Posts Tagged ‘phoenix players’

Coming Up in March 2015

In Theatre on March 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Marching into March with a loaded calender of Theatre-stuffs to keep you inspired and giddy.  Take your pick!


SABRINA FAIR at the Ottawa Little Theatre. OLT takes on the classic romcom, with cockatoos. Until the 7th.


BANKRUPT At the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions and Theatre 4.669. Stephanie Turple’s world premiere comedy, with music from the Peptides. What more ya need to know? Until the 14th.

OBAABERIMA at the NAC Studio. Tawiah M’Carthy’s acclaimed one person show about sexuality and identity. From the 3rd to 14th.

URINETOWN THE MUSICAL at Alumni Auditorium, from Fauteux Productions.  If you’re a fan of musicals about urine, then…well, you might have to crash this one, as it’s already sold out! On the 5th and 6th.


CONJURE at the Avalon Studio, from Magic Studio Productions. A magical evening with Zach Counsil and Steven Lafond, making things disappear and stuff. The 6th to 8th.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society. One of Mel Brooks’ finest gets the Orpheus treatment. The 6th through 15th.

TOUGH! at Algonquin College Studio N118, from Algonquin Theatre Arts. The Gonqs take on George F.Walker. The 11th to 15th.

THE BEST BROTHERS at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Andy Massingham and John Ng in the latest hit from Daniel MacIvor! From the 10th to 29th.

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert in HAPPINESS(tm)

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert in HAPPINESS(tm)

HAPPINESS(tm) at Arts Court Theatre, from May Can Theatre (part of TACTICS). Are you happy? Because even if you are, this show can make you happier. The 13th to 21st.

ACT at Studio Leonard-Beaulne. From Ottawa U MFA candidate Miriam Cusson. The 12th to 14th.


MY FAIR LADY at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton U Campus), from Balmour Productions.  A classic story gets a modern Arabic twist, for one night only on March 14th!

THE YOUPPI CLUB at Artissimo Cafe, from the Ottawa Stilt Union.  First of a promised series of monthly meetings about…I have no idea. Just be there on the 16th at 7pm.  And don’t forget about the Stilt Union’s weekly Drop-In workout sessions, Sundays at the Ottawa Dance Directive studio!

REXY! at the Gladstone Theatre, from Phoenix Players. William Lyon Mackenzie King, onstage where he belongs. The 19th to 28th.

Tess McManus, sittin' in a tree.  Pic by Tom Benson.

Tess McManus, sittin’ in a tree. Pic by Tom Benson.

STRAIGHT FROM THE HARP at the NAC 4th Stage, from Little Green Hat and Ottawa Storytellers. Tess McManus’ Fringe hit TALES SHE TELLS gets reworked and relaunched with some musical accompaniment from Dawn Bailey and Susan Toman! Only on the 19th.

SUBDEVISION at Enriched Bread Artists (951 Gladstone), from a Ton of Artists.  Three days of Site-
Specific mini-plays in a festival of sheer wonder brought to you by the SubDevision collection of artists, including (but not limited to) Emily Pearlman, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Skeleton Key, Catriona Leger, and so much more!  From the 19th to the 21st.


THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at NAC Southam Hall, from Opera Lyra. Opera! Get dressed up and enjoy. The 21st to 28th.

GOODBYE, PICCADILLY at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Family dramedy to kick off your springtime. The 24th to April 11th.

THE LION IN WINTER at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. Christmas in the 12th century!  From the 24th to April 4th.

TAKE ME BACK TO JEFFERSON at the NAC Theatre, from Theatre Smith-Gilmour. Southern Gothic tale of tragedy and family all that jazz. The 25th to April 11th.

OTC 2015

OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE at NAC 4th Stage, presented by A Company of Fools. Who will win the Rubber Chicken Award? Find out on the 27th!


THE HAIRY APE At the Black Sheep Inn, from Chamber Theatre Hintonburg. From Eugene O’Neill, granddaddy of American Theatre. Premiering on the 27th! Continues into April at the Carleton Tavern. And I’ll be in this one, by the by, so get your tickets now! 🙂

GAME OF BONES at the Velvet Room, from Eddie May Mysteries.  Every Saturday night, killer dinner theatre inspired by the classic Fantasy Teevee series SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTERS, I think.


LA SOUPE DE KAFKA at Theatre de L’Ile. The 11th to April 11th.

LE CHARGE DE L’ORIGINAL EPORMYABLE at Academic Hall. Ottawa U franco-theaatre goodness from director M.Guy Beausoleil. The 24th to 28th.

THEATRE 100 at Studio Leonard-Beaulne. A Collection of one-acts from Ottawa U. The 27th and 28th.


‘BOUT TIME at Mother McGinteys, from Crush Improv. Reunion Tour vs. The Princess Parade! Monday the 2nd. And Check out Crush’s One-night Fundraiser show for Juvenile Arthritis at O’Grady’s Outpost on the 7th!

A CHEST FULL OF BOOTY at the Lunenburg Pub, from Hall of Justice on the 15th.

GRIMPROV every first and last Wednesday of the month at the Cock and Lion! Wednesday the 4th join them for a bout of ELEMENTAL IMPROV.


SHELARIOUS at Pressed Cafe. Hosted by Birds of Prey from Experimental Farm Theatre, an all-gal night of comedy in celebration of International Women’s Day! Sunday the 8th.

MARCH MADNESS WORKSHOP SERIES at the Jack Purcell Community Center, from Experimental Farm Theatre. Improv workshops for all comers, on Tuesday the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th.

