th person handing someone a flyer in 5 minutes, that’s probably not the most efficient way to promote your show. And it’s tiring! It’s a delicate balance to strike, but if you don’t take care of yourself, no one will.
Sidebar: really excited to see that the Ottawa Fringe has introduced a half price hut this year! I loved this in Edinburgh and am really hoping for it’s success here as well!
– What are the themes and issues explored in this play that you think (or hope) will resonate with Fringe audiences? Or that resonate with YOU?
We’ve been talking a lot about motherhood and fertility. Drawing inspiration from Medea, there’s a lot about women and power and politics and how they all fit together. But there’s also this sci-fi element and the world of the play is definitely not realistic. A lot of the pieces I have been working on recently have dealt with themes relating to women or gender, so it’s fun to look at these things through an absurd lens.

ROYAL JELLY plays at the Ottawa Fringe festival (June 19th to 29th)at Arts Court Theatre.  Full showtime and ticket information available HERE.


Coming Up in January 2014

In Theatre on January 2, 2014 at 12:30 am

New Year!  But slow month, it looks like, so make the most of what we got (see it ALL, I mean).

THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the National Arts Centre.  Still singing until the 4th!

COMPANY OF FOOLS 12th NIGHT FUNDRAISER on the 5th, at the NAC 4th Stage.  Wherein the Fools announces their new season, crown a new king or queen, and just generally makes fools of themselves, as only they can.

SHAPE OF A GIRL at the Avalon Studio, from Cart Before the Horse Theatre.  A one woman (plus Chorus) show from writer Joan Macleod and director Paul Griffin that sounds like a nail-biter.  10th to 12th, 17th to 19th.

RUMOURS at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Farce ala Neil Simon! From the 14th through February 1st.


STORIES TO THE SOUND OF THE DRUM at the NAC 4th Stage, from Ottawa Storytellers. A one-man show featuring Metis/Mi’kmag performer Robert Seven Crows…part of Ottawa StoryTellers’ SPEAKING OUT, SPEAKING IN feature series taking place monthly until June.  On the 16th!

RENT at the Kailash Mital Theare, from Sock’n’Buskin. The Sockies do good musical and this production of the suburban version of LA BOHEME should be no different.  From the 16th to 18th, 23rd to 25th.


DETROIT at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions. Chris Ralph directs this Plosive show from writer Lisa D’Amour about neighbourly combat in suburbia.  From the 17th to February 1st.

ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN, ONE NIGHT ONLY!  At Arts Court Courtroom, from May Can Theatre and Norah Paton. An evening of theatre featuring May Can’s THE ROOM OUTSIDE THE ROOM starring Tony Adams, and Norah Paton’s FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER, recently seen at the Fresh Eat Festival!  Don’t miss this one on the 17th.

WAR HORSE at Southam Hall NAC.  A giant puppet horse, as I understand it…all I need to know!  21st to the 26th.

KIM’S CONVENIENCE at the NAC Theatre, from Soulpepper. Ins Choi’s award winning play about a Korean-Canadian convenience store owning family.  22nd to February 8th.

GRAIN OF SALT at Various Locations, from 9th Hour Theatre.  An original verbatim piece about Christianity and people’s thoughts about it.  Check their website for the different locales, from the Mercury Lounge to Pressed Cafe and more!  Plays from the 22nd to 31st!


CLUE-LESS at the Velvet Room, from Eddie May Mysteries.  Every Saturday this month, get your eat on wand watch some of Ottawa’s finest solve a theatrical mystery!

And the OTTAWA STILT UNION have a sweet offer this January, for an awesome Acrobatics workshop taking place over the weekends of the 11-12th and 17-18th.    If you’re at all interested, these guys are some of the best.  Don’t miss out…registration deadline is the 5th!


FLOTS, TOUT CE QUI BRILLE VOIT at the NAC Studio.  Theatre designed for a very young audience, but knowing French creators, probably still immensely entertaining for adults too.  The 25th and 26th.

CONFIDENCES TROPS INTIMES at Theatre de L’Ile.  Starting on the 29th, and going right through until March!


POP FICTION at Arts Court Studio, from Groupe des Deux. Described as a ‘co-lingual’ show, which I’m pretty sure means ‘bilingual’, but directed by Natalie Joy Quesnel so who cares!  It’ll be amazing.  From the 22nd to Feb 1st.


CRUSH IMPROV has a busy month…they’ll be back at Mother McGintey’s in the Market on Monday the 6th for their regular scheduled ‘BOUT TIME featuring to teams so epic I’m already very sad I’m working that night.  CAPITAL CRUSH returns on the 25th at the Centrepointe Studio, a team vs team long-form battle royale.  And Crush does DETROIT at the Gladstone Theatre on the 31st, an improv take on the new Plosive show following that evening’s performance (see the listing above for more info!).  Crush is also offering a new workshop on the 17th at Centrepointe Studio…pre-registration is required, you can check their website for more details!

GRIMPRov should be back on the final Wednesday of this month at their usual haunt, the Cock and Lion, likewise CRYSTAL BASEMENT plays on the last Tuesday every month at the Atomic Rooster.

And if that just isn’t enough theatre for you, there’s always some nearby out-of-town action going on, like…

NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL from the 8th to 19th at Factory Theatre in Toronto.  Featurig that Randy and Evi Quaid show!

WILDSIDE FESTIVAL from the 3rd to 12th at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. Featuring Blue Box and Little Orange Man!

