Quebec entrepreneur’s 1642 Cola prepared and bottled locally, plus features a hint of maple syrup

Oct. 13
Montreal Gazette

Many people agree with the philosophy of eating and drinking local products, but when it comes to our favourite sodas, there are fewer options on the market and more excuses to be made.

Bastien Poulain knows all too well it can be difficult to compete with established brand giants like Pepsi or Coke when it comes selling soft drinks, but he believes there is still room to grow.

Poulain is the creator of a local soda called 1642 Cola, after the founding date of Montreal. The drink is flavoured with maple syrup from the Laurentians, and certified local by the Aliments du Quebec.

Poulain hired a chemist to oversee the recipe development, saying it took nine months to complete the fomula. They conducted a series of blind tests, before everyone finally agreed on the finished product.

“There’s just a hint of maple syrup,” Poulain said. “It’s not too sweet.” On top of the ingredients, 1642 Cola is also prepared and bottled locally.

“The boxes are from Dorval, the bottling is done in Terrebonne, the labels are made in Anjou,” Poulain explained.

The company is intrinsically connected to Montreal — the bottle cap even features a silhouette of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve.

Full article (and video!) here.


Review: The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God

Oct. 8

The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God is the most recent oeuvre from Canadian playwright Djanet Sears.

Put on in collaboration with the Black Theatre Workshop and the Centaur Theatre, the production was directed by Sears herself.

While the story addresses sombre themes of loss and grief, the play succeeds in creating a counterbalance of more lighthearted elements.

It tells the story of a woman, played by the effortlessly graceful and evocative Lucinda Davis, who struggles to move past the death of her child.

The cast features a large ensemble who help to move the action along with frequent interludes of original music and African-inspired dance. The music was strikingly beautiful in its simplicity. It was composed by Alejandra Nunez, with Sears listed as a co-composer. The vocalists on display were immensely talented, channeling a deep, soulful, almost-gospel tone throughout.

Read the full article here.

In Search of Mrs. Pirandello astounds

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 16, 2015

In Search of Mrs. Pirandello is an enthralling and vivid play that boasts an ingenious script, a cast of superb actors and a refreshingly original thesis.

This special look at one of literary history’s voiceless and forgotten players is both evocative and inspiring. Blending fascinating historical research with gripping prose, In Search of Mrs. Pirandello provides a post-modern commentary on mental illness, women’s issues and the artistic process.
The play follows the story of a young scholar, known only as the Searcher, who travels to Italy to learn more about the mysterious life of Luigi Pirandello’s wife Antonietta. After suffering a mental breakdown, she was institutionalized for “morbid jealousy” in 1919 and spent almost 40 years in an asylum.
The play was written by up-and-comer Michaela Di Cesare, a former playwright-in-residence at Montreal’s Imago Théâtre company.
Read the full story here.

CJLO Magazine: Theatre

Captain Aurora is a smashing success

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 14, 2015

Captain Aurora: A Superhero Musical hits exactly the right chord as this highly professional and fully fleshed-out musical comedy sings and dances its way into the Fringe history hall of fame.

The play tells the story of a banker-by-day/superhero-by-night lead who struggles to find purpose in an increasingly routine life. When her life is shaken up by political plot, alien invasion and the threat of exposure, Captain Aurora will have to rise to the challenge, regardless of the sacrifices she may unwillingly make on the way.

The play makes clever use of pre-existing and oft-overused comic book tropes and ultimately succeeds in lovingly parodying and paying homage to some of the elements that make classic superhero stories great.

Eva Petris, who shines in the role of Dawn and her alter ego Captain Aurora, is very talented and delightful to watch. Her enthusiastic performance is rivalled only by her impressive vocals and concrete commitment.”

Check out the full review here.

CJLO Magazine: Theatre

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche will leave you wanting more

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 14, 2015

“Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is, at a glance, an absurd, apocalyptic, queer comedy of manners. The show is largely character driven and its five leading ladies hit the right combination of pep and pluck as egg-worshipping, 50s-era closet lesbians.

