Tag Archives: May Can Theatre

An Evening Pulling Pints down the Gladstone with “Two”

An edited version of this review has been published at Apt613.ca
Set in a northern UK town Jim Cartwright’s Two features Michelle LeBlanc and Richard Gelinas in not only the roles of husband and wife publicans, but also as the dozen or so characters that pop in for a drink over the course of an evening down the pub.

Two_vThis inventive two-hander opens with the landlord and lady deftly serving imaginary customers whilst biting and snapping vicious asides – the play slowly reveals clues to this brewing storm. Laughingly they pull pints as she rolls her eyes and snarls at his tired banter while he berates her for wasting profits by sitting a drink to a regular. They’ve no social life and no family life as all is “pulled” from behind the bar.

Via swift changes Leblanc and Gelinas take the audience through a cast of characters rich in human emotion as they paint a vivid picture of a community populated by lively and varied regulars. For anyone who has lived in the UK, Cartwright’s writing is bang on as are the portrayals of the very real and penetrative stories that lie behind the everyman down the local. While certain moments may teeter on the verge of saccharin or melodrama, the stories seem penned from real lives and this keeps the narrative solid.

Two invites its audience, some literally on stage, to inhabit the pub as an old dear, “regular as clockwork,” enters stage left. She takes her quiet Guinness and shares that the booming laughter of the butcher down the shops and her drink are the small daily respites from the onerous burden of being the sole aging carer for her ailing husband. The beating heart of her reality lingers as she finishes up and slowly shuffles off.

The characters come and go, some successful and others less so. The lecherous Moth and girlfriend Maudie seem a tired effort; caricature rather than character. While the couple that come to watch the telly and eat packets of crisps prompted spontaneous pleasure and mid-act applause.

LeBlanc is more consistent with greater endurance in maintaining the marathon demands of these performances. The accents are at times slippery as eels with some clearly antipodean moments but there are a few good “loves” that wouldn’t be out of place in Sheffield. In the whole LeBlanc & Gelinas do not disappoint as they populate this pub with the bereft, the angry, the cowed and the hopeful.
When the root of the disharmony between the pub owners is revealed, it’s a sobering coffee at the end of a long night leaving a sharp taste that concludes the evening with the sense of a journey still to be taken.

Finally it’s the collective of portraits that lingers gently, emphasised by Cartwright’s landlord and lady remaining nameless to the end. And that’s the success of this production, some sketches outshine others but it’s the collective that makes it work. Everyday lives publicly moving forward while challenges are privately waged within. These ordinary, even common, lives will undoubtedly leave some uncomfortable and others cold –but to people watchers, voyeurs and those that enjoy social commentary, these curious characters and John P. Kelly’s subtle direction will sing.

Two
The Gladstone Theatre
until January 31, 2015.

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Wknd Round Up: A-May-Zing Fun

Wolves B&WEvent of the week is outdoor production Wolves>Boys the award winning play (Outstanding Creation of the Year 2012 Rideau Prix) at MacDonald Cartier Park in Lowertown.  The coming-of-age play from May Can Theatre (i.e. Cory Thibert & Tony Adams) is Saturday night and already in my calendar. See more below.

Free admission as always tonight from 5-8PM at the National Gallery, then hit the Byward Night Market and head over to St Alban’s for a bellyful of creative soup!

Thursday May 29th, is Spring Soup – the latest instalment of the quick-fire dragon-den competition in which community entrepreneurs make a 5min presentation and you vote who wins the door money!  The latest session is at St Albans’ and the theme is Building Block. Prize depends on attendance but is generally around $1000. Presenters were chosen based on benefit to community, creativity, achievability and other factors. 5 min presentation & 5min Q&A. 6:30PM 10$ + free soup!

Friday music by the canal anyone? 8 Locks Flat (the beach) has Tara H0ll0way on the patio from 7PM FREE.  Continuing the musical theme of the evening – head over to The Mercury Lounge

Ark Analogue mercury LoungeFriday’s musical event of the night is surely DJ Lance Baptiste hosts Ark Analog at Mercury Lounge 10PM. It’s Amanda Putz recommended folks – enjoy.