– More to come!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Coming up in April 2014

In Theatre on April 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Not much going on in Theatres this month, really…

…April Fools, you dull-witted suckers!  There’s LOTS!  Come along now…

Donnie Laflamme as Willy Loman, in rehearsal for DEATH OF A SALESMAN.  Pic by Jen Vawer.

Donnie Laflamme as Willy Loman, in rehearsal for DEATH OF A SALESMAN. Pic by Jen Vawer.

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre Hintonburg. After a killer opening week, the Loman family is back for another run at the Carleton Tavern. Plays there from the 3rd to 5th, but returns later on the 25th for a night at Southminster United in the Glebe (15 Aylmer ave., near the Mayfair Theatre) and then on May 1st at the BlackSheep Inn, out in Wakefield! Seriously, do not miss this one, gang. Shows like this don’t come along very often.

DANCING WITH RAGE at the GCTC, from Mary Walsh. Marg just keeps on coming, as the almost sold-out one-woman show from Canada’s comedy legend continues. Check the box office for any last minute seats! Until the 6th.


MURDER IN NOIRVILLE at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. Film noir fun in Kanata, until the 5th.

SEEDS at the National Arts Centre Theatre. Another Canuck legend Eric Peterson headlines this biggie about everyone’s fav’rit real life supervillains, Monsanto. Until the 12th.

DRAMA AT INISH at the Ottawa Little Theatre, co-pro with Tara Players. A few more chances to get some Irish on at the OLT! Until the 12th.


HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Gladstone Theatre, from Vanity Project Productions. Already generating awesome buzz, tickets are moving fast for the hottest musical in Ottawa, starring Tim Oberholzer. Check it out for yourself! 2nd to 5th only.


RUDDYGORE at Algonquin Commons theatre, from the Savoy Society. The first of two operas that I’ve found for the month, some Gilbert and Sullivan coolness to start us off. 3rd to 6th at that big new theatre at Algonquin I haven’t been to yet. It looks cool, though.

Anger in Earnest and Ernestine

THE ANGER IN ERNEST AND ERNESTINE at the Ottawa Backpackers Inn, from Vacant House Theatre. Premiering this week is the inaugural work from a new company I’m especially excited about, so I’m gonna ramble a bit more than usual in this post. Vacant House Theatre is the creation of Karina Milech and Alexis Scott, two graduates of my beloved Ottawa Theatre School and two fabulously talented actors, as should be expected. They were in the same year in the OTS, and were seen by Ottawa audiences in great shows like THE EUMENIDES, FALSE ASSUMPTIONS and THE FARM SHOW. They’ve picked THE ANGER IN ERNEST AND ERNESTINE as their debut play, and are even inaugurating a new Ottawa venue, the basement of the Backpackers’ Inn, for the occasion. It’s a cozy spot as I understand it…only 12 seats per performance (although discounted floor seats may be available to the adventurous theatre-goer), so book your tickets early! The cast also includes OTS vets Nick Fournier and Patrick Kelly, and the troupe has come upon an extremely clever reason for casting 4 actors in a 2-actor play, I can’t wait to see how it works. Directed by the Gladstone’s David Whiteley, this one looks to be a serious don’t-miss-it piece from an exciting new troupe. It plays over three weeks (4th-6th, 11th-13th, and 25th-27th), so you have few excuses to miss out. Say you were there when Vacant House got its start! Well, okay, they had a bit at the OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE last week, but I’ll almost forgive you if you missed it. Though you might have trouble forgiving yourself.

sans sense

SANS SENSE at the Ottawa Dance Directive Studio (the ‘Oddbox’), Arts Court, from We ART. Short works by cool new talent, and featuring the onstage talents of Will Lafrance, Joel Garrow and Marissa Caldwell! From the 9th to the 13th.

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK at the Gladstone Theatre, from Phoenix Players. The Phoenix gang return with the true-life tale of the most famous Belieber of them all (sorry). From the 10th to 18th.


2 SMALL BODIES at the Avalon Studio, from New Ottawa Repertory Theatre (NORT). 11th to 20th. Another slice of lighthearted merriment from Doug Phillips and NORT. Bring your tissues.   Sadly, this production has been postponed until further notice.  Here’s hoping they come back soon!

MAMBO ITALIANO at the Algonquin College Studio Theatre, building N. The Gonqs close out their season with a show that I can only assume will include lots of dancing…so, thumbs up! 16th to 19th.

M Butterfly

MADAMA BUTTERFLY at NAC Southam Hall, from Opera Lyra. More Opera, this time from the Lyra gang and what promises to be a lush production indeed of Puccini’s classic. From the 19th to 26th.

MAY CAN THEATRE DOES: FLIP IT! at Arts Court Studio, from May Can. A live improvised game show, featuring special guest, Bloody Underrated’s Al Lafrance!  One night only on the 19th.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at the GCTC.  AKA the Lawyer play, the annual fundraiser event starring some of Ottawa’s gutsiest lawerly types. The 23rd to 26th.

SPRING AWAKENINGS IN SEASONS OF BLOOD at St.James Church (650 Lyon st. in the Glebe), from Third Wall Theatre.  The latest in 3rd Wall’s ‘Empty Space Series’, featuring readings from the work of Henry Beissel.

MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE at the Gladstone Theatre, from 730. Finally, some John P.Kelly in the Gladstone season! Better late than never. 25th to May 17th.

MAURITIUS at the Ottawa Little Theatre. A Cool sounding entry for the OLT’s 101st season…Laura Hall’s in it, so you’ve already got your reason to go. From the 29th to May 17th.
HUFF at the National Arts Centre Studio. Cliff Cardinal brings his acclaimed one-manner to the NAC,and I can’t wait. 29th to May 10th.

