Posts Tagged ‘undercurrents’

Coming Up in February 2017

In Undercurrents on February 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

Sorry I’m late! Already 3 days into the month…that’s, like, half of February! Let’s get it started already!

COLONY OF UNREQUITED DREAMS at the NAC Theatre, until the Feb 11th. So many dreams they formed their own colony!

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEPEOPLE from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room downtown every Saturday night. Superheroes and dinner, what more do ya need?

A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM from Taboo Productions, at Academic Hall until the 4th. An LGBTQ retelling of the Bard’s most fantastical outing. So get out there!


AT HOME AT THE ZOO at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre, from the 1st to the 11th. Albee’s Zoo story with its prequel Homelife get the Chamber treatment at Ottawa’s coolest theatre…order a quart and some wings and strap yourselves in!

SCHOOLHOUSE from Kanata Theatre, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse from the 7th to 18th. Will this Schoolhouse rock? Only one way to find out..!


CRIMES OF THE HEART from Three Sisters, at the Gladstone the 8th to 18th. A gritty drama about the grizzled, veteran cops who tackle to toughest crimes of all…Heart Crimes! Probably.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Ottawa Little Theatre, from the 15th to March 4th. Get a Little Harper Lee in yer February, people!

PHANTOM OF THE OPRY from Brett Kelly Entertainment, at the Gladstone Theatre from the 22nd to 25th.


SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET from Suzart after Dark, at Centrepointe Theatre the 23rd to 25th. The brutal killer with the silly name is back!

UNDERCURRENTS at Arts Court, the 8th to 18th. Hosted by the Ottawa Fringe Festival, the mighty undercurrents festival is back with another sweet, sweet lineup (and also me). Check it out, and plan your month accordingly:


THE ELEPHANT GIRLS from Parry Riposte


TOMORROW’S CHILD from Ghost River Theatre

UN-COUNTRIED from Theatre 4.669


BROTHERHOOD: THE HIP-HOPERA from b current and Sebastien Heinz.

BURNT from Norah Paton

VOVK from Lana Kouchnir


FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING from Strange Visitations (that’s ME! And Jodi Morden and Madeleine Hall, too) Pay What you Can, PLEASE COME SEE OUR FUNNY LITTLE SHOW!!

– …plus the INDIGENOUS WALKS walking tours (bundle up!), New Play Tuesday, panel discussions, talkbacks, opening and closing night parties, and all the fun you can handle. Go go go!  Check out the full schedule HERE.


FUCKING CARL from Theatre du Trillium, at La Nouvelle Scene the 4th and 5th. Sold-out Fringe hit is back for a limited engagement!

LES PASSANTS from Theatre la Catapulte, at the GCTC from the 23rd to March 12th. A french show at the GCTC? Allons-Y!



CRUSH IMPROV continues their ‘Bout Time tournament thru February, at Mother McGintey’s. Check the calendar HERE!

GRIMPROV, you lads still good for some funny the 1st and last Wednesday of the month at the Cock’n’Lion? Here’s assuming!

THE IMPROV EMBASSY has their usual full roster of events, and their own calendar to boot. Check it out!

More to come!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Undercurrents 2015 Part 3: Spinathon

In Theatre on February 19, 2015 at 11:25 am

Another day, another day at UNDERCURRENTS 2015. So I’m already calling it a good day. Even better because this was a day with two brand new shows for me…one an Ottawa premiere, and one on it’s last of only two days in town (apologies for not getting it on opening night you guys), and both exceedingly well worth it. Check it out…

First up was Evalyn Parry‘s SPIN, a terribly effective and delightful ode to two of the loveliest things around…Bicycles and Feminism. Who knew they went so well together? Well, Evalyn Parry for one, who takes the center stage for this semi-musical theatrical love letter to the history of the Bicycle and its inextricable link to Women’s emancipation in North America, under the direction of Ruth Madoc-Jones. With the accompaniment of musician Brad Hart on the bicycle (not a joke…Brad expertly uses an actual bicycle onstage, tricked out as a musical instrument in ways that positively MUST be experienced first hand to be fully appreciated), Parry takes us through time to the days when women first took to the streets on these revolutionary contraptions, long skirts and corsets and all, and just what implications that had for the future. It culminates in the epic tale of the clearly superhuman Annie Londenderry, who in 1895 said ‘Fuck It’ and took off for over a year to ride around the world on her lonesome in a tale that makes me feel very much like the wimp that I am.

I don't actually have any promo photos for these shows, so please enjoy this picture of a Bicycle!

I don’t actually have any promo photos for these shows, so please enjoy this picture of a Bicycle!

Another musical entry in this years festival (with the Peptides’ LOVE+HATE), SPIN is a goddamn wonderful storytelling adventure, with our charismatic guide Parry leading us from era to era with a wink and a song, aided by a series of enjoyable images on a backscreen projection courtesy of designer Beth Kates. Bring some extra cash to the show when you come…you WILL want to pick up a CD or two on your way out. Beautiful, engaging and inspiring…time for me to finally fix my own bike up this year, methinks. I feel a ride coming on.  And don’t miss Parry’s directorial work soon at the NAC Studio, when OBAABERIMA hits in March!

