Press and Reviews

Little Death

Little Death

“Played by the perpetual revelation that is Kate Hennig, Claire is a beautifully sexualized mature woman with confidence and verve to spare… She’s exactly the sort of woman we need to see more of on contemporary stages and its her almost dreamily poignant presence that elevates Karasik’s domestic drama between a struggling man and his heartbreakingly optimistic wife into something far more conflicting.”

Kelly Bedard
My Entertainment World
April 2015

Billy Elliot Toronto

Billy Elliot

“Real, gritty, deeply touching performances carry the story along, with our own Kate Hennig claiming unquestioned pride of place.

As Mrs. Wilkinson, the seemingly offhand, but deeply committed ballet teacher, Hennig offers a master class in how to act in a musical. Delicious panache, firmly rooted emotions and breathtaking technical expertise all unite in a marvellous performance.

Whether she’s flicking a cigarette, silencing her daughter, or inspiring young Billy, she does it all with a simple elegance that is breathtaking”.

Richard Ouzounian
The Toronto Star
March 2, 2011

Photo by Emily Cooper

Photo by Emily Cooper

Ragtime

“Kate Hennig is… one of the smartest women on the stage today… She concentrates on what Goldman is preaching, the messages she’s trying to convey, and she does it… with full commitment… she creates a totally complex character that holds our attention at every entrance. She embodies the true message of Ragtime, you are what you believe in”.

Richard Ouzounian
The Toronto Star
May 27, 2012

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White Christmas

“If you think the romantic leads is where I’ll begin analyzing performances, you’d be wrong. The first order of business here is a salute to our very own Kate Hennig who stepped into the demanding part of the innkeeper Martha Watson with less than 10 days of rehearsals when Nora McLellan, who was originally cast in the role, became ill. I wish McLellan well, but in all honesty Hennig – whose credits include such dark fare as The Danish Play, The Penelopiad and The Blue Light – was born to play the big brassy part. I’d never seen her in a musical before and had no idea she was such a comic belter in the tradition of Ethel Merman or Fanny Brice”.

Kamal al Solaylee
The Globe and Mail

Credit: Nightwood Theatre

Credit: Nightwood Theatre

The Danish Play

“Kate Hennig gives one of the finest performances seen in any play in Toronto this year. She plays Agnete Ottosen, a poet and leader of the resistance in Nazi-occupied Denmark who was responsible for helping hundreds of Jews escape to neutral Sweden. Ottosen was detained and sent to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck, where she was tortured and subjected to gynecological experiments. She survived, forever altered by the experience, and chose to have a child without marrying. This caused a second ordeal — her refusal to name the father led the state to take her son from her.

Hennig fearlessly captures the wide range of emotions Ottosen experiences, moving from spirited self-reliance to agony and increasingly dark layers of depression and paranoia. The depth and intensity of Hennig’s characterization are overwhelming”.

Christopher Hoile
Eye Weekly
November 28th, 2002

* * *

“Which side of Kate Hennig do you like best? The Nazi sympathizer or the Resistance fighter?

In February last year, the always-compelling Hennig starred in Mieko Ouchi’s The Blue Light, a deconstruction of Leni Riefenstahl, German director and purveyor of “fascist aesthetics” in film. She did an astonishing job of humanizing an unsympathetic woman while simultaneously capturing her powerful intellect and dogmatic belief in art.

One year later, she is back as Agnete Ottosen, an equally stubborn creation who happens to sit on the extreme other end of the Nazi-Allies divide. Hennig originated the role of this freedom fighter to critical adoration when The Danish Play premiered in Toronto, in 2002. She is currently reprising it as Nightwood Theatre remounts one of the most ambitious, politically engaged and moving Canadian plays of the decade… giving Hennig a role of a lifetime”.