The play takes place during the 1956 annual quiche breakfast of The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. The five executives of the society are preparing for the tasting of the quiches when an air raid siren goes off. On lockdown in the bunker, the so-called widow and ladysisters must come to terms with themselves and face each other in this winking, tongue-in-cheek comedy.

The Society has two rules: no men, no meat, all manners. They worship the egg and their illustrious founder and pay homage every year in the annual quiche tasting.”

Read the full story here.

CJLO Magazine: Theatre

The Shiner dishes out bittersweet comedy

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 14, 2015

“The Shiner is a relatively simple one-woman show that succeeds in its heartfelt and poignant storytelling.

Focusing on stories originating in the school system, the show will resonate with anyone who has spent significant time observing and engaging with young minds.

Performed by local sketch comedian and spiritual animator Katie Leggitt, The Shiner weaves together different narratives that reflect on the experience of educators and students alike.

Funny and at times bittersweet, Leggitt smoothly transitions from precocious school girl to gruff physical educator to earnest animator.”

Read more here.

Cult MTL: Theatre

This play skewers the Canadian film industry

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published March 30, 2015

“Vittorio Rossi’s The Envelope has all the ingredients for the making of a sharp, original and funny script: a firmly established local setting, a cast of quirky secondary characters and jokes about being Italian.

And yet, running at 160 minutes, the Centaur Theatre’s production (also directed by Rossi) drags and proves unable to break out of its static talking heads set-up. Set in an Italian restaurant in the present day, the action of the play focuses on playwright and screenwriter Michael Moretti (played by Ron Lea), who must decide whether to sell the rights to his script for a big payday or retain creative control over the project.

Dubbed as a satire, the play is ultimately a 160-minute skewering of the Canadian film industry and the schlock it turns out annually. As the show goes on, the initially humorous trash talk starts to feel progressively more like ranting.”

Full story at:

Broadway World: Travesties

BWW Review: Travesties is Widly Funny

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published April 21, 2015

Tom Stoppard is the kind of playwright who is so clever that it almost feels like he’s showing off.

Travesties is one such example of Stoppard’s brilliance, as he seamlessly combines past and present, reality and fiction in an inventive and Wildean play that, believe it or not, was inspired by real events.

The play focuses on the recollections of one very real Henry Carr, who rubbed elbows with some of the greatest minds of the early 20th century while posted in Zurich for the British Consular Service in 1917.

While performing in a production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Carr develops a petty feud with the show’s business manager, who just happens to be world-renowned author James Joyce.

Told through the lens of Carr’s fictional and often confused memoirs, Stoppard combines history, literature and his own comedic touch to great success.

Read the full article here.

Theatre: The Concordian

The Cherry Orchard is funny and fearless

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published April 6, 2015

Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard occupies a wonderful ambiguity between comedy and drama. While the early 20th-century Russian play is undeniably hilarious, the ending is unabashedly tragic. This weekend, Concordia’s Liberal Arts College Theatre Society put on a production of the play, with all the proceeds going to Literacy Unlimited.

The play was lighthearted and played into the farcical nature of Chekhov’s original text. The plot centres around a wealthy family that has fallen down on its luck and is forced to sell its estate, and the adjoining cherry orchard, to pay its debts.

The mother and uncle try to explore other options to remedy their situation, with the help of a business-minded family friend, while the possibility of romance sparks for daughters Anya and Varya. When all seems about to be resolved, hopes are dashed on all fronts and the family is left to deal with grim reality.

Running just over two hours, the show was a perfect blend of silly and serious. In particular, the scene in which the family governess furiously eats a whole cucumber while passionately delivering her monologue really set the tone for the piece early on. The cast, many of whom have relatively little acting experience, were staunchly committed and unfailingly energetic.

Read the full story here.

Broadway World: theatre review

BWW Reviews: RANDOM is Rapid Fire