Plus the continuing fun every Saturday with Eddie May Mysteries at Scarlett’s Dinner Theatre, at the Velvet Room in the Market.  CLUE-LESS plays on the 5th, with DIAL M FOR MOUNTIE starting up the following weekend!

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

CHARLOTTE at L’Ecole de la Salle, from Cie Voix Theatre. A show for children playing on April 5th.


CARTE BLANCHE at L’Espace Rene-Prevost. More experimental French art and theatre, from the 3rd to 5th.

CE QUI NOUS RELIE at Arts Court Theatre A one-night event. “It started with a genuine desire to meet with teenagers and create a space for discussion and exchange. The concept was full of promise: anything could happen, but nothing was forced. The important thing was to stay receptive to what took shape: a vibrant constellation of personalities, points of view, declarations and opinions. A writer connected the dots with words, and the result was a unique, dynamic and unfettered script that the teens themselves will present in a staged reading for one night only. Come watch and listen!” On the 25th.

ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS at the NAC Theatre, 30th to May 3rd. MORE Michel Tremblay! Whee!

projet turandot

PROJET TURANDOT at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, from Theatre Tremplin w/Theatre la Catapulte. The 30th to May 10th.

     IMPROV and Other Stuff

CRUSH IMPROV has their monthly BOUT TIME at the Mother McGintey’s stage (Heart and Crown Irish Village, in the Market) on the 7th. Plus AL Connors is leading an improv workshop at Centrepointe Studio on the 1th, which you should totally go to.

GRIMPROV plays the first and last Wednesday of every month at the Cock’n’Lion, with this Wednseday’s show titled ‘What Else Could go Wrong?” Find out for yourself!

THE PRIX RIDEAU AWARDS 7th annual gala takes place on April 27th, this time moving to Bate Hall at All Saints Anglican Church, 44 Blckburn Ave. in Sandy Hill.  As good as any reason to go to church, I say.

sq 2014

And finally, April 17th is the STIFF QUICKIES event at Arts Court Theatre, featuring short films, tall drinks, and Ottawa Fringe Festival fundraising all night long. Good fun for a good cause, kids. That’s one to grow on.

As always, if I missed stuff (and I did), let me know and I’ll try and update quick as I can. Have some sweet times in the audience, folks. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)


Coming Up in November 2013

In Theatre on November 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

New Month, and this one’s all November-y!  Let’s see what terribly exciting stuffs await (hint: LOTS of exciting stuffs)!

PRINCESS T at Academic Hall, from the Ottawa U Drama Guild.  A cool as beans adaptation of Puccini’s TURNADOT, from the swell kids at Ottawa U (And starring Visitorium fav’rit Danielle Savoie!).  Plays until the 2nd.

TARTUFFE at the National Arts Centre Theatre.  Last chance to catch a pretty great Andy Jones take on Moliere, with the new NAC Ensemble.  Until the 2nd.

WAR OF THE WORLDS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  A short run for this rare Halloween version of the radio play, featuring Zach Counsil, Michelle leBlanc, live foley and a slew of CBC all-stars!  Until the 2nd.

DEADLY MURDER at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Twists and turns and murderly fun, OLT style.  Until the 2nd.

MERCUTIO AND OPHELIA at the Avalon Studio, from Fireflood Theatre.  A Few more chances to see what happens when Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet get their wires crossed.  The 1st thru 3rd.

YOU FANCY YOURSELF at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  A terrific one-hander from Maja Ardal about schoolyear life abroad.  Until the 3rd.


OCCUPY ME at the Ottawa Theatre School Studio, from Counterpoint Players.  Two shows, one night only of Bronwyn Steinberg’s one-woman yoga activism hit from SubDevision and Ottawa Fringe.  Only on the 2nd!

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at various locations, from 9th Hour Theatre.  Last month to check out the epic Freud vs.CS Lewis scrap!  On the 2nd, 8th, 15th and 16th…locations and showtimes HERE.

THE EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL at Arts Court Theatre, from New Theatre Ottawa.  Back for a second incarnation with a host of new short original plays from local artists like Lawrence Aronovitch, Karen Balcome, Tim Ginley and more!  Guaranteed fun time.  Until the 10th.

WHERE POPPIES BLOW at the GCTC Studio, from Salamander Theatre. A special showing of Salamander’s young audience show, lest ye forget.  Matinee of November 3rd.

AGNES OF GOD at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  John Pielmeier’s contentious play about religion, obsession, and other dinner table subjects. From the 5th to 16th.

THE LAST OF JANE AUSTEN at the Gladstone Theatre, from Phoenix Players. Two ladies try to train a boxer…I forget which Austen that was.  From the 6th to 16th.

STILL LOOKING FOR PARADISE at the Ottawa Little Theatre from Full Moon Rising Productions. A new Ian Stauffer play, as well as a fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission. 6th to 9th only!


SO2SPEAK at the Avalon Studio, from incite:LAB.  A new black comedy from Tim Ginley, and director Stewart Matthews.  8th to 10th and 15th to 17th. Check out their preview video if you still need convincing:

HAMLET (SOLO) at the NAC Studio.  OMG It’s back!  Raoul Bhaneja performs the entirety of Zombie Bill’s masterpiece all on his lonesome, no set, no effects.  Bloody inspirational.  From the 12th to 23rd.

MOMMA’S BOY at the Raw Sugar Cafe, from Bear and Co.  A delightful slice of musical romance and drama as Bear brings back their Fringe show for one night only in town.  Catch it on the 13th!