A pause then, as the good guys at Dominion City Brewing treated us theatregoers to a free Beer sampling in the lobby in between shows. A little cramped, but a tasty, buzzy time for sure. And I say ‘a little cramped’ because the studio, normally the Undercurrents bar area, was off limits just now as it was being set up for the final show of the night, and a very special event indeed.

That show was MARATHON, all the way to Arts Court from Tel Aviv for a unique performance piece that seriously lives up to its name. Created and directed by artist and choreographer Aharona Israel, this in-the-round show features performers Ilya Domanov, Merav Dagan and Gal Shamal in near constant motion, ever running, leaping, dancing, ducking and running again in a unique blend of dance and theatre that’s exhausting just to watch, much less perform. Marrying several different tracks (get it?) of narrative as each of our protagonists experiences their own version of what it means to them to be Israeli, the show goes from gorgeously manic to disturbingly intimate without any word of warning. And while my knowledge of geopolitics may not be sharp enough to have picked up on every allusion in the script, I was still in seventh Heaven during this show…I felt like I was watching a whole new form of theatre being created, and I loved it. And my crappy old cellphone even came in handy!

Actual action shot taken by Merav Dagan with my phone during the performance.  Keep yours charged for this one, gang!

Actual action shot taken by Merav Dagan with my phone during the performance. Keep yours charged for this one, gang!

Sorry again that Ottawa audiences don’t have any more chances to catch this show, as I believe it is off to Vancouver next for the Chutzpah! Festival….any readers out west, don’t miss out! For myself, I’m honoured I got the chance to catch this innovative and energizing piece of theatre history…I won’t soon forget it.

Another day at Undercurrents down…time is running out, but there’s still lots of great theatre left to catch (with May Can’s tantalizing JERK IT series starting up tonight too!), so catch it while you can! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Undercurrents 2015 Part 2: Much Ado about Feckin’ Punch-Ups

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2015 at 6:49 pm

Pardon the somewhat lateness of this one, real life does intrude like the violent pest that it is. But this post starts on the day of Valentine, the Patron Saint of lovers and the Antagonist Saint of Whiny, Lonely Losers…I won’t say which camp I belong to, but let’s just say it’s the second one and distracting myself with sweet and funky theatre seemed like the right thing t do (it almost always is, really). So it was off to Arts Court for my second visit to Undercurrents 2015, and more rollicking theatrical action.

Feckin Pirates (cred Pascal Huot)

A pair of Feckin’ Pirates (Pic by Pascal Huot)

First up that night was a return trip to the high seas as an Ottawa fav’rit show got itself back onto the stage. After a successful slot in the Gladstone’s season lineup last year, Parry Riposte’s MUCH ADO ABOUT FECKIN’ PIRATES was ready to make its assault on Undercurrents. Pairing Ottawa Theatre royalty Margo MacDonald (back in Undercurrents after helping kick it off years ago with the great SHADOWS) and Richard Gelinas as two squabbling pirates, bound and confined to the crow’s nest for fighting over the fate of a parrot, the show (directed by AL Connors) takes a very unique approach to its storytelling. Following a structure, and yet also mainly improvised based on suggestions the audience votes on ahead of time, Margo and Richard are practically immobile for 95% of the show, relying solely on their improvisational wits and fake pirate accents to keep the audience rapt with attention. Thankfully, watching these two bicker and snipe and make up nonsense about prates is something I could watch for hours on end. They even managed to seamlessly weave tentacle porn into the show I caught, so clearly I can die fulfilled anytime now, I don’t know about you. All I do know is that you’d be a right knave if you missed your chance to see these two ridiculously gifted comedians do what they do best…argue like pirates. They should bring this show back EVERY year.

An intermission then, during which I happily caught another performance of Trevor Copp’s wordless physical theatre show AIR, and I greatly benefitted from a repeat viewing (oh, he was making a FIRE! Got it, Stag Hunter, got it) no to mention catching a new short piece, FLIGHT, that he hadn’t performed when I first caught his show. Very brilliant and inspiring.

Soon after it was back into the Theatre for Theatre Brouhaha’s much-acclaimed PUNCH-UP by writer/director Kat Sandler. Starring Caitlin Driscoll, Colin Munch and Tim Walker in a King of Comedy-esque misadventure of hilarious proportions. Lonely schlub Duncan (Walker) falls head over heels for ‘the saddest girl in the world’ (Driscoll), and makes a bet that he can make her laugh…and if he can’t, the consequences are dire indeed. To help him on his bizarre quest, he kidnaps down-on-his-luck comedian Pat (Munch) to teach him how to be funny. We quickly learn, however, that Duncan is completely unable to understand even the most basic rudiments of comedy, and the simple desire to make someone laugh becomes an epic, Herculean task, and might just get a few people killed.


