Ottawa Theatre Review: Stag & Doe by Mark Crawford

“There is no ‘I’ in marriage!” – Stag and Doe by Mark Crawford comedically demonstrates how weddings and their planning bring out the worst in us all. Packed with a host of familiar-feeling characters – we do, indeed, know someone just like each one of them – this uproariously funny play directed by Greg Hancock feels like you have somehow witnessed each of these events yourself, either through your own wedding or perhaps one you’ve participated in. 

Photo: OLT Website

The Venue:

The Ottawa Little Theatre offers paid parking on-site, and still had spaces despite the theater being quite full. There are also multiple public paid lots in the area. If you go in the front doors, there are a set of stairs leading up into the lobby area. The bar is straight ahead on the left, with the doors to the theatre on your right. If you choose the side entrance, it is accessible for wheelchairs and allows you to go straight into the theatre seating-area.

The main lobby is decorated with posters showcasing over 100 years of entertainment, with speakeasy style music filtered throughout the bar area. The theatre offers a small selection of red and white wine, bar rail, and a couple of popular beer from Kitchissippi Brewing for $6 each. Coffee, tea, pop, and water can all be purchased for $2. What I particularly liked is that guests were able to pre-order and pre-pay for drinks for intermission. When guests exit the seating area, there is a separate bar where pre-ordered drinks are placed, along with a paper with their name on it. Avoiding the lineup for drinks gave us the opportunity to discuss the show at one of the small high-top tables scattered about the lobby.

The Show:

Set in the kitchen of an events hall in London, Ontario, Bonnie (Sarah McKay) and Dee (Katie Torresan) are preparing for Bonnie’s Stag and Doe that night. Brad (Ian Gillies) joins them, but the three are soon interrupted by Mandy (Melissa Raftis) – it’s the day of her wedding and the tent has blown away. She needs to use the hall for her wedding and nothing is going to stop her – not even her groom, nor Dee’s ex, Rob (Steven Dworkin). The humour is well-timed, with running gags throughout that crop up at the perfect moments.

Standout Performances:

The caterer for Mandy’s wedding, Jay (Garret Lee), did a standout job of portraying the outsider who is absolutely uninterested in getting in the middle of the drama – he has too much of his own to deal with! 

Another standout performance shout out to Ian Gillies who played Brad. He perfectly embodied the expressions and reactions of every small-town man I have ever met – plaid shirt and possessiveness about his truck included. The ability to bring the entire audience into shouts of laughter with the timing, inflection, and body language put into a single word, “Who?” is a rare talent.  

Photo: OLT Website

The sound crew is also very deserving of a shout out – from the ringtones for the cell phones to the music rising and falling with the swinging door that led into the party, it was all especially well-done. 

One thing I would like to see is for Sarah McKay, who plays Bonnie, to slow down the pace of her speech. While it conveyed her hysterical state extremely well, it was actually very hard for the audience to follow, especially right at the start of the play. 

This show was hilarious, and I recommend you get out to see it! Running Wednesday through Sunday each week until May 25th gives you plenty of opportunity to find a date that works for you. Tickets are available through the Ottawa Little Theatre box office either in person or online. Enjoy!

Review By: Chelsea Fowler

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