Belles Soeurs: The Musical is a very unlikely musical. Based on the play Les Belles-Soeurs by Michel Tremblay, Belles Soeurs introduces the audience to Germaine Lauzon, a working-class housewife in Quebec who has just won a million trading stamps from a department store. The jackpot is so large it would allow Germaine a chance to buy everything in the latest store catalogue. So overcome with pride and joy Germaine invites the neighborhood over for a party where everyone will help paste the stamps into the appropriate booklets for redemption. As Germaine’s neighbors, closest friends and family make their way into her crowded kitchen the jealousy, bitterness and contempt for Germaine’s prize sneaks up rather quickly souring what should be one of Germaine’s happiest days.Read the full review.
Concord Floral, a rundown greenhouse on the outskirts of Hunt Club, is the local teenage hang out. It’s abandoned, dangerous and perhaps a little haunted, which is enough of a draw to make it the place to go for parties, hookups or to just hang out if one has snuck out past their curfew. This dilapidated building holds secrets of its own and hosts a number of haunted, if not haunting, characters.Read the full review.
Rick Miller’s return to the Nation’s Capital is trumpeted with a resounding sound as he bounds onto the National Arts Centre English Theatre stage with an energetic euphoria in his one man show Boom. Boom spans the period of the early 1940’s to the late 1960’s delving into the political, social and artistic spectrum of the Baby Boomer Generation and how it’s come to shape future generations in its innovations.Read the full review.
Jack Charles v. The Crown is definitely an experience, to say the least. It’s a tale of heart ache, pain and suffering that holds a hope and resilience that is just as relevant today as it was when the injustices took place. Jack Charles is an actor from Australia, but it’s hard to define Jack Charles by that one title. He is also an Australian Indigenous Tribal Elder, drug addict, survivor of physical and sexual abuse, thief and homosexual. Jack Charles is way too complex to fit into one category and way too unique to just fit into the labels listed above, but they all helped define the person he has become today.Read the full review.
Picking up after the events of Anne of Green Gables, Anne & Gilbert The Musical follows our beloved Anne Shirley as she starts her career as a school master and later as she goes off to University. Anne finds herself followed all the way by her childhood sweetheart Gilbert Blythe, who is quite determined to convince Anne to marry him, despite Anne’s hesitations. Covering the content of the second and third novel in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s series, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island, Anne & Gilbert The Musical is definitely a family classic that will make the entire audience believe in love by the end.Read the full review.
The simplest way to describe The December Man is that it’s depressing, from beginning to end, or a better way to put it would be from end to beginning. Following the events of the Polytechnique Massacre, The December Man is a play which pays tribute to the women who lost their lives in that horrific tragedy, and also those who had life-long scars in the days, months and years following. The December Man follows Jean, a young and promising Engineering Student, whose daily life is upended as he starts to relive the nightmares that he witnessed on the fateful day, wishing he could transform himself into a hero to put an end to the haunting visions. The play works backwards through time, opening with a vignette that holds no punches as it very quickly and graphically shows the fates of our three main characters.Read the full review.
The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God finds Rainey, played by Lucinda Davis, fighting to make her way out from rock bottom. Three years after the sudden and unexpected loss of her daughter, marred in a divorce and suffering from severe mental health issues you would typically find on a TLC show, Rainey finds herself back in her hometown, a small Cottage country town in Western Ontario along the shores of Negro Creek. It’s here where Rainey encounters a whirlwind of activity which draws her from out of her haunted past into the present and may just make her step away from the ledge.
The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God is a very ambitious project that The National Arts Centre English Theatre has decided to open their 2015-16 Season with. It’s a show that relies heavily on a very talented and enthusiastic chorus, who are on stage 99% of the time. It’s a show that has a fairly large cast and a unique group of different characters all with their own motivations and goals. It’s a show that runs nearly three hours long, yet within it’s extremely long run time has very little actual content. The plot of this play could be told in just over an hour if we were to cut out all of the singing and dancing, which while it definitely does add to the quality of the show, also makes the show drag out longer than it needs to be.Read the full review.
