Eye Spy: Two Parks, Two Events, One Neighbourhood TODAY!

windinthewillowsJoin Odyssey & Rag and Bone Theatre for today’s final matinee performance at 1PM in Strathcona Park. The sun is currently shinning bright over Sandy Hill so no better opportunity to experience theatre in the great outdoors with kids and the young at heart. Today’s performance from the innovative puppet theatre Rag & Bone Theatre brings Kenneth Grahame classic “The Wind in The Willows” to Ottawa’s stage with a river view.

1PM Strathcona Park (River Road by Laurier Ave E)

RAIN DATE MOVE!!! Play has been relocated to All Saint’s Church 317 Chapel St at Laurier Ave.

80 - "Stone Gazebo" as seen in MacDonald Gardens ParkThis evening it’s over to MacDonald Garden’s Park on the opposite side of Rideau to celebrate the centenary of this local dog-friendly haven with one of the best sunset views in the capital city. This park has a fantastical history as a previous a cemetery when the cemetery by Parliament (Queen St) was moved here due to overcrowding in the 1830’s. Come celebrate 100 years and learn some of Ottawa’s oldest history.
6PM MacDonald Gardens.Park (Between Coburg St & Wurtemburg St and Heney St & Rideau St)

Eye Spy: “The Birder” sees native son return to Ottawa Screens

Birder-quotes-b-1024x542

The Birder” premières tomorrow Thursday July 31st at Ottawa’s Mayfair Theatre on Bank St.  The comedy, currently boasting a 7.9/10 IMDB rating, sees mild-mannered bird watcher Ron (Tom Cavanagh – Ottawa born and yours truly’s brother) seek revenge after losing out as Head of Ornithology at a National Park to a younger couple.

As well as Cavanagh, The Birder heralds the return of wonderful Ontario-born actor Graham Greene, perennial comedy master Fred Willard in the role of Park President with Toronto natives Tommie-Amber Pirie and Mark Rendall who is rumoured to deliver a tremendous performance.

An Official Selection at Raindance Film Festival 2013, the Calgary International Film Festival, the Canadian Film Fest and the Los Angeles Comedy Festival The Birder promises smart wit and charm.

The Mayfair is a great choice given Tom lived as a child for  several years around the corner in Old Ottawa South on Willard St.

Tomorrow’s première will be attended by the film’s Director Theodore Bezaire, Producer Gerry Lattman and more so fly on out for a great flick with a touch of home!

The Birder
Thursday July 31st 7:00PM
The Mayfair Theatre 1074 Bank St.

The Financier (Tucaret) – Memorable “Theatre Under the Stars”

Second summer in Sandy Hill and first outing to Odyssey’s “Theatre Under the Stars” in Strathcona Park. This summer’s production The Financier is an English translation of Alain-Rene Lesage’s Tucaret – an amusing comedic romp about deception, greed and posturing of the Baroque French upper class.  It’s a who-done-it of pretence as the story unfolds to reveal who really holds the upper-hand in this convoluted caper of deceit.

Tucaret

Tucaret (Andy Massingham), the eponymous financier, is a treacherous loan-shark financing the house-hold of his mistress, the Baroness (Chandel Gambles). The Baroness plays him while in turn funding her own deceitful lover the Knight (Attila Clemann). No sooner has Tucaret gifted the Baroness that she is scammed by the Knight and his wily valet Frontin (Jesse Buck).  An attempt by handmaiden Lisette (Alanna Bale) to protect her mistress’ assets soon sees her supplanted by Marine (again Bale) Frontin’s handpicked accomplice. Throw in to the mix a drunken Marquis (Mark Huisman), a wife (Nichola Lawrence) confined to the Provinces and a social occasion that puts to shame any awkward family dinner you may have experienced and the scene is set for the veritable collapse of this house of cards. The climax is an uproarious frenzy of feverish de-masking.

Odyssey creates unique theatre with masked actors, an outdoor set and the use of props to mimic the fractious fragile treachery on stage.  The masks and choreography are beautifully done; the former fitted individually to each performer while the latter lends an air of ‘marionette’ styling which lends itself well to the “pretences” at hand. Yet these aspects separate the audience from the actors and make it difficult to connect with the characters.  Although the cast performed well – one remains slightly detached without any sense of stand-out performances due to the obscured facials expressions. While the choreography is masterful the execution was distinctly more successful by some – the delightful Alana Bale in particular – than others.

The Financier is an enjoyable period comedy but it was the overall experience that lingers.  The ensemble of the proficient, distinctive cast performance, the costumes, the masks, the set and the open-air setting all come together to create a memorable evening; one to surely add to the summer calendar.

Note: Odyssey Theatre has teamed up with Le Cordon Bleu’s Signatures Restaurant to offer a “picnic & play” option which is highly recommended.

The Financier (Tucaret)
July 24- August 24th
Evenings 8:00PM, Saturday & Sunday Pay-What-You-Can Matinees 3:00PM
Strathcona Park – Range Road & Laurier Avenue

Eye Spy: Rideau St features in Spacing.ca

This week our very own Rideau features in Spacing.ca

Rideau Street and really all of Ward12 has a fascinating, long-reaching and rich history.

From the worker’s that built the city and canal, the historic Jewish community alongside many other immigrant influxes, to the diplomats and posh historical families including many Canadian leaders that have all called Rideau-Vanier their home.

