Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) The Chronicler

Rivalries and Alliances 
by Jim Murchison

There is something liberating about playing in the parks where one doesn't have to worry about echoes and sightlines in the same manner as one might on stage. Great stories have been seen in Ottawa parks this year from Shaw and Shakespeare and while John Brogan is not as famous a writer as the others, the principal characters of his play are two of the most beloved swashbuckling and romantic swordsmen of literature: Aramis of Dumas' The Three Musketeers and Rostand's title character Cyrano de Bergerac. 

It is an interesting exploration of the minds of men who are ideologues and soldiers with the souls of poets and patriots.

The play focuses on the rivalry and the respect the two legendary characters have for each other and their great affection for a beautiful young woman Jacinthe who is the Chronicler of the play. She is the niece and ward of Aramis and she helps to bring Cyrano into Aramis's home to so that he might have an understanding of the man beneath the writer. 

Danielle Savoie as Jacinthe is a good narrator as we see the action unfold through her lovely young eyes, but she is better when she steps directly into the scene and we see first hand her rapport and wisdom of her dealings with these two complicated men. 

Tim Oberholzer as Cyrano and John Brogan as Aramis explore the philosophical sides of the men, as much of the action is set around Aramis's table discussing thoughts and ideas, although there is also room for some swordplay and tomfoolery. This was the only night of the run that the play was performed in the relative comfort of a theatre and the cast will return to the parks for the remainder of the run. Oddly enough this might be the reason that the performances at times appeared a tad tentative and restrained. The ringing acoustics of the Gladstone are well known. 

It is an interesting exploration of the minds of men who are ideologues and soldiers with the souls of poets and patriots.

Chris McLeod has double duties as he plays the Baker Rageneau and he also directed the play. The supporting cast is comprised of Jeremy Piamonte, Aaron LaJeunesse and Reena Belford. All play well but in particular Ms. Belford as the cook Madame LaPatissier has a very playful turn minding her own business but always squeaking out her own opinion in the end.

The play I believe is meant to be done outdoors despite its indoor setting and there will be added swash to the buckling when it returns to the parks for the remaining days of the run. As always the park tours are pay what you can so you can’t lose going to see it and the summer is drawing to a close. Fans of theatre in the park have just a few more opportunities to see it. 

The Chronicler continues to August 24
runtime: approximately 90 minutes with no intermission

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