“26 lettres à danser” More Than Meets the Eye

By Anna Nossik (10 years old)

This is a beautiful show, which at first looks like it’s just a thing to help little kids learn the letters, but there’s more to it… This play resembles a lot the exercises that we do in Once Upon a Kingdom Theatre. It also makes your mind wonder and it’s fun to make associations with your experiences, movies that you have watched, books that you have read and stories you have been told.
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“26 lettres à danser” is Enjoyable for All Ages

By: Anna Roiter (11 years old)

This was a really enjoyable show for all ages. At first, when the actors were enthusiastically interacting with the audience, I felt like it was going to be a child show from 4-8. I still wanted to encourage the actors so I answered their questions and had fun. When they showed us specific movements, I got excited because that means that we get to participate in the show!

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The Critic is Dead (Long Live The Critic)

    The critics panel last week at undercurrents Festival had some interesting discussion about the future of arts journalism. I am going to take this opportunity to further flesh out some of the emerging trends that were discussed at the conclusion of the panel. Principally, I want to talk about our long-form brand of criticism, in contrast with the future of legacy media arts coverage that Ottawa Citizen’s Lynn Saxberg foresees (I just learned the term “Legacy Media” this week from a great CanadaLand Commons podcast. It basically means “types and styles of media that existed before the internet got useful”).

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Don’t Pass By “Les Passants”

For the first time ever, the Great Canadian Theatre Company is mounting a bilingual co-production with the hopes of forging new artistic relationships and creative opportunities within the city. Les Passants, written by Luc Moquin and directed by Jean Stéphane Roy, represents an “unprecedented partnership” in Ottawa and is a production you certainly won’t want to pass up.

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Where We Live (New Ottawa Critics in Residence)

   I’ve been talking for weeks now about what the critical landscape currently looks like in this country, what the New Ottawa Critics thinks it’s trying to accomplish, and the theory behind that. Now it’s time to talk a bit about how exactly we are hoping to address some of these issues. So this edition of DarkDayMonday is going to have a bit more of a practical focus than usual.

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Faster Than the Speed of Dating Runs Smooth

The last show to open at undercurrents 2017 is the delightfully silly Faster than the Speed of Dating. With its myriad pop culture references and archetypes, some smooth sleight-of-hand, and good old-fashioned clowning, FTTSOD is just the kind of show you want to see while unwinding with a drink after one of the mainstage shows.

The simple storyline is thus: Kevin Reid takes on the role of a socially awkward yet hopeful man who tries his hand at speed dating, unconsciously helped by a sort-of romantic fairy godmother. Besides the main character Reid also embodies an ‘80s metal/headbanger type guy, and watching the contrast between these characters, especially how their different facial expressions manifest on Reid’s face, is fun to watch. The other characters, including the fairy godmother and the various women at speed dating, are breezily played by Madeleine Hall, who is in her element with FTTSOD. Each of her characters has a well-developed physicality – especially enjoyable are her turns as a fetching, hair-tossing siren and as the cool yet resentful geek girl at the next table.

This show is a wordless clown piece, though there are plenty of non-verbal vocalizations, and the frontal staging (Hall and Reid face out to the audience, even though they are “facing each other” at their table) works well for this style even without the hilarious acknowledgment of its limitations when Reid tries to grab one dating hopeful’s cigarette from her mouth. Feeding on this explicit theatricality is some unexpected magic from Reid as he makes a flower disappear and reappear.

The pop culture jokes (helped by a very ‘80s musical accompaniment) are amusing, but the playful self-acknowledgment on the production’s part is its strongest element and the source of the most satisfying laughs.  

With Faster than the Speed of Dating, Strange Visitations has a nice tonic for some of the more serious shows happening in the Arts Court Theatre at undercurrents. It may be light but it’s certainly still art, and as a pay-what-you-can it is absolutely worth whatever you choose to contribute.

 

Faster than the Speed of Dating

A Strange Visitations Production

Conceived by Kevin Reid

Co-created by Kevin Reid, Madeleine Hall, and Jodi Morden

Performed by Kevin Reid and Madeleine Hall

Directed by Jodi Morden

 

Running Time: 30 minutes

In the Arts Court Studio

Friday 17 February 2017 10:30pm

Saturday 18 February 2017 10:30pm