Kamal al Solaylee
The Globe and Mail
March 1, 2007

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Cabaret

“Kate Hennig takes centre stage as the uninhibited Sally Bowles, the main attraction at the Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin. Not only does Hennig have the vocal power that the role demands, she actually manages to make us love Sally, a world-weary woman with no political loyalties and more than her share of emotional baggage. Perhaps the most remarkable element of her performance is that she displays enough charisma to avoid being upstaged by Thom Allison”.

Lori Montgomery
FFWD Weekly Calgary
September 27, 2001

Kate Hennig as Eurycleia - The Penelopiad (NAC/RSC)

The Penelopiad

Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” has come home to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to an enthusiastic response.

After its well-received premiere earlier this summer as the final presentation at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theater in Stratford-Upon-Avon before it closes for an extensive renovation, Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” has come home to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to an even more enthusiastic response. This first-ever co-production between the RSC and the NAC neatly balances input from the two orgs, with casting and creative choices equally shared on both sides.

Atwood’s 2005 novel is inspired by a short passage in Homer’s “The Odyssey,” in which it’s indicated that — upon his return to Ithaca — Odysseus brutally lynched all 12 of his wife Penelope’s faithful maids. Rather than a conventional narrative, Atwood wrote a notebook of impressions and a stylized response from the women; this has proved the material’s strength on stage.

British actor-director Josette Bushell-Mingo (best known for her Olivier-winning turn in “The Lion King”) has used Atwood’s work as the jumping-off point for a series of intensely theatrical vignettes.

The all-female cast explores in depth their feelings of isolation during the men’s decades of absence as well as the unexpected betrayal they underwent when Odysseus and his men finally returned home.

Seemingly every kind of movement, music and inventive staging has been called into play, but, rather than appearing gratuitous, these diverse aspects ultimately fit together with the precision you would expect from an author like Atwood.

RSC veteran Penny Downie anchors the whole event as Penelope, with a virtuoso display of muscular technique coupled with yielding femininity. Her contribution is so pivotal it’s impossible to contemplate anyone else filling the role.

There are also excellent contributions from Kate Hennig, Kelly McIntosh and Mojisola Adebayo, but this is truly an ensemble effort and the overall effect of the group transcends any individual’s work.

There are plans to remount “The Penelopiad” and tour it through Canada. It is only hoped that much of this splendid international cast will be kept together, in particular the magical Downie.

Richard Ouzounian
Variety
Sept. 21, 2007

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The Eleventh David

“A Miss Havisham-like bag lady and a love-troubled young man meet in a park and transform each other’s lives.

Kate Hennig’s script, part fairy tale, part philosophy and part poetry, with its roots in Japanese legends and verse, get a splendid production, directed by Tanja Jacobs and performed by the marvellous Hennig and Gray Powell. The story needs expanding – the man is converted too quickly – but this is a festival gem that looks at age and youth, love and loneliness, with the lightness and sheen of a piece of silk fluttering in the breeze.”

Rating: NNNN
Jon Kaplan
NOW Magazine
August 10-16, 2006

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32 Short Films About Glenn Gould

“The best scene in the movie starts with a sick-looking Gould pacing a hotel room in Hamburg. There is a knock at the door, and a parcel is delivered; he opens it and pulls out a record. Until now, you haven’t really noticed the chambermaid pottering about in the background; nor, do you think, has Gould. But now he asks her to stay, and sits her down while he puts the record on the phonograph. She protests a little, then gives in and smiles nervously, as well she might: just what does this lanky Canadian weirdo want from her? The music begins: Beethoven at his briskest, almost Bach-like — the Allegro from Sonata No. 13. In spite of herself, the maid is caught up in it, and her smile broadens; she get up, looks at the cover of the record, and realizes who is playing. As the movement ends, she turns to Gould and says simply, “Danke schon”.

You get a fine hint here, as elsewhere, of lives crossing and sparking; the movie is rife with small-scale memories, each of them bearing full-grown emotions tucked away inside. The Beethoven sounds wonderful, but Gould’s playing of it is only the start: we need to see how it spills outward — into the ears of the maid, into the look that she gives him”.

The Gould Variations by Anthony Lane
New Yorker Magazine
April 18, 1994