THE 7 PERSON HIGH CHAIR PYRAMID HIGH WIRE ACT at Arts Court Theatre, from Missoula Oblongata.  Also playing for one night (the same night, sheesh!), the oblongata gang returns after merriment a couple years back with THE DAUGHTER OF THE FATHER OF TIME MOTION STUDY.  Expect surreality and amazingness.  On the 13th!

ALL GALL at St.James United Church, from Third Wall.  An evening of French short works from the 3rd Wall gang, part of their continuing EMPTY SPACE reading series.  Only on the 13th!


SYLVIA at the Ottawa Theatre School Studio, from OTS.  This is the big one!!  First show of my new home’s season, featuring the awesome graduating class of 2013/14!  Come on out and see A.R.Gurney’s comedy about a family driven apart by a man and his dog.  From the 14th to 23rd!  Note: if you don’t come to see this, I will have to assume you don’t love me anymore.

8 WAYS MY MOTHER WAS CONCEIVED at the Gladstone Theatre. A one woman show from Michaela di Cesare, trying to disprove her Mother’s claims of immaculate conception. From the 20th to 23rd.

YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME at Arts Court Theatre, from Praxis Theatre.  A touring hit about shenanigans at the G20, hitting Ottawa for a limited engagement.  Come get your protest on!  From the 20th to 23rd.

LEGALLY BLONDE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  Hey, they took that movie about the pretty girl who became a lawyer and gave it some songs! And people like it! Maybe you will too!  From the 22nd to December 1st.

CHRISTMAS BELLES at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Some holiday themed fun from OLT.  Bring your own Egg Nog (but don’t, really).  Starts the 26th thru December 14th.

GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA, GOOD MORNING JULIET at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Time-warping Shakespearean fun from Ann-Marie MacDonald.  From the 26th to December 15th.

DOAS poster in jpg

DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre.  Willie Loman finally gets his day in Ottawa, at the venerable Carleton Tavern!  A not-to-be-missed show from the 27th thru December 7th.

And at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh (39 Dufferin) there will be an evening of previews of works-in-progress from CONNECT DANCE and the OTTAWA STILT UNION on the 30th, which sounds like some sweet fun to me.


VISAGE DE FEU at the NAC Studio.  Until the 2nd!

CENDRILLON at the NAC Theatre. A new spin on Cinderella, from the 6th to 9th.

LA FA LE DO at L’Ecole de la Salle, from Theatre la Catapulte and Theatre Francais (Toronto).  The 6th to the 9th.

OSCAR from Theatre de L’Ile.  From the 6th to December 14th.

LE PROJET LARAMIE from Comedie des Deux Rives, at Academic Hall.  A franco-translation of The Laramie Project from the Ottawa U gang.  From the 19th to 23rd.


CARTE BLANCHE at Espace Rene-Prevost.  New Works from Guy Perrault, Annie Cloutier and Dinorah Catzalco, from the 21st to 23rd.

OBALDIA THEATRE (ou THEATRE EN FOLIE) at the Shenkman Centre Richcraft Theatre, from Theatre du Village.  From the 20th to 23rd.

PETIT BONHOMME EN PAPIER CARBONNE at the NAC Studio. Storytelling and wee puppets! 29th and 30th.


CRUSH IMPROV continues to march on unabated, with a host of fun times coming in November, including:
– ‘BOUT TIME on November 4th at Mother McGinteys (Heart and Crown, Byward Market). The regular 3 on 3 battle continues!
SPOTLIGHT ON...Andrew King, November 14th at Centrepointe Studio.
– Workshops!  Improv Foundations on November 1st and 22nd at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre and Chamber Room, respectively. Also, Sketch Writing workshop on the 24th at the Avalon Chaplin Studio.  Trust me, Crush gives good workshop.

Updates as I hear stuff, as always, now get on out and see some shows!  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 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 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…

Murder, 70’s Style

In Theatre on April 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Been a while since I was last haunting the Gladstone Theatre walls (or at least it feels like it), and I certainly needed me some theatre last night, so a trip on down to see the latest from the community kids at Phoenix Players was just the ticket.  The second week of their latest production, Ron Clark and Sam Bobricks’ MURDER AT THE HOWARD JOHNSON’S was just getting underway, and who isn’t game for some homicide-themed hijinks?

Directed by Tim Picotte, this threefold comedy stars Sasha Gilchrist as Arlene Miller, a flighty 70’s housewife looking to ditch her bland hubby Paul (Dan Desmarais) and shack up with lothario dentist extraordinaire Mitchell Lovell (Mike Schilder).  Striking on murder as the best way to achieve this goal (because none of our three characters are particularly bright bulbs), a plot is concocted at the local HoJo’s to do the deed.  Naturally, things go awry in comical fashion, and over the course of the play (spanning three separate holiday-themed criminal conspiracies) the alliances between the three protagonists shift and sway until it’s hard to figure out who wants to murder whom and why.


