Tag Archives: Ottawa Fringe

Fringe 2016: AborAmor

Join Ottawa Stilt Union (OSU) on the Tabaret Hall lawn at Ottawa University for a wordless play cum acrobatic-dance performance that features comedy, love, stilt walking, an accordion player and a towering tree.

ArborAmor1

You’ve likely seen OSU at countless Ottawa events including Canada Day Celebrations as they stride athletically around events engaging with the crowds and delighting kids but they a troupe with many talents; most notably producing quality plays – bilingual and unspoken – hosting the monthly “Youppi Club” at varying central venues across the capital, and delivering acrobatic and stilt walking classes.

AborAmor as the name suggests plays on the themes of romance and nature as two tango dancers struggle to expand their duet to a threesome. Will jealousy rule the day or can love win out? Get yourself down to the lawn of University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall for this Ottawa Fringe outdoor performance suitable to all ages, engage with the performers and be enchanted by the whimsy of OSU and AborAmour.

Note as well as a 6PM performance on Friday there are two matinee performances on the weekend perfect for children of all ages.

Ottawa Fringe Festival 2016
ArborAmor
Tabaret Lawn, 550 Cumberland at Laurier/Wilbrod
30 minutes |Comedy | Play/Dance |Family
Friday June 24, 6PM
Saturday June 25, 2PM
Sunday June 26, 3:30PM

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Fringe 2016: Small Creatures Such as We

An edited of this review was published by Apt613.
Brace yourself for a tough look at the scars left behind by a cruel adolescence in Small Creatures Such as We, a well written yet painful to watch at times offering by Angels in the Rafters productions.

An unassuming set with a sofa to stage left and a kitchen/bar to stage right provide a simple and effective method for time travel as the actors shift between their 14 and 16 year old selves on the sofa to their present day incarnations a decade later. As the performance unfolds layers past and present are progressively bared, as Kit (Vishesh Abeyratne) and Joanna (Meagan McDonald) travel back and forth between the two “rooms” gradually uncovering achievements, setbacks, fears and their most intimate trials and betrayals.

Kit has Joanna on his mind and, after a 10 year gap without contact he tracks her down for a visit. Reunited after a decade the lifestyle contrast is marked; he’s an accomplished actor while her life is in neutral, stalled, held back by her past and unseen damage.  Kit is tea-total “1 year sober” he tells Joanna as she pours herself strong drinks in quick succession. For Kit the time has passed quickly while Joanna “has felt every minute.”

The memory scenes coupled with a strong chemistry between the actors creates a believably convincing bond that begs the question as to why they’ve kept their distance.  Touching language mimics emotions: “I’ve been looking out for you” says Joanna while Kit confesses that during tours “I’d look out for you.”

A gradual and thoughtful build up to complexity of the piece swells the audience’s insight as the performance moves back and forth in time exposing glimpses of childhood and adolescence constructing a solid and compelling base that makes the viciousness that unfolds all the more tragic.

At times Fringe works aim for shock value however in Small Creatures Such as We the jolts are miles away from gratuitous; rather there is a sense of universality like exposing a disturbing truth or buried memories.  The authenticity is partially due to attentive crafting; thoughtfully constructed complex characters out of what could easily be unsympathetic personalities. It is also largely down to the sincere, never-overwrought, performances put in by McDonald and Abeyratne who bring an attentive realism to their roles.

There are improvements that should be considered, including a desperately needed redaction of the final line, but the writing in the whole is so very good, the subject matter admirably handled and the performances so true that it really should deserve a spot on the must-see Fringe list.

Ottawa Fringe Festival 2016
Small Creatures Such as We
Academic Hall 133 Séraphin-Marion
June 15-26, 2016

 

Fringe 2016: In Waking Life

An edited version of this review was published by APT613

In Waking Life is a lively two-handed improvised performance piece that successfully mixes banter, musical numbers and audience participation. It’s an overblown fortune-telling romp celebrating off-the-wall humour and oddities.

In Waking LifeThe Norwegian-born psychic Synsk sisters, raised by a mother goat and surrounded by “family members” made up of a crystal ball, uncle 8-ball and the many cutie-catcher cousins are here in Ottawa to share their visions and delve in to their audience’s future. The Bring-Your-Own-Venue location in the basement of the Royal Oak on Laurier St E lends itself perfectly to production providing a cozy, old-world setting as the heavily-accented psychics “velcome” their clients.

