July 24, 2015

The Island Fringe Festival 2015 is Just Around the Corner!

This Year’s Line-up

The Island Fringe may be turning four years old, but it’s very mature for its age. This year, Festival shows take a step towards heavier themes like sex, existentialism and, darkest of all, romantic films. That’s just a taste from the 4th annual Island Fringe Festival, running August 6-9, 2015.

The Festival kicks off with the triumphant return of Scribbler Skeletons: Shameless Readings of Childhood Writings, an addicting foray into the embarrassing and endearing childhood diaries, blogs, and letters of our younger selves. Come laugh and cringe with the Fringe at Marc’s Lounge on August 5 at 8pm.

The shows begin on August 6 and continue through August 9, with eight performances daily at various venues across the city. The Island Fringe is thrilled to welcome performers from New York City, Washington DC, Toronto & PEI.

An Island Affair from Charlottetown features a cast of twelve (the largest of the Festival) in a world-premiere burlesque-style variety show with a contemporary twist, featuring a live jazz band.

Returning to PEI after last year’s sold-out Fringe hit Happy, Nicholas Browne brings his cast of seven from NYC with Because You’re Not, a dramedy that follows its protagonist through love, loss, and his painful yet hilariously tenuous grip on reality.

Four solo performances will grace this year’s Festival. An Incomplete (Sex) Education from Washington DC takes a unique look at the American public school approach to this tricky subject.

Toronto’s Jessica Fitzpatrick tugs at our heartstrings in Cupidity, an endearing comedy about one woman’s obsession with romantic films.

Also hailing from Toronto, Reverie Theatre’s Once You’ve Found It tells the story of a man’s desire to do one last thing for his grandmother: live a happy life. Through alternate worlds created by the playwright, the audience is taken on a journey through reality and make-believe.

Last year, local Laura K. Bird looked back on how her front shaped her life. In Busted 2: The Sagging Continues, the sequel to the 2014 Fringe hit Busted: A Mammoir, she looks down the road to the future & still can’t see her toes.

Two more Charlottetown productions fill this year’s Island Fringe lineup. Small Talk follows the story of two women named Jane. Set in a morgue, this dark comedy explores the relationship between Jane and Jane as they discover that they may have more in common than a mutual dislike for Coronation Street.

Another local dark comedy, Blindness, A Dark Comedy is an existential dance comedy that looks into what it is to go blind. Through interpretive dance and the occasional jazzhands, the show’s heroine shows that going blind doesn’t have to leave you in a dark place.

All Island Fringe shows are admission by donation, with donations going directly to the participating artists. Have no fear! The Fringe still features fun for the whole family! As part of the expanded 2015 edition of the Festival, the Fringe will be hosting “Fringe in the Park”: free, family-friendly events in Rochford Square from 2-4pm, each day of the festival.

On Thursday, August 6 the Fringe will host an eco-friendly celebration complete with free yoga classes, a clothing swap and healthy treats.

On Friday, August 7 “Comic Sans” comes to life: a superhero-inspired event where folks can dress up as their favourite comic book heroes, draw their own comics, and even take part in a superhero obstacle course.

On Saturday, August 8 the Fringe will host a garden party, so be sure to wear your best sunhat and gloves!

Sunday, August 9 features a Country Jamboree, complete with a free country dance class and live music.

For those who are night owls, the Fringe will be hosting “Fringe After Dark” events at Merchantman’s Next Door Lounge from 11pm-1am, August 6-8. The Fringe wraps up with our annual closing party and Fringe awards at the Haviland Club on Sunday, August 9.

The 2015 Island Fringe Festival is sponsored in part by the City of Charlottetown and the Charlottetown Tourism Accommodation levy.

For a detailed schedule of performances visit http://www.islandfringe.com or pick up a Fringe program, distributed at various locations in Charlottetown.