Appropriately, given that the Fringe Festival had it’s 2014 launch the day before, critically-acclaimed Fringe hit Roller Derby Saved My Soul rolls back in to Arts Court Theatre for one night only on Friday. Nancy Kenny‘s revamped one-woman play in it’s national tour to nine is equally the subject of an upcoming documentary “On the Fringe” that Kenny is currently filming. Roller Derby Saved my Soul, 2 Daly Ave 7:30PM $15-25

Saturday bike over to City Hall for the 4th annual edition of Capital Velo Fest. The bike rodeo kicks off at 4pm and the beautiful night bike ride is scheduled to start at 8PM. FREE 4-11PM

WolvesSaturday night grab a blanked at head to McDonald Gardens!! May Can Theatre performs Wolves>Boys outside at MacDonald Gardens Park (the dog park just off Rideau St & Cobourg) in Lowertown.  It’s a play about friendship, its outdoors, it’s local, it’s Pay-What-You-Can and it’s from May Can Theatre. If you don’t know this local talent – well you should especially as one half of this two-man team, Tony Adams, has probably served you many a latte at TAN Coffee. Play starts at 20:45 & it’s gonna be awesome – so go!

Saturday music? James Leclaire with The Cable 22’s, Still Winter Hill & Shawn Donnelly for some Ottawa Folk at The Lunenburg. While back at St Alban’s it’s Kelp20: Kelp Records 20th anniversary bash with Hilotrons, Jim Bryson and more.

Sunday why not check out the neighbourhoods latest happening venue The Loft Board Game Lounge -with hundreds of games great food and drink this is a place to chill letting the good times roll alongside the dice.

Sun is shining and need to get out? Head back to the beach, aka 8 Locks Flat for more sweet tunes by the canal with Sunday music – a tremendous destination for walkers and cyclists that is welcoming to all ages.

 

Weekend RoundUp: Egging on April

Welcome to Easter weekend folks. Might be a good time to break up the routine as you look forward to breaking chocolate eggs.

stiff2-748x360Thursday night at Arts Court is Stiff Quickies a film screening fundraiser by local talents for the wonderful Ottawa Fringe Festival. The tag line for this event gives you the measure of the evening “short films, tall drinks, deep pockets”. Bar opens at 7PM and screenings start at 8PM. Tickets 12£

Keep your Thursday going with The Bunny Bounce a 1970’s disco party at The Mercury Lounge. Trevor Walker is bringing the tunes and you know they want you to strut the style so get the look with platforms and bell-bottoms and get your groove on. 10PM

Friday night head over to Zaphod Beeblebrox for an insanely well priced gig. Lined-up they have Ambrosia Famine with Arms of the Girl and GingerFox at the crazy knocked down price of a fiver. Go Zaphod!

Saturday its all back to Arts Court for a competitive live game-show storytelling challenge with FlipIt! . We can quite figure out if this is theatre, games or both but as it’s hosted by MayCan Theatre and there are drinks it is going to be a good time. 7:30 Pay What You Can.

Following FlipIt the Lunenburg is only a stride away with great beers and top live music. Saturday night the Lunenburg hosts local duo Couchwrecked CD release party. The drum and bass sounds are “reminiscent of Debbie Harry and the New York 70’s punk rock scene” with oddly upbeat lyrics. As well as Couchwrecked other acts including Swagoo and Ain’t No Grave will be performing. The whole evening promises chilled good times and the 10$ cover charge includes a a complimentary album. Go on, you know you want to. 9PM

Another fun Saturday night option is a roast hosted at Mugshots.  I love a good roasting – harkens back to the days of Rat Pack drinking and talking-down one another with great hilarity. This roast bids farewell to Ben Courtice “King Of Ottawa”.  Roast kicks off at 10PM followed by grooves of course.

Sunday night sneak away from the fam-bam and have a chilled wine-down at Must Kitchen in the Byward Market. Sunday’s is their 5$ corkage night.

Trois: 3 Productions create a satisfying ménage a trois

This article was also published by Apt613

troisArts 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.

Trois (Three)
27-29 February
Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Ave.

FreshMeat: Serving Bite-Sized Theatre with a Brew

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!

FireFlood Theatre1The 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 fresh.meat.theatre@gmail.com .