Opera Lyra kicks off its 2015-16 season with Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, an opera the world over is familiar with, whether they know it or not. Set in a movie studio in the 1940’s, Opera Lyra’s General Director John Peter Jeffries, alongside Artistic Director Timothy Vernon, brings a whole new world to life in this wildly fun adaptation.
The young and beautiful movie starlet Rosina is working under direction of the over-powering and villainous studio owner, Doctor Bartolo, who plans on marrying her and keeping her as a prized possession. The young, handsome Count Almaviva has secretly fallen in love with Rosina, but to win her heart must disguise himself with the help of the studio stylist Figaro, a flamboyant individual who has his finger on every pulse of this opera. Without things getting too complicated or convoluted as some opera’s due, hilarity and destruction ensues in the most heartwarming of ways.Read the full review.
Two struggling illegal immigrants want to invite you to their lantern party to get to know you in Pachiv! Should you see it?
Pachiv! if anything is truly inconsistent. While both Tony Adams (Grease) and Chelsea Young (Ewe) are quite strong and entertaining actors who can hold a show together, the content really falls flat on its face because the audience doesn’t know if it’s supposed to be laughing or crying or whether we’re about to reach a new level of emotional depth or if it’s just a setup for another big joke.
The two take command of their outdoor venue and truly do make the audience feel at home, but it’s the moments of melancholy that come out of nowhere while everyone is laughing and smiling and having a great time that drags this show down. You can usually tell when one of these transitions are going to happen because the two start to sing to each other, yet neither are particularly strong in the vocal department.
I’m not sure if this show was supposed to a comedy, a drama or the film Indecent Proposal, but it was all over the map, and the two strong actors could not save mediocre content that just couldn’t flesh out exactly what it was meant to be.
The best part of the show was actually before the show began and the two pranced introducing themselves and talking, laughing and sharing drinks with audience members. They had an amazing ability to banter and think on their feet, but once we hit the scripted content things went downhill fast.
For more information on Pachiv! (times and tickets) click here!
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. What did you think of how the show balanced itself between being a comedy and a drama? What was your favourite character quirk? Join the discussion and tell me what you think in the comments below!
Screwtape takes us on a journey to Hell, all from the comforts of the pulpits of the Church. Should you see it?
Screwtape is an important demon. He makes sure the audience knows that right off the top from his dress, to his demeanour, to the way he orates. While he prepares to deliver the graduation speech to a new round of tempters about to head to Earth to torment the souls of humans he also finds himself conflicted as his own nephew, Wormwood, reaches out for help as he struggles to secure the soul of the human he’s been assigned, and if Wormwood fails to secure the soul the consequences are dire.
I cannot be 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure that this is not what C.S. Lewis expected to become of his critically acclaimed Screwtape Letters, alas, the show doesn’t disappoint. Screwtape is a one man show that is equal parts captivating, engaging and sophisticated. John D. Huston speaks with authority and holds great control over every carefully crafted word of his unyielding and biting monologues.
Screwtape is truly a piece of poetry. It’s a commentary that’s about religion and the existence of God and the Devil on a surface level, yet on the deeper level about the wanton acts of the human animal and how we justify our actions on a day to day plain of existence with an obvious end in sight that most of us choose to remain oblivious to.
Huston is unstoppable on his 80 minute diatribe that’s full of clever wit and the well placed laughs to break up the heaviness of the content. My only complaint, a mild one at that, is that one can truly feel the 80 minute clock on this show. It is a heavy piece of theatre, and one that can, at times, sound preachy, there’s no real need for it to be longer than 60 minutes. Yet there’s still a delicious irony to hear from a well-versed Demon, whom we unwittingly root for, as he preaches to us from the pulpit of a church.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. What did you think of the venue for Screwtape? What did you think about its length? Too long? Too short? Just about right? Join the discussion and tell me what you think in the comments below!