I was actually pretty pleasantly surprised at how laugh-out-loud funny MURDER got at times, and gotta say the Phoenix gang did a pretty sweet job with it.  Gilchrist as the sensual but dim Arlene was good vapid fun (and kudos to costumer Anne Melrose for making her period outfits look so smashing), darting from one ill-timed piccadillo to the next in ridiculously high heels…how she stayed upright I’ll never know. Mike Schilder made for a wonderfully egocentric Mitchell, charming the audience handily even as he swooned over his reflection in the mirror.  And Dan Desmarais really surprised Paul, a desperately bitter and hopelessly dull businessman on a slow burn to crazytown that turned into one of the finer comic elements of the whole show (the very funny script helped plenty too).  The show was a little rough around the edges, okay, but had lotsa heart, a swell soundtrack, and plenty of laughs.  And that’s just about exactly what I was hoping for.  Nice job, gang, and we’ll see you next season for THE LAST OF JANE AUSTEN and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in November 2012

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

THIS is the month, folks.  If you don’t do at least six cool things this month, you should probably shout harder for help, as you’re almost certainly trapped under something heavy and need assistance.  Are you ready for it?  Here we go…

GLACE BAY MINERS’ MUSEUM at the National Arts Center, until the 3rd.  Last chance to see the Canuck classic, beautiful set and all.
THE DEATH OF DRACULA at the Gladstone Theatre, from Phoenix Players.  Until the 3rd, vampire fun from the good eggs at Phoenix!

JULIUS CAESER at Centrepointe Studio, from the Ottawa Shakespeare Company.  Also until the 3rd, see what some of the biggest buzz in Ottawa theatre is all about!

YOU NEVER CAN TELL at Elmwood School Theatre, from Linden House.  And still until the 3rd, terrific GB Shaw piece with wee Jenny David knockin’em dead.

IF WE WERE BIRDS at Academic Hall, from the Ottawa U Drama Guild.  Still again until the 3rd, probably the starkest piece of theatre O-town’s gonna see this year.  Daring stuff from the guildsters!

THE HOLLOW at Ottawa Little Theatre.  Until the 10th, Agatha Christie done fun.

FLY ME TO THE MOON at the Irving Greenberg Theatre, from the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  From the 1st thru 18th, the dynamic duo of Margo MacDonald and Mary Ellis get the John P.Kelly treatment, and the result is a must-see.

AGNES OF GOD at the Irving Greenberg Studio, from 9th Hour.  Playing from the 1st to the 10th, rising stars 9th Hour have been putting out good shows, and I doubt they’re stopping now.

KASPAR HAUSER at Old City Hall, from Anthropos Theatre.  Glen Williamson’s one-an show comes for one night only, on the 2nd.  I caught his FAUST, and the dude knows his storytelling.

CINDERELLA at Arts Court Theatre, from Opera Lyra.  An abridged, family-friendly operatic version of the classic tale, on the 3rd, 4th and 9th!

THIRSTY at the National Arts Centre Studio.  From the 5th to the 17th, and featuring the great Andrew Moodie, Jackie Richardson and more!

MARY’S WEDDING at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  From the 6th to 17th, a cool sounding show set on the eve of WWI.

WHERE POPPIES BLOW from Salamander Theatre. Publicc performances of this special show at Beechwood National Memorial Centre on the 7th, then at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama on the 10th, then touring schools across the reegion.  Don’t miss out!

PADRE X at the Canadian War Museum, from Looking Glass Productions.  Playing the 8th (7:30), 10th (1:30 and 7:30) and 11th (1:30), the award-winning one-man Fringe drama from Marc Moir returns!

THE EUMENIDES from Ottawa Theatre School, at the OSSD.  From the 12th to 24th, the first show from this years graduating class of OTS gangsters hits the stage, and I can’t wait!

TONGUE AND GROOVE at Collected Works Bookstore, from Chamber Theatre.  From the 21st to Dec 1st, exciting new stuff from Chamber, in a cool new venue!

NOVEMBER at the Gladstone Theatre, from SevenThirty Productions.  Starting on the 21st thru next month…John P.Kelly is back already, and he’s bringing Todd Duckworth as the president along!

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at the National Arts Centre Theatre.  Starting on the 21st…Alix Sideris is back, Alix Sideris is back!!  Yay!!

FOOTLOOSE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  From the 23rd thru Dec 2nd…it’s a musical about Footloose!  That’s all I know!

DAVID’S REDHAIRED DEATH at the Vanier Community Centre, from Suspension Theatre.  From the 27th to Dec 1st at 8pm (plus 2pm matinee on the 1st), ginger fun from some raucous newcomers!

THE NUMBER 14 at the Irving Greenberg Theatre, from GCTC and Axis Theatre Company.  Frm the 27th thru Dec 16th.  One of the most anticipated shows of the season!

7 STORIES at Saw Gallery, from Red.Collective.  from the 22nd to 25th, the Reddies are back with some Morris Panych for y’all. *UPDATE*  This show has sadly been cancelled, but is being replaced by a show from Red.Collective the following month.

MR.PIM PASSES BY at Ottawa Little Theatre.  Starting on the 27th, the centennial season marches on, courtesy of AA Milne.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Glebe Community Centre, from the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG).  From the 29th to Dec 2nd, Xmas musical fun from director Eleanor Crowder.

Also, from the 16th-17th, 23rd-24th, and 30th-Dec 1st, Ottawa U will present WORKSHOP II – 4TH YEAR ONE ACTS in Studio Leonard-Beaulne, featuring plays directed by cool beans grad students (is that right..?), for FREE!  How can you say no??

…And that’s not all!!  Here’s what’s coming up locally in THEATRE FRANCAIS:

SOUS-SOL A LOUER at Theatre de L’Ile.  Playing all month long, a really fun sounding show in the prettiest little theatre around!

LE VENTRILOQUE at Studio Leonard-Beaulne.  From the 8th to 10th, Larry Tremblay’s play in one of my fav’rit spaces.

ABC DEMOLITION at La Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre de la Vielle 17.  from the 14th-24th, and featuring the great Paul Rainville! And Annick Leger, who I don’t know, but I bet she’s great too!

