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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Theatre

Avenue Q teaches harsh life lessons via puppetry

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All photos by Kenneth Ingram.All photos by Kenneth Ingram.

The award-winning musical Avenue Q will return to Ottawa June 17-20 thanks to Toto Too Theatre Company. The director, Michael Gareau, reveals that the show will deliver a Canadianized performance (with the help of 11 cast members and 32 puppets), promising to be hilariously entertaining, potentially offensive but relevant to the harsher realities of life – particularly adolescence. “It takes the lessons that Sesame Street taught children and it raises them ever-so-slightly so that they can be aimed at adults,” Gareau explains, calling attention to many parallels with Avenue Q’s... | Continue reading article

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Theatre Review: Young Drunk Punk

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Image from the Magnetic North Theatre Festival webpage.Image from the Magnetic North Theatre Festival webpage.

When a comedian kicks things off by semi-bragging about bad reviews for the show you’re about to see you take it to mean “screw that guy, you folks are gonna love this!”  Which of course is exactly what Bruce McCulloch meant when he quoted a recently earned negative review of Young Drunk Punk his one(ish) man show which opened at the NAC last night. Sadly the reviews he quoted were not far off. Inspired by his own life, Young Drunk Punk recalls McCulloch’s journey from a teenaged “punk” growing up... | Continue reading article

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Theatre review: What Happened to the Seeker

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Image from the Magnetic North websiteImage from the Magnetic North website

In What Happened to the Seeker, there is an illuminating moment when an aging hippie living in India muses on the local custom of going about the everyday business of living when young, working and raising families, then seeking enlightenment later when they are older. He speculates that maybe much of his current disappointment and that of his peers stems from having started so young. The titular seeker is a middle-aged woman played by Nadia Ross who may have started too young, through no fault of her own. Born to... | Continue reading article

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Global Savages: A meaningful performance

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Photo by Peter van BeekPhoto by Peter van Beek

Despite being featured in the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Global Savages is not what one might traditionally call a “play.”  In fact, it doesn’t even take place in a theatre.  Don’t go expecting act breaks, set changes and understudies. But then, that would be a little like going to Bluesfest and becoming confused because “Kanye isn’t blues.”  Perhaps Ottawa needs to be a little more flexible with these things. It’s not a play, but it is a performance, and one with a very specific goal.  The promotional material makes it... | Continue reading article

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The Public Servant: Not safe for young professionals?

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Amy Rutherford, Sarah McVie, and Haley McGee in The Public Servant, photo by Andrew Alexander, courtesy of the GCTCAmy Rutherford, Sarah McVie, and Haley McGee in The Public Servant, photo by Andrew Alexander, courtesy of the GCTC

For some, this one may hit a little too close to home. If you’re with young people who want to grow up to work in the public sector, The Public Servant, the latest thing to hit the GCTC stage this spring season, may be a little too, shall we say, real.  As part of the  Magnetic North Theatre Festival (which I understand the cool kids are now calling “MagNorth”), The Public Servant is a series of moments from the lives of three public servants. Not the satisfying, bombastic moments one may... | Continue reading article

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Re: Union – Inside the mind of a martyr

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Emily Morrison in Re: Union, played by Alexa Devine. Photo by Ron Reed.Emily Morrison in Re: Union, played by Alexa Devine. Photo by Ron Reed.

When most people find an injustice that strikes at the very heart of their sense of right and wrong they sign a petition, join a group, march in the streets, maybe raise some money. When Norman Morrison felt that same kind of outrage at the Vietnam War, the young father and Quaker drove to the Pentagon with his infant daughter, a jug of kerosene and a box of matches. Standing below the office of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara he set himself on fire in a last act of protest... | Continue reading article

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Photos from the GG Performing Arts Awards Gala

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The harps of the NAC Orchestra. All photos by Terry Steeves.The harps of the NAC Orchestra. All photos by Terry Steeves.

Earlier this week we ran highlights from the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Gala that took place over the weekend. Apt613 was invited to the red carpet. Here are some of the award recipients and special guests of the evening plus a few of the performers. Sarah McLachlan and Geoff Courtnall – Sarah McLachlan was awarded the 2015 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music) Atom Egoyan – 2015 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Film) Former Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien and his wife, Aline Chretien Michael M. Koerner – 2015 Ramon John Hnatyshyn... | Continue reading article

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Magnetic North: Opera carnival comes to the Canal

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Every once in a while, a really special show comes to Ottawa that just makes you go “wow”.  One such event is Fiamma!, an outdoor opera that is taking place on Sunday, June 7 at 9 pm on the shores of the Rideau Canal near the National War Memorial. Performed by Edmonton’s Mercury Opera, this 30-minute extravagance will feature arias, a fire act, circus performers from the Ottawa region and flamboyant costumes.  Even better, the show — which is part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival — is pay-what-you can. While pre-registration for this... | Continue reading article

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Magnetic North: Needles and Opium is a truimph

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Photo of Marc Labrèche by Nicola-Frank VachonPhoto of Marc Labrèche by Nicola-Frank Vachon

Robert Lepage is arguably Canada’s best ever playwright.  If you have any doubts about this claim, then I encourage you to see Needles and Opium, the stunningly brilliant work by the Quebec-born artist that is running at the National Arts Centre until June 6 as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Having originally debuted during the NAC’s French theatre’s 1991-92 season, the rewrite of this two-decade-old masterpiece is extraordinary.  From its brilliant set to impressive acting to the great translation by Jenny Montgomery, this performance is nothing short of... | Continue reading article

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Magnetic North: Up to Low is a joy to watch

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Photo by Sarah HoyPhoto by Sarah Hoy

For the past several years, Janet Irwin has worked towards bringing an Ottawa literary classic to the stage.  Fast forward to today, and the playwright’s vision is now a reality with her adaptation of Up to Low, which is playing at Arts Court until June 6 as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Set in 1950 and based on the popular book of the same name by Ottawa author Brian Doyle, this great production tells the story of how Young Tommy (played very well by Lewis Wynne-Jones) takes a life-changing trip... | Continue reading article

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