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Posts Tagged ‘seven thirty productions’

Take Your Wife to School

In Theatre on September 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

Tried to do some blogging for the first time in a month, and WordPress decides that’s the moment it gets hungry and needs to eat a post, so this one is a little later than I’d planned (which was plenty late already). In their defense, I HAVE been starving the old Visitorium of posts lately, it must be admitted. What can I say, Clown Camp eats up some time and energy (and yes, there may be a post coming about that, one of these days…still getting my typing legs under me, so bear with me).

But, I’m back in Ottawa and eager to remind myself why Theatre is the bestest thing ever, so off I went on a jam-packed opening night to the first show of the Gladstone Theatre’s ever-expanding new season. Kicking it off was THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES, a raunchy comedy from that scamp Moliere in a new rhyming translation from David Whiteley, who did similar service for CYRANO with Plosive productions a ways back. This time Plosive and Seven Thirty teamed up to bring us the tale, with John P.Kelly solidly at the helm. A good pedigree already, and the cast gave me even more to look forward to.

The story follows wealthy schmuck Arnolphe (Andy Massingham), a man obsessed with never being made a fool of by any woman. To that end, he has been secretly hiding away and raising the beautiful Agnes (Tess McManus), grooming her to be his ideal, ignorant child-bride when the time is right. With the help, such as it is, of his grumbling servants (David Benedict Brown and Catriona Leger, stealing scenes one after the other), Arnolphe is all set to put his less-than-feminist plan into action, ignoring the words of warning from his friend Chrysalde (David Whiteley). Enter the dashing Horace (Drew Moore), a lusty young fellow with long wavy locks, who somehow manages to slip by Arnolphe’s defenses and fall head over heels with Agnes. A battle of wits ensues, though that may be giving Arnolphe more credit than he’s due, as he goes to increasingly greater lengths to protect his dimwitted prize at all cost. Of course, he never seems to reckon on his ‘ignorant’ Agnes having a few opinions of her own on the subject.

Tess McManus and Andy Massingham in THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.

Tess McManus and Andy Massingham in THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.

Armed with a rockin’ good cast and Whiteley’s fast-paced and fun translation, John P.Kelly flexes his farce muscles big time for this production and turns out probably the funnest and funniest show the Gladstone could have hoped for to open up the season. Andy Massingham is in his element as the omnipresent Arnolphe (or ‘Monsieur la Douche’ as he wonderfully renames himself), playing with words, actors and audience alike…and not backing down from the inevitable darker turn in the latter half of the play, making some of previously goofy scenes with co-star McManus downright offputting. Tess’ Agnes is terrific as well, balancing dim and loopy with proud and strong , and making it look easy. Drew Moore as the earnest Horace is great fun to watch, especially his banter with Arnolphe (who does an impression of Horace in the play that is just brilliant). And of course, Dave Brown and Catriona Leger are too much damn fun as the randy servant pair…it’s worth the ticket for their hijinks alone.

So, yeah…that was a lot of fun! Whiteley done good with his updated but faithful translation, and it serves the Gladstone gang well in a crowd-pleasing jamboree of a show that gets the season started right, with a wink and a nod. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Gladstone 2013/2014 – Launched!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…But wait, there’s MORE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

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

Absurd Persons Tryptychal

In Theatre on March 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

It is, I think, safe to say that John P.Kelly is on a roll. The founder and pretty much exclusive director of productions at Ottawa’s great Seven Thirty theatre company has been having a solid string of hits the last few months.  Two Marie Jones penned-plays, STONES IN HIS POCKETS and FLY ME TO THE MOON, packed houses at the Gladstone and the GCTC last season, and Todd Duckworth was just nominated for a Prix Rideau Award for his role as the president in the Kelly-helmed NOVEMBER from David Mamet.  And yes, he does seem to be inching ever-so-slightly away from the Irish only theme his company had been maintaining since its inception, although with the latest going up at the Gladstone, we’ve only moved as far as Britain.

