As of January 7, 2013, this website will serve as an archive site only. For news, reviews and a connection with audience and creators of theatre all over the country, please go to The Charlebois Post - Canada.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

News: Actors' Equity Responds to Flaherty

Canadian Actors' Equity boss Arden R. Ryshpan has issued a statement responding to recent remarks by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

CharPo's Picture of the Week, June 30, 2011

To our mind, still one of the finest theatre photos out there; 
its combination of magic, eroticism, theatrical artifice and photographic
trickery make it fascinating. It is Paul Van Dyck in his solo
Paradise Lost, which is part of the very exciting 
Beyond the Mountain Project, launching next Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beyond the Fourth Wall, June 29, 2011

Not-Necessarily-Theatre Dates For Your Agenda
by Estelle Rosen

June 30
7:30pm – Bell Centre

To July 3 
Ceramic Exhibit – Mystic Qc
45 minutes south-east of Montreal

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

News: Toronto theatre Dora Awards winners

Read the full list of winners from CBC.

Sterling Award Winners, 2010-2011

Here is the complete list of winners for Edmonton theatre's Sterling Awards.


EVENT: Beyond the Mountain Launch

News: Fiona Reid wins Edmonton's Sterling Award

Fiona Reid, a frequent visitor to Montreal's stages, has just won the award for best female actor in Edmonton's Sterling Awards, given out tonight.

Full list of winners to follow.

Theatre For Thought, June 28, 2011

The Great Opera / Theatre Divide
It would be ideal if Opera de Montréal took their cue from other cities, where there has been a concerted effort to relax the traditional definitions.
joel fishbane

An interesting thing happened on my way to The Charlebois Post recently: I noticed it had sent Richard Burnett to review a production of La Boheme – an opera. As an insider, I can tell you this was not a one-shot deal: there will be more coverage when the new season starts. Yet The Charlebois Post has not changed its mandate – it’s still “all Montreal English theatre…all the time”. You probably think you’re smelling a contradiction, but it’s not because of the word “english”. The artistic community has done a pretty good job convincing the world that opera is not a form a theatre. 

Opera has long been treated as its own genre of entertainment, with its own critics, reporters and target audience. Here in Montreal, its producers seem to like it this way. Despite their need for new audiences, Opera de Montréal seems determined to isolate themselves from the theatrical community. Although they offer discounts for the under 30 crowd, there are no benefits for QDF or PWM members. They ignore promotion through the QDF calendar and continue to schedule work from the classical repertoire, ignoring modern composers like John Adams (Nixon in China, The Atomic Project) or those that deal with modern subjects (like Mark Anthony-Turnage’s recent opus to Anna-Nicole Smith.) 

After Dark, June 28, 2011

Why We Work
Inside The Charlebois Post
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois 

A non-friend of CharPo ran into a contributor of ours at a recent opening and when it was discovered that he was at the performance to review it for us, the person asked, in a confused ejaculation, "Why do you volunteer to write for him?" Our contributor answered jokingly, "Because we love him and free tickets!"

The name at the top of the page you are reading, mine, was a goof. I was angry at certain people's rather personal attacks on the work of a  friend, about how some theatre people and commentators were abusing the privileges of their positions and I decided to cover theatre to the best of the abilities of my ruined body. I thought by using my name I would be clearly announcing - tongue in cheek - "Fuck you! I'm back!" (after four years of absence from the scene). Before I knew it, very good people were cheering me on and, because I needed to, I asked them to help. They did and with gusto. Very soon CharPo had become a recognized brand where real people who were respected and loved toiled. Within a month our traffic doubled, within two trebled and then upwards from there.

Monday, June 27, 2011

News: Robert Lepage/Rufus Wainwright reap Doras

(This story has been updated). Robert Lepage's Andersen Project has recieved a Toronto's Dora Award for Best Touring Production. Rufus Wainwright, later, received the award for Best New Musical/Opera.

Full list of winners to follow.

The Upstage Interview: Kahlil Ashanti

Photo credit Peter Prior 

Basic Training is a story about family; about my relationship with my mother.

Upstage Host Eric Sukhu spoke with writer/performer Kahlil Ashanti about  Basic Training, presented as part of Zoofest. Below is an abridged version of the interview, edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-Chief.

Is this the first time you’re presenting Basic Training?

First time at Zoofest but not the first time in Montreal. Sold out performance at Centaur in 2004; also set ticket sales record in 2004 Fringe Festival. Good to be coming back to Montreal.

Has it changed much since then?