This show deserves all the hype its gotten and a few barrels more…Kat Sandler is clearly a mad genius, and she’s assembled a perfect cast for one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see. Improv mainstay Colin Munch is viciously funny as the glowering, bitter Pat, paired magnificently with Tim Walker’s inhumanly inept Duncan, who only seems to be able to make people stop laughing at him when he’s actually trying to make them do just that. And Caitlin Driscoll’s tragic Brenda is the walking, talking example of one of the points about comedy Pat tries to explain to Duncan…the sadder her life gets, the more we in the audience can’t help but laugh. Maybe we’re all just awful people, but we’re awful and laughing, so I’ll take it. As I write this there’s only one more showing of PUNCH-UP in Undercurrents, and whatever you have to do to make it out to that show, DO THAT THING.  This is dark and funny at its darkly funniest.  Rather perfect for Valentine’s Day, really…

I’ll be back at Undercurrents on Wednesday myself, to catch two more new shows (and maybe taste some beer from them Dominion City folk in between)…hope to see some of you folk there. Get on out and support the brightest spot in a cold, cold February! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Undercurrents 2015 Part 1: Far & Air & Love (+Hate)

In Theatre on February 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm

I don’t know how to start this thing off today (700+ blogposts on this thing, surely you’re all wise to my smarmy little writer-tricks by now, right?) so let’s just jump right in…UNDERCURRENTS is back again, Ottawa’s dapper, smashing little juried Theatre festival that makes February all warm and snuggly for a couple of weeks. There’s a sweet lineup once again, courtesy of fest director Pat Gauthier, plus a whole new home at Arts Court, as Undercurrents cozies up to its new Mommy festival, the Ottawa Fringe. Last night was opening night, with a packed house all evening, and maybe the beer was having a little trouble pouring that smoothly, but the theatre was rolling out JUST right.

First up was Ottawa fav’rit Thunk! Theatre and their newly expanded and revamped FAR & NEAR & HERE, originally produced as a 20 minute entry to the Fresh Meat Festival 2 years ago. Created by and starring Thunk’s titanic tag team of Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome, the show follows the weird long-distance friendship (romance?) of Ned and Ted. Ted (Balcome) is a pragmatic list-maker and Aquatic artist from Near, while Ned (McBride)is somewhat misanthropic writer and Boat-builder from
Far…which is quite far from Near. After a brief chance meeting in Here, Ned and Ted strike up a postcard friendship that leads to their decision to meet up for Ned’s Birthday halfway between Far and Near, in Here. Which also happens to be in the middle of the Ocean.

Karen Balcome and Geoff McBride of Thunk!

Karen Balcome and Geoff McBride of Thunk!

Thunk! shows are like a warm hug to your soul, and F&N&H is no different. Gorgeously written, magically staged (you can very much feel the touch of director/dramaturge Emily Pearlman throughout) and of course wonderful performances from Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome, two immensely likeable creators with talent to match their charm. Some epic sound design from the ever-impressive AL Connors, plus Seth Gerry’s terrific lightwork makes this just about as good a start to Undercurrents 2015 as you could beg or scream for.

A brief intermission, and the second Act of the evening got underway, this time in the Studio, where Trevor Copp of Tottering Biped Theatre took to the stage for AIR, a pay-what-you-can show that is a pretty towering display of talent indeed, and whatever you CAN pay, I hope it’s a lot because his dude’s worth it. Featuring a trio of short, wordless, very physical character pieces of limitless imagination, brought to frickin’ beautiful life by Trevor and his clearly enchanted frame (plus director Richard Beaune, natch). The storylines ranged from a man stalking a Stag to the real answers you need about Death, and maybe you’ll follow every moment and maybe you won’t, but it’s easy enough to just lean back and wonder at the artistry on display. I do recommend either getting a good seat up close, or getting to high ground for a good view…you’ll want to be able to see every moment that Trevor brings to life up on that stage. Very impressed.

LOVE+HATE from the Peptides (image by Bonnie Findley)

LOVE+HATE from the Peptides (image by Bonnie Findley)

One final show for the evening back in the Theatre, as a Fringe fav’rit from last year made its triumphant return to the stage. Local musical superheroes The Peptides were back with their unspeakably entertaining LOVE + HATE, and there’s just nothing bad to say about this Goddam fun show. To anyone kvetching about Ottawa being a boring town, I present to you this show…watch it, then slink back to whatever desolate Hellhole you come from and bemoan the fact that there are no Peptides there to make life worth living. Tackling a variety of topics on the human condition, with more classical theatrical elements interspersed with a pop-noir rock concert, it’s a sight to see (and hear, oh yes, to hear) from beginning to end. While each member of the sizeable combo is clearly a musical prodigy in their own right, as a whole the Peptides prove to be a slickly oiled Theatre group to boot, tossing out choreographed dance numbers, comic scenes, live foley sounds and more with seemingly effortless appeal. Kitschy, kinky musical fantasticalness. I said it.