 

The structure of the play has enough hooks to provide consistency in the quality of the improvisations and the performers easily stepped in to the breach when the audience members were slow to respond. Creator/performers Monica Bradford-Lea and Lauren Welchner bring unbridled energy to their character performances. Welchner’s Cora is manic and forthright while Bradford-Lea’s Garnish is all airy-fairy scatteredness and together both are side-splittingly funny.

It’s a cavalcade of non-stop action that appears random but is planned and execute well in a seemingly haphazard manner that suits the characters and engages the audience. One attendee was comfortable enough to share a Guinness session that led him to pee in his own luggage so disarming is their appeal. Another particularly memorable scene had the sisters reading astrological texting advice from AstroGirl magazine which as they will be very pleased to tell you is “so stupid, but so fun.”

Dreams are dissected, love matches made, questions answered and fortunes told as the Synsk Sisters deliver a truly one-off psychic experience like you have never seen.

Previously improvised performance pieces leave me cold but with the Synsk Sister In Waking Life you’ll have a ball.…

Produced by Amped Up Theatre
Ottawa Fringe Festival 2016
June 15-26, 2016
BYOV – The Royal Oak 161 Laurier St E

 

Fringe 2016:Well isn’t this super… (Marvellous Man IV: The Return of Marvellous Man)

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.

Well-Isnt-This-Super...-375x375Newcomer 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

 

Wknd RoundUp: Canada D-Eh!

It’s the sort-of long weekend folks. I expect most people will take a 4day weekend and roll straight from Friday through Canada Day on Tuesday and well done on you!

HypnoticEvent of the weekend!! Saturday Jazz fest only has the mind-blowing horn blowing Hypnotic Brass Ensemble 

First up: there are FOUR more days of Ottawa Fringe Festival  in the hood headquartered at Arts Court. The choice is expansive with many excellent shows selling out. I can’t recommend it more and am personally gutted to see the end in sight – but there is still time for more PHEW. I’ve had countless hours of entertainment this year and will miss the explosion of international and local talent as well as the free concerts and conviviality of the Waller Park beer tent when it wraps. If you do nothing else this weekend take a trip to the Fringe.

The Ottawa Jazz Festival continues their eclectic class act til 30June. Catch a show then take in the Late Night Jamming sessions at The Albion Rooms starting at 10:30PM.

Thursday evening: Sandy Hill Heritage Study from 6-8:30PM at the Sandy Hill Community Centre 250 Somerset St E.  Free entrance 5-8 at the National Gallery & the Byward Night Market is open for all your fresh produce shopping needs til 9PM.

Thursday night: Claude Munson host the open mic at Cafe Nostalgica. Free concert 9PM at Waller Park in the Ottawa Fringe Beer tent including Crissi Cochrane & Three Little Birds. Over at Ottawa’s only Jail/Bar Mugshots 75 Nicholas St  its all going off til 2AM withs Rehab Pizza Party w/ Cadence Weapon & Silkken Laumann.

Friday – still time for Fringe or check out the line up for great tunes alongside top brews with The Dirty Sheep, Sounds of Stories, Tales from the BackSeat and Novalatte all at the local Lunenburg Pub on Waller St.

Beautiful Saturday grab your bike and catch a brew and the sunset at 8LocksFlat on the Canal just off Colonel By side bike path. Best sunsets in Ottawa.

Saturday it’s the Arts Court favourite Art Battle Regional Ottawa Finals at the Ottawa Convention Centre (55 Colonel By Drive). Paint Brush at the ready, 20mins on the clock, you decide who wins! Starts at 7PM

Event of the weekend!! If you’ve never seen the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble then rush over to the Confederation Park for 10:30PM Saturday night to be properly enthralled. The 8-piece hailing from Chicago will not disappoint. It’s made up of the 8 sons of Jazz Trumpeter Phil Cochran and with only horns and a drum-set it will set your night on fire guaranteed. First time I saw these guys was an impromptu street gig on Portobello Market in 2009 – so word to the wise they frequently set up busker style (of course Ottawa City might fine them!) to get the vibe of the City.

 

Saturday night final chance to get your Fringe on and don’t miss the closing free night of concerts on the Downtown Rideau Stage in Waller Park featuring Ottawa favourite Silkken Laumann at 10PM.

For Sunday through Tuesday we recommend checking out OttawaStart for all the Canada Day festivities.

 

 

Wknd Roundup: Fire up your Fun

It’s here and it’s in your neighbourhood. The Ottawa Fringe Festival opens Thursday evening with most venues in and around Sandy Hill from the Arts Court headquarters through St Alban’s on King Eddy. As well as a cavalcade of new shows there is also Free Programming with concerts on the Downtown Rideau stage in Waller Park,  the Courtyard for lounging and local fave Albion Rooms is getting in on the fun with 8 dishes for 8$ each from 8PM-Midnight exclusively for Fringe go’ers.