For more information contact:

Josh Coles – Communications Coordinator (902) 316-3030 josh@joshcoles.com

Sarah Segal-Lazar –  Festival Director  (514) 266-1931  islandfringe@gmail.com

2015 Island Fringe Festival May Contain Adult Themes: Viewer Discretion is Advised

Pre-FRINGE Binge!

The 2015 Island FRINGE Festival may be two weeks away, but the party’s already started!

Before the shows get under way, we’re hosting fantastic events leading up to August 6!

Fringe CRAWL! (An Island Fringe FUNdraiser) Saturday, July 25th / 7:30pm
The Island Fringe Festival is all grown up and is heading off to college! Join us on July 25th for Fringe Frosh, the sequel to Fringe Prom. The night begins at 7:30pm with a Fringe CRAWL (and free ice cream!) Participants make their way around the city, stopping at Friends-of-the-Fringe establishments along the way, with drink specials and pop-up Fringe events at every venue. The night culminates at The Haviland Club at 10pm with a dance party like only the Fringe can do.

$10 admission (and a free t-shirt!) To sign up for the Crawl, go to http://bit.ly/1O4Iim5

Not the crawling type? Just head to the Haviland for 10pm and party like you’re a Freshman!

SCRIBBLER SKELETONS: Shameless Readings of Childhood Writing 
Wednesday, August 5th / 8pm/ Marc’s Lounge
Come laugh (and cringe) with the FRINGE, featuring some well-known Islanders reading the hilarious, ridiculous, and angst-ridden writing from their childhood years. Expect everything from love notes to bad poetry, silly stories to diary entries… and a whole lot more!

Want to read something of your own? Sign up at http://bit.ly/1NLhHufAnd make sure to check out the entire 2015 Island Fringe Festival line-up! www.islandfringe.com

Once You’ve Found It – Overcoming the darkness within ourselves.

Once You’ve Found It is an original exploration of the self. Bruce, our hero, has been thrown into the darkest parts of himself and must find a way to happiness. With the help of the memory of his grandmother, Bruce traverses through different realities to overcome his strongest adversary, himself.

Through the use of mask, puppetry, and media we are brought into the inner reality of the hero giving greater insight as to why he cannot be open with his new found love. Though he endeavours to find the courage to admit his emotions, his rival relishes his struggle and works to keep him in the dark.

This is Reverie Theatre’s debut feature production. Founder, Donovan Jackson, started the company out of the need to create works that reflected his own nature in daydreaming and being in multiple realities. Kevin Kashani, director, is debuting his skills in direction and adding his outside eye to establishing the different worlds.

http://www.facebook.com/reverietheatre

The Kirk of St. James (35 Fitzroy St.)  August 68:00pm, 77:00pm, 85:00pm, & 97:00pm Tickets: $10

Ch’An Press Presents AN INCOMPLETE (SEX) EDUCATION

The Culinary Institute, 4 Sydney Street on August 6th @ 8pm, 7th @ 5pm, 8th @ 8pm,& 9th @ 4pm Tickets: by donation

Info: http://www.islandfringe.com/ & http://ch-anpress.com

UNIQUE STORYTELLING EXPERIENCE WITH ART OBJECTS & EROTIC DESSERT

Ch’An Press presents An Incomplete (Sex) Education, running at The Culinary Institute in the 2015 Island Fringe Festival. This show, written and performed by Irene Chan is a unique storytelling experience of five short humorous stories of her early experience of sex education. These stories are accompanied with striking visual handmade sculptural objects: a knitted garden; a flat leaf that becomes a flower, that is worn as a skirt and is a form of book arts; and erotic dessert that is served to the audience. Ms. Chan is a first generation Chinese American and these stories tell of her attempting to learn about American culture all while having first “lessons” of sexual politics when she was six to twelve in the 1970s San Francisco Public School system.

