2014-15 Reviews

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Young Lady in White by Dominic Parenteau-Lebeuf, translated by Maureen Labonté

Directed by Chris Bedford, Evolution Theatre

November 7-15, 2014

“This first presentation of Theatre Artists Co-operative: the Independent Collective Series (better known as TACTICS), is definitely an event that forces us to recognize the relationship between theatrical form and a difficult content linked to current debates of human horror. Such engagement is what makes theatre a relevant art form in our contemporary world. This is an important development in the Ottawa theatre scene and I congratulate TACTICS and Evolution Theatre for their work. Keep an eye on the upcoming productions of TACTICS.” – Alvina Ruprecht, Capital Critics Circle

“Young Lady in White is a part of TACTICS – Theatre Artists’ Cooperative: the Independent Collective Series, whose goal is to supports the growth of emerging theatre artists in Ottawa. If so, this play accomplishes the mission beautifully.” – Rajka Stefanovska, Capitcal Critics Circle

“Young Lady in White is an inventive, unique, and special production that Ottawa is lucky to have. It’s an intellectual show that still manages to entertain and the acting in it is something that has to be seen to be believed.” – Caitlin Oleson, Onstage Ottawa

“You can catch this show at Arts Court Theatre until the 15th, and you really probably should. And TACTICS continues in the new year with Lisa Jeans’ LIGHT, so put that one on your to-do list as well. Because this series is off to a damn fine start.” – ­Kevin Reid, The Visitorium

 

LIGHT by Lisa Jeans

January 23-31, 2015

“The text is a refreshing new perspective on familiar territory and the performance offers an excellent use of both soundscape and projection. Not for the faint of heart (due to its triggering and mature content), it is a theatrical event you are not likely to forget any time soon.

… Not only were the projections seamlessly fused into the performance, but Jeans’ interactions with the recordings feel natural and display no sense of apprehension. It is clear that Jeans is confident in her technology.

… It is important to note, though without any derision, that this production is just out of workshop and in a definite stage of development. The fluidity and dynamic nature of the piece is apparent and consequently some of the elements and concepts in the text and on stage are much stronger, or rather more effective than others. However, it is difficult not to be impressed at the strong and clear choices made by Jeans and her team. Regardless of whether you remain affected by this intimate story or by the provocative performance, in any case LIGHT leaves you with an abundance of conversation.” – Brie McFarlane, Herd Magazine

“The story, which Jeans says is not hers but is informed by her own experience, ends with hope. It’s enacted to the accompaniment of music and sound by Jason Sonier and videos of hospital interiors, the boyfriend and the like designed by Pixie Cram.

If you or anyone you know has suffered from anorexia, you’ll recognize that Jeans’ story is painfully truthful. Her physicality (she initially studied dance) lends grace to a story about the brutality minds can wreak on bodies.” – Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen

“It’s a wonderfully accomplished blending of methods and for those interested in the blending of theatre and technology, LIGHT is worth seeing on those merits alone.” – Allan Mackey, On Stage Ottawa

“LIGHT is a daring and uncompromising theatrical punch to the gut.” – Kevin Reid, The Visitorium

 

Happiness by Tony Adams, Madeleine Boyes-Manseau and Cory Thibert

May Can Theatre

March 13-21, 2015 

“Cory Thibert, Tony Adams and director Mado Manseau have turned this darkly comic tale of corporate shilling gone wrong into one of the most wonderfully immersive theatrical experiences of the year.

Working with a budget for likely the first time in their history, May Can puts every cent of it into the production and the results are fantastic, with an eye-popping opening that sets the scene perfectly, with high-octane HPL sales reps Peter Barrel (Tony) and James Lemon (Cory) getting ready to sell the ever-loving shit out of their new ‘Infinity Line’, products specifically designed to make you happier (including the cringe-inducing ‘Happy Hook-Up’). All of this takes place in the studio…audiences are then ushered into the Theatre for a look at what lies beneath the happy face of Pyramid scheming-sales in a genuinely inspired and clever twist in storytelling that goes from hilarious to grim when you’re least expecting it. Aided by some sweet light and projection effects, Cory and Tony deliver what is probably their fullest and most satisfying show to date, and one that should propel them into a new phase of their careers in theatre, if there’s any damn justice in the world.” – Kevin Reid, The Visitorium

 

Under Derek’s Bed by Sylvie Recoskie

Dead Unicorn Ink

April 17-25, 2015 

“Under Derek’s Bed is a Dead Unicorn Ink production following in the tradition of their wildly acclaimed crowd pleasers: Playing Dead, Space Mystery from Outer Space, and Chesterfield in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Ottawa Fringe Festival’s respectively.

Here in their first full length show, DUI fulfills its tradition of exceptional production values through the Satyr-like make-up on Nick Fournier’s Earl the Monster, the troll puppet destined for a life of misfortune, an army of crazed dust bunnies and so much more that all need to be seen to be appreciated.

The show is highly entertaining as realized by the wonderful comic acting of Mike Kosowon as Derek, Robin Hodge as a twisted version of the manic pixie dreamgirl trope, and Nick Fournier as Earl the Monster – all travelling through the perils of the land under Derek’s bed on their way to face off against its new overlord.

… Highly creative, boundary pushing, spare no expense production values paired with whimsical, fantastical, totally over the top characters and situations that result in campy B-movie styled fun. And usually puppets. Here, throw your Little Monsters and your Neverending Story and your Labyrinth into a blender and you get Under Derek’s Bed – all in all, a fun night out.” – Allan Mackey, Onstage Ottawa

“There are echoes of The Neverending Story, Labyrinth and Beetlejuice in this world. The brightly painted, slightly shabby and off-kilter wooden sets and bed sheet waterfall conjure a child built fairy world now seen through the eyes of weary adulthood and the clever creatures that populate the Land have a low rent charm that perfectly fits the cracked dream logic of the place.

… Overall the performances, particularly the central pair of Derek and Earl, are convincing and the theme at the core is solid. The highlight for me was the second act flashback to a conversation that took place between Derek as a tiny child and a towering Earl. Archetypal Child and Monster, loom large in shadow as Earl in his own particular way comforts Derek through that first really horrifying realization of childhood; that one day those you love will die and so will you. This scene is so perfectly realized that it will make you wish you’d had your own Earl.” – Diane Lachapelle, Apt 613