An edited version of this review was published by Apt613.
A rather sophisticated story with sweet perspective shifts Well isn’t This Super… exhibits an impressive maturity by Dead Unicorn Ink while their irreverent edge remains firmly intact. In the amusing opening sequence, a Tinder hook up reveals itself to be the set of a superhero movie. The production shifts between the on-set film, with actors in character, to characters with real-life struggles trying to make their professional mark.
Newcomer Nikki Reilly is trying desperately to establish her character Mystic Quartz as a viable superhero lead alongside the eponymous star of the Marvellous Man franchise Dan Stevens and cheering frat-boy Director Michael Cove. Corseted, in stilettos and a mini-skirt it is when the director yells cut that the misogyny at the heart of the piece really comes to the fore. Dismissed and marginalized, Dan even refers to her as “tits”, Nikki has visions of a strong independent female superhero and a possible spin-off franchise.
Pace and comedy keep the storyline brisk despite the characters’ struggles with casual, even institutionalized, sexism and the insincerity of the Hollywood promise. Creator Patricia Forbes does an admirable job providing serious content with no heavy lifting required by the audience. The writing is crisp and action swift as it moves from between-scenes conversations to on-camera sequences with over-the-top hokey dialogue and a very winning super villain. It’s an ensemble piece where everyone pulls their weight. The roles of Nikki and Dan are assuredly strong while Len, the androgynous runner, provides a delightful performance where an alliance is counter-balanced by personal aims reflecting the narcissism through-out the piece. The cast are accomplished and deft throughout delivering a brilliantly performed work.
As the production plays out there are more twists and turns as each character tries to solidify their own position to the detriment of their colleague. Who ends up on top remains to be seen in this trust-free environment.
Book in early for “Well isn’t this super…” as it has the hallmarks of a festival favourite.
Ottawa Fringe Festival 2016
Well Isn’t this Super…
BYOV Nostalgica Café 601 Cumberland St.
June 15-26, 2016
This article was also published by Apt613
Arts Court is hosting a trio of theatre productions for the next two nights. “Trois (Three)” brings three 30min productions from fringe favourites MayCan theatre, Dead Unicorn Ink and GrimProv. To sweeten the deal theatre lobby is set up nightclub-style complete with a well priced bar. Playing on the name there is even a 3-beers- for-10-bucks offer getting you a cold one for each production.
The GrimProv trio MC the night creating a vibrant welcome despite forgetting the name of the MayCan’s “What about Horses?” on opening night. Cory Thibert and Tony Adams co-wrote and perform this two-hander with ease and believability spiralling from roommates arguing over rent checks to coke-addled madmen believers. Enjoy this fresh and energetic romp that highlights the creative visionary writing of these two standout Ottawa talents and mind the disappearing “rabbit” act if you’re sat left of stage!
Next up “The Acceptable Appearance Theory” transformed the venue into a revival cult meeting complete with actors stashed in the audience. Mark (Aaron Lajeunesse) brings Dana to “temple” to meet his eerily ever-youthful mother Ms Cadence (Victoria Elizabeth Luloff). A zeal for “cleansing” tattoos soon takes a menacing turn – it’s not just tattoos this group wants control over. Luloff is particularly riveting while LaJeunesse transitions playfully from mama’s boy to Dana’s man. Despite a rather drawn out narrative, hilarious turns by the ensemble cast including bilingual Daniel, scientific Peggy and ex-hooker Laura keep the pace brisk while the cult attempts to survive, dominate and keep secrets from glowing in the dark.
GrimProv closed the night yet despite high-energy the improv was a let-down following the earlier high-quality performances. The adept threesome used props creatively but a reliance on extended fight-sequences proved tiresome and sophomoric especially when their quick-fire repartee is so sharp. The closing act, by its nature, changes so expect a unique nightly performance to cap off this successful night-out at the theatre.
Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Ave.
Posted in Theatre
Tagged Aaron Lajeunesse, Arts Court, Cory Thibert, Dead Unicorn Ink, GrimProv, Luloff, May Can Theatre, Theatre, Tony Adams, Trois, Victoria Elizabeth Luloff, What about horses?
This post was also published by Apt613.ca
Grab your drink and take your seats as FreshMeat2 Theatre rolls in to town for not one but two consecutive weekends October 17-19 and 24-26!
The pop-up festival brings 14 top theatre companies together to showcase brand spanking new short and sharp edgy works in a single, comfortable and ‘serving’ venue. Keeping it fresh the 14 companies are split over two weekends – so it’s a completely new experience any time you drop in. The 7 companies selected per weekend (Thursday-Sunday nights) perform a total of 4 brief, 20-minute, pieces per night. The rotating schedule and time-restricted performances create concentrated bursts of creativity throughout the evening while comedy hosts keep the flavour fresh between troupes.
Local aficionados will recognise companies including: Prix Rideau Award nominees May Can Theatre, Future of the Fringe Award winners Backpack Theatre, and Dead Unicorn Ink returning from a sold-out Fringe run and subsequent re-staging of Chesterfield.
New companies include THUNK! Theatre creators of smash-hit Bread at this year’s Undercurrents, Norah Paton, director of touring Fringe show Around Miss Julie and, 2 ½ Women the relentlessly funny trio from last year’s Crush Improv “Bout Time” tournaments host the second weekend as well as performing a twenty-minute set, with GRIMprov hosts of the first weekend.
Immerse yourself for the weekend or take a first theatre dip at a collaborative event where artists take risks they might not otherwise explore in 20-minutes explosive theatre bites.
FreshMeat2: DIY Theatre Fest
Lunenburg Pub & Bar, 14 Waller Street, Ottawa, K1N 9C4
October 17-19 and 24-26 doors 6:30, show 7pm
Tickets: $15/night, $25/weekend, $40/full festival pass.
Tickets available at door and via firstname.lastname@example.org .
Posted in Theatre
Tagged 2 and a half women, 21/2 Women, A Theatre Company, Backpack Theatre, Crush Improv, Dead Unicorn Ink, EGODEATH, FireFlood Theatre, Fresh Meat Theatre, FreshMeat, GrimProv, Here Be Dragons, Little Green Hat, Lunenburg Pub, Madeleine Boyes-Manseau, May Can Theatre, Obviously, Rapscallion Diversion, Sandy Hill, Sandy Hill Seen, Thunk!, Whimsimole