FringeAs championed by Jian Gomeshi Fringe showcases some of our countries greatest artistic talents, the shows are plentiful and the prices are knock-down cheap – support the artists, support local and get your 10days of Fringe on!

Though with the free concerts, great eats and tremendous shows you’re schedule will be packed for the next 10days there is always time for more right?

Love jazz then check out all the great events going on at the Ottawa Jazz Festival on from 20-30June. Our favourite aspect is the unpredictable Late Night Jamming sessions and we are thrilled that this year they’ve relocated The Albion Rooms. Pop in around 10:30PM and be amazed.

The World Cup rages on and this afternoon is England vs Uruguay. No better place to watch it that at Our England House head-quartered at The Lunenburg Pub on Waller St.  3PM

Thursday night 6PM at Patro – 40 Cobourg St – a public meeting to discuss cycling infrastructure on St Patrick St. The Mayor issued a letter yesterday via Citizens for Safe Cycling proposing that cyclist accept “Super Sharrows”, sidewalk riding and a 3 block (between Cobourg & Beausoleil) ped-cycling mini-path as a solution. We hope this mish-mash “solution” is challenged and attendees advocate for a true solution. We suggest slowing traffic speeds, thus enabling narrowing of car-lanes and addition of permanent protected bike lanes.

Grab your swim kits kids, local Sandy Hill wading pools open this Friday! UPDATE: City website is out of date and Patro wading pool is NOT OPEN Both the brand spanking new pool by the Patro – 40 Cobourg – and the pool in Strathcona Park open June 20th whereas July 2nd is the date for the pool by the Sandy Hill Community Centre.  Happy splashing!

Having advocated for cycling infrastructure on Thursday reward yourself with a Bike Rave and a party at Bank St’s beguiling Glow Fair.

Yep it’s Ottawa’ 1st Bike Rave Friday night 7:30PM starting at 200 Lees Bike Coop.  The bike rave is a critical mass-style group ride with portable music that includes dance party stops and ends at the Bank Street GlowFair Party. Costumes and glow sticks are highly encouraged.

Summer Solstice 8locksSaturday from 7PM it is the Summer Solstice Cycle Soiree at 8 Locks Flat (191 Colonel By – the beach resto along the canal between Corktown Bridge and Laurier St). In conjunction with Citizens for Safe Cycling there are prizes every 15mins and a free gift for all cyclists at 8:55PM.  Thanks for supporting cycling through the cold depths of winter 8Locks and thanks for having the best licensed bike-friendly sunset views in Ottawa!

 

Event Round-up: Zombies, Food, Gardens, a Remix and more

Got weekend plans? Now you do.  Details & links on Events page.

Arts Court double billThe undeniable pick of the week is Arts Court double-header comedy/horror revival from the 2013 Ottawa Fringe Festival: Bent Springs & Shambling Things.  The two sold-out-during- Fringe plays “Chesterfield” & “Die Zombie Die” are hilarious and macabre. In “Chesterfield” a newly married couple cope with both the trials of their relationship and a carnivorous sofa.  In “Zombie” as the un-dead rampage continues questions arise over who is fighting them and whether it is all a zombie slayer set up. Witty entertainment +there is a cash bar to steady your jangly nerves for $18. Runs Thursday 26-Saturday 28.

Saturday and Sunday look to be hot & sunny making it a spot on weekend to get outside.  Take part in a C’est Bon Cooking Culinary Tour – Saturday morning at 10:30 it’s a tour of Lowertown while Sunday you can have a foodie walkaround the Byward Market.  Yummy.

In the afternoon enjoy the weather while helping out your community. The Sandy Hill Fall Clean-Up is an later day affair, cuz we like a weekend lie-in, that kicks off at Strathcona Park (parking lot) at 1pm Saturday and at Chapel Street Park at 3pm Sunday.

Also on sunny Sunday you can take in a guided tour of the 1.5km of roof gardens atop the Rideau Centre and the NAC with stunning views over Ottawa.

Need another hit of art and culture? Check out Transformer: The Body Remixed at SAW Gallery.  The mixed media exhibit explores the digitally manipulated human form in Western culture. Literally bombarded daily by unrealistic body imagery has led many to dysmorphia, isolation and a growing sense of imperfection. See how SAW tackles these subjects through sculpture, video, photography and more. Continues until November 2nd 2013.