The show is Alan Ayckbourn’s ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR, a threefold farce featuring a trio of British couples meeting up over the course of three Xmas’es (well, four couples, if you count the never-seen Potters, ever causing mischief just offstage).  We begin in the simple home of the Hopforths…up and coming businessman Sidney (Stewart Matthews) has invited a few bigshots over to try and curry favour, and has dedicated wife and homemaker Jane (Melanie Karin, who totally wants to be your Next Muchmusic VJ so go and vote) making everything perfect for the party. This being a farce, disaster naturally ensues, and Hopforth’s guests are beginning to notice.  Bank manager Ronald Brewster-Wright (Tom Charlebois) is trying to keep his wife Marion (Lori Jean Hodge) from drinking too much, and architect Geoff Jackson (David Whitely, who coincidentally enough designed the stunning trifold set in real life) is looking for any opportunity to cheat on his unfortunate wife Eva (Michelle leBlanc).  Chips are spilled, doors are slammed, and a good time is had by all…well, in the audience at any rate.

A photographic six-pack, courtesy of Andrew Alexander.

A photographic six-pack, courtesy of Andrew Alexander.

After an intermission, we’re back for a reunion of sorts on the following Xmas eve, this time at the Jackson home where things are less than conducive to a party atmosphere.  Divorce is looming, Eva’s suicidal, and George the dog won’t stop growling.  But damned if Sidney and Jane would let anything like that get in the way of a party, or at least some impromptu electrical and plumbing work.  Don’t ask.

By the time the third ‘party’ rolls around the following year, we’re at the post Brewster-Wright homestead.  Things have gone from bad to worse in everyone’s personal lives…almost.  And it’s kind of impossible to talk about the scene without giving too much away, so hooray, I won’t!   It’s enough to say that John Kelly has assembled a picture-perfect cast for Ayckbourn’s darkly tragic comedy, and laughing at the misery of strangers is seldom as entertaining.  Stewart Matthews, the only genuine British accent in the cast, puts his impeccable physical comedy skills to good use as the hyper Sidney Hopforth, his constant refrain of ‘Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear’ echoing the threefold nature of the play itself (or maybe I’ve just been reading too much Robert Anton Wilson lately).  Melanie Karin is adorable as uberhousewife Jane, cheering herself with a silly song as she cleans every surface in sight.  I’d previously only seen Lori Jean Hodge as one of the three ‘Gladstone Sisters’, singing at the annual Radio Shows, so it was lovely seeing her now as the sharp-tongued, hard drinking Marion, never giving Tom Charlebois’ stuffed-shirted Ronald an even break.

But it’s the middle couple of the show, the Jacksons who really seem to have the most character growth of the bunch, and David Whitely and Michelle leBlanc handle it like bosses.  LeBlanc, another Prix Rideau Award nominee this year for her boffo turn in HOW IT WORKS, especially impresses in a nearly silent second act performance.  It’s awesome stuff, and the show rightly had the crowd roaring.  Once again this season, I find myself contemplating a return trip to the Gladstone to see a show a second time.  So hurry up and get your ticket (show runs until the 23rd), before someone else snaps it up.  This one’s a winner all around.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in March 2013

In Theatre on March 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Whee, another Theatre month begins in O-Town, and the skies have sent a fluffy blanket of snow to celebrate! Lots to look forward to, so let’s start looking!

— ENGLISH THEATRE —

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at the Ottawa Little Theatre.   Ending on the 2nd, a jolly fun rendition of Austen’s hit.

GOD OF CARNAGE at the Irving Greenberg Theatre (GCTC), from Third Wall Theatre. Until the 3rd, Third Wall’s return to the big time with a vicious and inspiring Ontario premiere of Yasmina Reza’s biting look at the civilized world.

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR at the Gladstone Theatre, from Seven Thirty Productions. John P.Kelly directs Alan Ayckbourn’s play, with a killer cast (including recent Prix Rideau Award-nominee Michelle leBlanc!).  From the 5th to 23rd.

INNOCENCE LOST at the NAC Theatre.  Based on a true story, so probably both amazing and depressing at the same time.  Until the 16th.