Yes. We’ve played Broadway and have continued to refine it. The show you’re getting is the best version.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Feature - The Last Fringe Blog: Robin Henderson (The Only Bar)

It's days after the Fringe has wrapped and while my laundry mountain continues to build - I am still floating on happy Fringe feelings. 

What a phenomenal festival and what a phenomenal theatre experience for “The Only Bar”.  

Sitting third on the Fringe lottery waiting list for a very long time is what inspired the idea of mounting our production in a real taverne.  That and a lack of budget.  None of us had ever gone through a site-specific theatre experience before – so we had no idea of what to expect.  We really didn’t know if it would work or if it would be a total bust.  Especially when Boston and Vancouver made it into the final round of the playoffs.  But “The Only Bar” has been “punk-rock” since its original late night conception at the 24-hour musicals, so we relished the challenge of the bathroom doors slamming, regulars talking through our show, cash-registers ringing, hand-dryers buzzing and fire-truck sirens ablaze.

Sunday Feature - The Last Fringe Blog: Nichole Carlone & Christopher Pineda (Edges: A Song Cycle)

We are Processed Theatre. Last September we produced a successful “Reefer Madness: The Musical” at Mainline Theatre, and have just closed the first show of our second season, “EDGES: A Song Cycle.” While it was definitely a big departure from a show like “Reefer Madness,” we got a lot of great response and are more excited than ever to deliver our mainstage show in September: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
The Fringe is over. We've moved on. Rehearsals for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee began the day after the Fringe ended. But, like most of the Montreal theatre scene, we are still recovering from our Fringe experience. Here are some of the things we learned in that whole crazy process.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ford's Focus: Melanie St-Jacques

The Graceful Art of Stage Management
I was fascinated watching the SM (Stage Manager) check in with the various departments- costumes, lighting, set design. I love to meet people and listen to their stories...
by Barbara Ford
Melanie St-Jacques may not have known early on in her life that her strengths lay in stage management, but she is most assuredly a natural fit. She discovered a love of theatre at the dawn of her adolescence, seeing the ‘Big Three’ (Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera) with her mom. Further exposure through Villa Maria Secondary School field trips to New York and Stratford (A Streetcar Named Desire with Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange tops the list) had equal impact but upon graduation, theatre as a career option wasn’t even a remote consideration. “That was just something I loved and did for fun,” Said St-Jacques, having played roles like Alice [in Wonderland] in school productions.

Schwartz's: The Musical, Centaur
St-Jacques remembers feeling quite stressed after high school, daunted by the idea of having to choose her career path even though she felt much too young to make such a serious decision. “I was good at math so I thought it was best to choose something that utilized my strengths,” so she went into Commerce at Dawson, which lasted a year before the boredom got the best of her. She then switched to nursing, taking after her mother’s chosen profession. As a young girl, she spent a lot of time on the hospital wards during her mom’s shifts and rather than being spooked by the sights and smells, she loved the orderliness, the myriad systems that maintained the huge machine.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Friday Five, June 24, 2011

We are exited to announce...
PR Fails which can teach
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois and Estelle Rosen

It's not the Fringe companies' fault we are coming out with this Friday Five this week (we had been sniffing around for this list for a while)...but it didn't hurt to also have the CD from the Fringe, holding press kits for all the companies in the fest. None of these fails is on the epic scale of the insanity at TNM with a director hiring a convicted killer into his cast. However, there are lessons to be learned even in these tiny cases. Some of these fails have been documented by colleagues, others by us. However, we will not be so mean as to name names. Suffice it to say you all know who you are...or maybe don't.

CharPo's Real Theatre!

Photo modified by permission. (Show details) This cartoon does not reflect 
the content of the actual production.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CharPo's Picture of the Week, June 23, 2011

A glorious picture from the upcoming Repercussion tour of Macbeth (with one of the most attractive Macbeth couples we've ever seen!).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beyond The Fourth Wall, June 22, 2011

Not necessarily theatre dates for your agenda
by Estelle Rosen


June 26
Montreal Baroque Festival co-production with Repercussion Theatre
Deadly Sin, Macbeth in Hell: A Cabaret

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

After Dark, June 21, 2011

The Times They Are A-Changin'
The daily, the Fringe and the future
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I was going to spend this entire editorial documenting how profoundly our daily, its arts editor and its culture critic botched coverage of the Fringe this year but I realized that would simply be over-hammering the nails into the coffin of the once solid institution. Suffice it to say that I have rarely seen a newspaper department so woefully inept, writing so lazy and such an utter misunderstanding and misuse of the internet - especially of blogging, Twitter and Facebook.