Irene Chan, Ch’an Press is a multidisciplinary artist who makes and integrates her own objects and book arts into her performances. She creates work that is process, experience, and identity in print media and works with printmaking, papermaking, photography, book arts, installation art with performance. Her artist books and works on paper have been exhibited internationally and held in 70 public collections. Ms. Chan, through Ch’An (ch’ ahn) Press has self-published prints and 30 limited-edition artist books to date. She is the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, Washington D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities, fellowships to 13 artist residencies, and has exhibited and performed in 76 venues in the last ten years. Irene Chan is an Associate Professor in the departments of Visual Arts and Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA.

An Incomplete (Sex) Education is a unique storytelling experience. Short humorous stories are told about one woman’s early experience of sex education. Come travel back in time with her and hear personal first lessons of sexual politics when she was six to twelve. Along the way, feast your eyes on a garden of delights pollinating as a leaf grows into a flower, a skirt, and a book all while nibbling on erotic dessert. “Visually striking, performative, funny, and well crafted…Irene Chan brings her skills as a multimodal conceptual artist to bear in this multi-sensory experience…” EdgeMediaNetwork, Atlanta. For adult audiences. Ticket price: donation. More information at http://www.islandfringe.com.

July 15, 2015

Reviews for Romeo & Juliet, An Ideal Husband, & Canada 300 at Watermark Theatre!

“Wild for Wilde: An Ideal Husband an Ideal Experience” By Kimberley Johnston


watermark Ever look forward to something so much that you wonder if you’re setting yourself up for disappointment?

I had a bout of doubt at the prospect of finally seeing an Oscar Wilde full-length play being performed but then I realized the brilliant cast and crew at the Watermark Theatre in Rustico were more than up to the task.

And I couldn’t have been more right.

Audience members of An Ideal Husband gave the show a standing ovation on its opening night Sunday, July 12th. They were impressed with Susan Ferley’s directorship along with the actors’ excellent use of the script which is still relevant despite being written over 100 years ago.

Basically, the career and marriage of prominent politician Sir Robert Chiltern (Jonathan Widdifield) is put in jeopardy after the arrival of the beguiling Ms. Cheveley (Rebecca Parent) to his home. Parent and Widdifield are no strangers to the Watermark stage and their performances were a perfect display of why audiences come back year after year to see them.

by Kimberley Johnston

by Kimberley Johnston

My favourite couple to watch was Mabel Chiltern (Leah Pritchard) and Lord Goring (Robert Tsonos). The pair have palpable chemistry after acting together in two Watermark productions last year. It was neat to see the relationship evolve between these two superficial yet equally profound characters.

Malube (Lady Chiltern) was resplendent in her Watermark debut. Gracie Finley and John Dartt are always a treat. David Bulger, who played Lord Goring’s much-put-upon servant Phipps, was my instant favourite. He doesn’t have a huge part but he played it beautifully. He had me at his first of many subsequent: Yes, m’lords.

An Ideal Husband is a wonderful production. If it were a man, I would marry it.

Romeo & Juliet Review by PL Holden

“…that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”

R&JBelieved to have been written between 1591 and 1595 Romeo & Juliet has had a huge legacy with god knows how many adaptations. The classic play also inspired ballet, music, literature & art. Duncan MacIntosh mentioned in the introduction that it’s been 57 years since last professional presentation of Shakespeare adaptation on PEI. However, amateur companies have tackled some of those immortal productions.  ACT (A Community Theatre), most notably, has put on Hamlet in 2015, A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2013, & MacBeth in 2012.

He also broke the news that this year will be his last stint as Artistic Director (On August 1st a new Artistic Director will be named) & he will no doubt be missed. Parting is such sweet sorrow, for… this play as well as MacIntosh, is a wealth of inspiration that wields the power to inspire.

In a Canadian prisoner of war camp in Mannheim, German in 1915 as opposed to the original Verona we are tossed into a world of inevitable demise.  I found it an interesting twist to see the costumes weren’t from the Shakespearean era while the lines were read in the traditional style. I was actually rather surprised that they bothered staying with the Olde English prose, given the army fatigues.