UNITY MILLE NEUF-CENT DIX-HUIT (Unity 1918) at Academic Hall, from Comedie des Deux rives.  From the 20th to 24th, and directed by doctor Joel Beddows himself!
INVENTION DU CHAUFFAGE CENTRALE EN NOUVEAU FRANCE (14th to 17th) and LA SCAPHANDRIERE (28th to Dec 2nd) at the NAC, from NAC French Theatre.  Still haven’t caught any of the NAC French productions…hoping to correct that soon!

ZONE at la Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre la Catapulte and Theatre Francais de Toronto.  From the 28th to Dec 1st, from the companies that just brought us the amazing ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS!

…But wait, there’s more!  IMPROV more!!

CRUSH IMPROV has a stellar month planned, starting with a workshop on Nov 5th at the Hintonburg Community Centre, with Kirsten Rasmussen, who seems to have REALLY pretty eyes. *sigh*  Following that is the monthly ‘BOUT TIME battle at the Elmdale Tavern, featuring returning champs TWO AND A HALF WOMEN taking on GRIMPROV (who will still be hosting their own shows the first and last wednesday of the month at the Imperial on Bank street!).  Crush will also be returning with their SPOTLIGHT ON… show at the Gladstone, this time on the 24th (following that evenings performance of NOVEMBER) and guest-starring Nicole Milne!   And hey ho, THE BRAD MACNEIL is returning, the show AND the man himself!  The latest installment of the live chat show will take place on the 22nd at Mercury Lounge, and he’ll also be hosting a workshop of his own at Arts Court Library on the 24th.  He’ll also be joining in the Spotlight fun, so don’t miss him!

This isn’t even mentioning the Dance stuff going Ottawa Dance Directive‘s ROAD TRIP from the 1st to 3rd at Arts Court,and POLITICAL MOTHER and 2 AND 4 from NAC dance.  Plus there’s THE CASE OF THE PEKINESE PEREGRINE wrapping up from Eddie May Mysteries in the Velvet Room, courtesy of Scarlett’s Dinner Theatre.  Or the GLADSTONE UNPLUGGED benefit concert/variety show on the 10th!  Or the UNDERCURRENTS launch party on the 15th at GCTC!  Or RAG AND BONE puppet theatre for the kids..!

Seriously, folks, I am SO TIRED from writing this post.  Just go out and support some local theatre, all right?  From the  length of this entry, you’d have to try pretty hard NOT to see some cool shows this month.  Don’t let me down!  And let me know what I missed (I know there’s SOMEthing).  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Real Vampires Wear Capes

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Day three of three plays-posts in a row, and while work is doing its best to wear me down, I remain defiant.  Started off with Ottawa Little Theatre’s THE HOLLOW, then some Franco-theatre with ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS.  And midway through the week, it was back to Community Theatre, this time at the Gladstone for the latest show from the venerable Phoenix Players, and their first ever two-week run.  Always nice to see the smaller players busting out, and the Gladstone seems to be suiting the Players just fine.  Their latest was a pretty intriguing break from the average Community fare, Warren Graves’ THE DEATH OF DRACULA, based on the novel by Bram Whats-His-Name.

Just kidding…Who isn’t stoked for some STOKER? Am I right??

Directed by Phoenix Artistic Director Jo-Ann McCabe (who helmed the last Phoenix production I caught, last year’s I REMEMBER MAMA), the play tells the familiar Dracula story in truncated form, tweaked and modified by playwrite Graves in a way that…well, that I’m really not a fan of, I have to reluctantly say.  I know, I know, I’m all about the positive in this blog…I haven’t forgotten.  But after a promising start with fiction’s fav’rit lunatic Renfield (Ron Langton, tossing himself nicely into the role of madman), the play nearly stops itself cold as Professor Van Helsing (Andre Dimetrijevic, a lovely fit for the quirky vampire-hunter) and doctor Seward (a VERY entertaining William Morrison) sit down for about fifteen minutes, politely explaining to us everything that happened in the first, oh, 200 pages or so of the novel.  It’s almost deadly, and I really wished Graves had found a better way to convey that volume of information.  That being said, kudos to the actors (especially Dimitrijevic, who gets the lion share of the exposition in the production) for keeping it all straight with hardly a misstep.

Things get cooking at last, and ain’t it always the way, when the ladies show up.  First is Brigitte Aube Harrison as Mina (Mina Seward, tho, not Murray…for whatever reason, the playwrite has switched Mina’s and Lucy’s surnames…another gripe I have with the text), who radiates the brains and poise of Stoker’s heroine wonderfully as the plot slowly begins to thicken.  Shortly after, we meet her ailing pal Lucy (Tina Prud’homme, who vacillates very effectively between retiring maiden and glowering vamp as the play moves forward), suffering from a mysterious ‘disease of the blood’ that no one seems able to explain.

Hint: It was the vampire what done it.

Soon we meet the ladies significant others…Mina’s Beau Jonathan Harker (Jake William Smith) and Lucy’s fella Arthur Holmwood (Aaron Lajeunesse).  Both of them are somewhat rankled by the mysterious new heartthrrob in town, Count Dracula (Bill Brown, sporting a swell cape), and soon enough the terrible truth comes out, thank to Van Helsing’s dogged kookiness.  I was disappointed that Jake Smith had so little to do, as the script has essentially turned Harker into little more than mild comic relief.  But Lajeunesse gets more to sink his teeth into (pun!), and both lads impress with what they have.  Bill Brown’s Dracula has some good moments, especially a visit to the Seward home that culminates in a surprisingly steamy bit with Lucy, yoinks!  Although he’s really kind of a supporting character in his own play, which I actually get.  There were times when the straight approach didn’t go over so well, and you wished they had just gone full on camp with the part (come on, that CAPE..!), but things all moved along to a satisfyingly fun finale.  The costumes and set were damned lovely, with the occasional nifty light and sound cue to set the mood…could have used a few more of those, actually.  And the cast is definitely worth watching…this is a good ensemble.