That was it for opening day, except for the hopping afterparty, which was a blast for everyone (and a somewhat grim discovery of the advanced state of my social anxiety for me, oh well), and a great capper to a kick ass opening night. I’ll be back tomorrow for a few more shows, best wishes and broken legs to the good folk playing there in the meantime! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Coming Up in February 2015

In Theatre on February 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

Good old February…short but always sweet for us theatre types, weather be darned. Who worries about freezing half to death when there’s awesome theatre to be had? Some kinda jerk, I bet.

MOSS PARK at the GCTC. Still time to catch the latest bit of George F.Walker in this 2-hander from . Until the 8th.

night sky

NIGHT SKY at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. The 3rd through 14th.

STUFF HAPPENS at the NAC Theatre. A little walk down memory lane, George W.Bush style, with the NAC ensemble as our guides, from the 3rd to 21st.


MARION BRIDGE at the Gladstone Theatre, from Three Sisters Theatre. A new company brings us some classic MacIvor…who could ask for more? From the 11th to 21st.

SCHOOL FOR LIES at the Algonquin studio Theatre N112 (Building N), from Algonquin Theatre Arts. The great Catriona Leger directs the kickoff play of the Gonq’s new season! From the 11th to 15th.

THE QUEEN OF PARADISE’S GARDEN at the NAC 4th Stage. Andy Jones doing puppet Theatre for kids, which should be about as memorable as it gets. The 16h and 21st.


SABRINA FAIR at the Ottawa Little Theatre. The classic tale (best known courtesy of Audrey Hepburn and Hollywood) gets some OLT lovin’ to brighten up your winter. From the 17th to March 7th.

MARAT/SADE at Academic Hall, from Ottawa U. I’m not writing out the whole actual name of this play from Peter Weiss (directed here by Third Wall’s own James Richardson, en route to his MFA), so go see it and I’m sure it will be on the program. From the 24th to 28th.


BANKRUPT at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions. New Semi-Musical featuring Ottawa superstars the Peptides! From the 25th to March 14th.

ZOO STORY/IT’S WHAT DR.JENKINS WOULD HAVE WANTED at 241 Residence Commons (Carleton Campus), from Sock’n’Buskin.  A One-Act Double Bill from the Sockies for a mere 5 bucks!  The 25th to 28th.

GAME OF BONES at the Velvet Room, from Eddie May Murder Mysteries. The popular dinner theatre romp continues every Saturday…based on the classic fantasy teevee show MANN AND MACHINE, I think.

Don't have an image file for the sexy new logo, sorry.  Old school it is!

Don’t have an image file for the sexy new logo, sorry. Old school it is!

February means the return of Ottawa’s sweet Independent Theatre Festival UNDERCURRENTS, this time making its Arts Court debut as a satellite of the Ottawa Fringe Festival. And as usual , a might fine lineup to look forward to. The fest runs from the 12th to 21st…check the website for full schedule info!

Balcome and McBride, finding themselves.

Balcome and McBride, finding themselves.

FAR & NEAR & HERE from Thunk! Theatre. Expanded and reborn from their original run at the Fresh Meat Festival two years ago, Thunk! Is back to make some magic courtesy of Karen Balcome and Geoff McBride.

MARATHON from Aharona Israel. Described as an “authentic process of increasing attrition happening before your eyes, in real time” So, yeah, don’t miss it.


PUNCH-UP from Theatre Brouhaha. A comic smash at the Toronto Fringe, this Kat Sandler creation is gonna be just as big a hit in Ottawa.

MUCH ADO ABOUT FECKIN’ PIRATES from Parry Riposte. Margo McDonald and Richard Gelinas return as bickering, improvising pirates in a show that basically writes itself. Diddling a likelihood.

LOVE+HATE from the Peptides (image by Bonnie Findley)

LOVE+HATE from the Peptides (image by Bonnie Findley)

LOVE + HATE from the Peptides. A hit at last year’s Ottawa Fringe, you don’t wanna miss this return appearance of the Peppies musico-theatre extravaganza. You really don’t.

SPIN from Evalyn Parry. Because not enough theatre incorporates bicycles, and Ms.Parry is here to solve that problem!

AIR from Tottering Biped. Expansion, Descent, Ascent, and flight…all yours at PWYC pricing!


JERK IT from May Can Theatre. Anonymous tales of masturbation read aloud, because sometimes theatre really is that Goddamned simple.

UN CABARET TRENDY-TRASH SIGNE LES POIDS PLUMES from les Poids Plumes. I won’t even venture a guess as to what this one-night only French cabaret adventure will consist of, only that you probably want to be there to find out.  And speaking of French Theatre…


LA CORNEILLE at Theatre de L’Ile.  Until the 28th.

LES GRAND-MERES MORTES at the NAC Studio. For young audiences, the 14th and 15th.

LE PROJET BOCAL at the NAC Studio. The 18th to 21st.

L’HISTOIRE DU GRILLON EGALE DANS UN SALON at the NAC Studio. 28Th and March 1st.