Juliet (Rebecca Parent) is angelic in her first scene (the costume (Erin Gerofsky), the lighting (Kirtsen Watts), & her enchanting smile were instrumental) looking into Romeo’s (Jake McNeil) eyes. I got the impression they already knew each other, so I wasn’t sure if they were trying to imply love at first sight. Romeo & Juliet were both young & beautiful. I thought the early balcony soliloquy & some of their other scenes together, especially early on, seemingly lacked the mutual captivation that might’ve warranted the lengths they went to pursue this ill-fated romance. Their exchanges, which for me, were critical for conveying their desire were technically impressive but often long winded. Of course one can’t deny the tremendous effort in reciting those long lines which must’ve been such a challenge on this opening night.

Jonathon Widdifield as Mercutio provided some well-received comedy energy with the punning and whatnot which really stood out in Act 1. Gracie Finley as the Nurse also impressed with her hilarious Shakespearean babbling & high-decibel outbursts. Robert Tsonos played 2 roles; as Tybalt he was a mean looking 1500’s/World War I psycho and, rather peculiarly, as Lady Capulet, which as a male was somewhat confusing at first, but none the less, impressive & sort of amusing as the show went on. Perhaps it was an homage to the original productions of that era when all roles were filled by men.

Displays of anger were certainly genuine, especially by the handsome Romeo. His battle vs. Tybalt featured some of the best onstage hand to hand combat I’ve seen.  Mercutio’s death was good, but I hated to see him out of the picture. Paris (also played by Widdifield) was much too likeable to imagine Juliet opting for suicide instead of marriage. If he were more of a prick, the (spoiler alert) impending suicide might’ve seemed more warranted.

Old-School performers in this cast of ten like David Bulger, John Dartt, Richard Beaune, & Gracie Finley commanded their lines with authority. I’m sure the younger members of the cast will match their expertise more & more with every performance in adding more feeling & connection to their impeccable recital. In a nutshell, Act 1 could use some tweaking as far as flow, Act 2 built steam with shorter scenes & had a better pace in my opinion, & in the third act they brought it home with tragedy at its apex.

Shortly after I started doing play reviews I came to the conclusion that since I didn’t have the heart (or the bona fide authority) to be overtly critical of our local theatres, I would attempt to prescribe an audience type for a given play & focus on it’s strong points. Although I rarely feel the need to complain anyway, my reasoning concluded that we are working with a much lower budget than Broadway & the like that the absolute best & brightest talent in the world will inevitably flock to. Not to say PEI is without its share of diamonds in the rough, take Duncan MacIntosh for instance. He is highly accomplished as well as worldly & well respected by his peers.

I took a different approach, however, on this review for Romeo & Juliet, instead of attempting to give my opinion on who should watch it, I felt it was the right thing to highlight how this play could be appreciated by someone so indifferent to Shakespeare’s work (which I have always been).  This show helped me to acknowledge the power of The Tragedy & made me wonder about English morals in that era. I wonder if the Shakespeare purists of PEI, however many there may be, would be impressed. I also couldn’t help but ask myself what percent of the PEI audience actually digs Shakespeare? The show definitely sparks debate.

It seemed as if the long, perhaps unfamiliar dialogue detracted from the passion that may have been displayed had the story not been so wordy. Timing is so crucial in engaging the audience (at least for people my age and increasingly apparent as you go younger where attention spans run shorter & shorter). Early on it mostly seemed like a collection of monologues (usually lamenting) while the others idly waited their turn to rant for a while as opposed to back & forth exchanges. I also have to admit that I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic early on about the expected elevation of tragedy looming in the later stages of story (that’s just me being a bliss junkie).

All that said, I was thankful for this rare opportunity to see a Shakespeare classic brought to life by the talented cats at Watermark whether or not this particular adaptation was a grand slam. It’s a Goliath of a production. Perhaps it isn’t without reason that PEI’s professional theatre companies have shied away from Shakespeare for 50 some odd years. The magic of this performance may not be the actual theatre experience but the conversation sparked by whether or not it lived up to our expectations as well as how the themes relate to our current time and place.