All in all, a good, fun night out with the Phoenix Players. And while it didn’t completely rock my world, I feel safe to say it’s at least WAY better than TWILIGHT.  The show runs until November 3rd (you can see it on Halloween!!  You know you want to…), so lots of chances left to check it out.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in October 2012

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

Starting this post late on Sunday night on the last of September, after finishing off an awesome, jam-packed theatre day (blogging, volunteering for SECRET MASK, catching the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL, and now, it seems, more blogging).  I don’t think I’ll actually be able to write this post tomorrow, as I’m at work in the day and then trying to sneak out early to CRUSH IMPROV’s workshop before their monthly ‘BOUT TIME battle at the Elmdale.  So, let’s just see if I can’t finish this bit of good bizness up straightaway.  And oboy, is it good, because there’s lotsa STUFF coming up this month!  And more stuff is good stuff when that stuff is theatre stuff.

HAY FEVER at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  The first show of the centenary season wraps up on the 6th.  Noel Coward for everyone!

LE TOUR DE L’ILE at Theatre de L’Ile.  French musical tribute to legend Felix leClerc, playing until the 13th.

HOW IT WORKS from Plosive Productions, at the Gladstone Theatre.  Danny MacIvor goodness from the Plosive gang, from the 5th through 20th.  Gotta see this one, gang.
SHAW’S SHORTS from Third Wall Theatre.  Newly returned after a brief hiatus, the 3rd Wall gang is back with more in their Empty Space series, this time with a little Shaw (in advance of Linden House…see below) courtesy of Koensgen, Watt and Mackan.  On the 10th at St James United!

NEIGHBOURS from Goya Theatre, at Centrepointe Studio. And adult-friendly children’s musical?  Why the heck not?  From the 11th to 14th.

L’IMPLORANTE from Theatre la Tangente, at La Nouvelle Scene.  Art, dance, French theatre…what more you want?  From the 11th to 13th.

MACBETH from Salamander Theatre.  Courtesy of new AD Kate Smith and Director Cat Leger, some bardic goodness with a stellar cast.  Running through area high schools, and three public showings…the Gladstone on the 14th, and two at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama on the 20th!

THE STAGE MANAGER BATTLE at the Gladstone Theatre.  3 Stage Managers, the unsung heroes of theatre, have an hour to familiarize themselves with 3 new short plays (from May Can, Slattery, and Glassiano) before going live. One night ONLY!!  The 15th, be there.

THE GLACE BAY MINER’S MUSEUM at the National Arts Centre.  The NAC kicks off their new season with this gem, starting on the 16th.

THE HOLLOW at Ottawa Little Theatre.  More from OLT, as the 100th season continues with this 1950’s joint from Agatha Christie.   Starts on the 23rd.

ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS from Theatre la Catapulte, at la Nouvelle Scene.  Michel Tremblay on display, which can only mean good things.  24th through the 27th only!

THE DEATH OF DRACULA from Phoenix Players, at the Gladstone Theatre.  A wee bit of gothic drama from community group Phoenix, from the 25th on to November 3rd.

CRACKERS from Tale Wagging theatre, at Shenkman Center. Fun sounding one-act play from the team behind THE ROOF TOP GUY, from the 25th to 27th in the Shenkman rehearsal hall.

JULIUS CAESER from Ottawa Shakespeare Company, at Centrepointe Theatre.  OSC’s second show finally makes its anticipated debut, with new leading man Eugene Clark.  Debuts on the 25th, and promises some groundbreaking immersive goodies.

YOU NEVER CAN TELL from Linden House, at Elmwood Theatre.  George Bernard Shaw gets the Linden House treatment, and Jenny David is in it!!!  That’s your ticket value right there.  26th through to November 3rd.

FLY ME TO THE MOON at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  Marie Jones moves from the Gladstone tot he GCTC, with this John P.Kelly directed piece starring Mary Ellis and Margo MacDonald.  A sure thing.  Starts on the 30th.

IF WE WERE BIRDS from the Ottawa U Drama Guild.  I know little, but I always have fun with the Ottawa U gang.  At stately Academic Hall from the 30th to November 3rd.  Thanks to Jan for the heads up!

SOUS-SOL A LOUER at Theatre de L’Ile.  Wacky basement comedy, in a gorgeous French theatre.  I’m going.  Starts on Halloween!

And because I always forget, the NAC French Theatre has, like, three shows this month: POESIE, SANDWICHS ET AUTRE SOIRS QUI PENCHENT from the 3rd-6th, ZESTY GOPHER C’EST FAIR ECRASER PAR UN FRIGO from the 17th-20th, and L’ATELIER from 24th-28th. Thanks to Lisa L’Heureux for reminding me!

As mentioned, the 1st will see the latest CRUSH IMPROV ‘BOUT TIME show at the Elmdale, and the 6th will see the debut of their regular SPOTLIGHT ON… series at the Gladstone, starting with HOW IT WORKS director Stewart Matthews!