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PRINCESS IVONA at Academic Hall. Directed by MFA candidate Ekaterina Shestakova, a dress-to-impress extravaganza from the 5th to the 9th

ROCK OF AGES at NAC Southam Hall.  Some Broadway style hair metal,  all big and loud and stuff!  From the 5th to 10th.

HROSES: AN AFFRONT TO REASON at the Ottawa Dance Directive Studio (Arts Court), from Evolution Theatre and Mi Casa. My own personal pick for show NOT to miss this month, two of my fav’rit companies team up to bring what is sure to be an amazing show.  From the 7th to 16th.  And don’t worry, it’s fine to just pronounce it ‘Horses’.

THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at Bronson Centre, from VDay Ottawa. A kickin’ annual tradition to celebrate Women and their awesomeness, this time on the 8th and 9th.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  Big time musical theatre from the people who know how it’s done, from the 8th to 17th.

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LOVE’S LABOURS LOST at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton University Campus), from Sock’n’Buskin.  Following their ROCKY HORROR success with some Billy Shakes, and I’m pretty stoked.  From the 13th to 16th only!

MFA 4th YEAR DIRECTORS SERIES at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, Ottawa U campus.  A regular occurrence, and one of Ottawa’s best-kept secrets..free shows put on by the best of the best of Ottawa U’s directorial crop, this time featuring Team Visitorium superstar Danielle Savoie, plus a French show from director Alex Beraldin!  Open dress on the 14th, proper shows on the 15th and 16th, starting at 8 pm.

DEATHTRAP at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  I remember seeing this movie as a wee little thing, and it spooked the crap out of me…kinda excited for a rematch!  From the 19th through April 6th.

33 SWOONS at Algonquin College.  A trio of short plays by Anton Chekhov and director Mary Ellis, with a perhaps inordinate amount of swooning.  You be the judge.  From the 20th to 24th.

THE WIZARD OF OZ at the Greely Community Center, from the Greely Players.  Put some Baum in your theatre month with this fun-sounding show in ye olde Ottawa Valley.  From the 20th to 24th!

HARVEY at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  The classic tale of man’s best friend, a giant imaginary rabbit.  From the 26th through April 6th.

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FALSE ASSUMPTIONS at the Gladstone Theatre, from Ottawa Theatre School and Plosive Productions.  The latest From Lawrence Aronovitch, and starring the current crop of 3rd year OTS gangsters, this world premiere about Marie Curie runs from the 26th to the 30th only, so don’t miss out!

THE OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE at the NAC 4th Stage. A multi-theatre company event/battle in celebration of World Theatre Day!  Details to come I hope!  On the 27th.

BECKETT’S BRIEFS at the Glebe St.James United Church.  Also on the 27th, the latest in the Third Wall Empty Space reading series, this time with some of Sam Beckett’s dandies.  Featuring Todd Duckworth, James Richardson and Kristina Watt!

— THEATRE FRANCAIS —

OULIPO SHOW at the NAC Studio.  Ends on the 2nd!

L’AMOUR EST AVEUGLE at Theatre de L’Ile.   Starting on the 6th and playing through til April 6th, another gooder from Theatre de L’Ile, just nominated for best French Production BOEING BOEING in the Prix Rideau Awards!

LA VOIX HUMAINE at Studio Leonard-Beaulne.  From the 7th to 9th (6 pm start time), and I don’t really have much more information than that!  Except it’s a Jean Cocteau bit, and he seemed to have some talent to spare, so there’s that.

LE 20 NOVEMBRE at the NAC Studio. Don’t know what it’s about, but the posters crack me up!  From the 12th to 16th.

APPELS ENTRANTS ILLIMITÉS at the NAC Studio. Formerly known as PORTES.  From the 20th to 23rd.

— IMPROV —

CRUSH IMPROV – The classic three on three ‘BOUT TIME show returns on Monday the 4th at Westboro Masonic Hall, a new venue for the gang and yes, the bar will be open (still trying to find out if we can bring Hintonburger).  Plus the Crush gang will be performing their latest SPOTLIGHT ON… show at the Gladstone on the 11th, with special guest John P.Kelly (and there’s a cat you just KNOW has some good stories to tell…).