‘BOUT TIME at Mother McGinteys, from Crush Improv.  3 on 3 Improv action!  Monday the 2nd.  And Crush will also be hosting a one-day Improv Workshop with Colin Munch on the 14th.

DJUSTICE UNCHAINED at the Lunenburg Pub, from Hall of Justice Improv. On the 8th.


EFT-UP COMEDY SHOW at Pressed Cafe, from Experimental Farm Theatre. On the 12th.

First and last Wednesday of the month at the Cock’n’Lion, from Grimprov.

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB at the NAC 4th Stage, from the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.  Anjual fundraiser featuring MC Pierre Brault and a host of Ottawa’s Finest, plus food and bevvie from the Clocktower Brewpub and Thyme and Again!

FUSE at the GCTC, from Propellerdance. Multidisciplinary and inclusive dance goodness, on the 12th and 13th.

More to come!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Coming Up in November 2014

In Theatre on November 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

November!! It’s more than just terrible moustaches.

FISH EYES and BOYS WITH CARS at the GCTC, from Nightswimming. Fishy car double-billed fun to start the month off right! Until the 2nd.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST at the National Arts Centre Theatre. The Wilde party continues until the 8th, courtesy of the NAC English Theatre ensemble.

The Hunchinson Family Players (tm).

The Hunchinson Family Players ™.

THE HUNCHBACKS OF NOTRE DAME at the Gladstone, from Under the Table and Black Sheep Theatre. November 1st is your last chance to catch the Hunchinson family in this fantastic Hugo-inspired comedy!

JACK STRAW at the Elmwood Theatre, from Linden House. Finishing up on the 1st and 2nd, some period hijinks from the Linden House gang.

THE SHAPE OF A GIRL at the Avalon Studio, from Cart Before the Horse. Hard hitting youth drama, featuring the unstoppable Megan Carty. Until the 2nd.

THE MOUSETRAP at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Last chance for Agatha Christie mystery goodness, until the 8th.


WHERE POPPIES BLOW at the GCTC, from Salamander Theatre. Two performances of this Moscovitch goodness on the 2nd at the GCTC, plus a few others listed above and on the website at various locations!

DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MISTER HYDE at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  Classic Victoriana in Kanata!  From the 4th to 15th.

THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB at the Gladstone Theatre, from Phoenix Players. Co-stars the legend Bobby Roberts…what else do you need to hear?? From the 6th through 15th.


YOUNG LADY IN WHITE at Arts Court Theatre, from Evolution Theatre. Evolution is back, with the lead show in the awesome new TACTICS series season! Catch this one from the 7th through 15th.

BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR at the Avalon Studio, from Plosive Productions and the Acting Company. Chris Ralph re-enlists for another go at this Canuck musical classic. From the 7th to 23rd.

DO YOU WANT WHAT I HAVE GOT? A CRAIGSLIST CANTATA at the NAC Studio. I don’t exactly know what Craigslist is, but I’ll bet these people will let me know, via song. From the 12th to 22nd.

ex short play 2014

THE EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL at Arts Court Theatre, from New Theatre Ottawa. Short plays your thing? Here’s where to find’em! The 19th to 30th.

glass menagerie

THE GLASS MENAGERIE at the Gladstone Theatre, from Bear and Co. That Tennessee whatsisname hits the Gladstone stage, along with a cool cast. The 20th to December 6th.

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society. Fiddles, rooves….this one has it all!! The 21st to 30th.

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Travellin’ children for the holidays! The 25th to December 13th,


THE TEMPEST in room 2017 Dunton Tower (Carleton U. campus), from Sock’n’Buskin.  A change of pace and venue to kick of SNB’s new season!  The 28th to 30th, plus December 5th and 6th!

AND TO ALL A GOOD KNIFE at the Velvet Room, from Eddie May Murder mysteries.  A bloody Xmas show with a killer cast to start the season right.  Starts Saturday the 15th, then every Friday and Saturday this month.
          – Theatre Francais

HUIT FEMMES at Theatre de L’Ile. The 5th through December 6th.

EAUX at the NAC Studio. For young and old audiences. The 1st and 2nd

DEUX at the NAC Studio. Join Mani and Manu for a intimate piece of theatre indeed. The 5th to 8th.

VIOL at Academic Hall, for Comedie des Deux Rives.  Ottawa U French Theatre takes on Titus Andronicus!  The 18th to 22nd.

KISS AND CRY at the NAC Theatre. A movie in miniature filmed and projected before your eyes, the 26th to 29th.

          – Improv and Others

‘BOUT TIME on Monday the 3rd from Crush Improv, more 3 on 3 improv battle goodness! And lots more Crush this month, as they’ll be at Maxwell’s on the 14th with special guests Dave Morris and Missie Peters from Paper Street Theatre, and on the 22nd at Patty Boland’s with former Crush member Jodan Moffat!  Plus, Dave Morris will be hosting an improv workshop on the 15th (11 -2)  at the Routhier Community Centre.

APROVALYPSE from Hall of Justice Improv at the Lunenburg, on the 9th.

