Tag Archives: The Peptides

Undercurrents – Raising the Bar

http://www.undercurrentsfestival.ca 12-21 February 2015

Attendance at Undercurrents opening night was testament to Ottawa’s writing and performing talents where a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd filled the house for a trio of outstanding acts. As the festival grows year on year now extending over two weekends with more than 30 performances and an international act to boot the bar (sic)is set  high in both theatrical standards and as a shining example of how to run a event.

Pat Gauthier in the Studio

Pat Gauthier in the Studio

Undercurrents delivers quality theatre in a convivial roughly-polished atmosphere proving it’s the sum of the parts that create a success. Planning to stay for only the first play it was the attention brought to the overall experience that drew me in to buy tickets and contribute to the Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) act in the Studio (ahem bar) sandwiched between the two pay shows.

Remarks throughout the night from Festival Director Patrick Gauthier provided a welcoming, personal note to the proceedings. Gauthier’s vision and genuine enthusiasm alongside his personable approach is energising theatre in this city.

First up was Thunk!Theatre who set sail in Far & Near & Here on a serendipitous journey of self discovery with a first date thrown in for good measure. Plastic bottles haphazardly litter the set and the opening is rather choppy until Ned (Geoff McBride) and Ted (Karen Balcome) row in to each other’s lives via a notebook left in a cafe and a series of long-distance postcards. Meeting at a GPS point, Here, halfway between their respective homes of Near and Far both are at sea in more ways than one. The discarded bottles and office chairs are not only rowboats nor simply a metaphor for plastic choked oceans but as these two strangers are forced to face personal dissatisfaction head on the play moves from purposefully whimsy to become a pensive thought-provoking piece.

Air by Tottering Biped Theatre was a one-man physical performance with Trevor Copp nothing short of astonishing as he wordlessly encapsulates life after death, a stag hunt, and a man who reaches for and climbs to the stars. These brief performances set to well chosen soundtracks carried the audience easily with physical performances delivering beauty, humour and humanity.  Expecting little at the outset this act proved to be the gem of opening night.

Love + Hate by The Peptides delivers song-filled vignettes tackling the big issues of the day from corporate corruption through the polarizing effects of love and hate. The vocals of this 9-piece are fantastic, clearly a crowd pleaser, as evidenced by the packed house but the theatricality of the performances left me cold; the vocals far outstripping the Thespian routine. A straight-up concert strikes me as a more tempting proposition though I seemed to be in the minority on the night.

A glimpse of the generous spread

A glimpse of the generous spread

The curation of this event is fantastic. Across-the-road local class act resto-bar The Albion Rooms was enlisted to cater opening night and Chef Stephen La Salle outdid himself with a fantastically generous and creative spread. Most dates includes a PWYC option allowing the uninitiated to dip a toe in fringe with satisfying acts in the bar (ahem Studio). On Wednesday Feb 18th they’ve organised a free beer tasting with Dominion City sandwiched between SPIN at 19:00 and Marathon at 21:00 taking theatre accessibility to a whole new level. Ottawa’s theatres can frequently be staid seemingly forgetting that pretension is no marker of success or enjoyment.   Not so at Undercurrents where the delivery of the experience is equal to the quality of the selected pieces. Gauthier and co deliver an experience where the NAC season-ticket holder will feel as comfortable as a Sens fan. Neither precious nor pretentious Undercurrents gets it right delivering professional quality theatre alongside a proper night out.

ArtsCourt, 2 Daly Ave, Ottawa, ON
http://www.undercurrentsfestival.ca

12-21 February 2015

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Weekend Roundup: Walking in Jane’s Footsteps

JWPoster2014The pick of the weekend is the 2-day Jane’s Walk phenomenon that, based on Jane Jacob’s advocacy for walking as a way to connect, understand and build thriving communities, sees a growing number of volunteers organise informative FREE strolls around Ottawa neighbourhoods this Saturday and Sunday. The areas are so diverse the times so disparate you are sure to find many that slot easily into your weekend plans and there is even a pick of French & English tours. There are over 50 walks organised this weekend and all are clearly listed here. Get walking and get connected with Jane’s Walk.

Thursday evening where else would you be but the Jane’s Walk launch at the Jane’s Walk Headquarters in Arts Court. Adrian Harewood MC’s the event and there is a walk-through video installation by artist Jessica Aylsworth while speakers include author Alain Miguelez, Poet David O’Meara and story-teller Dennis Van Staalduinen. Local and free 2 Daly Ave, 7-9PM.

Later Thursday evening over on Elgin St the ever expanding Lieutenant’s Pump is opening their newest room “The Gallery” with windows fronting on to the street this room is an art gallery where you can take in some culture as you sup your pint. 8PM

Friday night is new theatre work Corpus at Arts Court. We are looking forward to seeing this piece and what Director Bronwyn Steinberg – winner of the Prix Rideau Awards Production of the Year 2013 – is brining to the stage. Run continues til May 10th, 15-25$ 8PM.

Saturday May 3rd is the opening of “Creatures of Light” at the Museum of Nature. This exhibit of creatures from the deepest darkest depths of the ocean – what we fondly call the “midnight zone” – that generate light from there own body using bio-luminescence.  In our house we are mad about bio-luminescence so count on seeing us racing around the castle looking for Angler fish, sephonophores and more. Truly, bio-luminescence is tremendous.

At 2PM it’s the penultimate performance of the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Coppelia at the National Arts Centre (NAC),  One of the most charming ballets it is sure to entrance all comers. NAC 2PM & 8PM.

Saturday night The Peptides are having their album launch party for “Love Question Mark” at the beautiful St Alban’s church at King Edward and Daly Ave. The room is inspiring, intimate and the acoustics are amazing. Swoon and sway folks. 7:30PM 15$

Also on Saturday night is Elementals with Tindervox & the Haig band at the Lunenburg Pub. Cover only 4$

Sunday morning join local Jane’s Walk “Uptown Rideau, Mainstreet Interrupted” – pls scroll down when link opens page is not blank – hosted by Chris Bradshaw who will explore the intriguing past and present of our main shopping strip. Meet at 10:30am in front of Rideau Bakery for this 1hour tour. FREE

Sunday afternoon there is a French language Jane’s Walk hosted par les enfants, pour les enfants – pls scroll down when link opens page is not blank –. Explore Cote de Sable from a kid’s perspective. Walk starts at 2pm and the meeting point is the corner of Somerset East and Goulburn.

Sunday afternoon La Bottega is hosting an “Introduction to Italian Wine & Cheese” with Sommelier Alex Craig. 3:00-4:00PM 55$

At 4Pm it’s the Ottawa Jane Walk Wrap Party at the Lieutenant’s Pump  on Elgin Street. Join fellow walking enthusiasts and check out the new “Gallery Room” that opened just last Thursday.

Start off the work week with a fun Monday night Arts Court evening. Art Battle features 12 painters who have 20minutes to create on canvas then the gathered crowd picks the night’s winner.10-15$ 7PM Love it!

Finally, want to check out a new restaurant? Well Nu Seafood hasopened today in Vanier at 79 Montreal Road and they are doing a 1/2price menu until next Friday. Get in and let us know what you think. Rumour is the fish taco is delicious.