GRIMPROV – JCPI: Jesus Christ Private Investigator on Wednesday the 6th at the Cock’n’Lion.  If that doesn’t intrigue you, nothing will.

CROSS-CANADA SHOWCASE at Studio Leonard-Beaulne.  Hosted by Crush Improv and featuring guest stars from coast to coast, I’ll update with names and details as they come in!  Sounds like a pretty goddam good way to spend a Monday, tho.

MI-6 – Wednesday March 13th: Lunenburg Pub 7:30PM-9:30PM, Pay-what-you-can, Whose Line Is It Anyway style. fb event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/464481860288222/   And Tuesday March 19th: Maple Sugar Festival Improv night at Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre, 300 des Pères Blancs Avenue, 7PM-9PM. Free admittance, bilingual show! Event details: http://www.museoparc.ca/en/general/une-soiree-dimprovisation-dans-le-cadre-du-festival-des-sucres/

CRYSTAL BASEMENT…let me know when your next shows are, and I’ll put them here, deal?  Deal.  That goes for any other of you little Improv Bastards who pop up.  WHO’S ONLINE ANYWAY, I’m looking at you…

— OTHER —

OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN from Ottawa Dance Directive, at their studio (Arts Court).  Until the 2nd…dance show!

LA TRAVIATTA at Southam Hall (NAC), from Opera Lyra.  An ‘in concert’ opera, so the whole gang…cast, orchestra, thee works…are all up on stage together.  Should be a musical night to remember, gang.  The 21st and 23rd only!

MARX BROTHERS and RAY HARRYHAUSEN FILM FESTIVALS at the Mayfair Theatre.  Too cool not to mention, check the main Mayfair website for showtimes and details!

NAC DANCE has some good stuff coming too (including the ballet of SLEEPING BEAUTY from the Royal Winnipeg), so check out the link for all the details!

Did I miss anything?  Of COURSE I did!  Let me know what it is!!  I WANT TO KNOW!!!  Right, I’m off, gotta eat, gotta see a show, gotta write about the show, gotta sleep, gotta go to work…you know the drill.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

All aboard the Piggy Plane

In Theatre on November 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

The Gladstone Theatre has, in my estimation, been having a pretty kick-ass season start thus far.  John P.Kelly got things underway with the dandy two-hander STONES IN HIS POCKETS, followed by Plosive‘s killer version of Danny Mac’s HOW IT WORKS (that I came back to catch a second time, it were so sweet).  So I was both nervous and expectant about their third show, another one from John P and Seven Thirty Productions.  He’s been having himself a busy, and very successful year, having followed up STONES with the damn-near sold-out run of FLY ME TO THE MOON at the GCTC.  I dearly loved MOON, and had my fingers crossed that JPK would make it three for three great shows in a row.  After trying and failing to nab a date for the evening (YOUR LOSS, internet!), I sped on over to the Gladstone and prepared myself for the best.

The show that had me in such a state was David Mamet’s NOVEMBER, a political satire/farce set in what look to be the dying days of a lame duck US president, Charles Smith (Todd Duckworth).  Smith faces an almost certain loss in his attempt at re-election, an outcome attributable to the simple fact that everyone hates him, as his unflappable chief of staff Archer Brown (Steve Martin) has absolutely no problem letting him know.  But Charlie Smith isn’t a quitter (he isn’t a LOT of things), and he spends most of the play in a desperate last-minute bid to eke victory from the jaws of defeat.  Problem being, he’s such a stupid, short-sighted, foul-mouthed bigot that he keep shooting himself quite hilariously in the foot.  Between his attempts to extort cash out of a national Turkey rep (Tom Charlebois), threaten a native leader (Bruce Sinclair) into backing one of his crazier schemes, and forcing his sickly lesbian scriptwriter Bernstein (Chantal Plante) to write him a career-saving speech, there are few President Smith doesn’t manage to offend, demean or insult.   And it couldn’t be more of a giddy, guilty thrill to watch.

Like this, if Sorkin had Tourettes.