Was I missing something?  I hope I was missing something, I want more!  Let me know, and I’ll see ya out there!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Fresh Meat 2013 Preview – Part 2!

In Theatre on October 23, 2013 at 8:27 am

Well, Week one of the second edition of the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL in Ottawa is over, and kick me like a yappy poodle but it was a good damn time.  Where to start?  I was there on Thursday and Saturday, and got to see: two mighty hilarious sets from hosting heroes GRIMPROV; Whimsimole making a solid, funny theatrical debut with TEMP (featuring Nick Wade himself, hurrah!); the ladies of Little Green Hat making potato sacks look good in the haunting WHO WILL SEPARATE US?; Mado Boyes-Manseau being freaking amazing in her one woman drama TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET; Tony and Jake getting too close for comfort in Rapscallion Diversion’s MANIMALES; Nick Amott having too much fun with lighting effects in WAKE; and Thunk! Theatre being just all beautiful and wonderful in FAR & NEAR & HERE.  All this plus booze, friends, and all the ambient sound you can handle!  What more could you ask for?  A whole other weekend of that, perhaps?  You got it.  Here’s what to look forward to in the second spectacular week of the little theatre festival that just doesn’t give a fuck:

Tim, Kristine and Brooke of TWO AND A HALF WOMEN.

Tim, Kristine and Brooke of TWO AND A HALF WOMEN.

Hosting duties for part two fall, almost appropriately enough, to TWO AND A HALF WOMEN, a mighty improv trio consisting of Kristine Shadid, Brooke Cameron and Tim Anderson.  Formed in 2012 as part of Crush’s ‘Bout Time series, they quickly became one of the winningest and most beloved teams ever to make merry at the Elmdale Tavern.  Trust me, it will be VERY good to see them back together.

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert of MAY CAN THEATRE.

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert of MAY CAN THEATRE.

And the shows proper get underway as well, with Ottawa faves MAY CAN THEATRE, who most recently killed it at Fringe with their latest full lengther, HAPPINESS(tm), as well as a certain collaboration with BackPack Theatre (see below).  Now Cory and Tony are back at Fresh Meat with MOTION PASSED, their first ever collaboration with director Tania Levy.  Tania is all kinds of fantastic so this is more good news, folks, and I expect greatness from their tale of the Beautification and Improvement team of Sandy Hill.

The B Team. bitches.

The B Team. bitches.

Then there’s the company that Fresh Meat founder Jonah Allingham built, BACKPACK THEATRE.  After solo shows at the Fringe and original FM fest, Backpack and May Can teamed up for THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE (AND OTHER FUCK UPS) last summer, scoring the Future of the Fringe award (and yes, I may or may not have been in that show as well).  Backpack’s latest is THE B TEAM, an action-figure adventure about the unstoppable Bean Brothers, featuring Jonah, Nick Fournier, and Leslie Cserepy.

Obviously, A Theatre2

New to the Festival, but old hats at killer storytelling, OBVIOUSLY A THEATRE COMPANY are jumping in the Fresh Meat arena with their offering UNTITLED, UNPUBLISHED AND UNSETTLED, featuring three poetic performances by Fraser MacKinnon, Jean Nicolas Masson and Elizabeth McIelwain, for something a little off the usual path.

Dead Unicorn Ink2

One last original Fresh Meat Team, DEAD UNICORN INK are returning, hot off the remount of their Fringe hit CHESTERFIELD with their new show SCARS, written by Sylvie Recoskie, and featuring herself along with Ted and Patrice-Ann Forbes, and directed by Aaron Lajeunesse.  The story of what promises to be a terrifically uncomfortable morning after, DUI has a history of delivering some pretty cool goods, and this should be no exception.


A welcome addition to the festival lineup this year is EGODETH, aka Norah Paton (who you may remember as director of the Fringe fav’rit AROUND MISS JULIE this past summer) and Kara Crabb, who are teaming up to bring us FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER, a story about ‘one woman’s journey through cultural carnage at the forefront of a new scientific era’.  Which, quite frankly, sounds like exactly my cuppa tea.  Can’t wait.

Here Be Dragons1

And finally, another new company tp Fresh Meat (and even more Ottawa Theatre School power, yay!) Caitlin Corbett’s HERE BE DRAGONS returns from her Fringe debut MORNING STAR with a whole new ensemble piece, FOUNDATIONS.  A story about the forgotten ghosts of the Rideau Canal, and featuring smooth Tim Oberholzer Nick Surges, and OTS alums Hannah Gibson-Fraser and Mitchel Rose, this is definitely one to look forward to.

The Festival runs for three remaining days, and costs 15$ a night or 25$ for the whole weekend.  If you already bought the full festival pass LAST weekend, then just come on in!  Here’s the lineup for each day (tho as before, the specific running order won’t be decided until the evening of the performances):

Thursday the 24th: Backpack, Here be Dragons, Egodeth, Obviously a Theatre Company.

Friday the 25th: Backpack, May Can, Dead unicorn Ink, Obviously a Theatre Company.

Saturday the 26th: May Can, Egodeth, Dead Unicorn Ink, Here be Dragons.

I promise, folks, you don’t want to miss a minute of this festival, even with the crumby bands occasionally bleeding through from below.  It just adds to the DIY fun!  Grounds up, hands on Theatre like this doesn’t happen every day, but thanks to enterprising and energetic little upstarts like the Fresh Meat gang, we’re getting closer all the time.  Come on and support them, like you know you want to.  See you there!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)