Locals work tirelessly to have the neighbourhood’s heritage recognised; often an uphill battle as grand homes and historic businesses are demolished. Hopefully the recent coverage by Spacing Magazine will help to preserve further some of our phenomenal history.  Read and enjoy the article here!

Eye Spy: Local Micro Brewery joins Wonderful Waller St Businesses

Waller St is going from strength to strength.

First in, the Lunenburg Pub: a top retreat for craft beer, trivia, music, world-cup games, improv and more. There is always something going on in this pub tucked in the beautiful stone buildings at 14 Waller St.

Follow-suite The Loft which opened a few months ago in the upstairs space of 14 Waller. An airy and bright game board lounge with over 700 games to chose from as you sup a pint and enjoy tasty bites including the newly added locally-sourced Gluten-Free range of goodness.

Courtesy of WallerSt Website

Courtesy of WallerSt Website

Now add to the mix the neighbourhood’s own local micro-brewery set in the basement of this heritage building. The Waller St-Brewing company is set to open later this summer and we can’t wait to support this latest local venture. This brewing company gives it’s heritage home a significant nod with fine prohibition style branding and website.  Read more on this newcomer in the today’s Ottawa Metro.

So great to see entrepreneurs embracing and innovating while respecting the neighbourhood’s rich history.  Tucked alongside Nicholas St and Daly Ave favourites ArtsCourt, the Ottawa Art Gallery, SAW Gallery and the fabulous Albion Rooms there is no shortage of great nights out in Sandy Hill.

Eye Spy: An Opportunity to Shape Sandy Hill

There are 11 more days to make your opinion count!

Sandy Hill is asking for input on ways to make positive changes in the neighbourhood. Via a short online survey (takes about 10 minutes) members of the community association Action Sandy Hill are looking to prioritise targets for changes – i.e. do we need better businesses first or to tackle litter problems.

No mystery to followers of Sandy Hill Seen that we are pushing the association to challenge members to live local for one short week – no cars for trips under 5KM – to encourage supporting businesses in the ‘hood and to see if through force of numbers we residents can change the profile of our streets!

walkWe are massive believers in the transformational power of walking and cycling one’s neighbourhood. Having lived car-less for 15 years until moving to Sandy Hill in 2012, it was shocking how many more neighbours we knew by sight if not by name in Notting Hill, Central London simply because we all walked and shopped locally. Sandy Hill we can make that change too!

Please be part of positive local change by taking this first step and completing the survey by July 21st.

Two Additional Dates for Triumphant Glengarry Glen Ross @ The Gladstone

An edited version of this review was published by Apt613. Heading in to David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross one wonders if, The Avalon Studio production will compare favourably to the excellent movie version with Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin & Al Pacino. Be assured, this is no poor cousin but a relentlessly vicious and vital theatrical experience of Mamet’s world of shady salesmen and dark deeds. GGR-held_overGlengarry Highlands & Glen Ross Farms – two undesirable developments in Florida – follows 24hours in the lives of a gang of thuggish real-estate agents competing on the company leader board in a race of diminishing markets with a punishingly masochistic office manager at the helm. Prepare for profanity and to witness every unethical trick in the book in David Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece; an uncompromising ode to ethical vacuity and the desperation wrought by the art of the deal. Act1 delivers three quick-fire 2-hander scenes set in the cloying red Chinese restaurant across from the office. Shelley “the Machine” Levene (Tom Charlebois) is the aging company man facing off with the younger office-manager John Williamson (Leslie Cserepy). Levene accuses the boss of dishing out poor leads “You’re giving me fucking toilet paper.” Charlebois’ metamorphose from false bravado to sweaty, twitching desperation versus Cserepy’s taunting cocksure sadist imbued the theatre with a contagious and palpable tension. The introduction of Dave Moss (John Muggleton) and George Aaronow (Chris Ralph) alleviated the mood as Muggleton & Ralph take unethical lows to a new high with well-paced quick-talking dialogue prompting a spontaneous outburst of applause. Act 1 closes with Ricky Roma (Steve Martin) smooth talking a chance encounter with James Lingk (Dale MacEarchern) the puppet-strings fairly visible so silky is the spider web spun. Martin is slightly reminiscent of Al Pacino in this role which temporarily breaks the spell before he hits his stride. GlengarryBWCharacters established, the 2nd act concerns the investigation of the overnight office burglary of the “good leads”. The office, in complete disarray, sees Moss incandescent at the interviews being conducted by Detective Baylen (David Whiteley). John Muggleton fairly owns the stage in this brief explosive scene. Meanwhile client Lingk is swimming with sharks when faced with Roma & Levene as he tries to cancel his purchase of the day before.  And the stage is set for the final downward spiral as the production dives gleefully to its heart of darkness. Individually adept the cast work seamlessly as a team creating an evening that is sharp, ruthless and vigorous. Geoff Gruson’s direction is assured; he keeps the motley gang of character performances tight; maintaining a captivating tempo where individual performances shine without detracting from the ensemble. Glengarry Glen Ross is Mamet at his best; capturing a powerfully impotent and angry “world of men”. This revival, from dimmed lights to curtain call, fervently and competently embodies the salesmen’s maxim “Always be Closing”. Glengarry Glen Ross June 24- July 5th Now til July 12th Evenings 7:30PM, Matinees 2:30PM The Gladstone, 910 Gladstone Ave.