2016

REVIEWS ROUND-UP

The 6th undercurrents festival opened with two sold-out performances. undercurrents runs until February 20th.

The reviews are coming in. This round-up was last updated Friday, February 19 at 1:00pm.

See excerpts below and follow the links provided to the original text.


Getting to Room Temperature Photo: Jacqui Jensen-Roy

Getting to Room Temperature Photo: Jacqui Jensen-Roy


Mouthpiece Photo: Brooke Wedlock

Mouthpiece Photo: Brooke Wedlock

MOUTHPIECE

Created by Amy Nostbakken & Norah Sadava

Award-winning Mouthpiece gave its Ottawa premiere on Wednesday night and has roused what seems to be the loudest response from critics and audiences alike.

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Ian Huffam, New Ottawa Critics: "Mouthpiece a masterpiece... impeccable... one of the strongest performances I've seen in Ottawa."

Jared Davidson, Apartment 613"The writing is energetic... it makes for what is clearly an extremely demanding play to perform. The degree to which they are deliberate in their motions and tone draws attention to the excellent directing and the enormous talent of these two performers... It is performed absolutely beautifully... Mouthpiece is not to be missed." 

Curtis Perry, Espace Musique"What Nostbakken and Sadava have created and performed is a sophisticated, nuanced, complex portrait of the woman's voice... Kept me rapt and engaged... Near the end, one particular segment of physical theatre left me deeply affected. I can't spoil it... Mouthpiece is the kind of theatre that differentiates art from entertainment with shocking clarity."

Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen: "...by turns wrenchingly beautiful and painful... The show is funny, shrewd, constantly evolving... Remarkable sound design... This show says important things."

Brendan McNally, Ottawa Tonite:  "...a pulsing, energetic and physical piece of theatre that is thoroughly absorbing and entertaining..."

Wes Babcock, New Ottawa Critics: "Mouthpiece is a wonderful embodiment of the contradictory multitude of voices that speak through our society and inside our own heads; it makes for a transcendent experience that hits you straight in the guts on every level of meaning."

Joseph Hutt, On Stage Ottawa: "Mouthpiece was the highlight of undercurrents... Impeccable timing and physicality... Incredible synchronicity... If you don't see anything else, see this!"


Listen to Me Photo: Brie McFarlane

Listen to Me Photo: Brie McFarlane

LISTEN TO ME

Created by Stephanie Henderson
Directed by Stephanie Henderson & Catherine Ballachey

There are only eight tickets available per performance of this interactive 30 minute show. We like to think it would be selling out, anyways! Wednesday and Thursday night performances both sold out. 

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Wes Babcock, New Ottawa Critics: "Listen to Me is an odd show... By its very nature, no two people will have the same experience... But this show is not improv... It's hard to know which parts of my interactions with near-total strangers were real, and which were planned."

Ian Huffam, New Ottawa Critics: "...the spectator must become an active participant rather than sit back and let the performer's art wash over them. A daunting definition, but the interactive Listen to Me cleverly uses an entirely different paradigm of performance—speed dating—in order to give a tight framework in which participants/performers still have great freedom. Or do they?"

Joseph Hutt, On Stage Ottawa: "Listen to Me... is one of the more unique and personally interactive performances of the festival, so if you're eager to buy one of the eight available tickets per performance, just be sure that you're comfortable with some one-on-one face time with the participating actors."

Diane Lachappelle, Apartment 613: "The challenge in reviewing such a play is that it is so personal... so in a way, you're kind of reviewing yourself. Frankly, I bombed.... It was an interesting exercise and overall, I enjoyed it... This night may have been a little skewed as I would have gone out with any of the adorable, articulate, freshly scrubbed actors, which I doubt happens at real speed dating."


Monstrous Photo: Chris Snow

Monstrous Photo: Chris Snow

Monstrous, or,
The Miscegenation Advantage

Written & performed by Sarah Waisvisz
Directed by Eleanor Crowder

The second world premiere of undercurrents' opening weekend. Monstrous is a show we've been waiting for an so curious about since Sarah Waisvisz gave a reading of the script-in-progress at the 2015 undercurrents festival.

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Wes Babcock, New Ottawa Critics: "This show is all foray... while its politics can't be faulted, disputed, or dismissed..."

Jennifer Cavanagh, Apartment 613: "Waisvisz dynamic energy... Waivisz’s multilingual talents and her choice of French-language music serve this production well emphasizing the international scope... gives an authenticity to this self-reflective production... remarkable silhouetted shadow-play on evocative projections..." 

Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen:  "All this is a far cry from her very good show about the long reach of transnational hatred ILoveOrangeAndHateThePort which was part of 2014's Extremely Short New Play Festival. This time out, she's simply too conscious of herself..."

Joseph Hutt, On Stage Ottawa: "I love this style, with its emphasis on the craft of storytelling... it reminded me a lot of a 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival show, I Think My Boyfriend Should Have an Accent... After the fact, it didn't come as much of a surprise to learn that Waisvisz's dramaturg was Emily Pearlman, the creator of that memorable Fringe performance."

Ian Huffam, New Ottawa Critics: "This show raises issues instead of questions and because of this it becomes impossible to provide answers... What is clear is how personal the project is to creator/playwright Sarah Waisvisz."

Kat Fournier, Capital Critics' Circle: "Social provocation... Given the subject matter, if the play disorients its audience, it is arguably intentional... In fact, Waisvisz goes so far as to point the lens back at the audience, anticipating their apathy to her story. It's a call to action; Monstrous urges its audience to recognize this apathy as a remnant of a colonial history."


Forstner & Fillister Photo: Barbara Havrot

Forstner & Fillister Photo: Barbara Havrot

Forstner & FIllister

Created & performed by Will Somers & David Benedict Brown
Directed by Melanie Karin Brown

Comedy duo Forstner & Fillister blew the dust off their 2014 Fresh Meat: DIY Theatre Fest runaway hit, Forstner & Fillister Present: Forstner & Fillister In: Forstner & Fillister.

The undercurrents reviews say this show has only gotten better.

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Jared Davidson, Apartment 613: "The title of this play is Forstner and Fillister Present: Forstner and Fillister in: Forstner and Fillister. If that makes you laugh, you will like this play. If the use of punctuation concerns you, you'll probably still like this play. This is a play that it's hard not to like... It's a joy to watch."

Joseph Hutt, On Stage Ottawa: "Just try and keep a straight face... [they will] have anyone laughing by the end of it."


Moonlodge Photo courtesy of National Arts Centre English Theatre

Moonlodge Photo courtesy of National Arts Centre English Theatre


Particle Photo: Stéphanie Godin

Particle Photo: Stéphanie Godin


A Man Walks Into A Bar Photo: Tanja Tiziana

A Man Walks Into A Bar Photo: Tanja Tiziana


MACBETH MUET

Created by Jon Lachlan-Stewart & Marie Hélène Bélanger
Performed by Jeremy Francoeur & Clara Prévost
Production Design by

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Macbeth Muet Photo: La Fille du Laitier

Macbeth Muet Photo: La Fille du Laitier