HOW TO START (literally), an improv workshop from Dani and Chris of Experimental Farm Theatre. On the 12th at the Dalhousie community centre! And the next EFT-up comedy show is on the 20th at the Pressed Cafe!


UOttawa’s Improv gang, MI-6 is having their first public show of the year on the 25th at the Lnenburg pub!

Plus, I’m assuming, the regular first and last wednesday improv slots for GRIMPROV at the Cock and Lion (join them on the 5th for THE LEAP!), plus the last Tuesday show from CRYSTAL BASEMENT at the Atomic Rooster.

And new addition, the Acting Company will be hosting a showcase performance of their advanced improv class on the 10th at 8pm, at the Avalon Studio!

wolf pelt

WOLF PELT FUNDRAISER on the 5th, at Arts Court Courtroom. Join Cory Thibert and his moviemaking pals at Wolf Pelt as they screen multiple supercool short films for your amusement (and hopefully donations)

Undercurrents LOGO NEW 300dpi-01

UNDERCURRENTS LAUNCH PARTY on the 12th at Arts Court. Now that the little festival that makes February fun has made thee move to Fringe territory, let’s see what Pat Gauthier has in store for us this time around!

More to come…I know I’m missing a few French shows at least, if not much more…stay tuned, and get on out there!!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

GCTC 2014/15 Season — LAUNCHED!

In GCTC, Theatre on April 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Been looking forward to this one for a bit now…a few weeks ago I got an invite for me and a guest to hit up the GCTC to check out the launch of the upcoming 2014/15 season, also their 40th anniversary. I didn’t bring a guest, as I’ve been feeling intensely anti-social of late, and it was rough enough to haul myself out to something that I knew would be so damned, well…SOCIAL. But season launches arrive but once a year, and the show must go on and all that, so out of my cozy little Visitorium I ventured Took a pitstop at Bridgehead to read a little Eugene O’Neill, which got me into the theatrical mood soon enough, and I made it to the corner of Holland and Wellington just as the large and enthusiastic crowd was starting to form outside of the Irving Greenberg theatre. Lots of familiar and friendly faces were abounding, and I could feel my anti-social armour starting to crumble when, thank Heavens, the theatre doors opened and we started going in. I ran to a seat and eagerly awaited the evening’s announcement (ignoring the full disclosure media release I just spotted being delivered by e-mail to my cellphone…no wonder Coates hates those things!).

After a swell into delving into the 40 year history of the GCTC, Artistic Director Eric Coates himself took the stage to helm the launch. And he started out with a strong vision of what the ‘theme’ of the new season would be. “If you want a theme, go to Santa’s Village” he shouted to a pretty joyous response from the crowd, and I have to agree…the notion of theming a theatre season has always seemed pretty dubious to me, and I’m happy to see the idea so merrily disowned. Good theatre is theme enough.

The new season begins with Emil Sher’s adaptation of THE BOY IN THE MOON by Ian Brown, a book that is apparently amazing but which I have not read (longtime readers know that I am , of course, functionally illiterate). Starring Peter James Howarth, the show tells a Father’s true-life story of raising a son afflicted with a rare disability. Howarth gave us a short reading from the play (the first of two directed by Coates himself, who last helmed the great THIS IS WAR), and I think this one’s gonna be a gooder.

Next up is a double bill, FISH EYES and BOYS WITH CARS, both written, performed and choreographed by Anita Majumdar. She stars in the paired shows as Indian Canadian teens Meena and Naz, both dealing with life, tradition and dance in Port Moody BC. I love one woman shows, I love double bills, I am SO THERE.

The Holiday show is next, and I’m so excited for this one I cannot tell ya. But I’ll tell ya ANYWAY. A joint production with a Company of Fools (who last paired with the GCTC to bring us the sublime MIDWINTERS DREAM TALE), Ottawa’s fav’rit homegrown clown duo return to the stage in POMME AND ’RESTES: SHIPWRECKED! ON THE TEMPESTUOUS LOST ISLAND OF NEVER. To be directed by AL Connors, and written whenever, this show is brilliant news to a wee budding clown like myself (have I mentioned yet in this post that I’m going to clown island this summer? Because I am). If you miss this show, then good luck in the next life, friend, because you have hopelessly fucked THIS one.


Hitting 2015, we start the second half of the season with the second dose of George F.Walker in 2 consecutive seasons (following the upcoming premiere of BURDEN OF SELF-AWARENESS to finish off the current season), with Green Thumb Theatre’s production of MOSS PARK. Directed by former GCTC artistic director Patrick McDonald and starring Graeme McComb and Haley McGee as a down and out couple looking for a future…a dark comedy for what will likely be a dark January, if this crappy winter is any indicator of things to come.

