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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Theatre

The Underpants: A spicy farce at The Gladstone

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Photo courtesy of Maria Vartanova.Photo courtesy of Maria Vartanova.

It’s 1910 in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Off-stage, a pretty young wife, Louise, goes to see the Prussian king parade by her apartment building.  A minor “wardrobe malfunction” occurs:   the ribbons holding up her bloomers give way and her underpants fall to her ankles in the midst of the crowd.  This sets in motion all sorts of absurd shenanigans. Her straight-laced husband, a huge bull of a man named Theo, is aghast.  What of his reputation? Has everyone seen his wife’s underpants?  He prefers to blend in and has always worried... | Continue reading article

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Welcome the new year with the magic of Oz

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Photo by Keith PattisonPhoto by Keith Pattison

In the spirit of this holiday season let me begin with some well deserved applause. I want to tell Broadway Across Canada that their latest musical is awesome, and that any past bad blood between us is water under the bridge. You see, this past spring I attended the fiasco that was Dirty Dancing. This performance was so bad — it’s possibly among the worst shows I have ever seen in Ottawa — I grumbled to myself that I would never see another Broadway Across Canada production again. But then I learned that... | Continue reading article

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Q&A with veteran storyteller Kim Kilpatrick

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Photo courtesy of the National Arts Centre.Photo courtesy of the National Arts Centre.

Storyteller Kim Kilpatrick, actor Emily Pearlman and harpist Lucile Brais Hildesheim will be performing A Winter Tale: the Journey of the Blind Harper at the NAC Fourth Stage. It’s about a famous Irish musician whose music is still performed today. Kilpatrick is a veteran storyteller whose repertoire includes her one-woman show Flying in the Dark, as well as The Odyssey and The Iliad. She has performed in Ottawa, Wakefield, Perth, Peterborough, Montreal, Toronto and St. Mary’s. Pearlman has toured across Canada with shows like Countries Shaped Like Stars and We... | Continue reading article

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Time-traveling Charles Dickens to appear in NAC’s A Christmas Carol

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Photo from the NAC website.Photo from the NAC website.

By a feat of theatrical magic, Mr. Charles Dickens will reprise his performance of A Christmas Carol (a performance which was wildly popular in the Victorian era) at the NAC’s Fourth Stage on December 18, 19 and 21.  Mr. Dickens will perform all the roles, from Scrooge to Tiny Tim.  The beloved story is sure to enthral audiences young and old.  He will be accompanied by the delightful Ottawa folk trio, Finest Kind, who will sing carols Dickens would likely have known. Mr. John D. Huston, a veteran solo performer and recent Ottawa... | Continue reading article

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Quirky classic comes to OLT + win tickets

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Scene from A Christmas Story. Photos by Maria Vartanova, unless otherwise stated.Scene from A Christmas Story. Photos by Maria Vartanova, unless otherwise stated.

I’ll be straight with you I tend to be wary of all things Christmas-themed. It’s must be all those movies and holiday albums rife with over-the-top sentimentality and lush superficiality. Luckily, there’s no need to worry about any of that walking into the Ottawa Little Theatre to see A Christmas Story. More than anything this is a funny show in a quirky, let’s laugh at everyday life kind of way. It’s also terribly charming with characters you want to root for and a relatable, down-to-earth plotline. Sure, maybe you’ve never... | Continue reading article

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GCTC’s Angel Square is a spirited tale of Lowertown past

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Bruce Spinney as Tommy in Angel Square at GCTC. Photo by Andrew AlexanderBruce Spinney as Tommy in Angel Square at GCTC. Photo by Andrew Alexander

It’s a familiar city and the neighbourhood rings a bell. The streets are the same and some of the landmarks are recognizable. But it’s all just not quite right, the timing is off and the setting is a little more somber. If you’ve grown up in Ottawa, chances are you’ve learnt a little bit about the sector formerly known as Lowertown and its sometimes dark, often seedy past. In 1945, this area was known as a working class district inhabited mostly by Francophones, Irish Catholics and Jewish immigrants. Angel Square,... | Continue reading article

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A very Canadian love story for the holidays

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Ellen Denny and Alex Furber (Anne & Gilbert). All photos by Andree Lanthier.Ellen Denny and Alex Furber (Anne & Gilbert). All photos by Andree Lanthier.

Anne & Gilbert: The Musical has swept in to Ottawa in time for the holiday season and, not being a committed Anne of Green Gables nor family-friendly-format aficionado, the challenge set was whether without subject enthusiasm this piece could entertain as a one-off night at the theatre. The story follows Lucy Maud Montgomery’s eponymous flame-haired hero in to young womanhood taking cues from the author’s later novels: Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island each novel getting its own act in Martha Irving’s smartly directed production. Created by Nancy... | Continue reading article

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NAC play grapples with the fallout of Montreal Massacre

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Kayvon Kelly (Jean) and Kate Hennig (Kathleen). Photo by Andrew Alexander.Kayvon Kelly (Jean) and Kate Hennig (Kathleen). Photo by Andrew Alexander.

The mass murder of 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989 is an event that will mark Canadians forever. In a horrifying act of evil, 25-year-old Marc Lépine singled out female students to kill with a rifle. In one particularly barbaric incident, he divided a classroom into men and women, and then shot the female students. More than two-and-a-half decades later, this incomprehensible event is still a gashing wound in our national psyche. That is why the The December Man by Colleen Murphy, which is playing at the National... | Continue reading article

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TACTICS opens with emotional double bill

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Photo courtesy of TACTICS.Photo courtesy of TACTICS.

The inaugural show of the 2015-16 TACTICS series comprises two pieces that, though quite different, artistic director and series curator Bronwyn Steinberg sees as likely to appeal to the same type of audience. Both tackle experiences that, though age old, are at the forefront of contemporary life: mental illness and the street harassment women face on a daily basis, and I’m afraid both are likely to continue to haunt us for a while. In (off) Balance, Naomi Tessler chronicles her unravelling as a first year student at UBC in the... | Continue reading article

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What’s On Stage: Local actor Kate Smith shows her range

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Kate Smith and WIll Somers in HOOTENANNY!, photo by Cory ThibertKate Smith and WIll Somers in HOOTENANNY!, photo by Cory Thibert

Who is Kate Smith? It’s hard to tell from the characters she’s played: ranging from 12-year-old Kit in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, to 80-year-old Josephine Strong in Hollmann & Kotis’ Urinetown. Smith’s range doesn’t just cover age. Sampling some of the more than 22 shows that Smith has performed, we find: a prison guard (Iron), an IRA officer (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), a soccer mom (Secrets of a Soccer Mom), a bride (The Wedding Night), a ghost (Snapshot), an Iranian writer (White Rabbit, Red Rabbit), an exotic dancer (We Never... | Continue reading article

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