But what does this all mean to the rest of us?

Theatre For Thought, June 21, 2011

The Fishy Awards, 2011
Prizes time forgot...
joel fishbane

So in the midst of all the carousing at the Fringe’s festival-ending dance party, one thing was made clear: the Frankies are getting fat. There were more awards then ever on Sunday night (16), each celebrating their own particular niche: Best English Production, Best Multidisciplinary Show, Best One Person Show Involving a Dog Dressed as an Ape. These niche awards are important and provide much needed recognition, but I found myself missing the more artistic awards of other shows. Where was the prize for best acting?

We often forget about the art of acting during the Fringe, where spectacle and theatrical wizardry tend to seize the spotlight. And since many shows are written specifically for a certain actor, we often assume that the actors are just playing slightly altered versions of themselves. But this assumption leads us to ignore the many fine performances given by actors who are called upon to do more then they are ever asked to during the average “professional” show. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

An Important Note to Fringe 2011 Companies

Although we will be removing the Fringe Aggregator at the top of our page, shortly, all articles, reviews, EVENT listings etc. will remain in our archives. The links which exist for each today, will remain valid links in the future.

Cheers and thank you for a great Fringe!


If you wish to use the EVENT program (free), read the how-to here
In alphabetical order with end date.

In The Mood For Jazz! (Zoofest, July 16-22)
Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears (Segal Centre)
The Tempest (July 24-28)
UPSTAGE: Theatre on Radio, CKUT, This Week


If you wish to be added to our links list, please contact us.

Beyond the Mountain Productions
Black Theatre Workshop
C'est la vie theatre
Canadian Theatre Enyclopedia
Centaur Theatre
The Concordian

English Language Arts Network

Geordie Productions

Hudson Village Theatre


Invisible Cities Network

Left of Centre Theatre Company

MainLine Theatre

montheatre (French language)

Montreal Fringe Festival

Montreal Improv

Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company

Le Nouveau International/Théâtre Ste-Catherine
Out Productions

Persephone Productions

Playwrights Workshop Montréal

Processed Theatre

Quebec Drama Federation

Quebec Drama: For Your Information

Repercussion Theatre

Rialto Theatre

Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre
The Segal Centre
Sidemart Theatrical Grocery
Tableau d'hôte Theatre

Talisman Theatre



News: The Frankie Awards (Fringe 2011)

Uncalled For

The Frankies, 2011
joel fishbane

The Oscars were put to shame on Sunday night at the Frankie Awards, the annual awards ceremony that serves as the climax to the Montreal Fringe. Despite having sixteen awards, three production numbers and five eleven second dance parties, the awards show clocked in at just under 80 minutes, an impressive feat for any event the encourages artists to stroke one another’s egos.

The Upstage Interview: Cameryn Moore

(Charlebois Post Publisher's Note: This interview falls well, in our planning, as the editors at CharPo also consider Ms Moore Fringe Personality of the year for her tireless work not only to promote her show, but also to promote the Fringe, here, itself.)

Upstage Host Eric Sukhu spoke with Cameryn Moore about Little Black Book Productions' Slut Revolution, presented as part of 2011 Fringe Festival. Below is an abridged version of the interview, edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-Chief.

Tell us about Slut Revolution

Slut Revolution (SR) was my artistic response to the things people were bringing up to me last year when I was touring Phone Whore (PW) at Fringe Festivals. PW is based on my work as a phone sex operator. Being a voyeuristic experience for the audience, they would come up to me afterwards and say it was wonderful but we want to know more about you.  How do you get to a place where you’re doing phone sex. What is your life like that led you to this point. SR is my chance to respond to that. As I started looking at formative sexual experiences and developments in my life, organizing it around themes, I was struck by how very much it made sense that I ended up doing PW. SR contains all that and more.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Sunday Feature, June 19, 2011: Jacob Wren on theatre and risk

The world which looks to us like a bad film.
Some thoughts on theatre, risk and cowardice.
by Jacob Wren

When you attend a bad movie you only feel like you’ve seen a bad movie. When you attend bad theatre you feel like you are witnessing the complete breakdown of human possibility.     – John Bourgeois 

There is a comparison I have always used, and in fact continue to use quite frequently, when speaking about the dilemma of contemporary theatre (and here I am using the word ‘contemporary’ to connote that which is happening now.)  It is a historical comparison between, on the one hand, how painting responded to the growing prominence of photography and, on the other, how theatre responded to a similar phenomena with regards to cinema. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Crossroads (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Valerie Cardinal

I’m not going to beat around the bush; Crossroads is among the best Fringe shows I’ve seen this summer. The show itself is accurately represented in its title. Crossroads is the meeting of two cultures, a combination of the stylings of Jingju, or Beijing opera, and the Western language of English.