Canada 300 Review by PL Holden

watermark2“Welcome to the 22nd opening night performance of Canada 300” joked Artistic Director Duncan MacIntosh. This interactive spectacle started in Quebec City, then to St. John, to Cornerbrook, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Thunder Bay, etc, etc, etc… Put it this way, this show’s been everywhere man!  We were in for 5 short plays “performed with the intention of sparking a conversation about what we want Canada to be in the next 150 years”.

In the first play, Prophecy written by Yvette Nolan we saw a hypnotic fusion of movement & text in a post-apocalyptic scenario with a multi-cultural cast. Revoca the Shaman played by Eloi Homier was dancing in a circle around the stage in what seemed to me a picking up the pieces by the remaining cultures with the wisdom they might’ve collected from their life & times. As with the remaining short plays I would soon realize, the meaning seemed obscured.

In the second presentation which was entirely spoken en francais (with translations on the wall) The Police had a detained 1st Nations girl (Josee Young) & although I didn’t understand what they were saying, I got the impression that it was an unfair ordeal & might represent how we internally consider people guilty by association when their culture doesn’t fit in to our neat little cookie-cutter society we’ve been thrown into.

Departures explores the challenges of immigration in the 3rd play in a very symmetrical presentation with clever set changes. I thought Malube’s character was a standout as a mistreated woman who couldn’t seem to get a break in a workforce that has no patience for a cultural & linguistic learning curve.

After three somber yet provocative sets, Downsizing brought some much needed comedy! An elderly mixed race couple especially the wife (played by Shiong-En Chan) bickering about neighbors comes down to racism, paranoia, & the ensuing chaos. Dominion featured Richard Beune as cheerfully aloof Englishman in a questionable living situation. A baby is born & unceremoniously  given away to the Englishman’s wife played by Josee Young. Finally, Prophesy reprised to tie it all together with its atmospheric abstraction.

Before the show & after there was a discussion about what the audience was wishing for Canada’s next 150 years. It’s easy to assume that the most people who are probably used to the average story with obvious predictable outcomes may not be into this sort of thing, but there were actually a lot of really intelligent statements made. People opened up sharing stories & ideas. The audience wished we’d be free of all discrimination & to keep our natural beauty. That Canada will be happy, Senate will reform, no more war, we’d have sustainability, & that we could be the generation that saved Earth from climate change. The concept of families was also a big priority, no one can deny that we must think about the children.

Throughout their tour that I mention earlier, they compiled over 90 hours of video footage with 1000’s of audience members about next 150 years with three Re-occurring themes. 1 It’s difficult to make community. 2 What will the nation be? & 3 How to prepare now for environmental security?  Check out http://palmerconference.com/ for info on the big conference coming up with “Dreams For Canada: Bringing Them Home”. It’s being held at the University of Prince Edward Island on September 3 & 4.

My take?

This culturally diverse 5 member cast served two purposes for me. Firstly, I saw the Globe on Stage (which Actress Josee Young later told me represents the Medicine Wheel) that showed who we are in the past & present. Secondly, with such a rare occasion on PEI to see the cultural diversity in theatre, that we can be brothers & sisters with a common destination. Their frustrations, fears, & short comings are unabashedly displayed. People can see pieces of themselves in other cultures, the outcast, the 3rd wheel, the new kid on the block, the member of that crammed country club that won’t take new applicants. In order for Canada to continue evolving, simply tolerating other cultures isn’t enough,  we must welcome every one as brothers & sisters including the earth for that matter. Truth & reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples, the need to include, & lose the poverty mentality are key ingredients for getting around to really talking about Canada as a nation.

by @PLHoldenFor those of us seeking a deeper meaning, an interest in philosophy, finding satisfaction in drawing their own interpretation, or most importantly for those with an interest in equality, getting out to Rustico for this landmark performance is a must!  It’s a vacation from the predictable stuff. It’s Watermark & Duncan MacIntosh digging deeper & confronting themselves as well as the audience in a whole new way.