A lot of hay has been made out of how offensive and politically incorrect NOVEMBER is, to which I can only say, who gives a shit?  It’s FUCKING FUNNY!  Oh my silly imaginary God is it funny!  Todd Duckworth may be giving a career-defining performance (he said, having seen Todd Duckworth in, like, two things EVER) as the moping, dimwitted President Smith.  And I’ll gladly trade our hometown Steve Martin for that glory-days, family comedy sellout in Hollywood any day of the week as long as he keeps knocking it out like he does in a gloriously straightfaced performance as CoS Archer.  Ottawa Little Theatre heroine Chantal Plante is a serious delight as uptight writer Bernstein, proudly defending her ‘liberal agenda’ even as she proudly serves a man who couldn’t care less for it.  Tom Charlebois makes a marvellous southern shill as the ‘Turkey Man’, and Bruce Sinclair as Chief Dwight Grackle makes maybe the best unexpected entrance in Ottawa theatre history.

Mamet’s script here is a little less Mamet-ish than, say, OLEANNA, but is still chock full of his bleak, no heroes allowed worldview…but with a laugh track this time.  It’s almost funnier when you think that a President that acted like that would, sadly, probably have no trouble at ALL getting re-elected. Almost, but not quite (but then, that’s where Mamet GETS ya).  Kudos to the sweet Oval Office set by designer David Magladry, doing double duty on the lights as well.  A helluva show, as good a bang for your theatre buck as you could hope to get.  I’m already telling all sorts of my non-theatre acquaintances that this is the show they HAVE to see.  And myself?  I saw the last Gladstone show twice, and I have a feeling I’ll be back for a second term (sorry Rich Hemphill, I’m stealing your line!) of this show as well.  Hail to the Chief already!  Peace, love and soul,

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 on..like 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)

a Pocket full’a Stones

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2012 at 12:07 am

Tomorrow night I’m going to the Opera with one of the most beautiful women in the city.  Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would type in a non-fictional milieu.  But I’m actually not making it up and, as such, can only assume that tomorrow night I’ll be living someone ELSE’S life.  So I had better get cracking and write this, one of my first biggie show reviews of the spanking new 2012-13 Theatre season, before Cinderella time chimes and I turn into this suave, opera-going motherfucker I seem destined to become.

Happily, there was no suave-ing on my part tonight…tonight, I was ALL BUSINESS, folks.  Did my day of drudgery (where I’m now finally the dad-blasted kitchen manager, no big), hustled home to Winston for some Pho with dumplings, a quick Podcast-pimping post, and away I went.  Off by the magic of busses to the Gladstone Theatre, for their triumphant return to a full season of programming after a couple of shorter mini-seasons.  Tonight’s premiere was courtesy of 730 Productions, and is part one of what I assume is a fairly unprecedented 2-month double-header of shows, at two different theatres, by two different theatre COMPANIES, from playwright Marie Jones and director John P.Kelly.  I know…awesome, right?  Late next month it’ll be FLY ME TO THE MOON at the GCTC, but tonight it was STONES IN HIS POCKETS at the Gladstone.

The show, set in Ireland on a big budget film set, follows Jake Quinn (Richard Gelinas) and Charlie Conlon (Zach Counsil) who are working as extras for the big production.  The pair become friends, hopeful actor Jake meshing nicely with would-be writer Charlie.  The action start off with some amiable fish-out-of-water adventures, as Jake and Charlie interact with the gruff director, Hollywood crew, and sexy diva starlet, not to mention Jake’s myriad relatives on and off set.  Quite a cast of characters come and go through the scenes, each last one played by Counsil or Gelinas.  And you’d be mightily hard-pressed, I say, to find more talented or wunnerful lads for the job.

Coming off their team-up as the entire supporting cast of THE 39 STEPS last season, Ottawa’s own Dynamic Duo have upped the ante for this one.  The laughs are plenty, and they’re loud, amidst a constant chorus of giggles that I pretty much never stopped hearing from a clearly delighted audience.  If you don’t laugh when Zach Counsil, as the sultry Caroline Giovanni, tries to seduce Jake, you might as well just give up on having fun right now, because you don’t know how to do it.  And when the show takes a dark turn halfway through, it sets the stage for a seriously strong second act.  Richard and Zach are two of the best actors in this town, and they prove it a hundred times over in STONES.