Mado Lamotte Mouths Off (about The Drag Races) (Fringe 2011)

As always...provocative

Scooch over Rupaul
Mado is the world’s REAL Drag Race queen!
By Richard Burnett reprinted from Three Dollar Bill with permission

Few drag queens on Earth are in the same league as Montreal’s famed (and infamous) Mado La Motte, so-called because patrons at Poodles’ nightclub on The Main in Montreal thought she was so ugly they dubbed her “The Mutt.” Thus, Mado ‘La Motte’ was born.

When that other great drag queen, Lady Bunny of New York – who co-founded Wigstock and attended the bastard child of Wigstock, Mascara, the biggest drag show on the planet at Montreal’s Divers/Cite Festival a couple of years ago – she told Mado backstage, “What a fabulous show, darling!"

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: So We Thought We Could Act (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Valerie Cardinal

So We Thought We Could Act is the charming story of Dolores and Beatrice, two best friends who sell their soul to the devil to follow their dream of becoming Broadway stars. Not an easy thing when Diane Jolie, the prettiest girl at their school, is always one step ahead of them.

Review: Mind Control: Hypnosis Show (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Valerie Cardinal

I have to admit that I didn’t get the full Spidey experience on Thursday night; it was a special mentalism show with no hypnotism involved. However, I felt like Spidey’s showmanship didn’t translate very well. He seemed insecure about his tricks and spent way too much of his show reassuring the audience that he wasn’t cheating or messing with them. Sometimes, Spidey’s self-deprecation came off as charming, but it’s mostly off-putting. Who wants to see a mentalist who isn’t confident in what he can do? Some of the tricks near the end were genuinely impressive, and I only wish the rest of the show had amazed like those moments.

Show details.

The Friday Five, Fringe Edition, June 17, 2011

blink blink blink

Fringe Toppers
We came, we saw, we oooooh-and-aaaaaahed!
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois (with the CharPo Fringe reviewers)

You can make a pile of best bets, in advance, based on the decent press kits, based on reputations and previous productions by the companies or based on what you see at the Fringe-For-All. We did all advance. But now that we have put leather to the ground, spread out over the shows, and seen over 50 of them, we give you the top five (or your Fringe guide for the final weekend), all of which scored 5 charpies out of five.

Charpo's Real Theatre!

Modified with permission. (Show details)
This cartoon does not reflect the content of this
production and is merely inspired by the photograph.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Rains Down in Africa (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by  Estelle Rosen

Sometimes the road from an idea to fruition of that idea is paved with good intentions, but the end result doesn’t quite make it. Rains Down In Africa is an example.
Reading the description, I was curious to see a new interpretation of a very old story we’ve seen many times: exposing the phony world of stardom; how one has to sell their soul to become a star. Guess what? Here we have a young man who  wins a karaoke competition and in order to reach stardom has to do just that. 

News: Frankie Award Nominations Announced (Fringe 2011)

FRINGE 2011: FRANKIE Award Nominees Announced!

The St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival announces the nominations for the 2011 FRANKIE Awards

June 16th, 2011- The St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE is pleased to announce the nominations for this year’s FRANKIE Awards. The award ceremony, celebrating the best and brightest of the FRINGE, will be taking place at the Cabaret du Mile End (5240, av. Du Parc) on June 19th, 11pm.

Review: Manga (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by  Estelle Rosen

(As a long time admirer of Japanese culture, my visit to Japan many years ago remains the most memorable trip ever.)

MANGA from Belzébrute Productions is the second part of their trilogy of vengeance. Last year they presented part one, Shavirez Gypsy of the Seas.

CharPo's Picture of the Week, June 16, 2011 (Fringe Edition)

Even if this was not a Fringe photo, we would still make
it our picture of the week. It is not only a good theatre
photo, it is a terrific pic - it just makes you feel good.
Also, the actor has an uncanny resemblance to a young

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Verbal Diary-ah (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Andrea Stanford's solo is a delightful way to spend 45 minutes. There's enough humour and charm in the piece so that you become the performer's accomplice. The packed house I saw it with loved her. I liked her very much. However Verbal Diary-ah is not a finished work. In the play, Stanford reads passages from the diaries of her teen years and then "speaks to" her past self. It's a brilliant idea (and surprising I haven't seen it elsewhere yet). But Stanford enjoys her anecdotes far too much (laughing at them herself) and does not realize that many of us have been there, done that and actually empathize with that clumsy, hair-bedeviled teen she was. Stanford reads the diary passages in an annoying, stereotypical voice which, while funny, feels strangely cruel too. Had she read the diaries straight, this would have been an even funnier show as nothing is quite as hilarious—or poignant—as a person taking him-or-herself far too seriously.