Every new challenge requires more courage than the previous ones is perhaps the greatest advice from MacIntosh. However, I must say that the interactivity made this review as well as my feelings about our next 150 years so easy to write!

July 11, 2015

Live From Studio 1 Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad review by PL Holden

A crowd of 2 parents at a Peewee House League game in centre ice seats at a rink that reminded me or the old Charlottetown Forum, what could be more electrifying? As I wrote this review for Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad, which came to town for the first time I thought it might be fun to try to throw in some hyped up commentary, just like an analyst on SportsNet or something.

There was Charlottetown Festival veteran Matt Campbell as Teddy in what I would consider his kind of role, as a matter of fact, I’d say he was born to play this role of a loud obnoxious hockey dad & it was so great to see him as a lead actor again for the first time that I’ve seen since his monumental performance in “The Full Monty” back in 2011 (check out the review). Bryde MacLean has a few gems in her career from Ryerson Theatre & Roseneath Theatre, (who, I might add is the daughter of the Legendary Bill McFadden & Sharlene MacLean who starred together in “On Golden Pond” in 2012 at The Victoria Playhouse) is in her rookie season at the Confederation Centre as a remote single mother named Donna who likes drinking her Tim Horton’s & doing her best (at first) to shut out the onslaught of breath-taking antics by Teddy.

Teddy was pure Canadian through and through, definitely wore his heart on the sleeve of his Toronto jersey, & never afraid to get in the corners. It became apparent that Donna found it really hard to open up to Teddy’s “passes” as he always seemed to be “putting on the moves”, but mostly “crashing the net”. There was plenty of Leafs bashing which believe it or not helped break the ice between the two, not to mention getting the crowd cheering. It’s important to note that once you know the story of Donna’s troubled past she certainly becomes more likeable.

In the Second period (or as the Theatre folks say, Act 2) the immature, yet tenacious Teddy & sophisticated Donna are an item. He teaches her the ropes on how to be a real fan although the fact that she is so overprotective of her son things tend to get complicated. As in all great match-ups the mood was a little somber at one point facing the challenges of single parents in a relationship. But I must say beyond the shadow of a doubt, this is an unforgettable romantic comedy hockey fans and even those who aren’t so interested in Canada’s (unofficial) National Pass-time will absolutely love!

by @PLHoldenGreat job on Set Design by the young Cory Sinscennes. The Sound FX were phenomenal, which added to the authentic Rink-like atmosphere. If the A/C was cranked up to the point where jackets were needed, it would be just like sitting at a local arena, which thank the Lord they didn’t since nobody was actually wearing a jacket (although I did see plenty of people wearing hockey jerseys).

Matt Campbell showed enough passion, integrity, & quick-wittedness as Teddy to earn himself a well-deserved hat trick, while Bryde MacLean, in the first time I saw her on stage played a role that really suited her & will perhaps guarantee her a spot in The Charlottetown Festival’s lineup for years to come! Excitement from start to finish in this hard-fought contest that most fans might be wishing will go into over-time!