Next up would likely be UNDERCURRENTS, and it will of course be having its fifth iteration in 2015….but that news no longer belongs in this post. In what may be the biggest bit of news to be revealed at the lunch, Undercurrents is officially following producer Pat Gauthier to the Ottawa Fringe Festival, and will happen next year under the Fringe umbrella at Arts Court Theatre! And while it while be sad indeed to no longer lounge at the Greenberg while waiting for my February awesomeness, I’m stoked that Gauthier will continue to helm the series, and a marriage with Fringe does indeed make perfect sense. The studio at GCTC will still get some use, as they’ve partnered up with local heroes Propellerdance to work up there in anticipation of a mainstage show later in the year. Good news all around, I say.

Speaking of the mainstage, the next show in the roster is another one that makes me smile, Daniel MacIvor’s THE BEST BROTHERS, a play I only recently bought and read my own self! Directed again by boss Coates, and starring the dream team of Andy Massingham and John Ng as two estranged brothers dealing with the drag-queen-related death of their Mother (as well as the disposition of her dog Enzo, surely a nod to our own Richard Hemphill), I can attest to how great this play reads and cannot WAIT to see it brought to life in front of me. Very, very happy to see my teacher Andy back on the GCTC stage. 🙂


And the season caps off with a former UNDERCURRENTS show making the jump to the big stage (falling in BLUE BOX’s salsa-dancing footsteps), as THE PUBLIC SERVANT returns to town. The breakout hit of the 2013 festival, the civil-service-skewering comedy by Jennifer Brewing, Haley McGee, Sarah McVie and Amy Rutherford was a goddam laugh riot in its original form, and will be expanded into a full length show for its triumphant return to the GCTC next June. It will be very, very great to see this show and this ensemble again.  And a show about civil service will sell in this town, folks, so get your tickets early.

The Public by Jacqui Jensen-Roy.

The Public by Jacqui Jensen-Roy.

That was the end of the launch and the beginning of the afterparty where, despite myself, I found a little bit of non-anti-social behaviour creeping in. But what else could I do when confronted with the likes of Emily Pearlman, Michelle leBlanc, Alexis Scott, Alix Sideris, Zach Counsil, Karen Balcome, Rich Hemphill, and so many, wonderful more. I love my life in theatre (also known as my life), and am delighted to look forward to the next year of it at the GCTC. Heck, I might even volunteer again this year. I’m sure they miss me anyhow…and I just KNOW I’m gonna need to see Pomme and ‘Restes more than once…

Peace, love and soul, GCTC fans,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

PS  the entire Box Office staff danced onstage, and Tony Adams got naked.  Sorry NOW you missed the launch..?

Undercurrents 2014 – MORRO AND JASP DO PUBERTY

In Undercurrents on February 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Undercurrents LOGO NEW 300dpi-01

Whew!  Two show reviews down today, after an epic triple bill at UNDERCURRENTS yesterday, only one left to go!  And after a hundred-pound breakfast at Bramasole to help myself recover from the opening week afterparty, I think I’m ready to tackle the final task of the day (before I have to hustle into show rehearsals of my own, that is).  And my only real problem with writing this last one up will be trying not to use all caps or filling entire paragraphs with exclamation points.  Because last night at 9 pm, Morro and Jasp returned to Ottawa…and I believe they may now literally own the place.

The much beloved clown duo (in ‘real life’ Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee), who had made smaller scale excursions into the capitol at the Canadian Comedy Awards and SubDevision, arrive here with their first full show run in town, MORRO AND JASP DO PUBERTY.   Their first ‘grown-up- show from, I think, 2009, this show does pretty much exactly what the title suggests, as the clown sisters wend their teenage way through raging hormones, petty squabbles, stupid boys, and a first time visit from their Aunt Flo.  Along the way there’s shouting, fighting, some seriously tough sisterly love and more onstage toilet time than I’ve yet had the joy of experiencing in live theatre.

Heather and Amy, aka MORRO AND JASP.

Heather and Amy, aka MORRO AND JASP.

Heather and Amy have their clownish alter-egos down pat, and the laughs they wrest from the audience with such ripe material as this come fast and furious, never really stopping from before the lights go up until after the final curtain.  But these clowns are no dummies…they know exactly where the beating heart of their story is, and before you know what’s happening they’ve gone and snuck in some genuine, bittersweet drama in the midst of a hilarious series of tampon jokes.  Looking back on it now that the laughter has subsided, I’d say this is one of the sweetest, and probably more honest looks back at that period (sorry) in a young gal’s life that you’re ever likely to see on a stage.  It just happens to be perpetrated by two brilliantly gifted clown performers, who if we’re any kind of lucky will keep on coming back to Ottawa to show us how its done.  Forever, please.  This is as funny and wonderful as theatre has any right to hope to get.

After the show it was time for the official opening week party, where I managed to fulfill my secret mission for this year’s festival, which was to meet Morro and Jasp in person (as in, sans makeup and bright red noses).  We did, we hugged, we danced a bit, and it was just damn lovely.  Also had the pleasure of a long chat with the show’s director Byron Laviolette, who is a gentleman and a scholar.  I’m happy to say Ottawa embraced this gang in magnificent style…that audience was, as superfan Richard Hemphill noted, maybe the most receptive audience we’ve ever been part of.  It was a glorious and epic way to finish off my first week of Undercurrents 2014, and you don’t want to miss a moment of it.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

PS: their cookbook (yes, they have a cookbook..!) EAT YOUR HEART OUT WITH MORRO AND JASP, is for sale along with other clown merch in the box office.  I’m getting mine, you should get yours.  Just sayin’.