Also, I forgot to mention GRIMPROV, who have a show on the first and last wednesday of the month at the Imperial at 329 Bank st.  Which should mean the lads have a show on, yes, Halloween.  Too good to be true?  Stay tuned!
And at the 18th at the Avant-Garde Bar (one drink minimum!!), Toronto’s COMEDY BEFORE THE FROST tour is hitting town, featuring more sketch and stand-up comedians than you can shake a whole lot of sticks at, and hosted by Rachelle Todd!  I’m looking forward to the Young Geologists myself.

Plus, for you lucky Montreal types, the Mainline Theatre is putting up THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, co-starring the man himself, Shane Adamczak!  If I can find a way to beg, borrow and steal my way to this show, I’m doing it.

And that’s all I’ve got for now.  Anything to add, drop me a line or comment!  And I’ll see you at the theatre.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in April 2012

In Theatre on April 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

This list is gonna be pretty dry for now, style-wise.  I just don’t have the will to dress it up any…maybe I’ll jazz it up another day, when I’m feeling peppier.  Please, don’t send me a bill for this post, okay?  Nobody pays me for this shit.

EAST OF BERLIN at the Great Canadian Theatre Company Mainstage, until the 8th.

PENNY PLAIN at the National Arts Centre Mainstage and KING LEAR  at the Glebe Community Centre, both until the 1st..which is today.

SELF HELP at the Ottawa Little Theatre until the 7th.  Plus again on the 10th for the EODL Spring Festival (see below)

THE COMMUNICATION CORD from Seven Thirty Productions at the Gladstone Theatre until the 14th.

OTHER EYES from TotoToo at Arts Court Theatre from the 4th to 7th.

COMMUNION by Daniel MacIvor at the National Arts Centre Studio from the 10th to 21st.

MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY (with Nancy Kenny, directed by Andy Massingham) and [BOXHEAD] (directed by Alix Sideris) at Arts Court Theatre in a double bill from Evolution Theatre, from the 18th to 28th.  Do NOT miss this show.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS from Kanata Theatre at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, 3rd to 7th.

BEDROOM FARCE from Phoenix Players at the Gladstone Theatre from the 19th to 21st.

MOUVING from Theatre la Catapulte at la Nouvelle Scene from the 25th to 28th.

SHAKESPEARE’S INTERACTIVE CIRCUS at Algonquin College from the 18th to 21st.  Directed by Al Connors!

JULIUS CAESER from the Ottawa Shakespeare Company at Centrepointe Theatre Studio from t6he 18th to 28th.

THE SUICIDE from the Ottawa Theatre School grad class at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama from the 18th to 28th.  Directed by Pierre Brault!

MOMMA’S BOY at…various?  Just check the Bear and Company website.  21st, 22nd and 25th (last by invite only).

THE MIKADO from the Savoy Society at Adult High School from the 26th to 29th.

And at the Ottawa Little Theatre, as part of the Eastern Ontario Drama League Spring Festival:


EDUCATING RITA on the 12th.
THE MOUSE HOUSE on the 13th.
PATHWAYS on the 14th.

That’s what I know of, please drop a friendly line if I missed anything.  Peace,


A Mama Worth Remembering

In Theatre on November 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Another month, another show at the Gladstone, and I couldn’t be more tickled about it…and this time, it was a first for me.  That is, it was my first time seeing Community Theatre kids the Phoenix Players strut their stuff, even as they had their first ever night playing on the Gladstone stage.  I’m loving the very communal feel they have going at the revitalized Gladstone, with main players 730 and Plosive clearly more than willing to share their great space with other members of the theatrical community.  It’s an encouraging sign.

Phoenix made their little Italy debut with John Van Druten’s I REMEMBER MAMA, which is a classic on a few different levels, even having been adapted into both a movie AND a teevee show back in the day.  Telling stories based around Norwegian immigrants the Hanson Family…

No, the other one.

…and told by eldest daughter Katrin (Sheila Galbraith), MAMA spins a very warm and fuzzy story indeed of familial affection and tribulations through a wide cast of characters.  From a trio of meddling aunts to gentleman boarder Mr.Hyde, to imperious family elder Uncle Chris, but at the heart of it all is the Hanson clan themselves…children Katrin, Christine, Nils and Dagmar, Papa and, of course, Mama.  They undergo hardship, heartache, loss, and even death, and yes, it’s a little cheesy at times, but that’s as it should be.  The good stuff is ALWAYS A little cheesy, to cynical eyes.  But I’m happy to report I got choked up more than a time or two during this performance.

There was a big cast, and I won’t list everyone here, but I will mention a few standouts to my eyes…I adored Kimberly Bateman’s cowering Aunt Trina, desperate to marry her equally meek Mr.Thorkelson (Tim Picotte).  Megan Damini’s sneering, no-nonsense Christine was a hoot, and I gotta shoutout to Will Lafrance (of ZASTROZZI fame, dontcha know) as number one son Nils.  Andre Dimitrijevic damn near steals the whole show as the bombastic Uncle Chris…almost.  But as much as folks like me talk about something or other being the ‘heart’ of a play, this is one of the rare instances where I think such a thing is as true as it gets.  And in this case, it’s Vanessa Cook’s portrayal of ‘Mama’ Marta Hanson, as thoroughly honest and consistent a performance as you could hope for, and she absolutely anchors the entire show around her touchingly earnest portrayal of a Mother so devoted to her family she makes June Cleaver look like Joan Crawford.

Of course, the REAL star of the show is Toby, no question.  Prix Rideau Awards, next stop…But you’ll have to head out to the Gladstone tomorrow (2 pm OR 730!) to check  out his amazing performance before it’s too  late!  Trust me, you’ll be glad ya did.  I still got the warm fuzzies from this show.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)