Andrew Alexander Photography for the win!

This is balls-out fun theatre, folks, from seriously talented mooks.  I’ll leave it to the audience to decide how well the lads do with their myriad of Irish accents (tho the Irish Ambassador was in attendance tonight, and loved it, so take that into account), and I’m also curious to know if anyone else thinks Richard Gelinas’ flamboyant assistant director character isn’t just him doing a Stewart Matthews impression.

It was a great night out, and it was good to see many familiar faces back at the ‘Stone, including Kate Smith, Smooth Tim Oberholzer, Will Somers, the ICB…everyone! Glad to be back at the Gladstone, and especially glad it was such a jolly joyful show as this.  Peace, love and slainte,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in September 2012

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm

September already!  It’s back to school time…for LOSERS, that is!  For awesome people, it’s back to Theatre time, which makes you and me PRETTY FUCKING AWESOME.  Let’s get right to the goodies and goings-on, hey?

ALIEN PREDATOR/SPACE MYSTERY…FROM OUTERSPACE!  From Go Fly a Kite and Dead Unicorn Ink., at Arts Court.  The Fringe Benefits 2-bill continues until the 2nd, open bar and all.  Don’t miss the bestest live sci-fi experience around!

STONES IN HIS POCKETS from 730 Productions, at the Gladstone.  Kicking off their latest season, the Gladstone has some Irish comedy courtesy of John P.Kelly, and the dynamic duo of Zach Counsil and Richard Gelinas.  From the preview of the action I saw recently at the FLY WITH STONES party at the GCTC, this show is absolutely not to be missed!  Plays from the 7th to the 29th.

LA BOHEME from Opera Lyra, at the NAC (Southam Hall).  Yes, apparently I talk about opera now!  Caught the media call of this one a couple days ago, and you know what?  Those fuckers can SING.  Plays the 8th, 10th, 12th and 15th, and promises to be a good epic time.  Can’t wait to check it out!

THE SECRET MASK at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  Kicking off their 38th season, GCTC is loading the Oiving Greenboig stage up with the serious talents of Paul Rainville, Kate Hurman and Michael Mancini for this family dramedy, playing from the 11th to 30th.

LE TOUR DE L’ILE at Theatre de L’Ile.  Over the river in Gatineau, the second show of the season at Theatre de L’ile kicks off on the 12th, running straight thru into next month.  I’m gonna make it out to this one, I SWEAR.

HAY FEVER at Ottawa Little Theatre.  Did you think that 38th season mention for the GCTC was impressive?  It was, but it kinda pales before a solid century of programming, which OLT kicks off with this Noel Coward joint, from the 15th thru to October 6th.

PRIVATE LIVES from Kanata Theatre, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse.  Launching a very respectable 44th season, the Kanata kids are back with EVEN MORE Noel Coward, who seems to be enjoying an Ottawa Renaissance this month.  From the 18th to 29th.

DELUGE from Theatre du Trillium, at la Nouvelle Scene.  More French theatre, which can only be a good thing.  The company that brought you the multiple-Rideau winning show TARAM is back with this cool-sounding show from the 25th to 30th.

SNAPSHOT from Gruppo Rubato, at the GCTC Studio.  Ottawa faves GR are back with a full-length play, which is going to be several kinds of fantastic, if the preview a while back is any indication.  From the 25th to 30th.

DOG SEES GOD from Red.Collective, at Saw Gallery.  The Reddies are back and ready for more, and you should be too.  Their latest plays deep down in the belly of the SAW from the 27th to 30th.

THE TEMPEST REPLICA from Kidd Pivot, at the NAC.  Some Shakespeare-inspired dance for y’all, featuring choreography from Crystal Pite.  27th and 28th only!

THE FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL at Pressed Cafe, from various.  The Kids are rising up!  A bevy of young upstarts, from Fringe fav’rits May Can Theatre to local improv troublemakers GRIMprov (check out their event page for all the info), all putting short new shows while you drink and make merry.  It’s gonna be some pretty incredible fun, and that’s the truth.  From the 28th thru 30th.