July 7, 2015

Bittergirl, Alice, & Young Company Reviews

Bittergirls Isn’t Bitter At All By Cindy Lapeña
 
bittergirl pics 2 by Cindy LapenaImmediately after a list of songs from the 50s and 60s by groups and singers I’m sure are unrecognizable to the average 30-some or younger audience members, the Bittergirls programme production summary promised “Audiences will howl in recognition at the fast-paced and heartbreakingly hilarious tale interwoven with their favourite hurting and loving girl-group songs.”
“Heartbreakingly Hilarious” might sound like an oxymoron to you. After all, how can heartbreak be hilarious, especially after you’re dumped by a your boyfriend, or live-in partner, or husband for some really lame reason you know is not true? I’m sure any girl-woman who’s been through “the one big heartbreak” understands that, and has spent hours, days, maybe even weeks and months, listening to the saddest and most depressing love songs to remind them of the heartbreak. Of course, years after, in much better relationships and places, we find that period laughable, to say the least, assuming we got over it.
It’s precisely that point when we find it laughable that we’re able to enjoy this rib-tickling, belly-achingly hilarious production where we follow three bittergirls through their break-ups through songs, and what powerful and memorable songs they are! We laughed because we were mostly an audience on the higher end of the number scale and did we know those songs! I was telling my companions at our table at The Mack, that those who sang along would be giving away their age. I have to admit that I knew those songs and listened to them, not necessarily because I listened to them going through a break-up—well, okay, maybe one or two—but because I listened to them as a kid. Of course, anything by Burt Bacharach, Donna Summer, Dionne Warwick, or Elvis Presley would be familiar to even some of the younger audience, but whom among the younger generation would recognize The Supremes, The Crystals, The Three Degrees, etc.? Back then, group singers were a really hot thing and there would always be harmonization and vocal arrangements, so having three women who are all powerful singers belting out these songs in true Broadway style was a throwback to that time.
While the musical was really about the Bittergirls’ biggest breakups with songs describing exactly how they felt and dealt with their personal tragedies, Jay Davis, who played everybody’s heartbreaker turned out to be more of a charmer and a heartthrob who stole the scene from the girls each time he sang in true King-ly fashion, complete with gyrating hips atop his very own pedestal with full marquee lights and glittering belt. A more rowdy audience would have filled the theatre with catcalls, whistles, and howls, but it was enough to bring the house down with mirth. Still, it was definitely a girl-show, and to quote Sean Casey as repeated to me by his wifeKathleen Casey, “Men had better park their egos at the door” before they watched the show.
I loved Steffi DiDomenicantonio with her Liza Minneli-sh cropped hair and big dark, thick-lashed eyes and just as powerful voice singing through her abandonment by partner-who-found-another. Rebecca Auerbachplayed the martyred breadwinner-mom-woman who sent her husband through university only to be abandoned so he can pursue other dreams. Women in her place shouldn’t be allowed to play with Barbie and Ken dolls! To round off the trio was Marisa McIntyre, the girlfriend who dreamt of the perfect love story and happy ending but never got the proposal. While their voices all rose to the occasion, McIntyre’s stage presence was not always up to par with the other two girls. With the quick pacing and turnover of lines and songs, however, this was hardly noticeable. That these three energetic ladies could sing through dancing and, yes, an aerobics workout, left me gasping and exhausted from the exertion, not to mention amazed and in total awe. Choreographer Nicola Pantinoutdid herself there.
That the production entertained the audience thoroughly is completely undisputed. The one thing that would have increased my enjoyment would be a better modulation of the mics for the small space that The Mack is. Perfect miking means no echoes and no picking-up of each other’s voices—which happened in more intimate scenes, such as the bedroom scene—so that the voices sound perfectly normal rather than enhanced by microphones. McIntyre’s mic, in particular, echoed more than the others, and when she hit some high notes, there was a tad bit of shrillness to the echo, which was a little jarring to the eardrums.
by Cindy Lapeña

