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Jacqui du Toit in 'The Omnibus Bill'. Photo: Andrew Alexander.

Theatre Review: The Omnibus Bill—until 06.08.19 at Arts Court

By Colin Noden on June 3, 2019

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Apt613 contributor Colin Noden spent fifty minutes in conversation with playwright Darrah Teitel before seeing The Omnibus Bill, playing until June 8 at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Check out that interview here, and read on for his review of the play.

My biggest surprise was that this is play has some funny moments. The themes are serious, but it is heavily salted with humour. My biggest relief was that it is about people. Individuals put in a pressure cooker. Which makes it a treasure trove for actors and a treat for the audience.

I have to spotlight actor Jacqui du Toit who played the central character Maria. Her characterization, timing and projection made her magnetic. This was fitting, as the play has a lot going on. It was important for us to keep that focus amidst all the other interesting subplots and themes.

I have to spotlight actor Jacqui du Toit who played the central character Maria. Her characterization, timing and projection made her magnetic.

This is a fast-moving play, built for a modern audience. It is all done in one act, but with very short scenes; hopscotching across five decades. It is an intimate play. Made even more so by the theatre and set design; which brought us close to very intimate scenes.

Which brings me to you, dear audience member. I overheard someone from the creative team behind me worry about audience reaction. I think the opening night crowd had a lot of supporters, who chose to be polite. If I could make one suggestion? You may feel as if you are a fly on the wall. But be brave enough to express your reactions.

This play has it all. Don’t be afraid to laugh at the funny parts. Or moan in indignation.

This play has it all. Don’t be afraid to laugh at the funny parts. Or moan in indignation. I even heard playwright Darrah Teitel chortling behind me.

And the ending? Let’s just say I woke up in the middle of the night with a thought and couldn’t wait to get this review out. It’s a condescension buster.


The Omnibus Bill by Darrah Teitel is playing at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave) from May 31 to June 8, 2019. Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm. Matinee Saturday June 8 at 2pm. Preview performance on May 30. Tickets cost $20 online and at the door. The main entrance to Arts Court is up a flight of about twenty steps. For barrier-free access, enter through the new Ottawa Art Gallery building. The OAG and Arts Court are connected by hallways.


 

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