All this, plush CRUSH IMPROV have lots of cool stuff planned this month.  First up is thir regular BOUT TIME show at the Elmdale on Monday the 3rd…and they’re hosting a drop-in Improv workshop prior to the show at the OSSD, which any ‘prov hopefuls would do well to check out.  The following week, they’ve got the premiere of a regularly scheduled gig at the Gladstone Theatre on the 10th, featuring the return of that dreadlocked munchkin herself, Cari Leslie!  I hear there will be another workshop attached to this show, check their website for more details.

And as a curiosity to the deranged, a new podcast on local Ottawa Theatre is threatening to premiere sometime this month as well.   Going by the senses-shattering moniker of THREE GUYS TALKING ABOUT THEATRE, the show is reported to feature Allan Mackey of Production Ottawa, Andrew Snowdon of Apartment 613 and the local Pipe-smokers Union, and Kevin Reid of Parts Unknown.  So if you need something to listen to while you’re, I dunno, baking a souffle or something next month, this might be for you.  Personally, I’d rather listen to Motorhead, but that’s just how my Momma raised me.

That’s all for now…as always, tell me if I missed anything…I mean it!  I wanna know!!  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

 

Gladstone Theatre 2012-2013…LAUNCHED!

In Theatre on May 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

How annoyed am I with the Gladstone Theatre?  Why, lemme tells ya!  I’d been hearing rumblings and rumours about their upcoming season launch for about a month or so now…I was all psyched up and ready to get the invite for the launch event, head on out, rub elbows with the hoi polloi, and best of all…FREE FOOD!  Ah, I could hardly wait.

But then..!  They figured it out, the terrible secret!  It turns out you can just e-mail that business out to the exact same effect, and then you are no longer obliged to feed do-nothing mooches like me!  Oh, woe…guess I have to go grocery shopping this week AFTER all.

But, but…I wanted crudites!

But there ends my whining,because that e-mail was some of the best news I’ve received in a good long while.  Not only is the Gladstone back next season, this time with a FULL yearlong schedule, but there are now four participating companies on the roster, and the show list is, quite frankly, to die for.  After a couple of shorter seasons, the Gladstone gang seems ready and raring to knock this next one out of the park.  Check it out:

STONES IN HIS POCKETS by Mary Jones, from Seven Thirty Productions.  Directed by 730 kingpin John P.Kelly, and featuring the dynamic duo of Richard Gelinas and Zach Counsil, this Irish play kicks off the new season on September 7th.

HOW IT WORKS by Daniel MacIvor, from Plosive Productions.  Directed by Stewart Matthews, there’s really never anything wrong with more Danny Mac in the lineup.  And I’ve even read this one!  October 5-20.

NOVEMBER by David Mamet, from Seven Thirty.  After Plosive’s raucous take on SPEED-THE-PLOW , John P. steps up to take his own crack at the Mamet, and I can’t wait.  November 21st to December 8th.

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET: THE RADIO PLAY, adapted by Teri Loretto-Valentik and John Cook from the book by Valentine Davies, from Plosive.  Radio Gladstone is back again, with this take on the Xmas classic from director Nicole Milne.  Features some family-friendly matinees on weekends!  December 14-23.

OH yes… (but no, not really, it’s been cancelled. Sorry!)

DOCTOR HORRIBLE, based on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, music by Joss Whedon and Jed Whedon.  Directed by Dave Dawson for Black Sheep Theatre (a gang that know their way around a musical), this just rocketed to the top of everyone’s must-see list for 2013.  Have a friend who claims they’re ‘not into theatre’?  THIS is the show to drag them too and prove’em wrong.  January 16-Feb 2.

*UPDATE* …But not really!  Tragic and long-needed update, there will be no DOCTOR HORRIBLE show in the Gladstone’s season.  Some mukkity-muk about rights and all that, boo.  It has been replaced in the roster with BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, which Katie Hood tells me is a bag full of awesome in its own right, so there.  How dare you argue with KAtie Hood??  I’ll moider ya!

BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR by John Gray with Eric Peterson, from Plosive.  From director extraordinaire Teri Loretto-Valentik, and starring the inimitable Chris Ralph in multiple roles, this Canuck classic is gonna be a gooder.  February 8-23.

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR by Alan Ayckbourn, from Seven Thirty.   John P. again, with this comedy from the writer whose play HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES opened the Gladstone theatre a few years back.  March 5-23.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by Wm.Shakespeare, from Bear and Company.  Eleanor Crowder’s ubiquitous new company makes its Gladstone debut with one of Billy Shakes’ killer comedies to close out the season.  Crowder knows her Shakespeare, and I suspect this show will prove that all over again.   April 19-May 4.

All that, PLUS we can expect other announcements along the way, from companies like Phoenix Players, and maybe more.  The Gladstone is carving out a very special niche for itself in the Ottawa Theatre scene, and I couldn’t be giddier about it.  Can’t wait for the new season…and while I’m at it, congrats on an amazing season just wrapping up now, with DEATH AND THE MAIDEN.  More power to you, Gladstone, and I look forward to many exciting years to come.

But seriously, snacks next time, okay?  I’m starving over here.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and WInston)

Farce, Irish Style

In Theatre on April 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I was chilling at home with Winston the Cat the other day, when he suddenly reminded me that “Dude, you haven’t been to the Gladstone in a while!  What’s up with that?”  After a few bewildered moments of “OH MY GOD YOU CAN TALK!”, I realized Winston was correct, so I headed out, putting his unsettling outburst out out my mind forever.

If God had wanted cats to talk, he would have made them Thunder-Cats.

Teaming up with Reena Belford, recently wrapping up a fun run as scheming Regan in GNAG theatre’s KING LEAR, we sauntered in on a slowish Tuesday night for the Gladstone’s latest, Brian Friel’s THE COMMUNICATION CORD from Seven Thirty Productions.   Billed as a language-based farce, and directed by 730 top dog John P.Kelly, the show’s set from David Magladry looked appropriately quaint, and oddly reminiscent of the rustic staging of DR.FELL not too long ago.  I was looking forward to the show, mostly on account of a few familiar faces in the cast, and they did not disappoint.

After a somewhat long-winded setup, we learn that our bookish hero Tim (Plosive’s David Whiteley, in a rare, unbearded moment) is looking to impress the Father of his would-be sweetheart Susan (the always terrific Kat Smiley) by pretending to be the owner of an ancient Irish dwelling, as this sort of thing seems to appeal to the otherwise grim-faced Senator (Alain Chamsi).  Borrowing temporary use of said home from his friend Jack (Smooth Tim Oberholzer, making a memorable and playful rogue), things start to go wrong from the get-go, as they tend to do in anything calling itself a farce.  A few unexpected guests make a hash out of Tim’s plans, and his desperate lies to try and cover things up rapidly spin out of control.  And I have to admit, it’s the ‘unexpected guests’ who really make the show sit up and start to cook.  The wunnerful Janet Uren as craftier-than-she-looks nosy neighbour Nora Dan delights when on the stage, and Michelle leBlanc is so ridiculously fun and, quite frankly, sexy as Tim’s old flame Claire, that she damn near steals the show.
That is, until Steve Martin (not that one) shows up as clueless German ‘Barney the Banks’, and then everything goes merrily to Hell.  It’s a dream role for any actor, and Martin owns it without shame…if you see the show, his madly smiling face is the image you’ll take away with you, trust me.  When Genevieve Sirois shows up late in the game as the third Yvette (inside joke), it’s the icing on the cake.

CORD is a pretty dang fun show, if a little choppy in parts…some of Tim’s exposition on linguistic theory don’t engage as much as might be hoped, and I still can’t figure out how much certain players were or were not involved in the central scheme.  But these are questions for another time, not farce-watching time, surely we can agree on that.   It’s a good, goofy night with some great talent on and off stage, and some peppy Irish tunes to enjoy at intermission.  And what mores could ya ask for?  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)