Undercurrents 2014 – RIDERGIRL

In Undercurrents on February 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Undercurrents LOGO NEW 300dpi-01

More adventures in UNDERCURRENTS on a fine Saturday indeed!  Already did myself the very large favour of seeing Matt Miwa and Julie Tamiko Manning’s wonderful TASHME PROJECT, and now, after a spot of writing with miss Michelle, the sun was starting to go down, the tailgate party was getting underway, the jock jams started playing all throughout the Irving Greenberg, and beer and sausages were being readily consumed by theatre and football fans alike.  Yes, that’s right…it was game time.

I’d already had the pleasure of seeing Colleen Sutton’s delightful one woman show RIDERGIRL a couple of times in the past, and was more than happy to make it a triple play (sports pun!).  Drected by the great Jan Irwin, the play tells the engaging, occasionally awkward true story of Colleen’s journey from marching band prairie lass to Ottawa actress, with the ever present green and white shadow of those eternal underdogs (this year’s cup win notwithstanding), the Saskatchewan Rough Riders looming large over every moment.  Colleen is what you might call a fan, see…she loves her Riders like other people love their kids.  Amidst the ups and downs of her own life…failed relationships, career switches, and a steadily mounting avalanche of overdue bills…the joy she takes in those rare Rider wins are the one bright hope she clings to, and perhaps something any sports fan can relate to.  In fact, even us non-sporties all still likely have SOMEthing we follow and take hope in…in case anyone hasn’t noticed, I take a bit of an unhealthy interest in the world of theatre from time to time. 🙂

Colleen Sutton in RIDERGIRL.

Colleen Sutton in RIDERGIRL.

The lady Colleen is a dynamo on stage, and it’s hard to watch her and not become, if only for an hour, a bit of a Riders fan yourself.  Aside from herself, she brings a handful of other characters to life during the show, the highlight of which remains for me Sandra, her trash-talking mentor in the ways of Rider Nation.  Sandra is the source of lots of the plentiful laughs in this show, which help to nicely set us up for the darker moments that inevitably, and very beautifully fall.  All football trappings aside, RIDERGIRL at its heart is a story of a woman trying to find her way in the world on her own terms.  And heart is one thing this show is never, ever lacking.  Third time was indeed the charm for me, and you should probably get on this high-energy joyride of a show before its gone.  Go Riders!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Undercurrents 2014 – THE TASHME PROJECT

In Undercurrents on February 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Undercurrents LOGO NEW 300dpi-01

So yesterday was the most awesome day I’ve had in a while…but then, you might expect that from a triple-bill day at UNDERCURRENTS at the GCTC studio.  It was definitely worth booking the weekend off from the drudgery to start my festival viewing early this weekend, because it turns out I still had some goddam great theatre left to see.  Bumped into one of Ottawa’s most talented actors Michelle leBlanc, who had the same three show idea as me, and we became seat buddies for the rest of the day.  So, already a great day.

First show up was THE TASHME PROJECT: THE LIVING ARCHIVES, a verbatim piece from Matt Miwa and Julie Tamiko Manning.  For those not in the know, verbatim just refers to theatre whose text is culled from the real words of real people, often through interviews or the like.  I guess the most famous is THE LARAMIE PROJECT (and more recently in Ottawa, GRAIN OF SALT), and it’s a style of theatre that I deeply adore. This particular piece is centered on Tashme, an internment camp for BC Japanese-Canadians during WWII, and the stories Julie and Matt have gathered from its survivors and descendants.  The whole story of the camps and forced relocations is one of the more deeply shameful bits of Canadian heritage that don’t get mentioned much in polite conversation, so right away this is, to my mind, a damn important bit of work.  Using a beautiful and simple trick of structure, Matt and Julie embody what appear to be dozens of different persons, each retelling a different bit of the history of the Tashme generation, as well as the ones that followed.  Some are funny as Hell, some are just as bitter, many are revelatory.  And all of them are voices that have needed to be heard for a long, long time now.


Matt and Julie are top-notch in their performances, seamlessly moving from one character to the next and treating each with the utmost respect and pride.  Miwa, who once upon a time blew me away in Evolution Theatre’s great LITTLE MARTYRS, continues to impress here, most especially as a camp survivor railing against a racist history teacher.  And Manning is stellar, often coming back to one specific character who seems to act as a bit of a focal point/unofficial narrator for the whole sordid story.  I was always entertained during TASHME, and also learned a hell of a lot that I feel like I SHOULD have known a long time ago.   You’ll hear the words ‘haunting’ and ‘beautiful’ a lot when people talk about this show, and there’s good reason for that.  But do yourself a favour and find out for yourself.  As for me…well, I still had two shows to see.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)