by Cindy Lapeña 2012

As for the story, I don’t think there was really meant to be much of a story as much as it was meant to poke fun at how girls tend to (over)react to a break-up, making it a major tragedy of catastrophic proportions—the equivalent of the first act, until, in the end, they realize that they will survive à la Donna Summers. It also poked at men, on the other hand, who are portrayed as egotistic and insensitive, and yet we do fall over, bend over, gush over, and agonize over them.
It was a delight to see the creators, Alison Lawrence, Annabel Fitzsimmons, and Mary Francis Moore,who came up on stage as they were introduced by past Artistic Director Wayne Hambly. I think the hardest part of the writing would have been to find the perfect songs to match their scripts and pull them together seamlessly into one supremely entertaining musical extravaganza with a story line. Kelly Robinson’s staging was flawless with maximum use of Cory Sincennes’s highly versatile set that optimized every nook and cranny of The Mack’s diminutive platform. I found the slide-out sets and hiding places a delight and waited to see what part of the set would reveal something different. I like the fact that Robinson utilized the audience area as well, which was somewhat symbolic of a breakout and a breakthrough in the stages of breakup. I’m not sure it was meant to work that way, but it does work, when one looks more closely for what is significant. If it isn’t in the original script, I think Sincennes’s set design and Robinson’s stage directions should become part of it.
One final word in parting, though, and it has nothing to do with the performance: it felt like the caterers did not want the food served at the gala reception to be eaten at all—there were no plates, the fillings were unidentifiable by sight alone, albeit delicious, and they were impossible to eat with fingers, but no forks or picks were provided. I think, for that reason alone, there was so much left after most of the audience had gone.

Short & Sweet on Bittergirls by Julie Affleck

The acting. The music. The dancing. The whole story. Every bit of it. Amazing. Unbelievable. Incredible. Marvelous. Get the picture? So amazing, that I even loved the creep I was supposed to hate! This show I want to see again!

Alice Through the Looking-Glass ~ by Julie Affleck

Don’t expect Alice in Wonderland because you’ll be disappointed. Well, no you won’t be. I wasn’t.  I loved it all! All the girls in dresses, invisible or not.  Loved you all. Alice, loved you. And you ARE a good girl! The little girl in the audience that wanted to help Alice, you were adorable.  The whole cast made the whole show so enjoyable, and I would easily go back and watch it again!

Great job on the writing! Great job on the acting! Unbelievably awesome show!

Young Company Presents – We Are Canadian! Review by PL Holden

In an opportunity to show off their versatility on this sunny Canada Day, The Confederation Young Company took the outdoor crowd Around the World in about 45 Minutes!

Led by Kerry Gage (Director & Choreographer), Jacqueline Sadler (Music Director/Composer/Arranger) & the rest of the creative team on a variety of Dance & Musical styles as well as some very impressive costumes these future stars of the stage show what being Canadian means to them.

Acadian First Nations, Do-si-do, sailors waltz, Irish Lullaby, & of course the Scottish dance was phenomenal! After a few songs I realized it’s not just Canada they are paying tribute to, but Russia, Italy, Spanish (my favorite), even some Bollywood, &  Japanese (featuring dance moves I’ve only seen on “So You Think You Can Dance”) performances were spectacular.  Difficult dance maneuvers during Japanese set really got the crowd cheering. An Acapella rendition near the end of the show of Bob Marley’s One Love summed up the feel of the presentation to me, every culture has their own style but it’s all a display of grace for the people & the spirit.

I’m sure that some of the former Young Company players have went on to some great careers in Theatre & I’ll bet shows like this are very inspiring for kids interested in performing arts. It’s free, so check it out. Goes at noon Monday til Saturday til August 15th!

After the Young Company performance, Confederation Centre Executive  Director, Wayne Hambly invited the crowd over to the front of Province House to see a short Confederation Players Re-Enactment.

There was debate, period costumes, & of course some “Hear Ye! Hear Ye!” from the towne crier. I felt like I was back in the 1800’s & I was very impressed by the way they talked & expressed themselves.  Sir John A. Macdonald,  Miss Mercy Coles, Colonel John Hamilton Gray, George-Étienne Cartier, and members of the Slaymaker and Nichols’ Olympic Circus. That side show with some familiar faces as the Circus Folk interrupts the Founding Fathers was really funny. The show was Capped off with some old heartfelt songs.

See more about their tours at: http://www.charlottetownfestival.com/en/109-Confederation-Players-Walking-Tours-Historical-Reenactment#sthash.NlUlObEm.dpuf

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