Show details.

Review: Between Gossip and Dreams (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Émilie Charlebois

I am still laughing about Between Gossip and Dreams the day after. The only problem is it was meant to be a dramatic musical. It was also the kind of drama that took itself waaayyyy too seriously and desperately tried to be deep and profound. I can’t help but suspect that director/writer/composer Clint Earle would get along famously with The Room’s Tommy Wiseau. And just like The Room, if you were to get shmammered and watch Between Gossip as a comedy, you would have a blast. I think there may have been an entire row of people attending who were doing just that and once I caught on to it, I had to suppress giggles for the rest of the performance.

Review: Austen For the Attention-Impaired (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Émilie Charlebois

Although this show and its brief synopses of Jane Austen’s repertoire are meant for the attention-impaired, it was pretty slow and awkwardly paced. The time allotted to every novel was unevenly distributed and there were way too many transitions within each snippet where Tali Brady and Pat Di Iorio continuously came and went from the stage or slowly walked up to their instruments, fixed their mics… The musical numbers, including the rapping, made the whole thing feel like a bit of an amateur talent show. It was very patchy and there were too many dead silences. The different styles with which they tried to summarize each work (e.g. Star Wars, Seinfeld, Variety Hour, etc.) weren’t fully fleshed out, nor did they add to the storytelling. Di Iorio is noticeably more comfortable on stage than his partner and there was no chemistry between them. A supposed romantic past between the two characters is awkwardly revealed at the very end and it’s totally unconvincing. The pair of them came off as a nagging brother-sister duo. Even when feelings were acknowledged, instead of the obvious passionate kiss (this is Austen after all), we got a fraternal shoulder squeeze. Overall, Austen For the Attention-Impaired was very nerdy (in an endearing way) and cute. It started out fairly strong with Pride and Prejudice and then had some brief moments afterwards. I do think that Jane Austen aficianados may appreciate it a bit more than I did. Based on the audience’s enjoyment I assume it just wasn’t my type of show.


Review: blink blink blink (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Émilie Charlebois

I was already a fan of Kirsten Rasmussen after having seen her at last year’s Fringe festival in You & Me and Me & You and I am now contemplating following her so I can gather things she’s touched and build a shrine to her awesomeness in my bedroom. blink blink blink is (to borrow a line from the show) “Fucking Fantastic” (the adjective may have been amazing, I apologize if that is the case). And I don’t think I am the only one to think so. Every seat in the Freestanding Room was taken (there is an obvious pun to make here, but I shall resist) and the entire audience was in stitches. Laughter is meant to be shared and Rasmussen is a giver! Not a single piece of comedic material went without genuine giggles, guffaws or snorts. Rasmussen’s timing is unreal as she seamlessly allternates between characters (some of them adorable bunnies) and parallel storylines at an incredible pace, without ever missing a beat. As self-help guru Sara Tonin Rasmussen engages with her audience and reveals her character’s inner demons without getting too heavy or suddenly corrupting the play’s comedic value, by “getting real”. Sara Tonin’s darker moments were totally in keeping with her personality and rather than bum me out, they made me care about her. blink blink blink is smart, original, hilarious and touching. Kirsten Rasmussen’s star power is mind-blowing.


Review: Remember Ezra (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Jessica Wei

Remember Ezra is an interesting show in all of its contradictions. It is, invariably throughout the play: funny yet stiflingly dark, touching but cold, charming and then completely unappealing. The plot is convoluted but cliché, the script overwritten but at the same time, painfully obvious.

Robin (The Only Bar) Henderson's Fringe Blog

June 15, 2011

Hey Fringe!

Well, its hit that point.  All of us in “The Only Bar” are feeling it: the Fringe mid-point.

Chez moi, the dishes are not getting done.  Laundry is piling up.  I’m eating out too much.  Staying out too late.  Getting up too early.  Debauchery at its Fringe finest is following every show. Dude – I am TIRED but loving every minute of it!!

CharPo's Real Theatre!

Photo modified by permission. (Show details)
This cartoon does not reflect the actual content of the play and
is, instead, inspired by the photograph itself.